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Monday, 6 June 2011

Crazy Camera Equipment Splurge!

Giving in to a sudden splurging urge, I went into a camera store at Peninsular Plaza and bought the following:
- an 18mm-270mm Tamron B008E zoom lens (F/3.5-6.3)
- a 0.25x Vitacom Ultra Super Wide-angle auxiliary conversion lens with Macro (52mm in diameter) (cuts light by 1 stop)
- a lens cleaning kit
- a uv filter for 62mm (for the Tamron zoom lens)
- an "i Case" dry box (with attached Hygrometer)

All that cost me $1130. The shop was called Photocam. I was originally going to Cathay Photo to check out prices. But strangely it was closed on Sundays. Across the shop was a small shop but lined with equipment. So I went in.

The story is, I already have a Fujiyama wide-angle conversion lens, which does 0.42x of the original zoom. I got it in Hongkong during my honeymoon. It had a very filmsy rubber cap that came off so easily, I came close to losing it in a few occasions since I had it in April 2011. So the reason I went to the photo shop was to buy me a lens cap for the wide-angle converter. I was also looking out for a zoom lens that's within the range of 18-300mm. 

I believe the people that attended to me was the boss and his wife at the store. Turned out the diameter of my huge lens cap for the Fujiyama wide-angle conversion lens is 72mm. The boss told me my conversion lens was "wrong", not made for my Canon 18-50mm kit lens, because the lens diameter had to be converted to fit the 58mm. (In the end the Vitacom conversion lens also needed a conversion ring too. It was 52mm and my kit lens was 58mm). They gave me a good price for the 18-270mm lens, and gave me a lens cleaning kit, a uv filter, a lens string, and an sd-card storage pouch.

When I was considering whether to buy the Vitacom wide-angle conversion lens, I had the option to buy a lens similar lens that does not show the black areas in the picture. That means I could have a bought a lens giving me a similarly distorted fish-eye image without having to crop the image in post. That would've made better use of the recording areas in the CMOS sensors right? I don't know if I am a fool to have bought the one that distorts my view into a circle. I wanted to see if I could use it for making an environment map.

My new toys on my messy table! Top row from left: Vitacom 0.25x Ultra Super Wide-Angle Auxiliary conversion lens, Tamron 18-270mm zoom lens, and the older Fujiyama 0,42x wide-angle conversion lens (and lots of conversion rings) and lens caps!

The 2 following photos were taken with the Vitacom wide-angle conversion lens. This is using the macro feature. The lens can virtually touch the subject in a macro shot. The only thing that stopped me from doing that was the fact that I would cast my own shadow onto the subjects.

Speaking of the 0.42x and 0.25x wide angle "zoom factor" (how many times zoom). I haven't really figured out what the that means, but as of now, I believe a less-than-one value means it actually increases the field of view, (hence its a wide-angle lens conversion), and a larger-than-one value would mean that the lens decreases the field of view, giving us a zooming-out result. 

Therefore, my 18mm focal length would be converted to (18*0.42)mm, this increases the 18mm field of view to look like a 7.56mm. So now with this new Vitacom Ultra Super Wide-angle conversion lens at 0.25x, it would convert my18mm into a 4.5mm lens! Unfortunately, there is a crop-factor in my Canon 500D sensor (22.5mm x 15mm), as compared to 36mm x 24mm (this is the reference "full frame" film back on 35mm film cameras). The ratio of Canon 500D's image sensor to a 35mm film back would be the 1.6x crop factor. Thus my converted wide-angle focal length of 4.5mm will effectively be increased to be approximately (4.5mm * 1.6 ) = 7.2mm.

For more information on Crop factors (aka Focal length multiplier) and effective focal lengths, here are some links from: TheDigitalPicture.com and Wikipedia.org. Here's another link to Wikipedia on the fisheye lens.

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