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Old Jul 17, 2005, 1:21 PM   #1
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There has been much said about which lenses to use with a FZ20. The most mentioned are the B-300, the TCON lenses, the Nikon 6T etc... but it gets very confusing which is the best and what to do and how to attach lenses (like adapters/rings).

But there are other companies out there that claim to make 3x lenses which are 'perfect' for the FZ series. Like the ACETAR 3x teleconverter.

I would like to know once and for all which lens to get. I don't wanna spend money on buyinglenses and adapters, just to find out there is something better I could have gotten.

Thanx.
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Old Jul 22, 2005, 4:22 PM   #2
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whichlens to get? or which lensES? there are different ones for different things. the Nikon 6T, for example, is a close-up lens only suited for macro work, and requires you to be about 12-14" from your subject. the others you mentioned are teleconverters which add to the zoom power of your lens. the difference between them mostly is in price, clarity, and the amount of chromatic aberration they introduce.

i have a Nikon 6T and find it to be an excellent close-up lens. it provides 2.9 diopter magnification, which is just about right for my needs for macro work... enlarges very small objects, but still has enough depth of field to produce a reasonably good image. at about $50, it's not as cheap as some, but it's top quality glass, and since it's a multi-element lens, it provides better clarity at the edges of the image than many cheaper, single-element lenses. if you're on a budget, and/or don't mind some softening of the image at the edges, there are plenty of close-up lens sets out there thatwill do the same thing. the Nikon 6T has 62mm threads andwill screw onto your adapter (assuming you have a Phayee or Pemaraal adapter or the like) just likea filter. if you want a little more depth of field and a little less magnification, the Nikon 5T is a 1.5 diopter lens, also 62mm.

you can also get much more powerful close-up lenses like the Raynox DCR-250, which is an 8-diopter lens. you can count the whiskers on a gnat with that lens, but the depth of field is tiny, and though the gnat's whiskers are clear, his backside will be blurry because the DOF is so shallow. lots of people have this lens, though, and really like it.

there are also the MCON series of close-up lenses from Olympus. these are similar in diopter strength, qualityand construction to the Nikon lenses, but cost about twice as much.

teleconverters work at the other end of the zoom spectrum. there are a number of them out there, ranging from 1.4x to 3x, but the general consensus seems to be that the ones under 2x are best. the B300 is no longer made, from what i've heard, and is becoming scarce., but the TCON-17 is almost exactly the same thing. it's a 1.7x lens that will extend the zoom equivalent of your FZ20 to about 730mm. the problem with it is that it doesn't fit the Phayee or Pemaraal adapters without a step-down ring, and that it does produce visible purple fringing (chromatic aberration) in high-contrast shots. TCON-17's can be had on ebay for under $100.

the TCON-14B, which is a 1.45x lens, does screw directly onto a 62mm adapter, and also has threads on the front to accept filters or a screw on hood likethe Contax #5, if you can find one. (Note: the TCON-17 does not have front threads... ) the TCON-14B doesn't add as much zoom power, but it also produces markedly less CA, and is one of the sharper lenses of its type, meaning you'll get slightly clearer images with it, especially at the extreme end of the zoom range. it's more expensive than the TCON-17, usually costs about $150-$170 in stores, and about $110-$125 on ebay. if it matters, i just purchased a TCON-14B for my own FZ20 ($117.50 on ebay), and am expecting delivery today. :G

i'd stay away from the oddballs like the ACETAR. lenses like that are usually off-brand copies, with lower quality glass and poorer overall quality. they may offer more "power", but the clarity and sharpness of the image are usually not as good. and frankly, at the ranges where their extra power matters, you can usually get closer to your subject anyway. in any case, i'd much rather have a marginally smaller image that's clear than a closer pic that's blurry or has a lot of CA. your FZ20 has one of the best lenses on the market... don't scrimp on the add-ons. spend the bucks to get GOOD optics, you won't regret it.
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Old Jul 22, 2005, 5:22 PM   #3
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Hear Hear
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Old Jul 23, 2005, 11:16 AM   #4
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Thanx so much squirl033.... you have been a great help. Now I know exactly which lenses I want. I love my FZ20, and I am going to give it good quality accessories ;-)



Thanx..
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Old Jul 23, 2005, 1:08 PM   #5
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Hello Ignitef - thought the website: http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam.../Pana-15X.htmlmay be of interest to you.

I saw the above lens mentioned on the Yves Leduc's facinating Feathered Memories website: http://www.digiscoping.ca/

Cheers - Herman

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Old Jul 24, 2005, 1:48 AM   #6
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ignitef wrote:
Quote:
Thanx so much squirl033.... you have been a great help. Now I know exactly which lenses I want. I love my FZ20, and I am going to give it good quality accessories ;-)



Thanx..
just an example of what the FZ20 and TCON-14B will do... this image is of the lava dome in the crater of Mt. St. Helens, taken from 5 miles away. the lava dome itself is about 1,000 feet high, this is the top half or so...



for comparison, here's the same view, shot at 1x zoom, without the TCON-14B...




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