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Old April 29th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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Century Wide Adapters Comparison

Recently I had the opportunity to make some direct comparisons of the Century Optics line of Wide Adapters and Tele-Extenders available for the EX line of cameras. As the old adage goes, a picture does indeed say a thousand words. (and I tend to get a little verbose anyway) so for everyone's curiosity and benefit, here is a batch of frame grabs (these have not been manipulated in any way, they are direct capture frames from Clipbrowser and converted directly to jpegs)
One thing of particular interest is the amount of zoom range on the .6X, Fisheye, and Extreme Fisheye. These offer some limited range of zoom (enough to get some different compositions without having to remove the lens) The .6X and Fisheye are very lightweight and can easily fit in a pocket or pouch and carried with you.... a distinct benefit if weight is an issue. The .75X offers full zoom-through, but at the expense of some considerable weight. It's a beautiful piece of glass though! The Extreme Fisheye? What can I say..... it's a spectacularly large piece of glass and quite heavy, but wow. I may not be able to get all the comparisons in one post here, so there may be a second one to follow....
Here goes:
Attached Thumbnails
Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exstocklens_fullwide.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.6x_fullwide.jpg  

Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.75x_fullwide.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exfisheye_fullwide.jpg  

Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exextremefisheye_fullwide.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.6x_fullzoom.jpg  

Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.75x_fullzoom.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exfisheye_fullzoom.jpg  

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Old April 29th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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Here is another batch, showing interior comparisons. Sorry I didn't have enough space for the Extreme Fisheye zoom range, but if anyone wants to see that just let me know-
Attached Thumbnails
Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exstocklens_fullwide2.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.6x_fullwide2.jpg  

Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.75x_fullwide2.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exfisheye_fullwide2.jpg  

Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exextremefisheye_fullwide2.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.6x_fullzoom2.jpg  

Century Wide Adapters Comparison-ex.75x_fullzoom2.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-exfisheye_fullzoom2.jpg  

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Old April 29th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #3
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One more..... just because. This was shot from the passenger seat of a tractor-trailer rig while shooting on a recent assignment. The angle of view speaks for itself here.... absolutely amazing. Attached is an image of this adapter, but keep in mind it should be used with rails because of the weight. (they are included with the adapter)
Attached Thumbnails
Century Wide Adapters Comparison-extremefisheyefullwide4.jpg   Century Wide Adapters Comparison-centuryextremefisheye.jpg  

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Old April 30th, 2010, 12:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for sharing. Very valuable to someone like me who is considering a wide angle adapter.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 01:59 AM   #5
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The Extreme Fisheye appears to introduce a lot of CA and is soft in the corners, but I guess with an adapter as wide as that it's only to be expected.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 04:43 AM   #6
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Very helpful, indeed - thanks a lot!

How does one find focus with the 0.6x at full width for far distances (+50 metres, often 200-400 metres)? Do I switch on MACRO and find focus with peaking? Do I have to use macro mode at all, since I prefer full MF for my applications.

Thanks again!
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Old April 30th, 2010, 08:13 AM   #7
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how do you fit a ir filter on them
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Old April 30th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #8
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Very interesting and helpful Derek!

Brian, the IR filter would have to go over top of the lens. Give the extremely small market for this fisheye lens I wouldn't expect to see an IR filter for this lens. You could of course fashion a piece of IR glass for a large mattebox to go in front but it would be prohibitively expensive.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #9
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I'll answer all the questions so far here (best as I can)

Yes, there does seem to be some CA and softness at the corners of the Extreme Fisheye, but I doubt that could be avoided completely in a lens with a 160 degree angle of view. It's a specialty lens to be sure, but boy, is it fun to play with! I had a heck of a time keeping my legs out of the shot in the truck cab just sitting in the passenger seat. After shooting for some time with a variety of wide lenses in these rigs, having the Extreme Wide was a very unique and compelling perspective.

Focusing with the .6X and Fisheye does involve using the macro and auto focus on the camera. However, I keep the focus ring in the 'auto' mode, macro 'on', and only have the focus set to 'auto' initially to let the camera find focus. Once it locks on, I turn the auto focus 'off' (with the switch, not the ring) and you are in manual focus. With these wide adapters, there is very little focusing needed, but it's nice to be able to control what little range is there. Century and Sony state that the camera must be in 'auto' focus for these lenses to work, but this is not entirely true. You just have to have the ring set to 'auto', and macro 'on'.
There is also a nice limited range of zoom with both of these adapters which most people don't realize. It's nothing compared to the .75X, (full zoom, and does not utilize the macro for focusing) but I prefer the wider angle of view of these along with the much smaller size and weight. It's not a big deal to pop them on and off as needed, especially when they're so small you can literally keep them in a pocket or belt pouch. You do have to keep them perfectly clean, since you are actually focusing on the glass element of the adapter in macro mode. Always carry a lens cloth in your bag or pocket and have it handy. Not a big deal, just something to be aware of. It doesn't take much dust to ruin a good shot when seen on a 50" display.

As far as filters, there is a Century shade which fits over the .6X and has one slot for a 4X4 filter tray. This shade has to be mounted EXACTLY level to avoid a slight vignette effect from the adapter seeing the corners of the shade. It's not hard to do when you watch for it. The filter tray is the exact same tray as my Chrosziel Sun Shade matte box, so I was able to just use a filter tray from that. There is no rotation on the tray however. Also, the .6X has a 102mm thread for a screw-on filter. I haven't tried a screw-on filter on this adapter yet, but suspect it would need to be a slim one or you might risk vignetting.... but since the shade clamps on the outside of the adapter, using a screw-in in conjunction with the shade and it's filter tray would allow up to 2 filters to be used at the same time. I don't think there is a shade that fits the Fisheye, nor does it have a filter thread. It's about 15mm larger in diameter than the .6X.
Another thing to be aware of, is if you are using an aftermarket shotgun mic of any length, these wide adapters may allow the mic to be seen in the top of the frame. I have a dead cat on my Sennheiser and even with the CAC-12 mount I retrofitted to the existing shotgun mount location, I can still see some of the cat at the top of the frame, especially with the Fisheye adapter. I just tilt my shotgun up enough until it's out of the frame in these instances. That just shows you how wide these adapters get!
It goes without saying that no filters can be used with the Extreme Fisheye.... at least nothing I'm aware of. I can't imagine how it would be done.... this is one amazing piece of glass just to look at!

If anyone is interested, I also have a series of comparisons of the tele-extenders (1.6X and 2X) for the EX lenses. EX3 users have the option of utilizing different focal length lenses, but for EX1 and EX1r users, this is the simplest way to gain focal length. There is a sacrifice to the wide end of your lens, however, as these adapters will 'porthole' when the lens is at the wider end of it's focal length.

I can't say enough about the quality of Century/Schneider products. I have been using them for over 20 years, and have never been disappointed with the build quality and optical performance. (the only times I've been disappointed have been when I've dropped a filter..... more often than I want to admit!)

I'm not on their payroll..... just a professional user who appreciates the quality and exemplary customer service. How many other reps have you seen providing valuable input about their products on this forum? Ryan Avery is accessible, knowledgeable, and never hesitates to respond to inquiries. That's a valuable resource for working professionals.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 02:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Rigler View Post
how do you fit a ir filter on them
Unfortunately the IR filter is a no go for a fisheye. Century Fisheye lenses mount via bayonet and therefore no filter can be put between the lens and the camera. If you have a screw-in fisheye, you could mount the filter between the lens and the camera but this would most certainly cause vignetting due to the increased lens to adapter distance caused by the filter.

Our Century .6x, .75x, 1.6x, and 2.0x adapters and converters all feature a 102mm front thread which we offer just about any filter we make so you could add an Schneider 486 or Platinum Series IR filter in 102mm to the front of those lenses.

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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:31 PM   #11
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Derek, nice comparisons. I would like to see the Tele-extenders as well just to complete the collection of examples... :)
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:09 PM   #12
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I'll work up some of the tele-extender comparisons possibly tomorrow. I'll either attach them here, or start a new thread with those. Glad these have been of help to some of you! A big thanks goes to Ryan Avery of Schneider/Century for letting me hang onto them for so long.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 06:42 PM   #13
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Derek,

I think it was a big help, and I also think the quality of the images looks great! Forget being video, they look great as stills. Thanks.

(I recognize main street in Park City (that's easy) and the backside of Mt. Timpanogos in the close-up shot of the adapter. Even out of focus I can tell where it is.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 08:04 PM   #14
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Thanks, Doug!
They're just frame grabs from Clipbrowser, no alterations whatsoever. (with your PP I might add)

I also have a series of comparisons shot with Timpanogos as a subject. Only you would know where that is! I'll try to get some of the tele-extenders posted tomorrow or the next day. I'm very impressed with the consistent quality of these adapters, but not surprised.

Do these make you homesick for the west? ;)
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Old May 4th, 2010, 07:45 AM   #15
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Homesick for the West? Sometimes, but mostly not.
It's a great place to visit, but I didn't particularly like living there.
If all goes according to plan I'll be in your neck of the woods by next weekend.
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