A collegue asked me the technical and aesthetic differences between shooting 16:9, and 4:3 with a wide angle lens. I know the difference in my head, but had a hard time actually putting into words the differences. I blabbered about wide angle actually increasing your depth of field and making the image distorted. Also, making objects appear closer together. 16:9 just actually, physically, gives you more picture horizontally, without distorting the image. Is that accurate and did I cover everything?
MAYBE he was asking about the use of 16x9 "Converter Lens" adapter (which IS a type of Wide angle adapter) and NOT just a "standard" Wide Angle lens adapter.
The Century Optics (for example) 16x9 adapter will create an anamorphic (squeezed) image on a standard 4x3 camcorder that can be "stretched-back" to re-create the intended 16x9 aspect ratio in playback.
This allows a greater utilization of a camcorder's "full" CCD image-area compared to just "cropping the 4x3 image with black bars" for the 16x9 look (which "loses" much of the effective CCD area).
There are so many methods and adaptations of 4x3 aspect to 16x9 aspect (and the reverse) that the confusion will not subside for many years to come.
As to "standard" WA adapters (say 0.5-0.7)... they do their "work" independently of any aspect ratio.
(A 4x3 camcorder or a 16x9 camcorder can utilize a WA adapter for similar reasons).
These adapters allow for shooting a wider shot without having to back the camera farther away (great for shooting in small rooms).
WA adapters can create a mild-to-strong "fish-eye" or barrel-distortion and some shooters find they "like" that look.
Some say it is more "film-like", but I don't see how they can make that claim, as I have seen millions film scenes... and very few have any barrel-distortion.
Thanks Thax. That clears it up for me. Yeah, I wouldn't say a WA lens technically makes things more "film-like" either. I think people just see that it looks different and automatically associate it with film.