I have been using the Sony EX1 and EX3 on and off again for productions since 2007 and something I noticed using the EX1 the first time was I wanted and almost always needed a wider shot. Enter from stage right the Sony VCL-EX0877 Wide Conversion x0.8 Lens, that’s quite a mouthful. (For you Michael Scott fans of “The Office” insert your own joke here).
The lens is an extra 20% wider than the stock lens on the Sony EX series, a bayonet mount (it twists on then is secured by a small bolt) and a full zoom through lens (you can use the full zoom range of the stock lens). I love the ability to be able to zoom through, I rarely loose focus and when I do the camera picks it up quickly.
The lens is quite heavy and no fun lugging around when doing outdoor shots. The rear lens cap is flimsy and falls off easily so I carry this lens in a little pouch to make sure it doesn’t get any scratches or dust on it.
I took a long shot with some flowers in the foreground with the standard EX1 lens and then another shot with the Sony VCL-EX0877 lens attached to compare the difference of the shots. The frame grabs below show both shots put together, the inner red circle is the frame grab with the standard EX1 lens scaled down on top of the frame grab taken with the Sony VCL-EX0877 wide angle lens. Tripod was not moved.
If you look at the mound of dirt on the left where both images meet, you can see how the Sony VCL-EX0877 has minor barrel distortion and on the edges of the photos it is blurred. The blur is only slight but it is there nonetheless.
There are two other wide angle lenses on the market for the Sony EX1 and I have used all three so I will give you a quick overview.
Century Precision Optics 0HD-06WA-EX1 0.6x Wide Angle Adapter Lens: Cost $386, 40% wider angle, bayonet mount, no full zoom through, light so easy to carry, there is barrel distortion and vignetting. If you are using a matte box you will pick up the edges when at full zoom.
Century Precision Optics 0HD-75CV-EX3 0.75x Wide Angle Converter Lens: Cost $864, 25% wider, bayonet mount, full zoom though, bulky like the Sony VCL-EX0877, no barrel distortion and minor vignetting. Never had a chance to use a matte box with this lens so I do not know if it will pick up the edges at full zoom but I don’t think it should.
For cost and function I would recommend the Sony VCL-EX0877 wide angle lens over the other two. The lens does a great job and is worth the money. If you were thinking about getting the Century Precision Optics 0HD-75CV for $864 I would save the money or spend the other $500 on the Century Precision Optics Super Fisheye for the EX series. That’s a fun lens!