Saturday, 26 September 2009

Inexpensive Wide Angles in your pocket

I like wide angle perspectives. So much so, I bought the widest ultra wide available for my DSLR – the Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm. It wasn’t cheap and I would normally not go out and spend money like that, but I just had too, it was a special birthday and all.

I still like wide angle combinations which are more pocketable though. Pocketable wide angles are not easy to get – the small sensors in pocket, compact cameras mean that a “normal” angle of view lens for these cameras is already 4mm optical focal length. Making a wide angle forces the optics to go 2mm, 3mm which is really small.

I was happy to come across a second hand Kodak V705.

There are two lenses on it. The equivalent 23mm wide angle is a good lens but doesn’t focus (I think it’s a fixed focus) so it can’t go macro. The second lens – a zoom, does focus but either the exact camera I have is not good or the camera does not have a very good mechanism in that one. Ready-to-shoot time for the camera is fast, right after the sliding lens cover unhides the lenses, the 23mm is about ready to shoot and there is little or no shutter lag because the 23mm does not need to focus.

The camera is chunky though, it is small but not slim.

Looking around for other cameras (do you call it window shopping if you use Microsoft Windows?), there are a few wide angle compacts – but I like low cost because I expect the camera to be tossed around, sometimes with keys in my pants pocket.

What else is there that is wide angle and inexpensive?

There’s the Olympus FE-4000 Magenta. This has a 26mm equivalent wide angle lens, 4x optical zoom.

It’s about AUD 240 It has a 24mm equivalent lens with zoom to 120mm. It’s about AUD 199. I can’t yet find a review but there’s one for the FE-5020. PhotographyBLOG carried out a review.

The Panasonic DMC-FX40 is another inexpensive model with a 25-125mm equivalent zoom. Photography BLOG has a review. It’s about AUD 199 too.

Finally, the little known Kodak M420 with a review here – It’s not available in Australia – well, I did say it was little known.

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