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I have a D3100 Nikon with a 35mm f1.8 prime lens. I want to buy a wide angle lens converter to make it more like a wide angle lens.

What is your advice on that? How do I know whether the lens converter will be compatible with my existing lens?

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    Almost any wide angle converter that you can buy that mounts on the front of the lens will be of relatively low quality in absolute terms and will degrade the results that you will get with a 35mm f/1.8 lens. If price is not too much of an issue you can buy focal length reducers that mount between the lens and the camera and typically reduce the focal length by a factor of ~ 1.4 ( square root of two) and simultaneously increase your maximum aperture. Not cheap. – Russell McMahon Feb 2 '14 at 5:37
  • @RussellMcMahon those adapters mounted on the rear you mention.. as far as I know they aren't available for DSLRs, just for mirrorless cameras (due to much shorter flange distance). Also they rely on the lens being able to cover the full frame (for APS sensors cameras).. which is not the case for the Nikkor 35mm/1.8 DX, although it comes very close to doing it. – Marco Mp Feb 2 '14 at 18:31
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Such things are indeed made, and they break down into two major categories:

  • relatively expensive, complex lenses that will shorten the apparent focal length of the lens only a little bit (to about 24mm) with only a small (but completely unavoidable) negative impact on every aspect of image quality (sharpness, contrast, aberrations, distortion, flare, etc.); and

  • cheap simple concave lenses (doublets at best) that may offer the same or slightly wider angle than the expensive bits, but will drastically reduce the quality of your pictures. Oh, and while they may be "cheap", they won't necessarily be disposable-level inexpensive.

If you need a lens you can occasionally use to shoot something at a wider angle (where a fast aperture won't buy you much, photographically speaking), you'd probably be a lot better off with the 18-55mm kit lens. If yyou already have it, there's no need to spend money making your 35mm worse, and if you don't have one, the non-VR "II" version will be about the same price as a mid-range conversion lens (just over $100 new and cheaper used), will be more versatile, and has very reasonable image quality, all things considered.

  • Also, the larger the aperture, the more visible the defects introduced by those filters are; so even the best ones are unlikely to be usable below, say, f/4. At that point the 18mm f/3.5 of the cheapest kits are better on any possible measure. – Marco Mp Feb 2 '14 at 18:23

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