Which wide-angle adapter for small Sony camcorder at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:34 AM   #1
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Which wide-angle adapter for small Sony camcorder

Hi folks,

I have a Sony HDR-HC7e (with a 37mm thread on the lens) and I need to get myself a wide-angle adapter from the UK. Please may I ask several questions:

1) Do I need to get a wide-angle adapter specifically made for this camera or can I get any 37mm adapter built for video cameras?

2) The HDR-HC7e's zoom has a focal length of 5.4mm at its widest (35mm equivalent = 40mm). Will a 0.43x wide-angle adapter count as "fish-eye"? I want to go as wide as possible without causing distracting fish-eye distortions (sure, I understand that barrel distortion will be present on all wide lenses but I want to avoid that super-distorted "fish-eye" look).

3) What determines whether or not a wide-angle adapter allows "zoom-through"?

4) Can anyone recommend a specific wide-angle lens for my HC7e?

Thanks loads for the help,
Jack
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Old November 15th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #2
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One more quick question:

I have two video cameras: one has a 37mm thread and the other has a 72mm thread. Is it possible to get a single wide-angle adapter which could be used on both cameras? e.g. a 72mm wide-angle adapter with a 37mm-to-72mm adapter?

I've done some Google searches and it looks like a 37mm-to-72mm adapter doesn't exist.

Thanks,
Jack
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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Hi Jack. I've moved your thread to our HC7 forum where you should get a better response. You will find a number of wide adaptors for your camera, including one from Sony which people seem to like. Just remember that decent glass costs money, so if it's really cheap then you probably won't be satisfied. Century/Schneider makes some very nice adaptors: http://www.schneideroptics.com/century/dv/a1u/a1u.htm

Zoom through capability is a function of the lens design and AFAIK the only way to know whether it's possible for a given product is to look at the manufacturer's specs. I don't think distortion is directly equated with focal length, but again it has to do with the design of a particular lens. Better lenses are "perspective corrected" or "rectilinear" while cheap ones usually aren't. I have a Nikon 14mm super wide lens for my DSLR and there is almost no distortion. But it cost more than my camera...

I don't think it will be very practical to use a 72mm lens on your camera personally. I have a Century 72mm wide lens for my Z1 and it's really big and heavy, it would be a real monster on a little camera like yours!
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:20 AM   #4
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Hi Boyd!

Thanks loads for the reply! Very good point about 72mm adapters being really big and heavy - I hadn't considered that. I think I'll give up on the idea of getting a single wide-angle adapter to fit both my cameras.

Unfortunately, high-end glass is out of my budget. Not to mention that fact that a Century wide-angle adapter would probably cost more than my HC7e!

I've found a Hama 0.5x 37mm adapter which is in my budget.

If a lens isn't "zoom-through", does that mean that the focus will slip as you zoom (much like having an incorrectly set back-focus)? In other words, can I still frame a shot by "zooming" on my camera; focus and then safely record?

On the topic of barrel distortion:

Thanks for the heads-up on "perspective-corrected" lenses. I must admit that I'd always assumed that the amount of barrel distortion roughly inversely correlated with focal length so thanks for correcting my naive assumption. Last week I took delivery of a Sigma 10-20mm lens for my Nikon dSLR so I'll play with that! On a previous project (taking photos of the inside of rooms for use as textures in a 3D model), I spent ages correcting the barrel distortion caused by a 28mm lens in PhotoShop... now I see barrel distortion everywhere. It's a good indicator of how much I'm enjoying a film: if I'm sat in the cinema thinking "those verticals are bent" then it's probably a crap film!
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #5
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Since your camera has a built-in lens, any wide adaptor will inherit all its flaws. So if you see some barrell distortion at the wide end of the zoom with the built-in lens, it will only get worse with an adaptor. I see this on my Z1 for example.

I'd beware of really cheap glass since you probably won't be happy with it and in the end will end up spending money on a better lens anyway. Are you familiar with the DVinfo "search" function? Click on the search link, then advanced search. Type "wide lens" in the keyword field, then select the HVR-A1 forum from the search list on the bottom right. This will give you 4 pages of results and you should find a number of them interesting.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #6
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Hi there,

Yes, I'm going through some search results now... the Raynox HD-5050 PRO is now at the top of my list.

Thanks,
Jack
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #7
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Hi Jack. a zoom-through simply means that when it's attached to your 12x zoom you still have a 12x zoom, except that with a 0.5x lens fitted (say) your focal lenths are halved. A non zoom-through is in fact a partial zoom-through. I have many of these and they reduce my 12x zoom to about a 7x or so.

Zoom through lenses are bigger, heavier and are multi-element designs. Partial zoom-throughs are generally single elements so exhibit less flare but more chromatic abberation.

Have a look in Jessops - they do a Raynox partial zoom-through to fit your HC7. It's light, sharp, multicoated and cheap. Have a look at the Raynox site too, as they give good examples of what their lenses will do for you.

http://www.raynox.co.jp/english/dcr/egindex.htm

Of course there are many other lens makers. Canon, Sony, Century, Tecpro, Kenko and so on.

As you've surmised, you can generally fit any converter lens as long as it has a 37mm fitment or larger. A 0.43x will generally give quite a lot of barrel distortion and many people see this as a fish-eye effect. OK for some shots, but not for buildings, horizons at sea, telegraph poles etc.

You're wrong - not all wide-angle converters barrel distort. My 0.52x doesn't b/distort in the slightest. If you want to go 'as wide as possible without distortion' you'll have to buy as aspheric single element, and this is a good starting point:

http://www.wittner-kinotechnik.de/ka...a/b_optike.php

tom.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #8
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Hi Tom,

Thanks loads for the reply. I've read some of your posts in other threads about WA converters and I had a look at that wittner-kinotechnik.de site - thanks loads for all your help.

If you use an aspheric single element WA, do you have to keep your video camera's zoom lens set to its widest focal length or can you frame the shot using the zoom lens; focus and shoot?

Do you know of any UK suppliers of aspheric single elements?

Many thanks,
Jack
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Kelly View Post
If you use an aspheric single element WA, do you have to keep your video camera's zoom lens set to its widest focal length or can you frame the shot using the zoom lens; focus and shoot?Jack
Jack, with the aspheric in place I have a 7x zoom. You can do quite a lot of framing and zooming (and focusing of course) within those boundaries - ask any still photographer who only has a 4x zoom. When it reaches the end stops it goes suddenly and completely out of focus - something I can't replicate in post and which can be used to make a lovely dissolve into the next scene.

UK suppliers is more difficult. I bought my Aspheron from Switzerland. Fitted my TRV900, VX2000 and Z1.

tom.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #10
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This thread might interest you you wide-angle freaks:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...t=80666&page=4
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Old November 15th, 2007, 12:48 PM   #11
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That's a bad link Tom (the URL was truncated). Is this the thread you had in mind? http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...t=80666&page=4
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Old November 15th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #12
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that's it. thanks Boyd
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Old November 15th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #13
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I've posted a couple things on the Sony wide angles. the HG0737C is the current sony offering and goes for around $150 US online... good glass with some barrelling, but it's a relatively mild .7 I think the earlier X and Y series have less barrel distortion, but the Y series is a heavy beast, and the X (also seen a "HG0737", no letter suffix, looks like it might be identical) is a bit more prone to flare (I LIKE that "effect" though!).

Also have the Raynox 6600 with an adapter (43 to 37) - seemed to work pretty well and was supposed to be a "HD" lens. A slightly larger lens with adapter is fine, a 72mm lens of any quality will weigh more than the HC7...

If you really have to go "low dough" look for a Sony VCL-0637h or s... it's not as nice as the HG stuff, but it works in a a pinch and is small and relatively cheap if you can find one.

Just a few hints for your quest.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 02:44 AM   #14
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Hi guys,

Thanks loads for your replies!

Unfortunately, I need a wide conversion lens with a conversion factor of 0.6x or less. ideally 0.5x.

It looks like I can't get the Raynox 5050 lens in the UK until December and I need it next week... I think I'm going to have to go for the Hama 0.5x and cross my fingers that it's usable.

Thanks,
Jack
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Old November 16th, 2007, 02:55 AM   #15
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Might be worth looking at Keene's site Jack.

http://www.keene.co.uk/ or http://www.keene.co.uk/categories/el...cs/optics.html
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