I'm a beginner at photography and own a Canon 20D with two lens; a 50mm prime and a 17mm-85mm zoom.

I've purchases all my filters at 67mm to fit my zoom lens and use a 52mm - 67mm step up ring to use them with my prime lens.

I'm looking at buying a wide angle lens. My question is, will the same principal work? Can I buy a 67mm wide angle lens and use it on my 52mm prime without any trouble.

One of the reasons for the purchase of a wide angle is my cropped sensor makes the 50mm prime rather close - I'm hoping the wide angle will make it easier to capture more.

Many thanks for any help in advance.


2 Answers 2


First off, although the sellers label it as a wide angle lens, in reality what you are considering purchasing is more properly called a wide angle conversion lens because it screws onto and converts your existing lens to cover a wider field-of-view. In general the products sold in this price range aren't very good, and that is putting it nicely. There are some more expensive wide angle conversion lenses, such as those made by Raynox, but the largest size I'm aware they make fits on 58mm threads. And even those involve a fairly significant compromise in image quality.

The step up adapter should work on your 50mm lens, but I would be very surprised if the image quality were even anywhere near as good as your 17-85mm zoom zoomed to around 35mm. The magnification provided by the conversion lens is listed as 0.45x which should produce a field of view of around a 33-35mm lens when combined with a 50mm lens. Remember magnification is expressed in terms of coverage area, not focal length. In return for that modest improvement in angle of view, you will almost certainly see a substantial increase in vignetting, distortion (the fish-eye effect), and chromatic aberration (color separation that makes objects near the edge of the picture look blurry). Here is a well written review of a similar lens that goes into far more detail and provides test shots comparing using a wide angle conversion lens with a wide angle lens.

You would probably be much happier with the images you get by saving up for something like the EF 35mm f/2. Although it has been replaced by a newer (and more expensive) IS version, it is still available from many online retailers (at least here in the U.S.). Even the very inexpensive Yongnuo 35mm f/2 for Canon EF mount should outperform an EF 50mm f/1.8 + wide angle conversion lens.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I make 0.45 * 50 to be 22.5, not 33-35 \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 8:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks very much for the answer Michael and the review link is very helpful. I think I'll take your advice and put my pocket money towards a 35mm :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 8:37
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @MattGrum Unlike a sensor crop factor that is linear, magnification for screw on lenses is based on area, so 0.45x is area magnification. Focal length is linear. The √0.45 = 0.67. 0.67 X 50mm = 33.5mm. Most lenses with a focal length of 33mm are marketed as 35mm lenses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 9:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The area magnification labeling is very interesting — I had no idea! \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 9:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MattGrum Yeah, absolutely. Since focal length is our normal convention for representing field of view, and since field of view is what one cares about with this kind of converter, using anything else is ridiculous and borderline dishonest. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 12:58

Using a screw on wide converter with a fast lens will result in a poor quality image. If you need to shoot wide angle images at large apertures like f/1.8 then your options are limited to something like the Canon 28mm f/1.8 Sigma 30 f/1.4 both of which are around £350.

Alternatively upgrading your camera to the original 5D would cost a little more (~£450) but would act like a 0.4x wide converter that improves  image quality!

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer Matt, nice point about the 5D. I better get saving :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 17:53

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