Olympus TG-2 Converter Lenses Introduction
Sunday 23 June 2013 — Category: Equipment
This is the second in a series of articles exploring the capabilities of my new Olympus TG-2 “tough” pocket camera. If you missed the other articles, you can view a list of them here.
As far as I know, the Olympus TG-2 is the only current fixed-lens point-and-shoot camera which allows the attachment of converter lenses. To the left of the camera in the above photo is the FCON-T01 fisheye converter lens, which is 27mm tall, 64mm in diameter, and weighs 150g (1.06 x 2.52 inches, 5.29 oz). On the right is the TCON-T01 telephoto converter lens, which is 43mm tall, 45mm in diameter, and weighs 110g (1.69 x 1.81 inches, 3.88 oz). Of course, with caps on each end of the lens, and the attached CLA-T01 conversion lens adapters, they appear a bit larger than the measurements I just gave.
Each of these two converter lenses is being sold in a kit, which includes a lens and the above-mentioned conversion lens adapter — previously, the adapter was sold separately. One side of the adapter screws onto the converter lens, and the other side has a bayonet mount which attaches to the TG-2 camera. The nice thing about having a separate adapter for each lens is that you can leave it permanently attached to the lens. It’s a lot quicker and easier to attach the bayonet mount to the camera than it is to leave the adapter permanently on the camera, and then screw in a lens each time you want to use it. In addition, the adapter is merely plastic, and I am concerned that those plastic threads would soon wear out.
When I first attached the adapter to the camera, I was unable to remove the it! Twist as I might, it would not budge. I was afraid I was going to break either the adapter or the camera. After much trying, it finally came off. Since that initial bad experience, the adapters seems to twist off OK now without too much effort. Whew!
So, how does it look and feel to have these extra pieces of glass hanging off the front of a point-and-shoot camera? Well, let me show you and tell you!
To the right you can see some photos I took of the TG-2, first with the telephoto converter lens attached, and then with the fisheye converter lens. I don’t know about you, but I think these two lenses look great on the TG-2! They are very well proportioned, and seem neither too big nor two small compared to the camera body. I really like the look — it makes the camera appear more like a small rangefinder than a point-and-shoot.
Obviously adding a significant weight to the front of the camera is going to affect the balance of the camera as you hold it, but in reality the change is not as noticeable as you might imagine. The telephoto converter lens, at 110g, attached to the 230g (8.11 oz) camera, adds 48% more weight on the front. But it still feels well-balanced, and if you are used to interchangeable-lens cameras, it actually feels quite normal.
At 150g, the fisheye converter lens adds 65% more weight on the front. The extra 40g compared to the telephoto converter lens does make the camera less balanced and more front-heavy, but the shorter length of the fisheye lens helps maintain the balance. In the end, it still remains a lightweight, compact, and fairly balanced package. Attaching a 100-300mm zoom lens to my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera body makes that camera a LOT more front-heavy and unbalanced than does this fisheye converter lens on the TG-2.
Both of these converter lenses are advertised as being just as waterproof as the TG-2 camera they attach to, making them just as versatile in all sorts of environments. Because they just arrived a couple of days ago, I haven’t had time to try them out in any extreme conditions, but I hope to in the near future.
But I have taken the time to do some test shots with these converter lenses, which demonstrate the altered angle of view which they produce. Because this is already a long article, I will share those photos and my comments in the next article.
There’s one last thing I want to mention before I bring this presentation to a close. If you leave the conversion lens adapter attached to the camera without a lens, you can screw on a 40.5mm filter or accessory. A few that would interest me the most include: