How to Buy a Wide Angle Lens Adapter

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How to Buy a Wide Angle Lens Adapter

Wide angle lenses are ideal for both professional and amateur photographers wishing to capture the beauty of a landscape without restricting it to the tiny window of a traditional lens. More often than not, photographers become frustrated with the restricted vision offered by even the top quality cameras, and become confounded by the inability to capture the vastness and beauty of the scene they see. Wide angle lenses attempt to mimic as far as possible the function of the human eye by engineering a lens to allow a sense of peripheral vision when taking a photo. This allows a user to add a precious extra few degrees to their field of vision in order to get the best shot.

Choosing the Ideal Wide Angle Lens Adapter

A wide angle lens adapter is a component designed to be fitted onto a DSLR or SLR lens in order to widen its field of vision. Some professionals prefer the full-fledged wide angle lenses due to their higher picture quality and more faithful conservation of straight edges, but for speed and efficiency when switching lenses, as well as for those on a tight budget, wide angle lens adapters are difficult to top. As can be expected from this type of component, a great deal of thought and consideration must be invested before making a purchase. For those who do not know where to begin in their search for a wide angle lens adapter, the sections following will provide an outline of the essential information required to choose the most appropriate adapter.

Focal Length

Although the focal length of a wide angle lens is already a significant amount smaller than that of a normal lens in order to facilitate the wider shots typical of these lenses, even wide angle lens focal lengths vary considerably between models and even between manufacturers. The general rule of thumb is that the shorter the focal length, the greater the angle of capture, but also the smaller the degree of magnification. Magnification and focal length are intimately related, and so it is worth considering whether or not an increase in the angle of a shot is worth a compromise in image magnification.

Magnification Factor

The magnification factor of a lens is often printed on the lens adapter itself, and takes the form of a number followed by the letter ‘x’, e.g. 0.5x or 0.75x. This number corresponds to the ratio of the size of a magnified object captured with the lens to the size of the same object captured with a normal lens. The longer the focal length, the greater the magnification, and so with this in mind it is easy to see that wide-angle lenses with their characteristically short focal lengths will have low magnification factors, and will, therefore, result in a photo which seems far away, but takes in a wide view of the surroundings.

Rectilinear and Curvilinear Lenses

The choice between a rectilinear and curvilinear lens is largely a matter of personal preference, and depends heavily on the situation in which the lens will be used. Rectilinear lenses are designed to cater for wide angle shots while ensuring that straight lines appear linear in the shot. This feature stands in stark contrast to that of the curvilinear lenses, which often warp objects and can exaggerate any slight curves of the subject being photographed, as well as making even straight lines appear curved. The most extreme of the curvilinear lenses is known as the fisheye lens. This well-known lens is capable of capturing an image with an angle of up to 180 degrees, but at the price of profound distortion of the image. This distortion is often a sought after feature, contributing largely to the popularity of the fish eye lens, but may be found unsightly by some who choose to opt for the narrower, but more realistic rectilinear lenses for their photography.

Adapter Fitting

It is important to realise that not every lens adapter will fit every camera. Different manufacturers construct their lenses in different ways, so buying an adapter to suit the existing lens is a must. While these discrepancies in fitting types mean that compromises may need to be made when looking for the cheapest adapter on the market, making sure that the adapter precisely fits the lens in use is, of course, a must.

Lens Hood

When capturing images in direct sunlight or brightly lit environments, lenses at the lower quality end of the spectrum are often plagued with unsightly lens flare - the effect obtained when the bright light bounces off the interior surfaces of the lens, thus creating artefacts in the image. While it is true that some photographers strive to recreate these artefacts, especially in nature shots where a small amount of lens flare can be induced in order to emphasise and highlight the brightness and colour of sunlight perforating the scene, the majority of photographers find lens flare to be nothing more than a nuisance to be avoided. This reduction in lens flare can be achieved by the use of a lens hood; a small plastic fitting which attaches over the front of the wide angle lens adapter, or the wide angle lens itself, and acts to shield the lens from the glare of the sun or other light sources. Although some enjoy the aesthetic effect created by lens flare, it is difficult to get exactly the right effect when taking a photo. Natural lens flare also creates a barrier to editing the photo later using a software package, since flare can be digitally inserted, but is often near impossible to remove. It is, therefore, preferable to attach a lens hood to eliminate unwanted flare, and later use editing software to digitally replace the flare in the desired way.

Tips on Shopping for Wide Angle Lens Adaptors

It is important to realise that some sellers are not fully aware of the meaning of the specifications outlined above, and do not always quote the correct figures in their details. It is not uncommon for sellers to post details clearly contrary to those shown on the lens in the picture itself, so it pays to verify the information before purchasing a wide angle lens adapter, or similar camera accessory. Most reputable and experienced dealers will include pictures taken with and without the lens adapter to showcase the correct functioning of the device, as well as to allow potential buyers to verify for themselves the validity of the magnification factor quoted.

Buying a Wide Angle Lens Adapter on eBay

Buying a lens adapter can easily be done on eBay. Begin by selecting the Cameras & Photography section under All Categories. From here, select Lenses & Filters from the pane on the left, then Lens Adapters, Mounts & Tubes. A search for ‘wide angle’ now display’s eBay’s honed list of wide angle lens adapters, a list which can be further refined by manufacturer or price based on the options on the left of the page. Lens hoods can also be selected for by choosing Lens Hoods in the Lenses & Filters category, then filtering these results by manufacturer or price in a similar way.

Conclusion

The factors investigated in this guide should provide the interested individual with plenty of information to dive into research around the subject of camera lenses and lens adapters, with particular focus on wide angle lens adapters. As with any purchase, it is key to perform adequate research before making the commitment to buy an item, especially when dealing with an item with such specialised properties and high value. With this guide in hand, any buyer should be well informed and suitably confident to make the right purchase when investigating this highly sought after camera accessory.

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