How good are the images?
In general, lens converters for digital cameras perform surprisingly well when used with digital cameras in the 3- to 5-megapixel range. Most deliver good enough image quality for 4x6, 5x7, or even 8x10 prints. When shooting at maximum aperture, however, there may be slight softness at the edges and corners of the frame, and most wide-angle converters do exhibit some barrel distortion. Some converter lenses, like the Nikon optics (left), are big, and may block the camera's viewfinder and pop-up flash. As a class, screw-in converters by camera manufacturers for their models perform better than generic converters made by independent manufacturers-hardly surprising, since they are matched to specific lenses. But, these differences are smaller than I expected and I found only one sub-par performance: a magnetic-mount wide-angle converter (sold under the Bauer, Phoenix, and Sunpak labels) on a Canon PowerShot SD100. Other defects, such as color fringing, were not objectionable until the prints were enlarged to 11x14 or greater. Conclusion: Converter lenses for digital cameras are worthwhile and cost-effective in extending optical versatility, and they perform well enough for all but the most critical shooting applications.