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VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

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« Creative Vado Review and Sample Footage | Main

Sony HDR-TG3 with a Wide Angle Lens

TG3 With Lens Attached

I briefly owned a Sanyo HD1000 camcorder. This camera has a particularly narrow field of vision so I also bought a wide angle lens attachment for it. It turns out that the lens was dreadful as objects off to the sides were totally out of focus. This was my first taste of separate lenses as I've always bought cameras that don't accommodate lenses. (No SLR's, DSLRs in my history). Despite the poor results this experience made me more aware of the potential of lenses and how they can be very useful under the correct circumstances.

When I recently bought the Sony TG3 I was aware that due to it's design this camera couldn't accommodate any lens accessories - but that's a small price to pay for a beautiful tiny camera with a built in lens cap (unlike the HD1000). The field of vision of the TG3 is considerably better than the HD1000 and pretty much on a par with all the other compact camcorders.

However, inspired by my experiences I made it my mission to seek out a way of getting a wide angle lens to fit the Sony TG3. I only intend to use this when absolutely necessary, when there is no other way to get the shot I desire. I have this niggling concern that on my holiday I will be stood in front of the colosseum in Rome and my camera will only manage to get two or three pillars in shot at once and I'll have no option but to pan left and right to give an impression of the majesty of the thing.

I only want to use a wide angle lens on very very rare occasions, just the odd shot here and there. The main reason for getting a TG3 was pocketability and I don't want to compromise this.

Anyway, I managed to find a 0.45x wide angle lens that is supposed to attach magnetically to a digital compact stills camera. It arrived today. Its not exactly professional quality - but it's good enough. The Lens comes in a small bag, and has two lens caps, one for each sides of the lens (these fall off a bit too easy) and a lanyard to attach it to your camera or camera strap. Also in the bag are two self adhesive magnetic hoops and the rear portion of the lens itself is magnetic. The idea is that you stick a magnetic loop to the lens on a camera and then magnetically attach the lens to this loop when required.

The LensSize Comparison

The first problem I encountered is that the area surrounding the lens on the Sony is slightly recessed from the front. The base of the lens was just a couple of mm too wide to fit in the recess and therefore would be unable to touch the magnetic loop. I solved this by stacking both loops on top of each other so that they were now level with the front of the camera.

Magnetic Loops 1Stacked loops

The only other problem is that the camera shows slightly less on the LCD screen than what is actually recorded. So when recording I can't see any lens infringement on the corners of the image - but when it comes to editing the vignetting is quite apparent in the corners if the lens isn't lined up absolutely perfectly. The solution is to zoom in a bit when using the lens .

The operation of the camera is un-infringed by the magnetic metal loop and the flash bulb is still visible (although it gets blocked if the lens is attached). I believe that the camera's aesthetics remain pretty much intact and the extra flexibility afforded by this modification is worth the slight disruption in the neat design. It is completely reversible too, the metal loop can be peeled off and the camera restored to it's normal state.

Attached 1Lens Front View

I wouldn't call it a 100% success due to the lens being visible in the corners of the image unless extra special care is taken. However I do think it's as near as I can get given the limited space available to mount a lens. It'll be good enough for me for the handful of times I'll need to use it.

TG3 Without Wide Angle Lens

TG3 Without

TG3 With Wide Angle Lens

TG3 With Wide Angle Lens

HD1000 With & Without Wide Angle Lens (for comparison)

HD1000 Wide HD1000 Normal

Click to Download a Sony HDR-TG3 Video Of Pachinko/Pachislo Machines With & Without the Lens Attached

Click to Download a Sony HDR-TG3 video of Wigan Park with and without the lens attached

(I slightly cropped this video in iMovie08 to get rid of the visible lens in the right hand corner- this was very easy to do).

I've now uploaded this to youtube and have embedded this below - but I suggest you double click on it then select the 'Watch In High Quality' button on Youtube to get a better image.


So now when I am off on my trip I can pop the lens in a pocket and if the situation requires it attach it on the camera to take in a wider vista. I'll probably also take a panning shot of the same scene without the lens and then decide which clip I prefer when I get back and start editing the footage together.

The lens was bought via Ebay and cost about £22 (a number of sellers have them at various prices). The lens is an M-Power Wide Lens 0.45x"


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Reader Comments (34)

Hi Mat,

Thanks for this topic. I will give it a shot as well.

Is this the one you're referring to:


December 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfrank

I'm pretty sure that's the same one.

As far as I know they only make two different sizes of 0.45x Magnetic lens (rebadged under various names)

The instructions for these lenses state "measure the lens opening on your camera. If it is between 10mm and 17mm you need a Small size lens. If it is between 17mm and 27mm you need a Large size lens."

The lens size on the TG3 dictates that you buy the LARGE lens. So any LARGE 0.45x Magnetic lens should be correct.

The only other hint I would give, is to make sure you mount the ring high on the camera so it obscures quite a bit of the flash - the TG3 seems to look upwards, therefore if you were to mount the lens dead-centre, the top corners would infringe on the frame.

December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat,

Thanks. BTW I did see a 0.38 lens for 46 dollar ( Do you think the bit wider look is worth the extra money (the .45 is 18 pounds)?

I want to attach the camera on my helmet while snowboarding; within a kind of tupperware box. And filming by holding it in my hands.

A comparison regarding the lenses can be found at

December 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfrank

I'm not an expert - but I think that will give you more of a fish-eye style of view, which might be a good or bad thing depending on your preference.

I noticed the Cookie Composites box when the crazy guys from the Dropzone forum linked back to this page.
They might be good people for you to talk to for more detailed advice, they seem pretty into extreme filming...

Good luck - and thanks for looking in.

December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

[...] for a wide angle lens. Mat demonstrated using magnetic lenses, but doesn't seem to look rock solid (Sony HDR-TG3 with a Wide Angle Lens « TECHMOAN: Gadgets, Tech and General Moaning). Cookie Composites has lenses, but they are way out of my budget (Cookie Composites). Ideas? I [...]

Hi Mat,

I received the lens and attached it even higher as you hinted. The text "Carl Zeiss" is completely visible. And there is NO vignette visible.

The image is quite well. But I have to say the 3M glue stuff is very loose here (it comes loose when unplugging the lens). Did you use the original or some superglue?


January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfrank

The glue was weak to start with on mine too - but it seemed to strengthen over time when given time to set. To be on the safe side I found it better to slide the lens down off the ring rather than pull it straight out and risk unsticking the mounting ring.

January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

hi and let me explain to you what nightmare means:nightmare 1-shooting in low-light conditions with tg3
nightmare 2-editing tg3's fullhd video in any pc(any)and i mean full editing.
any other meanings of nightmare with tg3?please let me know if you got any...thanks

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdinos

[...] made a post about my attempts to attach a magnetic lens to the camera in June 2008. This post has been read over twenty thousand times, the majority of views coming from [...]

Just got my M-Power wide angle lens with metal hoops. Seems to work pretty good. Thanks Techmoan for your suggestion. Sony should give you some development money or something for nicking your idea with the new TG5 camcorder and compatible wide angle lens. Great work techmoan!

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRayvis

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