Fujifilm X-A1 with Metabones FD-FX Speed Booster and Canon FD 50mm/f1.8

Started Jul 26, 2014 | User reviews thread
Miki Nemeth
OP Miki Nemeth Senior Member • Posts: 1,446
X-mount prime lenses vs Nikon AF-D lenses with Speed Booster and tilt-shift adapter

Zagato wrote:

thanks for posting these amazing shots. I'm absolutely stunned about the fantastic resolution and it seems that the Speedbooster does not diminish IQ at all.

Hi Michael, Thank you for the words. I am just experimenting as a progressing learner. I try to squeeze out the maximum of my existing gear, and improve/extend my set in a direction to have fun as much as possible.

It's so great that we have this public forum to discuss our practices and thoughts.

Your video surprised me, tack sharp and whoever states that Fuji cannot produce decent videos should have a look at your clip. By the way what aperture setting do you use in order to attain such great depth of field?

I used f16 on my FD 50mm on this sunny day for the video and time lapse. Actually, a fellow forum member expressed his derogative remarks about the FD 50mm, which were not in sync with my prior experiences; therefore, I gave the FD 50mm a lot of possibilities to deliver on that Sunday, and I think I was right: the Canon FD 50mm/f1.8 is a perfect lens on a Fujifilm camera with the Speed Booster; both its build quality, size and performance are decent.

After I read what the reviewer wrote http://dedpxl.com/fuji-x-t1-review-yep-its-a-fuji/ "The Fuji can shoot video but it is not a great video camera. Oh how I wish it was. Oh how I wish it was. Oh how I wish. It would have saved me from buying a full Panasonic kit. That post is coming up in my next installment of moving to motion." I got really interested in watching and learning why he is that utterly unhappy. I do not really care reviewers, and I keep using my X-A1 for videos either; my friends and family loves these videos, too. No way I'd buy an additional/separate system just for video, especially for travelling/holiday/workshops/hiking.

Here are a couple of new photography things/ideas/projects that I've been recently thinking of doing in the near future:

After I saw the photos of Conrad567 and TriniArt2 http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51269885 and http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51264132 I am thinking of buying a Kipon NIK-FX tilt-shift adapter; an important advantage of Fujifilm vs full-frame cameras that you can use reasonably priced full-frame Nikon AF-D lenses as tilt-shift lenses on Fujifilm cameras as well: this is an inherent advantage that comes from the smaller sensor size.

The other thing I am planning to experiment with are Lensbaby Sweet 35 and EDGE 80 along with my Speed Booster. This again, of course, requires a lot of practicing with manual focusing.

Can I avoid manual focusing completely? If I want to do tilt-shift and lensbaby photography, manual focusing is the only option, as well as videographers use manual focusing and recommend to stay away from auto focus as much as possible.

Since I am a manual focus convert, a prime lens addict/user as well as owner of the brilliant Metabones Speed Booster (following the hints from our very own fellow, Redlion, on the forum), here is my lens strategy: Fujinon XF vs full-frame Nikkor AF-D lenses. I picked Nikkor AF-D lenses as example since they are modern (still in production) lenses and reputed and assumed to deliver the performance (nearly) as great as Fujinon. In practice, I use mostly Canon FD lenses, though. The definitive advantage of all Fujinon lenses is autofocus; this overview is for photographers who prefer manually focusing vs autofocus. If a casual reader of this overview cannot live without auto-focus, move on and stop reading any further. This overview compares a system of a Fujifilm camera with five X-mount prime lenses vs a Fujifilm camera with a Metabones Speed Booster and a collection of five full-frame Nikkor AF-D lenses.

When I compare a speed-boosted full-frame lens vs a native APS-C lens, both the focal length and the aperture value should be multiplied with 0.71 to get (near) equivalent field of view (FoV) and depth of field (DoF): "a 35/1.0 lens (from 50/1.4 + Speed Booster) will always have shallower depth-of-field than a straight 35/1.4 lens at any given distance" from http://www.metabones.com/article/of/faq My practical experience with my Speed Booster is in sync with what Metabones advertise; the Speed Booster really works and shines both with my Canon FD and Nikon AI/AF-D lenses.

(1) Fujinon XF 56mm/f1.2 (Filter size 62mm, dimensions 73.2 x 69.7mm, weight 405g, ebay price 900 EUR) vs Nikon AF-D 85mm/f1.8 (Filter size 62mm, dimensions 71.5mm x 58.5mm, weight 365.5g, ebay price 300 EUR) or Nikon AF-D 85mm/1.4 (Filter size 77mm, dimensions 79mm x 74mm, weight 524g, ebay price 700 EUR)

The XF 55/f1.2 (an APS lens) corresponds to a full-frame 84mm/f1.8 lens; therefore, a speed-boosted full-frame 85mm/f1.8 gives (near) equivalent FoV and DoF, the 85mm/f1.4 has equivalent FoV but shallower DoF than the XF 55mm. The physical dimensions and weight of the full-frame Nikon AF-D 85mm/f1.8 and the XF 55mm lenses are practically the same; the Speed Booster gives 27mm and 200g more bulk to the Nikon lens when mounted on a Fujifilm camera, though.

What are then the advantages of using a Nikon 85mm instead of the XF 55mm? The Nikon AF-D lenses

  • can be natively used on any Nikon full frame cameras, too, excellent autofocus included,
  • can be adapted on any Canon EOS cameras (no AF, though),
  • can be adapted on the emerging Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras as full-frame lenses,
  • can be adapted on any Fujifilm, Sony or micro 4/3 mirrorless cameras exploiting the brilliant focus peaking features of them,
  • can be used on any Fujifilm, Sony or micro 4/3 mirrorless as tiltable and shiftable lenses with the Kipon tilt-shift adapters,
  • when mounted on a Fujifilm camera with a regular NIK-FX adapter, they can be used as 127.5mm (f2.8 or f2, respectively) lenses,
  • can be used not only with the NIX-FX Speed Boosters but with the FD-FX Speed Booster as well with the AI-FD adapter ring.

(2) Fujinon XF 35/f1.4 (filter size 52mm, dimensions 65 x 50.4mm, weight 187g, ebay price 400 EUR) vs Nikon AF-D 50mm/f1.8 (filter size 52mm, dimension 63.5 x 39mm, weight 157g, ebay price 80 EUR)

Instead of the plasticy AF-D 50mm, you can buy a beautiful AI version for 60 EUR. For 100 EUR you can buy an AI 50mm/f1.4 (filter size 52mm, weight 255g).

(3) Fujifilm XF 23mm/f1.4 (Filter size 62mm, dimensions 72 x 63mm, weight 300g, ebay price 700 EUR) vs Nikon AF-D 35/f2 (filter thread 52mm, dimensions 63.5 x 43.5mm, weight 200g, ebay price 180 EUR) Or, you may prefer the older style (no plasticy, more metal) Nikon AI 35/f2 (filter thread 52mm, 63 x 51mm, weight 283g, ebay price 160 EUR).

(4) Fujifilm XF 14mm/f2.8 (Filter size 58mm, dimensions 65 x 58.4mm, weight 235g, ebay price 650 EUR) vs Nikon AF-D 20mm/f2.8 (filter size 62mm, dimensions 69 x 54mm, weight 257g, ebay price 300 EUR)

Since the tilt-shift adapter cannot be used with XF lenses, the AF-D 20mm is great option to give a full-frame FoV of 30mm with the Kipon tilt-shift adapter.

(5) Rokinon/Samyang/Walimex 8mm/f2.8 fisheye with FX mount (dimensions 60 x 55.8 mm, weight 217g, ebay price 220 EUR) vs Nikon AF-D 16mm/f2.8 fisheye (dimensions 63 x 57.5mm, weight 293g, ebay price 500 EUR)

Interestingly, the full-frame Nikon 16mm is not significantly larger than the Samyang 8mm, but it's more expensive. Again, an extra advantage of the Nikon 16mm is that it can be used with the Kipon tilt-shift adapter as a 24mm, with the tendency to add curves here and there.

If I calculated correctly, a nice collection of the five X-mount prime lenses would total to 2870 EUR. The Nikon AF-D lens collection would be 1360 EUR, then add the 450 EUR price of the Speed Booster, and the 300 EUR for the Kipon AI-FX tilt-shift adapter totaling to 2110 EUR.

Michael, I shared these ideas with you trying to put into a perspective that I am up to recently. If you find any flaw in this speculation, do not hesitate to disagree.

Environmental group shot with the tiny full-frame FD 50mm/f1.8 lens (on Speed Booster) trying to use a spectacular building in Budapest as a background canvas and the trees as natural framing.

A sky-scape taken with my first Nikon AF-D lens: the Nikkor AF 50mm/f1.8D on Speed Booster

Take care and have fun, Miki

 Miki Nemeth's gear list:Miki Nemeth's gear list
Sony a5100 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS +6 more
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