Micro Four Thirds Focal Reducer Shootout

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
Tom Caldwell
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Re: Hot spotting - the cause?
In reply to brian, 5 months ago

brian wrote:

This diagram shows how you can form a ghost image of the stop by reflecting off the sensor and then off of one of the lens surfaces. This is just one particular example of how such an image is formed. In general, there are hundreds or even thousands of possible ghost images formed in a complex imaging system, and you have to pay attention to all of them if you want to do a good job of minimizing ghosting.

Follow the green ray, starting at the aperture stop. At the aperture stop, which is the object, the height of the green ray is zero. Now follow the green ray to the image plane (surface 13). At this point we have the first ghost reflection. After reflectiing off the sensor, the green ray refracts through the rear surface of the lens and then reflects off the second-to-last surface of the lens. The green ray then passes back through the rear surface to intersect the image plane at an image height of zero.

Since the ray starts at the middle of the aperture stop and intersects the image plane at the optical axis the ghost image is a true image of the aperture stop. So, if the aperture stop is a triangle then there will be a ghost image in the shape of a triangle in the exact center of the picture.

The lens system consisting of the last three elements of this particular lens plus the flat reflective sensor comprises a catadioptric (mirror + lens) optical system with two mirrors.

The fact that the hotspot imaging in this case involves a relatively flat lens surface is a complete coincidence. Often you get fairly steeply curved surfaces involved. Ghost image formed by reflection off of front-mounted filters are completely unrelated to hotspots. Such ghost images show up as sharply focused mirror images of bright areas in the primary images.

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Brian Caldwell

Thank you Brian for taking this trouble to explain the ghosting situation to me. I am not sure if my limited knowledge of optics has become considerably less limited but I think I have a very basic grasp.  I am presuming that the diagram by way of illustration is only a lens unsullied by the complications posed by focal reducer elements.

Whichever of the many ghost reflections that can possibly be generated they are all basically first off the sensor and reflected back by some lens surface.  I had thought that the aperture was delineated because the reflection came from beyond the aperture.

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brian
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Re: I'm not questioning your testing methodology.....
In reply to dougjgreen1, 5 months ago

Like I said, there was no cherry picking.  The Speed Booster is my one and only personal sample.  I've had it since last summer, and it was given to me - I didn't buy it.  It was selected at random from the normal production run.  I purchased all the other focal reducers online, just one sample of each.

The primary result of sample variation is uneven corner performance due to tilted and/or decentered lens elements.  This is why I took the trouble to show all four corners and both sides in my 100% crops.  This ensures that you don't just show the worst corner or the best corner etc.  This helps to prevent sample variation from degrading the value of the test.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Hot spotting - the cause?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 5 months ago

As a matter of personal explanation.  I thought it fair to re-try the Zykkor FD to EF adapter on the Speed Booster with a canon FL 50 f1.4 lens as a matter of balance.

In normal light there is no sign of any spotting, hotspot or any other problem the image is just quite soft and not very good at all.  I have not really used the Zykkor much - it was designed to use FD leans on a Canon EF dslr system.  It does this reasonably well.  However it does not combine well with the Speed Booster (nor was it ever meant to do this).  I have no complaints whatsoever with the Speed Booster when used in conjunction with my Sony NEX6 body directly to mount Canon EF lenses.  Nor is there a problem in using the same lens FL with an RJ FD to NEX focal reducer.

Obviously there is a mis-match in the optics between the Speed Booster and the Zykkor glassed adapter.  However there was never any intention or need to use these two adapters in direct conjunction. It was merely a test exercise and no conclusions adverse or otherwise can be drawn.

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amtberg
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Re: Micro Four Thirds Focal Reducer Shootout
In reply to s_grins, 5 months ago

s_grins wrote:

amtberg wrote:

s_grins wrote:

"50mm f/1.4 Nikon G lens (wide open) attached to: 1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

Why such a simple thing has to be so complex? Did you have a problem with selecting just a equal M43 lens?

I'm still can't fathom the depth of idea behind setup

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Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

Umm, you seem to have completely missed what these focal reducers do. They are designed to adapt full frame or (some) APS-C lenses to smaller formats by shrinking the image circle, which has the added benefit of reducing the effective aperture of the lens. You couldn't attach an MFT lens to a focal reducer because it would make the image circle smaller than the sensor.

Well, if I understand you right, speed booster is a focal reducer, and it takes from FL and,shrinking an image circle, adds to an F-stop making lens faster.

Am I right? If I'm, than all these

1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

are just different brands of the same FL reducer, and there are 4 different setups. OP wants to compare different brands, which may make a sense.

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Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

Correct.  The OP designed the optics in the Speed Booster adapter which was subsequently copied by the other brands.  He just demonstrated -- quite convincingly I think -- that his original design is the best.

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Sierra Dave
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Re: Micro Four Thirds Focal Reducer Shootout
In reply to s_grins, 5 months ago

s_grins wrote:

amtberg wrote:

s_grins wrote:

"50mm f/1.4 Nikon G lens (wide open) attached to: 1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

Why such a simple thing has to be so complex? Did you have a problem with selecting just a equal M43 lens?

I'm still can't fathom the depth of idea behind setup

-- hide signature --

Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

Umm, you seem to have completely missed what these focal reducers do. They are designed to adapt full frame or (some) APS-C lenses to smaller formats by shrinking the image circle, which has the added benefit of reducing the effective aperture of the lens. You couldn't attach an MFT lens to a focal reducer because it would make the image circle smaller than the sensor.

Well, if I understand you right, speed booster is a focal reducer, and it takes from FL and,shrinking an image circle, adds to an F-stop making lens faster.

Am I right? If I'm, than all these

1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

are just different brands of the same FL reducer, and there are 4 different setups. OP wants to compare different brands, which may make a sense.

Focal reducers are not all the same any more than 1.4X teleconverters or 50mm f/1.4 lenses are all the same.  They use different optical formulas, glass and all the rest.  And clearly, they yield very different results.

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amtberg
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Re: Given your clear vested interest in the results......
In reply to dougjgreen1, 5 months ago

dougjgreen1 wrote:

amtberg wrote:Financial interest is certainly a theoretical possibility, assuming that Dr. Caldwell gets a cut of each unit sold as opposed to having been hired strictly as a design consultant. Of course another equally plausible possibility is that he's simply proud of the good work that he did and perhaps a little chapped at all of the copycat companies who took his basic idea but executed it poorly due to their relative lack of expertise.

There's no evidence that two of the competing products were poorly executed. They may simply be slightly less good because they are built to steeper cost constraints. What probably IS true is that they are knock-offs, in the sense that they did not do the basic design research, but rather, copied the existing Metabones product and manufactured it more cheaply.

Semantics, I think.  Whether they are less well designed or more cheaply constructed, the bottom line is that they don't perform nearly as well.

And BTW, it is normally the case that a someone in the OP's position might be partly compensated with an equity stake in Metabones, given the fact that it's a start-up, and it is significantly leveraged on the quality of the design work that goes into their products - this is true whether he is a contractor or a direct principle employee of Metabones.

Well, we're just speculating here.  But as a factual matter Metabones existed long before the Speed Booster was developed, so I don't think it qualifies as a startup.  They've been making high quality adapters for quite some time.

In any case, Dr. Caldwell has been a respected optical designer for 30 years and I doubt he would tarnish his reputation by falsifying such a comparison, which could be tested quite easily by anyone with the wherewithal to repeat it.

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Sierra Dave
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OM lenses can use EF focal reducers
In reply to zuikowesty, 5 months ago

zuikowesty wrote:

Kameraphil wrote:

I'm guessing: when there is a large number of users, there will be an adapter (as it needs to sell).

Although I'm originally an OM film cameras users, most of the legacy lenses I'm now using with my Micro 4/3 are Nikon. I don't know if this is the case with other users.

OM lenses are a dying breed because there are no current SLRs to support them. I'm very sorry to say.

Apparently those who paid very good money for my OM lenses don't know that...

But I imagine there is a bit more involved in making an optical adapter than just a mount adapter.

Nope, that's pretty much the extent of it.

But if the optics used are the same in each, it shouldn't take much to correct for flange distance, etc.

OM lenses are still the most compact and high quality available, and are a natural fit for MFT as a result.

Most compact?  They'll certainly be larger than any comparable native lenses.

In any case, you can easily get the Canon EF version, plus a $10 EF-OM adapter to use your OM lenses.  I daresay most OM lenses that get used today are on Canon EF mount bodies.

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Sierra Dave
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Re: Vizelex Light Cannon...
In reply to Andy Crowe, 5 months ago

Andy Crowe wrote:

Vizelex seemed to get so many complaints about their Light Cannon they've resorted to selling it as a "soft focus" adapter!

I'd say 'no focus' might be more accurate.  Actually, that could be a selling point too.  Faster shooting since there's no point in trying to focus the thing...

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MatsP
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An honest test - it shows competitors are not too bad
In reply to amtberg, 5 months ago

amtberg wrote:

s_grins wrote:

amtberg wrote:

s_grins wrote:

"50mm f/1.4 Nikon G lens (wide open) attached to: 1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

Why such a simple thing has to be so complex? Did you have a problem with selecting just a equal M43 lens?

I'm still can't fathom the depth of idea behind setup

-- hide signature --

Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

Umm, you seem to have completely missed what these focal reducers do. They are designed to adapt full frame or (some) APS-C lenses to smaller formats by shrinking the image circle, which has the added benefit of reducing the effective aperture of the lens. You couldn't attach an MFT lens to a focal reducer because it would make the image circle smaller than the sensor.

Well, if I understand you right, speed booster is a focal reducer, and it takes from FL and,shrinking an image circle, adds to an F-stop making lens faster.

Am I right? If I'm, than all these

1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

are just different brands of the same FL reducer, and there are 4 different setups. OP wants to compare different brands, which may make a sense.

-- hide signature --

Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

Correct. The OP designed the optics in the Speed Booster adapter which was subsequently copied by the other brands. He just demonstrated -- quite convincingly I think -- that his original design is the best.

Yes the test showed that the original design is the best - but it also showed that at least two of the competitors aren't quite as bad as you could suspect. So if this was a marketing attempt- which some of the posters in this thread seem to believe - it may have the opposite effect. It seems that at least some of the competitors are good enough to be considered, regarding the lower price. So I really think this was an honest test. Thanks to the Op for that.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Given your clear vested interest in the results......
In reply to dougjgreen1, 5 months ago

dougjgreen1 wrote:

amtberg wrote:Financial interest is certainly a theoretical possibility, assuming that Dr. Caldwell gets a cut of each unit sold as opposed to having been hired strictly as a design consultant. Of course another equally plausible possibility is that he's simply proud of the good work that he did and perhaps a little chapped at all of the copycat companies who took his basic idea but executed it poorly due to their relative lack of expertise.

There's no evidence that two of the competing products were poorly executed. They may simply be slightly less good because they are built to steeper cost constraints. What probably IS true is that they are knock-offs, in the sense that they did not do the basic design research, but rather, copied the existing Metabones product and manufactured it more cheaply.

I think that you made an admission there that is not true. The general assumption is that the Chinese versions are copies. I doubt if that is true. The Metabones element design and order is publicised quite clearly in their White Paper and probably in other places - it is patented. The Zhongyi lens design can be seen on their boxes and their web exposure - it is also clearly quite different and they claim to have applied for their own patent - I have no idea what the RJ lens design might be. Whether it is Zhongyi or their own - I suspect that it might be different again. If there was direct copying there would be law suits all round.

The concept of focal reducing has been well known for a very long time and used in telescopes for astronomy. It is far from a new technology.

Brian C and Metabones deserve kudos for introducing the concept to digital cameras and therefore it might be said that their concept has been copied. But it is a harder ask to suggest that their product has been flagrantly copied precisely nut for nut and bolt for bolt.  In fact if there are differences it performance it must because of different design and not cloning.  If the adapters had been cloned then perhaps the differences would be very small indeed.

The Zhongyi and RJ adapters have a quite different construction technique from each other as well - hardly even cloning the clone.

I hate that easy-out throw-away word: "knock off"- there may be other reason for difference but only the idea to produce for digital cameras is similar.  It is as much to say that only one car tyre is "true" and every other tyre made for use in the automotive car industry is a "knock off" - tell that to the tyre companies.

And BTW, it is normally the case that a someone in the OP's position might be partly compensated with an equity stake in Metabones, given the fact that it's a start-up, and it is significantly leveraged on the quality of the design work that goes into their products - this is true whether he is a contractor or a direct principle employee of Metabones.

I think that Brian has stated his interest quite clearly and I for one am willing to listen to what he says.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Micro Four Thirds Focal Reducer Shootout
In reply to TheSquid, 5 months ago

TheSquid wrote:

For those of you wondering why there is no OM adapter.... you all are forgetting that the OM lenses are fully manual. Making an adapter would be a nice thing to do but it's not as necessarily needed since the lenses are easily used.

However, making one with electronics would be nice. The electronics would have to control aperture and close the lens down for the exposure via the original olympus manual stop down mechanism. This may be too daunting a task to do. The reasons are that it may not trigger fast enough to actually stop down and secondly, it may not be able to transfer the f-stop information to the camera making it still fully manual exposure instead of aperture priority compatible.

An OM lens could only feasibly be made as a dumb focal reducer. The advantages of a focal reducer on the M4/3 mount are one full stop increase in light gathering capacity plus a 1.4x net multiplier instead of 2.0x

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Re: Micro Four Thirds Focal Reducer Shootout
In reply to Sierra Dave, 5 months ago

Sierra Dave wrote:

s_grins wrote:

amtberg wrote:

s_grins wrote:

"50mm f/1.4 Nikon G lens (wide open) attached to: 1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

Why such a simple thing has to be so complex? Did you have a problem with selecting just a equal M43 lens?

I'm still can't fathom the depth of idea behind setup

-- hide signature --

Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

Umm, you seem to have completely missed what these focal reducers do. They are designed to adapt full frame or (some) APS-C lenses to smaller formats by shrinking the image circle, which has the added benefit of reducing the effective aperture of the lens. You couldn't attach an MFT lens to a focal reducer because it would make the image circle smaller than the sensor.

Well, if I understand you right, speed booster is a focal reducer, and it takes from FL and,shrinking an image circle, adds to an F-stop making lens faster.

Am I right? If I'm, than all these

1) the Light Cannon by Vizelex; 2) the Lens Turbo by Zhongyi; 3) the R.J. Focal Reducer; and 4) the Speed Booster by Metabones."

are just different brands of the same FL reducer, and there are 4 different setups. OP wants to compare different brands, which may make a sense.

Focal reducers are not all the same any more than 1.4X teleconverters or 50mm f/1.4 lenses are all the same. They use different optical formulas, glass and all the rest. And clearly, they yield very different results.

Thank goodness we have some sense - they are not all inferior nut an bolt replica clones of the "real thing" but different build techniques that may of may not work the same.

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brian
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Re: An honest test - it shows competitors are not too bad
In reply to MatsP, 5 months ago

MatsP wrote:

Yes the test showed that the original design is the best - but it also showed that at least two of the competitors aren't quite as bad as you could suspect. So if this was a marketing attempt- which some of the posters in this thread seem to believe - it may have the opposite effect. It seems that at least some of the competitors are good enough to be considered, regarding the lower price. So I really think this was an honest test. Thanks to the Op for that.

If people look at my tests and conclude that one of the non-Metabones products offers good value for the money, and purchase accordingly, then I'm perfectly OK with that.  I'd call that an informed buying decision, which is something I strongly encourage.

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MatsP
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Re: An honest test - it shows competitors are not too bad
In reply to brian, 5 months ago

MatsP wrote:

Yes the test showed that the original design is the best - but it also showed that at least two of the competitors aren't quite as bad as you could suspect. So if this was a marketing attempt- which some of the posters in this thread seem to believe - it may have the opposite effect. It seems that at least some of the competitors are good enough to be considered, regarding the lower price. So I really think this was an honest test. Thanks to the Op for that.

If people look at my tests and conclude that one of the non-Metabones products offers good value for the money, and purchase accordingly, then I'm perfectly OK with that.  I'd call that an informed buying decision, which is something I strongly encourage.

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Brian Caldwell

And maybe the buyer of a cheap variety after having played with it for a while finds that this is a real good idea and wants the real thing!

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Sigurdur Stefan Jonsson
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Re: An honest test - it shows competitors are not too bad
In reply to brian, 5 months ago

Thank you for this info Brian. Very interesting.

I keep dreaming of a 4/3 to micro4/3 SpeedBooster for use with the smaller format Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera but I suspect that would be way too much of a niche product to be economically feasible. Would such a focal reducer be technically possible?

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amtberg
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Re: An honest test - it shows competitors are not too bad
In reply to Sigurdur Stefan Jonsson, 5 months ago

Sigurdur Stefan Jonsson wrote:

Thank you for this info Brian. Very interesting.

I keep dreaming of a 4/3 to micro4/3 SpeedBooster for use with the smaller format Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera but I suspect that would be way too much of a niche product to be economically feasible. Would such a focal reducer be technically possible?

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Ziggie

Maybe not such a crazy idea if it could also be used with the GH4 in 4K mode, where the camera records from a smaller central portion of the sensor.

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dougjgreen1
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Re: I'm not questioning your testing methodology.....
In reply to brian, 5 months ago

brian wrote:

Like I said, there was no cherry picking. The Speed Booster is my one and only personal sample. I've had it since last summer, and it was given to me - I didn't buy it. It was selected at random from the normal production run. I purchased all the other focal reducers online, just one sample of each.

The primary result of sample variation is uneven corner performance due to tilted and/or decentered lens elements. This is why I took the trouble to show all four corners and both sides in my 100% crops. This ensures that you don't just show the worst corner or the best corner etc. This helps to prevent sample variation from degrading the value of the test.

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Brian Caldwell

Thank you.  I was simply  asking how the test subjects were obtained.  That's the info I was looking for.

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Tom Caldwell
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Life examples of use of M42 focal reducer
In reply to brian, 5 months ago

Link to images - examples of the use of a M42-M4/3 focal reducer adapter GM1 + Takumar 35mm f3.5.

Four sectors - similar image.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53163903

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Re: An honest test - it shows competitors are not too bad
In reply to MatsP, 5 months ago

MatsP wrote:

MatsP wrote:

Yes the test showed that the original design is the best - but it also showed that at least two of the competitors aren't quite as bad as you could suspect. So if this was a marketing attempt- which some of the posters in this thread seem to believe - it may have the opposite effect. It seems that at least some of the competitors are good enough to be considered, regarding the lower price. So I really think this was an honest test. Thanks to the Op for that.

If people look at my tests and conclude that one of the non-Metabones products offers good value for the money, and purchase accordingly, then I'm perfectly OK with that. I'd call that an informed buying decision, which is something I strongly encourage.

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Brian Caldwell

And maybe the buyer of a cheap variety after having played with it for a while finds that this is a real good idea and wants the real thing!

Well if the Metabones is superior when tested. I have no problem with that but it gets up my nose to insinuate that the other Chinese focal reducers are rip-offs or clones.  As far as I can determine the other Chinese varieties are completely different designs as at least Metabones and Zhongyi publish their lens design layout.  Brian of course can confirm this.

If there is a difference in performance shown then so be it, but it is more probably associated with the difference in design rather than the easy cheap shot: "low, cheap, rip off, clone quality".  As far as I know the Metabones product is made in China as well.  I might be corrected in this assumption.

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zuikowesty
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Re: OM lenses can use EF focal reducers
In reply to Sierra Dave, 5 months ago

Sierra Dave wrote:

zuikowesty wrote:

Kameraphil wrote:

I'm guessing: when there is a large number of users, there will be an adapter (as it needs to sell).

Although I'm originally an OM film cameras users, most of the legacy lenses I'm now using with my Micro 4/3 are Nikon. I don't know if this is the case with other users.

OM lenses are a dying breed because there are no current SLRs to support them. I'm very sorry to say.

Apparently those who paid very good money for my OM lenses don't know that...

But I imagine there is a bit more involved in making an optical adapter than just a mount adapter.

Nope, that's pretty much the extent of it.

But if the optics used are the same in each, it shouldn't take much to correct for flange distance, etc.

OM lenses are still the most compact and high quality available, and are a natural fit for MFT as a result.

Most compact? They'll certainly be larger than any comparable native lenses.

I meant more compact than other 35mm lenses. But in some cases the OM lenses with adapter are not much larger than MZ lenses - 85/2 is an example compared with 75/1.8.

In any case, you can easily get the Canon EF version, plus a $10 EF-OM adapter to use your OM lenses. I daresay most OM lenses that get used today are on Canon EF mount bodies.

I hadn't considered that option, thanks. I expect my OM 85/2 and 21/3.5 recently sold are probably being used on a Canon body. I don't mind, as the demand for these great lenses allowed me to buy my E-M5!

As far as the metabones adapter goes, at the price, it would be a long time before I could justify it. Uses for MF lenses are limited for me, as part of the reason I stopped shooting OMs was my increasing difficult with MF. The focus assist in MFT bodies is great, but still only useful with stationary subjects, for me at least.

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