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« A Tomtom on a Scooter - finally my solution is complete. | Main | Video Review of the AEE MD80 Mini DV Spy/Action Cam »
Tuesday
Jul142009

Sony TG3 wide angle lens comparison

SIZED UP

My Sony Wide Angle Lens - the VCL-HGE07TB - arrived this week and I spent my lunchtime today in Manchester trying it out.

I've put together a video comparing the normal camera lens against my original Magnetic wide angle lens solution and the official Sony one.

P1060450

The Sony one is 0.7x and the Magnetic one is 0.45x (I think). After a few minutes of testing, the Sony solution was the obvious winner. It is definitely worth the extra cash despite the slight reduction in the width of the image compared to the magnetic lens.

The main difference is that with the Sony the whole image is useable without any vignetting in the corners. The vignetting on the Magnetic Lens is not visible on the camera's LCD when filming - it only shows up when the footage is transferred for editing (the camera films more than it shows on its screen). This means that clips taken through the magnetic lens  normally have to be reframed when editing (which takes extra time and effort)

The lens fits well (despite it being designed for the newer model) and stays firmly attached. The lens does seem to blur the footage slightly, so its probably best to only attach it when its really needed. It will be invaluable for indoor shots in confined spaces. On my next holiday I'll probably clip it on automatically whenever I enter a building I'll be filming in - like a museum or gallery.

In the video I label the footage as Normal, Magnetic Lens or Sony Lens - hopefully that's self explanatory. For earlier posts about the magnetic lens and the Sony TG camera click here.

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Reader Comments (26)

Thank you so much. Your comparison on the lenses has been invaluable. I appreciate youtaking the time.

July 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Haase

Thanks for the kind words- glad I could be of help.

July 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

You say the sony lens tends to ...."blur the footage slightly"
Do you mean blur as in out of focus, or just not as distinct? Is it that noticeable? Other than that comment i am sold on the idea of getting one.

July 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchas c

It's just my perception that the footage seems a bit out of focus with the lens attached. I suggest you view the video (in HD) and see if you can spot it. I noticed it on the first clip especially - check out the number plates on the motorcycles starting at around 46 seconds in. The Sony lens does seem to make everything just a little bit softer.

July 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Can you mount a filter (pola) to the front of the VCL-HGE07TB? And what is the approx. size of the front element?

many thanks, love your work.

August 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeffrey Hogan

Hi,

Unfortunately there is no way to attach a filter to the lens.
The glass is 35mm across.

Many thanks for your comment.

August 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Anyone found further low prices for the Sony wide angle lense above? (VCL-HGE07TB)

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchas c

The footage is not so sharp with te wideangle because the TG 1/3 doesn,t have a option in the camera for wideangle like the TG7

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhans

@ Techmoan, did you try manual focusing also ?

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhans

No I must admit that I left it all in Auto. The slight softening of the image was only apparent when I put the footage on my laptop screen at home. Next time I'll try manual focus when I am filming distant scenery and wide vistas. It's only a minor problem - indoors I'd still choose to use the lens to gain the extra width over the slight reduction in sharpness.

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

@ Techmoan, i get my converter friday and i will try to film manual i think i will choose full focus in manual. Did you also watch the movie on Full hd Lcd ?

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhans

Just used my new TG7 for first time this week and was very disappointed with how narrow angle is, especially indoors.
Have been reading your helpful comments re Sony wide angle lens and think I will have to purchase one.
Can you advise where you bought this lens
please.
Many thanks, David

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I got my lens from a HK based seller on Ebay called chrisman2882

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

hello- couple of things...

1. Did you find that you had problem focusing when zooming in?

2. Can anyone advise a lens cover for the wide angle lens? I do a lot of close up shots so I tend to leave it on for extended periods.

thanks!!

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterandy

Yes - you aren't supposed to zoom with the lens attached -unfortunately you have to detach the lens if you want to zoom (rather inconvenient, I know).

I'm not sure about the lens cap - the lens is a fingerprint magnet so I understand why you want one though.

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

In the first clip with the building I clearly see the softness of the Sony lens. I have a wideangle for my old Sony HD40 and that is also quite soft wich is really anoying. The magnetic one looks sharper to mee.

I have a question about the magnetic lens: Is it the rings or the lens that causes the vignetting and is the vignetting visible without the lens or only when it is attached?

And thanks for your articles on this stuff. Really awesome and helpfull!

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPer Z

The adhesive metallic ring was attached to the camera throughout all the shots - fortunately the vignetting is only visible with the magnetic lens attached. The ring itself doesn't infringe into the stock lens' frame. I ended up peeling off the magnetic loop and just relying on the Sony lens. You are right, it is a softer, it's usefulness largely outweighs this, but I wouldn't leave it on the camera all the time (primarily because when it's attached I can't zoom and maintain the focus).

Thanks for the comment.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks

I was just thinking that I might rather have the wider angle and sharpness of the 0.45 lens. Not to mention it is actually cheaper. I could live with the vignetting as a trade off.

Is the vignetting the only reason for prefering the Sony?

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPer Z

Yes - the vignetting is the only reason I prefer the Sony.
As long as you don't need to use the flash - then the magnetic lens is a fine alternative. I had a bit of a problem with the magnetic loop not staying stuck to the camera so this may be a consideration - but some strong(er) double sided tape should fix that problem.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

I just tried holding my old VCL-0625 S 0.6x up to the TG3e and if the TG3e had just had a screw mount it would actually fit perfectly! I shot a test just holding it on and it looks good and no vignetting. Now if I could just buy the magnettic rings that would fit!

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPer Z

I have just installed Pinnacle Studio 14 but it will not edit any of my MTS files from the TG3e?!? I even tried converting to Cineform with NeoHD, but that wont edit either. What do you use to edit and do you edit AVCHD native?

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPer Z

I edit on a Mac using iMovie09 (I moved to a Mac because my old PC wasn't up to editing video).

AVCHD is still a pain to edit - iMovie converts it to AIC (Apple's own easier to edit video format). This makes the files many times bigger.
Sorry I couldn't help any more.

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

I got my TG3e and the Sony wide angle. Tried it out today and noticed that it kept going in and out of focus. I noticed it was when the facial recognition was doing its thing, so I turned it of and it seemed to help. I really wish there was a quick way to turn focus on/off.

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPer Zangenberg

Tech: Do you record in 5.1 or 2.0? I am wondering if there is an actual audible advantage in 5.1 over 2.0?

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPer Zangenberg

I used to record in 5.1 but when I found that iMovie was down-mixing it to stereo I changed to recording to 2.0 instead (and I haven't missed the 5.1). It probably takes less time to convert and should generate smaller files. Sony dropped the 5.1 off the TG7 so they must have realised that it was a bit pointless too.

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTechmoan

hi there...its been long time bout this article..
but.. i m looking for this wide lens...
do u know where can i still get it? T-T
looks like non at all in the market..

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersteven

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