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Focal reducer or FF camera?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:59 am    Post subject: Focal reducer or FF camera? Reply with quote

Has anyone recently done a big test and side by side comparison (with photos) of various focal reducers vs native FF sensor camera? The reason I'm asking this is because I'm debating with myself the pros and cons of getting a focal reducer for my existing APS-C camera vs upgrading to a full frame camera.

If I should go with a focal reducer I would get one from Minolta MD to Sony E-mount so I could use my Minolta lenses as well as M42 (with an M42->Minolta MD adapter). But there are several quite differently priced options:

1. Metabones SpeedBooster Ultra: >500. Ridiculously expensive. For not much more one can buy a used A7 Mk1 and have the real deal..
2. Mitakon Lens Turbo II: ~150. How does it compare with the Metabones? Noticably worse? Bad corners? Worse CA?
3. Viltrox: <100. Is it complete garbage?

There may be other options as well.

Ideally I'd want an A7 series full frame camera, but that's a lot of money, plus I'd like to keep my APS-C wideangles and AF lenses. Upgrading to FF is a hassle for me and expensive.

But a focal reducer is not quite the same thing as having an actual FF camera? Or is it? What I'm looking for is some sort of test or actual user experience either confirming that a focal reducer is really quite good enough or on the other hand that it is not and that I really should take the plunge and go get an A7 series camera.

Any opinions? Experience? Comparisons?


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you use your camera and lens for video, the Lens Turbo II will be fine. Otherwise, getting an A7 will be a better opinion. Moreover, you can't use most rangefinder lenses on a focal reducer.


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

calvin83 wrote:
If you use your camera and lens for video, the Lens Turbo II will be fine. Otherwise, getting an A7 will be a better opinion. Moreover, you can't use most rangefinder lenses on a focal reducer.

Well, I'm not doing any video at all and regarding photography I'd like to get into landscapes a little more, so corner performance would be quite important. I don't use rangefinder lenses, so that doesn't concern me. As I said, an MD->E-mount focal reducer plus a normal M42->MD adapter would cover most of my needs. But as you say, if the performance for still photography isn't good enough... :/


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to this comparison (unfortunately only in German available) obviously the Lens Turbo II from Zhongyi is best:

https://www.valuetech.de/blog/reviews-foto/2017/04/16/speed-booster-fokalreduktor-test-vergleich-metabones-kipon-baveyes-zhongyi

I made similar evaluations but finally I decided not to go for the A7 as several of my existing RF-lenses don't perform well on this camera due to the thick filter stack issue. On the other hand I have enough ulta-wides to satisfy my needs on my APS-C Ricoh GXR-M without any focal reducer. Finally I have already a FF digital camera with a rather complete set of lenses, hence I skipped the A7 project until further.

The old Zhongyi (version 1, Minolta MD to NEX) focal reducer I already have is rarely used because I don't like to use my NEX. Wink
Maybe I should really start selling some stuff.....


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had my lenstubro v1 three years ago, for landscape, I used it with some lenses. some lenses has poor edges, some lenses is good. My conclusion, newer coatin lens is good with it. And my best fit is Rokkor 28/2 or canon fd 28/2 ssc and Distagon 25/2,8
Someday I will buy one of a7 series. but until now, I still use my nex5 with lensturbo, maybe until it's broken Very Happy


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The speed booster option does have the advantage of giving you a choice of 2 FOV for each of your lenses (boosted or via a simple adapter). In camera cropping a FF image doesn't quite have the same merit IMO, even if modern cameras have enough resolution to manage this.

I have the RJ version for EF lenses on MFT, and use it with a range of other adapters.
I don't think I've printed any of the photos I've taken with it but simply viewing them on the monitor they seem perfectly acceptable (unless I try APSC lenses which it's not supposed to work with).

By all accounts the Metabones is a much better quality adapter, but for the cost my budget one has proved a better investment IMO.


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
According to this comparison (unfortunately only in German available) obviously the Lens Turbo II from Zhongyi is best:

https://www.valuetech.de/blog/reviews-foto/2017/04/16/speed-booster-fokalreduktor-test-vergleich-metabones-kipon-baveyes-zhongyi


Thank you, that's exactly what I had in mind, except they tested on m4/3 and with only one lens and don't show corner sharpness. But it's better than nothing and quite unexpected results!


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DConvert wrote:
The speed booster option does have the advantage of giving you a choice of 2 FOV for each of your lenses (boosted or via a simple adapter). In camera cropping a FF image doesn't quite have the same merit IMO, even if modern cameras have enough resolution to manage this.

That's a good point!

So far it looks like there are many more pros for a crop camera + lens turbo combination than for an A7. Smile


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IAZA wrote:
Someday I will buy one of a7 series. but until now, I still use my nex5 with lensturbo, maybe until it's broken Very Happy

That's the thing, whatever we have in crop sensor world, even if it's perfectly functional and satisfies all our needs, proper fullframe is always something that's one step higher that we eventually want to have. Wink


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a test which you may be interested. This is the worst case scenario but it does give you an idea how each opinion may result.
http://www.verybiglobo.com/metabones-speed-booster-ultra-review-part-ii-canon-ef-501-2-l/


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

calvin83 wrote:
There is a test which you may be interested. This is the worst case scenario but it does give you an idea how each opinion may result.
http://www.verybiglobo.com/metabones-speed-booster-ultra-review-part-ii-canon-ef-501-2-l/

Oh yes, I remember seeing that review a few years ago, except I wasn't really interested at the time, so it slipped my mind.


PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

miran wrote:
IAZA wrote:
Someday I will buy one of a7 series. but until now, I still use my nex5 with lensturbo, maybe until it's broken Very Happy

That's the thing, whatever we have in crop sensor world, even if it's perfectly functional and satisfies all our needs, proper fullframe is always something that's one step higher that we eventually want to have. Wink


If I ever do succumb to FF, I'm sure medium format will simply be that one step higher. By then there might be affordable scanning backs for my large format camera too...
Friends


PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The actual question is reducers on FF. Or 6x6 compacts. Still the future will show, as the nano technologies taken place.


PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to let you know, I eventually bought a Lens Turbo II. I figured I'd still be craving a FF camera no matter which focal reducer I get, so a Metabones Speedbooster was out of the question at the sort of price it goes for (>500). I'm sure I'll evetually give in and get an A7(x) some time sooner or later. For the time being I'll do with a Lens Turbo.

The Lens Turbo is ok. It arrived direct from China super fast (within a week Surprised) for about 120. It's quite well built, but there's a bit of play on the camera mount side. I'll have to test thoroughly to see if this affects IQ in any way. So far I noticed with a Minolta MD 35-70 that one side was softer than the other but I'm not sure if this is the fault of the adapter or the lens. Otherwise IQ is good enough for the way I intend to use it (mostly with lenses well stopped down). Center sharpness is very good, corners are ok (but I have no reference, so I can't really comment). Perhaps it adds some CAs across the frame, but nothing dramatic for the most part and easily fixable.

The only real negative for me is the way it mounts to the camera. It doesn't click in place as normal lenses and adapters, but has a kind of breech lock mechanism instead. It's quite fiddly to mount it in the field.

My first outing was with the Minolta MD 35-70/3.5. The first impression is that it'll be good enough. I'm happy. Smile

1. Around 50mm, f/11. The last few pixels along the left side are a bit soft.

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2. 35mm, f/11 or so

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3. 35mm, f/8

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A comment and a question:

I think that, for folks like me, where I have to choice of spending $150 on a LT II or $1500+ on a FF camera, when your budget is as tight as mine is, the choice is obvious. It's the LT II. I know it isn't the best choice, but it's the choice I can afford. I can assure you, I'd rather be using an FF camera.

Question: have any of you who have used the LT II had the occasion to try it out with an ultra-wide, such as the Tamron or Tokina or Canon FD 17mm lenses? IF so, how do the corners and edges look? Overall sharpness?


PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:

I think that, for folks like me, where I have to choice of spending $150 on a LT II or $1500+ on a FF camera, when your budget is as tight as mine is, the choice is obvious. It's the LT II. I know it isn't the best choice, but it's the choice I can afford. I can assure you, I'd rather be using an FF camera.

But a FF camera can be had for as little as $500 with a bit of luck and about $600-650 otherwise. That's what used Sony A7 goes for if you wait a bit. At least that's what I've seen recently when looking a little more closely.

cooltouch wrote:
Question: have any of you who have used the LT II had the occasion to try it out with an ultra-wide, such as the Tamron or Tokina or Canon FD 17mm lenses? IF so, how do the corners and edges look? Overall sharpness?

I wouldn't expect much. My widest good lens is a 24mm and it's just good enough in the corners stopped way down from what I've seen so far. I think vintage ultra wides have issues on their own and when you add another optic with its own limitations into the mix, the best you can hope for is just sort of ok. But that's just my assumption. I'd like to see some first hand experience too.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Speedbooster and made a comparison here, same f4 94mm printer lens, with and without Speedbooster:
Without:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kds315/sets/72157687103089645
With Speedbooster:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kds315/albums/72157684397093893

For me this lens is a very sharp one and I wanted to see the effect. See for yourself...

Here is the Kyoei f3.5 180mm lens used with Speedbooster:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kds315/albums/72157680460057840


PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

miran wrote:
...The only real negative for me is the way it mounts to the camera. It doesn't click in place as normal lenses and adapters, but has a kind of breech lock mechanism instead. It's quite fiddly to mount it in the field...


This mechnism is something what amazes me. I thought some years back about such a solution for a ultra thin extension tube, but did not build it. Too complex for me.
They need it becuse of the protruding rear lens. They could no rotate the lens enough to mount it normaly.