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08-31-2011, 12:43 AM   #1
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El-Cheapo Super Wide angle lenses on ebay

If your considering one of these cheap ebay wide angle adapters from ebay here is some reading material!

There have been other threads about this. But then there have been other threads about nearly anything you find here. So I wanted to give my personal experiences.
I watched a series of youtube videos on these $18 super wide angle adapters. Most of the youtube videos I saw supported them as a good idea. One video in particular showed how you need to get a SHORT adapter to keep the dreaded black barrel look from your pictures. It showed that there were many models on ebay. And the lengths varied. MOST were longer with 2 "lenses" (more like filters) on either end of a machined tube. Supposedly you could remove one of the lenses and it became a macro adapter.
I watched several of these videos. I went to ebay and found the longer adapters all over ebay, and the shorter ones were VERY difficult to find. Fee-bay has successfully ran off all the old timer sellers, and replaced them with chinese importers. Heck ebay in general has basically become one giant Harbor Freight. So even when I found what I was looking for it was difficult with stock photos to determine if it was a short tube or long. Because with the chinese based sellers "actual product may vary form picture".
Then I came here and read horrible reviews about these on the forums. I figured... "Ehhh 18 bucks... lets have some fun!"
So I bought one for my Pentax K-x.

I tried the famous youtube trick where you look through the viewfinder of your camera and then while looking slide the adapter across the front of your lens revealing a much wider picture.
Did it work? YES!!! I now had more of my tiny little office in the picture than I had with my 18mm stock lens. I tried the macro trick. Did it work? Not for me. It didnt really look any worse. Or any better.
So I screwed this adapter onto my stock 18-55mm Pentax lens and took it to Disney World for a fun filled week in the 97 degree heat.
I took approximately 2000 pictures that week. I rare ever preview pics, as it eats batteries. On the rare occasion that I previewed them they seemed to look great. I got all the super wide fisheye shots that I wanted. I was quite pleased with my purchase.

TILL I GOT HOME!!!

Upon closer observation i had about 1800 pictures that I would consider "3MP point and shoot" quality. Were they useable? Yes. Were they pictures I'd post on a forum and say "Look at this!"? HECK NO!
I had about 20 pictures that were simply amazing. Here's the funny part. One one particular day I slipped the adapter off to get some tele shots and forgot to put it back on. EVERY ONE of the pictures that were "great" were during that evening. EVERY ONE of those pics were taken WITHOUT the super wide adapter!

Ok so I messed up and lost a whole week of vacation pictures. We do Disney like 3-4 times a year, almost every other year. Its no biggie. We already have THOUSANDS of disney pics as well as DAYS worth of camcorder footage. IF however, this had been my first trip I would have been DEVASTATED!

So in closing here is my review. Should you buy one?

Yes and no.

If you just want to squeeze everyone in at the family reunion, and the pictures will probably be used on some low resolution website or lo-res screen presentation, then YES!
If your wanting to snap a picture to post a picture of your house (that actually includes your ENTIRE house, as well as your yard) on a standard sales magazine or website, then YES! It WILL do the job!!! It will give you the wide angle shot your after.
If you want to use this for wide angle shots that you can show to friends or post on forums as "spectacular" or even "decent", then NO!!!!!!!!!
These adapters, no matter how clean. No matter how well used will give mediocre pictures at BEST! They WILL do what they say, but don't expect the quality of even the most generic kit lens. This adapter will NOT give you better macro. At least it doesn't for me. And even though I shopped excessively and I specifically bought a short lens adapter, as advised on youtube, I still had the dreaded black barrel shadow distortion. When I toned it out with a twist of the lens, I still had a much wider picture than with stock lens alone, but at full wide, it was black on all 4 corners and it was NOT minor.
So I will not tell you not to buy one. I will however tell you they will offer a wide angle picture at the sacrafice of the picture's quality. they WILL degrade even the cheapest kit lens.

08-31-2011, 01:12 AM   #2
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Such strap-ons may be acceptable with video because 1) vid resolution isn't high and 2) moving images distract eyes from IQ degradation. I have some fairly high-quality strap-ons. On a Hi-8 vidcam they're fine. On a 5mpx P&S they aren't *too* horrible. On my K20D they royally suck.

How to save the situation? (Other than using the strap-ons for pistol target practice, that is.) Try this: Make the images move. Shoot videos or time-lapses; convert your still images to animated GIFs or MPGs. In other words, be sure that resolution and IQ don't matter. See, isn't that easy?
08-31-2011, 03:41 AM   #3
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I find there are two issues with the adaptive

They exhibit a significant amount of barrel distortion but worse' the lateral CA is very bad

Having said that I think a lot of the CA can be corrected in the pentax photo lab software. Look in the post processing forum and you can see just how much lateral CA can be removed. I posted a shot from a sigma mini wide 28mm which is just terrible uncorrected but pretty good corrected.

I have yet to try with el-cheapo but don't discount it if you want ultra wide on the cheap
08-31-2011, 05:35 AM   #4
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I have a high-quality Raynox pro 6600 wide adapter dating from the days of my Canon S2 superzoom. that adapter performed admirably on the Canon. I have tried it with a 28mm lens, and it was crap. I have tried it with a 50mm lens, and it was pretty decent but nothing to write home about.

Now I use it with my camcorder and it's excellent.

The point to note is that this converter had cost above 100$, which is the price of a kit DSLR lens. It's high quality, not some cheap eBay converter. But even then, I wouldn't use it on a DSLR lens.

09-01-2011, 06:05 AM   #5
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Samples if you don't mind.
09-01-2011, 10:34 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by xjjohnno Quote
Samples if you don't mind.
what samples and from who? Not sure who you really addressed this to

I have attached a link about CA correction, it shows what can be achieved on a really bad lens, sing the program that comes with the pentax cameras.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/1464...-software.html

the front end UWA converters ARE WORSE than the sigma mini wide that was used for this example, but I don't see why they cant be corrected for CA, using any software package that rescales the layers to correct the problem.

The next issue is these lenses suffer not just barrel distortion, which can be corrected, but also mustach distortion, which is harder, although I think photoshop could do it if you used the tool for generating a lens profile for the combo you use.

here is the point, I think with a $500 software package, you could make a really bad lens almost sing, or you could just spend the money and get a good lens.
09-01-2011, 03:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I have a high-quality Raynox pro 6600 wide adapter dating from the days of my Canon S2 superzoom. that adapter performed admirably on the Canon. I have tried it with a 28mm lens, and it was crap. I have tried it with a 50mm lens, and it was pretty decent but nothing to write home about.

Now I use it with my camcorder and it's excellent.

The point to note is that this converter had cost above 100$, which is the price of a kit DSLR lens. It's high quality, not some cheap eBay converter. But even then, I wouldn't use it on a DSLR lens.
I have one of these two that I used with a S3. I tried it one day on my kit lens for fun and got some interesting images, but not optically very good.
Here's one I liked, even though it's pretty distorted. Look at the edges.



Since then I have gotten a da15 and a Rokinon 8mm for my K-x so my wide desires are now fulfilled without that much distortion.
I gave the S3 and .66x adapter to my 8 year old son who is having a blast with them!
09-01-2011, 04:15 PM   #8
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I compared the Raynox 6600 and other similar ($100) quality WA front converters on a good 28mm prime with the kit zoom at 18mm; in all cases the kit zoom was much better at the edges*. Unfortunately, the edges are usually why one wants to use a wide angle lens.

Perhaps such a converter would be useful if one just couldn't back up far enough from a subject to get a small enough image in the center of the frame. That'd be rare for me.

Dave

* I did not use high f-stops which may help; maybe I'll check that out.

09-01-2011, 05:15 PM   #9
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I've tried this stuff; that's why I got the Tamron 10-24, so I can get images that aren't crap.

In a fit of dementia awhile back, I got a costly WA converter; put it on my DA18-250; it sucks.

That was a macro-WA pair. It magnifies lens dust quite nicely. Do you like dust shots? Get it.

I'll repeat: these WA strap-ons are fine for moving images, and utter crap for still pictures.

Oh yeah, they're lots of cheap fun, as long as you don't expect anything like image quality.
09-01-2011, 05:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SelfEmployedDebtFree Quote
So in closing here is my review. Should you buy one?
Not if you want good IQ that's for sure. They may work for video as even 1080p HD is not more than 2 megapixels. But otherwise... cheap and ultrawide is something that doesn't exist AFAIK, at least for APS-C cameras (for FF you may find used old ultrawide lenses). That's why the Zenitar 16mm was quite popular, it was (and still is?) about the cheapest option. Another cheap option (cheap if you have a tripod and a good ballhead) is to do image stitching (aka panorama).
09-02-2011, 08:31 AM   #11
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I have an Olympus WCON-08 (0.8x) that I purchased used to use with my kit lens as an alternative to purchasing an actual wide angle lens. I was actually surprised by how well it worked with my kit lens. There was some resolution loss in the corners and edges, and a little added barrel distortion, but otherwise not a bad solution when on a budget. It is not an El-Cheapo wide angle converter though. In an effort to go wider I purchased a new Raynox HD6600 (0.67x?) and was extremely disappointed. It distorted horribly, vegnetted horribly and the image quality was abysmal. It was quite a bit more expensive then the WCON-08 so imagine my surprise when it was unusable. I sent it back. This prompted me to make my first "Big Ticket" lens purchase with the Sigma 10-20. Though quite a bit more expensive then any converter, it is worth every penny. I no longer use the WCON-08, but it served it's purpose at the time. The point here is that not all wide angle converters are created equal, and there is no substitute for a real wide angle lens.
09-02-2011, 08:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damian Quote
I have an Olympus WCON-08 (0.8x) that I purchased used to use with my kit lens as an alternative to purchasing an actual wide angle lens. I was actually surprised by how well it worked with my kit lens. There was some resolution loss in the corners and edges, and a little added barrel distortion, but otherwise not a bad solution when on a budget. It is not an El-Cheapo wide angle converter though. In an effort to go wider I purchased a new Raynox HD6600 (0.67x?) and was extremely disappointed. It distorted horribly, vegnetted horribly and the image quality was abysmal. It was quite a bit more expensive then the WCON-08 so imagine my surprise when it was unusable. I sent it back. This prompted me to make my first "Big Ticket" lens purchase with the Sigma 10-20. Though quite a bit more expensive then any converter, it is worth every penny. I no longer use the WCON-08, but it served it's purpose at the time. The point here is that not all wide angle converters are created equal, and there is no substitute for a real wide angle lens.
I tested the wcon-08 with my 28mm lens; it was not as good as the kit lens at 18mm..
09-02-2011, 09:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damian Quote
I no longer use the WCON-08, but it served it's purpose at the time. The point here is that not all wide angle converters are created equal, and there is no substitute for a real wide angle lens.
I had the WCON-08 for a while too, it's a good one but it's much less ambitious than the Raynox. When you see a 0.5x converter on eBay you can be 100% sure that it's pure junk. Is anyone really think that you can transform your kit lens into a 9mm ultrawide? If it was so easy UWA zooms wouldn't cost that much.
09-02-2011, 10:15 AM   #14
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OK

I think it is time for a head to head comparison.

A while back someone asked me to compare the vivitar13mmF2.8 (AKA Samyang 14mm) against the sigma 10-20mmF4-5.6 because I had both of them.

I also have lots of 28mm lenses and a couple of .5x front end adaptors.

I think this weekend, I will do a series of shots, and post the results. Here is what I plan.

I will shoot 3 different test targets, as follows.
- a uniformly lit grey surface (probably a road if it is sunny) to use to measure vignetting because my principle processer for images PSP X3 can measure the histogram for selection areas of the image not just the entire image. I will compare center edge (both top and side) and corner histogram for median grey scale value for each lens / lens and adaptor under test.
- a brick wall, for distortion
- a typical scene with enough detail to evaluate lateral CA.

I will test the following
- sigma 10-20 at 13-14 mm
- vivitar 13mm F2.8
- each front end adaptor used on a Kiron 28mmF2
- each front end adaptor used on an SMC-M 28 F2.8
- each front end adaptor on a sigma Mini Wide II 28 F2.8 (KA Mount)

I know the sigma 28 already is bad for lateral CA but I also know it is correctible in Pentax Photo Lab.

I will try to show both pre and post correction in pentax photo lab

Watch this space for updates
09-02-2011, 10:25 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ManuH Quote
Is anyone really think that you can transform your kit lens into a 9mm ultrawide? If it was so easy UWA zooms wouldn't cost that much.
Oh, it's not very hard to assemble ultrawide optics. But for UWA optics that don't suck, that's another matter.

I can easily and cheaply assemble an ultrafast lens also. Take three 49mm-thread +10 dioptre meniscus strap-ons, and a 42-49mm step ring, and an M42-PK adapter. Add them up: +30dpt = 33mm focal length. The inner diameter of the step ring is 39mm. Aperture is 33/39 = 0.85. So for about US$40 (shipped) I have a 33/0.85 lens! And how good is IQ? Hint: It sucks.

So fitting your lens with a wide-ass strap-on adapter, yeah sure, that gives a UWA image. A lousy one. Have fun.
_________________________________________________________________

Note: Sometimes such a crappy adapter doesn't matter. Not every image that emerges from a camera and PP need look 'photographic'. Think of high-contrast lithos, posterizations and solarizations, graphic-arts sort of stuff. And for some 'photographic' UWA extreme close-ups where the background and edges don't matter, no problem. Center the subject, sharpen in PP, and BG fades away into a blur, fine. Apply a bokeh filter to smear that even more.

But these are rather specialized situations, similar to shots that demand extreme fisheyes. A good sharp (not cheap) UWA zoom is much more useful in many more situations. I bought my Tamron 10-24 last Xmas when a US$100 discount applied so it cost me US$375 shipped. Not real costly, and a splendid tool. Beats the hell out of those UWA adapters. I'll save those for special effects, eh?

Last edited by RioRico; 09-02-2011 at 10:31 AM.
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