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Sunday, February 13, 2011

To use or not to: Conversion Lenses/Filters

Money ain't something everyone has. Let's face it. Photography is an expensive hobby. A very expensive one. Be ready to invest, if you're looking for lenses. 'Cause not all lenses are cheap, some are priced sky-high. If you shoot Nikon, you should've known this lens - Nikon 600mm f/4G. If you haven't, that's the lens on the left). Yeah, the price stated isn't fake. If I'm not mistaken, its the most expensive lens Nikon has made. Malaysia's market price for this lens is around RM31,950. Yes people, you can buy a Proton instead!

Anyway, this post isn't about that lens. Filters, have been around for quite some time. And filters are useful. I have two, a Polarizer filter and a UV filter. And they're both very helpful. But have you heard of a different type of filter? Yes, it still screws at the end of your lens. These different type of filters are usually called conversion lenses. They convert your lens into a different type of lens. Its like this: I have a 60mm and I use a 0.45x wide angle conversion lens. I'll get a 27mm lens(60mm x 0.45). You save thousands and thousands of cash if you'd just buy filters instead of actual lenses. There are fisheye, and telephoto conversion lenses too. They work the same way, screw the filter in front of the lens, and you're done. To find what focal length you're gonna get, just multiply the filter's (number)x with your current lens' focal length.

So what's the drawbacks?
One of the most obvious drawbacks is the Image Quality. Since you're putting more glass in front of your lens, the image quality will degrade. No matter how multicoated your filter is, there will still be a degrade in Image Quality. It's just a matter on how much will the quality degrade. The only way you can find a good conversion lens filter, is by reading reviews. They will usually tell their opinions and image quality of the filter. Another thing to remember is the distortion. Since this is a cheap alternative, be prepared for distortion. Especially for wide angle filters.

So, should I or shouldn't I?
Even I'm a cheapskate, I'd save the money, and buy an actual lens. Don't care if its expensive. It is a lifetime investment. You get what you pay for. But if you're the kind, that doesn't care about Image Quality and only want to take pictures for fun, then get this. Raynox, a popular brand sells filters for about RM300+ 

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