Panasonic HVX200: Lens Adapters

I’ve been reviewing HVX200 accessories like tripods, monitors, storage, etc. Once I got to matte boxes and filters for HVX200, I knew I have to include lens adapters.

Panasonic HVX200 is dubbed as the low-budget filmmakers HD camera. Although it has an impressive lens (Leica, 13x zoom lens), the lens is by no means a be-all, end-all lens. You should pay extra attention to makeup donts when using this lens.

If you’re into extreme sports videos, you probably need a wide-angle lens. If you do skateboards, you need a fish-eye. It has become a standard shot although a bit cliche.

The fish-eye lens for Panasonic HVX200 for extreme sportsThe Super Fisheye from Century Optics produces an “extraordinary degree of barrel distortion with a magnification factor of approximately .55x. Adding the Super Fisheye to HVX200′s 13x Zoom Lens, results in a 92° horizontal angle of view.” The fish-eye works wonders whether you’re shooting from below (someone jumping over you), or above (top of half-pipe).

Wide-angle lenses have an incredible depth of field so you might want to go wide for action shots or tracking shots. If the auto-focus is not 100% spot on, you’ll save your shot by going wide. Robert Rodriguez shot some of the action scenes in El Mariachi with a 5.7 Kinoptic wide-angle lens. He didn’t even need to focus, he just pointed the camera in the direction of the action.

Extreme close-ups: if you need those, there are “achromatic diopter” lenses that you attach to the zoom lens. You’ll probably only need them for a few shots, so you could just rent or borrow these. Apart from shooting flowers and bugs, you can find usage for these by shooting dilating pupils (e.g. Requem for a Dream).

Tele converter for Panasonic HVX200Tele lenses are always popular with amateur filmmakers although not always for the right reasons. The “zoom” factor on a lens has become a marketing gimmick. Get this 400x digital zoom now. Using digital zoom however ruins the quality of the footage. There could be a few exceptions where you might need that extra push but you’ll be better off with a tele converter. There are plenty to choose from but not all are created equal. I think a 1.6x tele converter is about the highest you want to go. The ones that come from eBay are 2x and go for 50 bucks should go to the trash.

Talking of adapters and converters, there’s one important distinction to make. Converters will allow you to use the whole zoom range (i.e. go from wide to tele). Adapters usually only extend your range. For example, a .6 wide-angle adapter will give you a 40% wider angle of view. You can usually zoom a bit before you experience vignetting on an adapter.

Some manufacturers also offer (or plan to do so) 35mm lens adapters for HVX200. The discussion about these is still raging on but maybe I could do a review once the dust settles somewhat. Combining film depth of field with HVX200′s frame rates will make this camera a totally different beast. I mean that in the nicest sort of way.

10 thoughts on “Panasonic HVX200: Lens Adapters

  1. Rick Rabe

    I just got my hvx200. Do you know of any lens options that are available right now? I am about to leave for a long shoot and need to buy now. -rr-

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  3. Hugh Daly

    I have a DVX200 w/ P2 cards. I want to add a 35MM lens adapter but I’m not sure which one to buy. The Letus seems to be an all-in-one solution which includes flipping the image to upright and only lose 1/2 f-stop.
    The Redrock also looks good….but their flip module is an extra add-on. Cinevate also looks good, just not sure of which one to buy. I’m willing to spend up to two thousand (US)Dollars.
    Any suggestions or maybe someone knows who else is making these adapters?
    JHD Productions Ltd.
    Deer Park, New York

  4. Ben

    Hugh, I can see you didn’t get any reply but I’ve got the same questions as you….I wonder if since February you took a decision on this one.

  5. Hugh Daly

    HI Ben,
    Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I purchased the LETUS 35mm adaptor unit will all the accessories. Works great.
    No problem using it. Important to buy their rail system for tripod mounting.

    Hugh Daly
    JHD Productions Ltd
    Deer Park, New York 11729

  6. mich

    i just got a p2170 card only camera i need a 35 mm lens and adaptor for it if anybody can help please its urgent

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  8. papxei

    i find this quite helpful. thanks. i think i’ll go for this P2. but can it record on the card when there’s no tape?

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