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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 April 22nd, 2007, 03:00 PM   #1
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telephoto lens

I have to say first that I have no knowledge of optics and how they work but I'd like to know if anybody tried to attach a telephoto lens designed for still cameras to a camcorder and what results one can expect if any.
I've found on e-bay 500mm telephoto lens for still cameras for under $100.
This would be great for wildlife recording.
Again excuse my ignorance on this matter.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 03:18 PM   #2
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Welcome to DVinfo Paul!

I don't think a 500mm lens will help on your camcorder. This forum covers a variety of models; which camera do you have?

The A1/HC1/HC3/HC5/HC7 all have built-in lenses which can't be removed like the lenses on SLR cameras. So what you need is actually called a "telextender" or "teleconvertor." These lenses act as magnifiers to enlarge the image captured by the camera's built in lens. The are rated by the amount of magnification they provide, as opposed to millimeters like the lens you mentioned.

Therefore a 1.5x teleconvertor magnifies the camera's image 1.5 times, or 150 percent. A 2x teleconvertor would double the size of objects in the frame. You will need to be sure that the convertor has threads to match the filter threads on your camera (probably 37mm?) because it will screw into the front of your built in lens.

Since these are all high definition cameras, beware of cheap optics intended for standard definition cameras. I have a Sony high grade 2x teleconvertor with 37mm threads which I used on my PDX-10. While it was intended for standard definition cameras, it's a pretty nice lens and I've read that people use them on the HVR-A1 as well.

Century/Schneider makes some of the nicest telephoto and wide conversion lenses:
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 10:53 PM   #3
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You've no doubt noticed a huge price range for these lenses. The ones you find on eBay ("Titanium" brand) I suspect would make good paperweights.

Even the most expensive Century brand teleconverters will only be good for the longer half of the zoom range.

Finally, I guess it would be possible to link some sort of spotting scope up to a camcorder lens. I remember this technique works for still cameras, so it should work for video cameras also.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 07:09 PM   #4
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My bet is you would not thread correctly. Also keep in mind you may end up wth back focus issues where it is in focus for only a limited range. I would not do this unless you were able to return it.

your best bet is probably a teleconverter.
w/ the sony a1u and the sony branded teleconverter, be aware you have a couple of limitations - can't zoom out all the way and I think the rule of thumb is you lose up to half the light coming in. (May be wrong on the light part). But you DO get the zoom.

However, neither drawback has been a real issue for me. Far more important was ensuring the camera was still enough at extreme telephoto, as I opted for a lighter weight tripod rather than carry something heavier in the mountains. I usually try to get it lower to the ground so wind and thin legs are not extended. Be sure to turn OFF image stabilization too.

While i hear people rave about raynox, my personal experience with them is not good on SLR's.

Final note, I did manage to screw in my binoculars to the camcorder, as the threads matched. Didn't gain much though, as the zoom was actually better than the binocs.
I have contemplated a spotting scope, but conculuded it was more than I wanted to drag around.
May want to google "digiscoping" see if mating a digicam to a spotting scope has been adapted to a camcorder yet.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 03:11 PM   #5
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You might also have a look at this current thread which also pertains to telephoto options for camcorders with 37mm threads:
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