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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old August 3rd, 2006, 11:33 PM   #1
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Budget Wides

Hey all,
I'm wanting a wide with distortion for my Sony Fx1. That's right...I don't care if it distorts. I'm after the effect of the wide angle distortion. Has anyone purchased and used the budget wide angle converters you see on ebay? They've got some for sub 100 or around there. Anyone use these or ever seen real footage from one? I know they're probably not the best, but do you think they're of average quality, but bendy?

Paul
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Old August 5th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #2
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I've got an AMBICO wide from a charity shop - only $20.00
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Old August 7th, 2006, 08:58 PM   #3
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I would guess that the cheapo units will be fine for some applications. You'll lose sharpness and you will probably pick up colors on edges, as well as lots of barrel distortion, but if you are going to downconvert to DV resolution anyway, so what?

Oh, another thing--you probalby won't be able to zoom in.

I have a real deal, the Sony .8x wide-angle adapter for the FX1/Z1 camera. I bought it for about $250 on eBay last winter. It's heavy, but works great.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 11:39 AM   #4
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You may not be so happy when you actually see the HD footage shot with a cheap lens. I have the Century .6x, which isn't all that cheap, and you lose a noticeable amount of resolution with it. I personally wouldn't want anything worse than that, but maybe you have a particular use in mind?

I had one of those cheap wide angle lenses for my PDX-10, and it was fun when you wanted that effect. But at HD resolution I think it would have really fallen apart. The problem with buying cheap stuff is that more often than not you aren't satisfied. Then you end up buying the better product which you really needed in the first place, but you've added the cost of the cheap one which you don't use...
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Old August 8th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #5
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Paul, if what you're after is effect rather than resolution, then I'd say that you'd be pretty happy with a single element wide-angle adapter. Have a look at the lenses Raynox sell, and have a peek here:

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

tom.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 04:53 AM   #6
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I'm wanting distortion, but don't know how bad the quality will be...I'm thinking more for effects shots...I'm shooting some documentary stuff coming up and would like some distorted shots just to change the visual dynamics every now and then...obviously I'm not going to be distributing in HD so will downconvert eventually...would this still be a factor then?

Paul
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Old August 9th, 2006, 05:10 AM   #7
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Paul, I'm a wide-angle converter freak, and have a bucket-load of them behind me as I type. I've shot through my wife's glasses, through elements taken out of telescopes, I've dissasembled photographic lenses and shot through single powerful negative elements that I've removed.

I've made up my own doublets using aspherics and spherical elements and I've tested real cheap lenses right through to very expensive ones. All I can say is it's amazed me how good the image quality can be, even when you're using lenses that weren't designed specifically for the job.

The beauty of video is the speed with which you can test and evaluate. I've never found a 'bad' lens. Ok, some might vignette the corners or distort like mad, but the whole point of a wild wide-angle is to smack the viewer with your POV, not to let him consider the chromatic aberation right up there in the corners.

OK, if you need to add a wide-angle converter simply because you cannot back off far enough to get in the speaker on the podium, then you do need to be a bit more careful with considerations of aberations, coatings, flare, distortion and vignetting. In short, you'll need to spend real dosh. But I get from your original post that you're after an effect rather than zero flare, say. So go for a cheapie off ebay.

tom.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #8
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sweet...still not sure if I will or not...I've got two pretty in depth documentaries coming up...one will be very traditional and probably pretty rigid (showing how a NGO has introduced birthing huts into a tribal people group in Laos)...but the other project is to present to Tear Fund in London and they've recently upped their image and marketing and are going for a full on hip look. So I'm wanting to shed the confines of the safe project and really have fun on the Tear Fund video (checking up on a couple grants for Tsunami relief two years later...I get to go to Sri Lanka...yikes)....saw a couple really cool short videos were they just really bent the image...not fish eye, but the wide definately had some CA...wanting to do crazy music and fast shots...we'll see how the budget goes...that 100 bucks might better go to a better mic for voice overs though...but it'd be fun to play with....I'll let you guys know if I get it and if so how it works...

Also, anyone try the Tokina for $200? I've seen them on ebay as well. They should be a cut above the no names for sure? I love their 3rd party lenses for Canon (love my 12-24 from them and their new 100 Macro)...

Paul
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