which lens should I get now?

Started Jul 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
Miki Nemeth
Miki Nemeth Senior Member • Posts: 1,440
Metabones Speed Booster FD - FX support both FD and Nikon F mount lenses.

tspin wrote:

canon fd 50mm/f1.8 with an adapter. it worked and I will certainly will have a lot of fun. I am new to photography and want to learn from the basic to start with all manual. I also want to keep the cost low. Which manual prime lens should I get next?

Hi T,

I am in a similar situation: I am a progressing beginner, a manual focus convert, have FD lenses to maintain full-frame (A7 family) compatibility, and have a Fujifilm camera, too. I've found great, eye-opening ideas and hints from these discussions http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53930203 and http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53836687 (Photoreddi, Redlion, TThorne and a number of others are really knowledgeable and experienced photographers; the Sony forum is visited by herds of excellent manual focus virtuosos, too).

I received my Metabones FD - FX Speed Booster two days ago, and I am in the process of evaluating. I'll definitely compile a short review when I am done with my experimenting. Here are a couple of thoughts that might be interesting to you either. I have two complementary FD - FX adapters: (1) a focal reducing speed booster and (2) a regular (metal tube) adapter. This way, I can use each of my (FD and Nikon) prime lenses with two fields of views (as if each lens had two focal lengths) depending on which adapter I mount. The excellent XF 27mm/f2.8 pancake was recommended here, too: if you are lucky you can get one for around 300 euros on ebay.de; on the other hand, a decent FD 28/f2.8 would be only a tenth of the price of the XF 27 and available abundantly. Even the FD 28/f2 would be only half of a used XF 27. Of course an old FD 28 cannot replace the brilliant XF 27 pancake, nevertheless. Therefore, with the speed booster I could use the FD 28/f2.8 as a 28mm/f2.8 lens, with the regular adapter as a 42mm/f4 lens on my X-A1. Remember, that the XF27/f2.8 is equivalent to a 40.5mm/f4 lens on a full frame body).

With the speed booster I can use my FD 15mm as 15mm/f2.8, with a regular FD-FX adapter as a 22.5mm/f4 on my X-A1

Since you have started with an FD lens, I'd stay with FD. I was not experienced enough, when several months ago I started buying randomly lenses with different mounts (FD, AI, OM, MD, PENF), all excellent, though. If I started again, I'd stick with one mount. There is an extra advantage of the FD mount: with an inexpensive (but very well build) Nikon F - FD adapter all aperture-ringed Nikon lenses can be adapted, too. Yesterday I tested my Nikon AIS 180mm/f2.8 behemoth on the FD - FX speed booster, and it worked excellently.

The expensive FD-FX speed booster can be used with Nikon F (AI, AIS, AF-S D) mount lenses either. This way I can use my Nikon AIS 180mm with the speed booster as a 180mm/f2.8 and with a regular adapter as a 270mm/f4 on my X-A1.

Where is the catch? The high quality, perfectly working Metabones Speed Booster is not cheap; on the other hand, you can use it with all your Nikon and FD lenses. My experience is that the fast (f1.2, f1.4, f2) legacy prime lenses tend to be not as sharp as modern lenses when the lens is used wide open. My initial impression is that the wide-open softness is not mitigated by the Speed Booster; you should live with this wide-open softness; or, avoid buying fast legacy lenses with wider aperture than f2.8. Lastly, you'd better be happy with manual focusing with these legacy lenses; you cannot switch to auto-focus. Even a number of professional wedding photographers earn their daily bread with manual focusing, though.

I am a happy Fujifilm user, not whining about the lack of feature, on the other hand I am a bad Fujifilm customer, since I do not buy native X lenses (at least not until I am happy with manual focusing my legacy lenses). My strategy (at least today) is to maintain a single lens collection and use them on my mirrorless camera bodies whichever brings the future.

Take care, Miki

 Miki Nemeth's gear list:Miki Nemeth's gear list
Sony a5100 Sony a9 Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS +8 more
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