Camera Lens Converter Buying Guide

Modern cameras have gotten smaller, faster, and smarter since the advent of digital technology. That said, photography still involves the manipulation of light, and the best way to do this is with the use of sophisticated and sensitive lenses. The problem is, there are a dizzying variety of lenses and manufacturers out there, and it can be hard for newcomers to the arena to know where to start. This camera lens converter buying guide will take a look under the hood and give readers the knowledge that they need to get the best possible lens for their cameras and their photography projects.

Kinds of Camera Lens Converters

Wide Angle Lens Converters

When a photographer wishes to capture a wide angle view of a scene, in many cases they will choose a wide angle lens converter to get the job done right. Wide angle converters take the existing focal length and make it smaller. For example, if a person with a camera featuring a minimum focal length of 50mm wanted to get wide angle shots in the 24mm range, they could simply attach a .50 lens converter that would reduce the overall focal length by about half. It is worth noting that focal lengths that are less than 50mm are generally considered to be wide angle.

Fisheye converters are wide angle lenses that provide 180 degree panoramic views, and they are powerful enough to bring focal lengths all the way down into the 6mm range and even beyond that in certain situations. There are two basic kinds of fisheye lenses, circular and full-frame. Circular fisheye lenses generally produce an image that is spherical in shape, with dark backgrounds. The round shape of circular fisheye images is a result of the field of view (FOV) that is 180 degress in the vertical, diagonal, and horizontal axes. Full frame fisheye lenses produce pictures that have a 180 degree field of view on the diagonal axis only, thus creating images that have a diagonal curve.

Macro Lens Converters

There are times when a photographer wants or needs to get nice sharp pictures of objects that are too small to be clearly seen by the naked eye. In situations such as this, the best tool for the job at hand is generally agreed to be the macro lens converter. Macros allow photographers to focus in on tiny subjects such as insects while at the same time producing astonishing levels of detail and life sized magnification. This is called 1:1 magnification, and provides parity between the size of the object being photographed and the size of the sensor on the camera being used. For example, if the subject of the photo is 12mm long in real life, it will be 12mm long on the camera sensor as well.

Telephoto Lens Converters

It would be great if photographers could always get up close and personal with the subjects of their photos, but in the real world this is not always the case. At such times, telephoto lenses really come into their own. These invaluable tools usually appear in sizes between 100mm and 300mm, are generally enlisted to take pictures of objects that are far away from the photographer, making them appear to be up close at the same time. As would perhaps be expected with lenses of this type, they find heavy use in nature, athletic, and even landscape work. This magical ability comes with a price though, as telephotos tend to be larger and heavier than other types of lens converters. Because of this, prospective photographers would be wise to bring along a tripod on photo shoots, and failing this to make sure that the lens offers picture stabilization technologies.

Pay Attention to

Aperture Size

Aperture is one of the most important specifications, and it lets photographers know precisely how much light a given lens is capable of capturing. Thus, larger aperture sizes will allow in more light, and will also let the photographer create decent images even when light levels are relatively low. This not only allows the camera to use faster exposures, but also reduces the instances of errors such as blur or shake.

Anti-Shake

In a perfect world, photographers would have a tripod at their beck and call at every waking moment. In reality, there will be times when pictures will need to be taken with a free hand, and at times like these blur and shake are clear and present dangers. In order to minimize the effects of these common errors, many better lenses have motion correction technology built in that greatly assists in making images cleaner and clearer.

Autofocus

While many lenses on the market will be manual focus only, a growing number feature autofocus technology under the hood. This is a time saving and productivity increasing asset that should be obtained if at all possible.

Focal length

When purchasing a lens converter, it will be of prime importance for aspiring photographers to make sure that they know what kinds of photos they will likely be taking. With this information at hand, they can then match the native focal length of their cameras with the focal length of the lens converter in question, creating a combined length that fits their specific needs in the field.

Type of Coating

Even though glass lenses will allow much of the light that they gather to penetrate all the way through, some of this light will be reflected away. Since many modern lenses have up to 10 internal elements, this can add up to a lot of lost light, and therefore inferior picture quality. For this reason, it's a smart choice to select lens converters that have at least some anti-reflection coating built in.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro Nikkor Lens

This is a solid macro lens converter that will give beginning photographers a running start.

Canon EF 70300mm f/45.6

This telephoto lens provides silent high-performance for experienced outdoor photographers.

Pentax DA 12-24mm f/4 ED AL (IF) Lens

This wide angle offering is durable, and offers experienced photographers with advanced features like auto-focus.