Telephoto and Wide Angle Lens

Todd Beal

Mar 10, 2005
Corpus Christi, TX
Does anyone have any first hand experience with using telephoto and wide angle lens on camcorders?

For purposes of getting quality video, would you guys recommend getting these for your camera? Is it worth the investment?

Oh, and my camera is 10x on the optical zoom. Thanks!
I have 0.5x and 2x teleconverter lenses for my VX2100, which I thought would be very useful. However, I find that I just don't have time to mess with changing lenses. I mean, usually in a chase situation, things are hectic enough the way it is. There are some times, however, such as when the storm is moving very slowly, that a wideangle would be useful. Between taking digital still pictures and video, however, I just find that I don't really have time to change lenses (well, in my case, I'm not really changing lenses, just adding one so-to-say). Personally, I think I may end up using a wideangle if I'm on a very photogenic / videogenic storm that is also slow moving. In cases of tornadoes, however, I'm much more interested in getting uninterrupted video (and driving, taking pictures, etc, since most tornadoes are quite short-lived) than adding a 0.5x on there to get better overall storm-with-tornado video. This is just my experience, however, so take it for what it's worth...
I have one of each just like Jeff that I picked up on eBay for $40 earlier this season. The telephoto zoom is a nice addition, cause it does give an extra bit of zoom. The wide angle I've only used once this year, and that was to shoot myself from my dash mount giving an update in the car. That way I could get me and my backseat passenger.

The zoom is nice, the wide-angle isn't bad, either, but I'd have to wait til I use it for something other than my ugly mug. But yeah, definately the zoom!
I have both and I would say that I use the wide angle more when storm chasing. Its great for video because it pulls you back from the storm so you can get more structure while still being close. A perfect example would be on May 29th last year near Jamestown, KS. I filmed in the same place for 30 minutes and as the huge meso got closer and closer I wasn't able to get the whole thing on tape. I just put on the wide angle and my problem was solved . But as Jeff pointed out....The storm needs to be moving slowly for you to really use the lenses because its a pain to switch back and forth when you have to keep constantly repositioning yourself if you are on a faster moving storm.

The telephoto definately has its advantages as well. I was testing my camcorder out with the telephoto lense and found it interesting that I could clearly zoom in on my neighbors front door and they live a mile away. Its great to get close ups of tornadic circulation on the ground and has countless other things that you could do with it if you want to.

My reccomendation is to get both because you will always run into situations where either of the lenses can be very useful and they will make your video perspective a lot better.

I use a wide angle adapter about 75% of the time. I love getting more of the structure in the shot. Especially for time-lapse of the entire storm. I wouldn't bother getting a telephoto lens. One of my camcorders has a 20X optical zoom. If you don't have the camera tripoded, then don't bother zooming in that much.