Wide-Angle Lens Adapter

Wide-Angle Lens Adapter

U.S. Pat. 7,460,777

      This lens adapter was invented by Steve Hines for wide-angle covert photography through a small opening.  The device can be improvised using a plastic tube, then discarded drawing little attention if found.  The tube can be used with any camera or format.  


      The wide-angle adapter can be any cylindrical tube, with a polished inner surface.  The camera photographs the view directly through the hole, and the multiple reflections of the interior of the tube.  Alternate circular images, starting with the open-hole, are erect and right reading.  Alternate odd-numbered reflections (first, third, fifth, etc.) appear to be rotated 180°.

      Uncorrected video segment shot through tube showing a car passing from right to left across the camera’s field of view.
      The angle of view is dependent only on the lens coverage, therefore a wide-angle lens really benefits from the optical properties of the tube.. A clear Plexiglas tube, painted black outside or wrapped with black tape, is more reflective near grazing incidence to reflect images 3 – 5X wider than the field of view of the open hole.Image quality in the reflected rings is greatly dependent on the internal surface quality, and accurate centering of the tube.


      If a scene is viewed through a hole in a wall, the field of view is restricted by the size of the hole.  When the scene is viewed, or photographed, through a polished tube, wider parts of the scene can be seen in the reflections.  Alternate bands of reflections are upside down, and reversed left to right.  These reflected rings can be rotated 180° using Photoshop or dedicated software.

      The photographer may get the illusion that the tube is transparent in the 2nd and 4th reflections.  

Coverage using the Hines’ Wide-Angle Adapter


Image Order Image-Diameter increase (Field of View) Image Area increrase = (image dia.)2
“0”, zero order (open hole) 1X (reference) 1X (reference)
1st reflection* (must be rotated) 3X 9X
2nd reflection 5X 25X
3rd reflection* (must be rotated) 7X 49X
4th reflection 9X 81X
Nth reflection (this list can be expanded, however the image quality falls off with each reflection in the tube) – – – – – –

*Note, all odd-numbered reflections must be rotated.  Even numbered reflections do not require rotation.


This adapter is intended for legal surveillance work and intelligence gathering only.



Hines’ original lab notebook entries for this invention:

Wide-Angle-Adapter-Notebook-p132-100p Wide-Angle-Adapter-notebook-p133-100p
    p. 132     p. 133


      HinesLab is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology.  This is not a product being offered for sale to end users.  To discuss licensing, please contact Steve Hines at:


Glendale, California, USA

email: Steve@HinesLab.com