Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

Started Jul 12, 2013 | Discussions
ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses
23

I own an FD Lens Turbo (LT) and have access to a Canon EF Speed Booster (SB). Both can take M42 lenses using appropriate adapters (chipped for the EF), which I also have. So, I spent a day doing quite a few formal & informal comparison tests using my NEX-7 with the exact same lens on either SB or LT. Here's a quick summary of my (preliminary) findings:

  • Both SB & LT are very usable as intended with most lenses, even wide open.
  • Both SB & LT are well made. LT doesn't have a tripod foot. As I noted in a different post, the FD LT did require some FL/FDn lenses to have their aperture stop-down pin/tab shaved to fit... but this seems to be caused by the complete lack of standardization of the length of the pin/tab, and shaving the exceptionally long ones appears to be a harmless fix.
  • The difference between the SB's 0.71X and LT's 0.726X is surprisingly noticeable, and might actually be significant to the designs, if not significant in most photo-taking circumstances.
  • Both the SB & LT give good sharpness, but they are different. More often than not, the LT resolves slightly finer detail, but the SB gives slightly higher microcontrast, but it varies.
  • The LT is known to suffer a central "blue spot" (sensor reflection) under certain circumstances. However, it's very dependent on which lens is being used -- as is the amount of flare seen. The Canon FDn 35mm f/2 is particularly bad, but none of the M42 lenses tested made either problem apparent.
  • The SB shows unacceptably dark corners and edges with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L. Vignetting was fairly strong using the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 (version 1) on either SB or LT. However, even the strong corner shading with the Vivitar was not particularly obtrusive, and the other M42 lenses were all ok on both the SB and LT.

The lenses I tested were:

  • 12mm f/8 Spiratone fisheye
  • 24mm f/2.8 Spiratone
  • 35mm f/2 SMC Takumar
  • 50mm f/1.4 SMC Takumar
  • 55mm f/1.4 Mamiya/Sekor
  • 100mm f/4 SMC Takumar
  • 135mm f/1.8 Spiratone
  • 70-210mm f/3.5 Vivitar Series 1
  • 300mm f/5.6 Spiratone Mirror Lens

I consider all of the above to be capable of good image quality, except the 12mm, which has the very sever CA that most fisheyes share. As a resolution test, I printed multiple small test targets and shot them from a fixed position with all the lenses. Cropping to the central target at native resolution, the left side of each image shown here is using the SB, right is LT. For example, the 24mm f/2.8 at f/2.8 gives:

24mm f/2.8 Spiratone on SB (left), LT (right)

The 35mm f/2 at f/2 gives:

35mm f/2 SMC Takumar on SB (left), LT (right)

The 50mm f/1.4 wide open gives:

50mm f/1.4 SMC Takumar on SB (left), LT (right)

Surprisingly, all the above lenses were usable wide open on both the SB and LT, although the 12mm's massive CA would have to be corrected (as always). Except for the  300mm mirror, all lenses showed good peaking in the EVF in magnified view; most even show peaking in the maximum magnification view.

Here's a couple of similar shots with the 100mm, SB & LT:

100mm f/4 SMC Takumar on SB

100mm f/4 Takumar on LT

Here's a couple with the Vivitar zoom in macro mode:

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 on SB

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 on LT

So, overall, both the SB and LT are darned useful.

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unicorn11
unicorn11 Junior Member • Posts: 49
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

Thanks you for the comparison

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quezra Veteran Member • Posts: 3,915
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

ProfHankD wrote:

The LT is known to suffer a central "blue spot" (sensor reflection) under certain circumstances. However, it's very dependent on which lens is being used -- as is the amount of flare seen. The Canon FDn 35mm f/2 is particularly bad, but none of the M42 lenses tested made either problem apparent.
...
  • 12mm f/8 Spiratone fisheye
  • 24mm f/2.8 Spiratone
  • 35mm f/2 SMC Takumar
  • 50mm f/1.4 SMC Takumar
  • 55mm f/1.4 Mamiya/Sekor
  • 100mm f/4 SMC Takumar
  • 135mm f/1.8 Spiratone
  • 70-210mm f/3.5 Vivitar Series 1
  • 300mm f/5.6 Spiratone Mirror Lens

Thanks for this really helpful review. However, these are all third-party lenses - do you have any original Canon FD samples?  Particularly keen on seeing your  FDn35/2 since I've just ordered this lens along with a Lens Turbo :X

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boardsy Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

quezra wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

The LT is known to suffer a central "blue spot" (sensor reflection) under certain circumstances. However, it's very dependent on which lens is being used -- as is the amount of flare seen. The Canon FDn 35mm f/2 is particularly bad, but none of the M42 lenses tested made either problem apparent.
...

  • 12mm f/8 Spiratone fisheye
  • 24mm f/2.8 Spiratone
  • 35mm f/2 SMC Takumar
  • 50mm f/1.4 SMC Takumar
  • 55mm f/1.4 Mamiya/Sekor
  • 100mm f/4 SMC Takumar
  • 135mm f/1.8 Spiratone
  • 70-210mm f/3.5 Vivitar Series 1
  • 300mm f/5.6 Spiratone Mirror Lens

Thanks for this really helpful review. However, these are all third-party lenses - do you have any original Canon FD samples? Particularly keen on seeing your FDn35/2 since I've just ordered this lens along with a Lens Turbo :X

Me too, as my FDn 35/2 is my most-used lens, but aside from fantastic sharpness, mainly for its normal-ish FOV, so with the SB/LT I might go back to the great 50/1.4. 35/2 is already flare-prone so I can imagine that exacerbated by the LT:

50/1.4:

But thanks Prof for a great test - shows the very slight sharpness margin for the LT. Not sure I see the SB micro-contrast in these, but it's a subtle property. I might just go for the cheaper LT.

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ProfHankD
OP ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Why no Canon FDn 35mm f/2 here?
1

quezra wrote:

Thanks for this really helpful review. However, these are all third-party lenses - do you have any original Canon FD samples?

You don't understand: FD lenses cannot mount on the SB. The only way to do a direct comparison is with lenses that can adapt to both EF and FD mounts, which mostly means M42.

The Takumars and Mamiya/Sekor lens are not third party in M42. Spiratone, which certainly is a third party, also happens to have been a company bent on producing exotic lenses -- things like a 12mm fisheye, 135mm f/1.8, or 300mm f/5.6 mirror simply were not available from any of the M42 camera makers... and anything close cost a fortune so I don't have them. There were good 24mm lenses made by M42 camera makers, but they were, and still are, pricey; the Spiratone 24mm is actually quite respectable, and is actually the lens I usually use with my tilt adapter. As for the Vivitar, well, that's the famous Series 1 zoom -- the flagship for Vivitar trying to convince the world that they can make serious lenses, as http://www.robertstech.com/vivitar.htm explains; although it was originally quite expensive, it also was very common, and I got mine for about $30.

Particularly keen on seeing your FDn35/2 since I've just ordered this lens along with a Lens Turbo :X

Well, the bad news is that the Canon FDn 35mm f/2 definitely likes to flare. Overall, I don't think it's far off from the image quality of my other good, fast ,35mm lenses (the SMC Takumar f/2 and a Vivitar f/1.9; it blows away my Fujian f/1.7), and it is pretty good on a glassless adapter, but on LT its natural tendency to flare becomes really problematic. I brought it with me on a trip to Turkey and really wished I had brought the Tak instead. I posted a couple of images from the FDn on the LT at http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51759505 -- it is a very capable lens on LT until you point it at the sun, and near the sun I was always shooting with one hand carefully held just out of frame to block the flare. I didn't bring a shade for it, but for this lens you always should!

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Murx Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

Very good -

finally someone comes up with an actual comparison - nice !
Question: What would be the best 'adapter-suitable' standard ?

Even though i don't like the LT on my FD 35/2 (or the 50/1.2), i like it quite a bit on my bog standard FD 50/1.8. I like it so much that i ordered another one - this time in C/Y mount (for a distagon 28/2.8). The reason is that there appears to be no adapter for C/Y to FD. Before i invest much more in LT adapters - is there a good "in-between" standard from to which you can adapt to the LT ??

quezra Veteran Member • Posts: 3,915
Re: Why no Canon FDn 35mm f/2 here?

ProfHankD wrote:

quezra wrote:

Thanks for this really helpful review. However, these are all third-party lenses - do you have any original Canon FD samples?

You don't understand: FD lenses cannot mount on the SB. The only way to do a direct comparison is with lenses that can adapt to both EF and FD mounts, which mostly means M42.

You're right, I wasn't thinking (yes I did know that FD lenses become macro lenses on EF mount cameras).  But I wouldn't mind seeing some SB samples on their own In case you've posted them somewhere and I missed them...

Particularly keen on seeing your FDn35/2 since I've just ordered this lens along with a Lens Turbo :X

Well, the bad news is that the Canon FDn 35mm f/2 definitely likes to flare. Overall, I don't think it's far off from the image quality of my other good, fast ,35mm lenses (the SMC Takumar f/2 and a Vivitar f/1.9; it blows away my Fujian f/1.7), and it is pretty good on a glassless adapter, but on LT its natural tendency to flare becomes really problematic. I brought it with me on a trip to Turkey and really wished I had brought the Tak instead. I posted a couple of images from the FDn on the LT at http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51759505 -- it is a very capable lens on LT until you point it at the sun, and near the sun I was always shooting with one hand carefully held just out of frame to block the flare. I didn't bring a shade for it, but for this lens you always should!

Ok, well I do know from my previous run with one that the FDn 35/2 is a fantastic lens in its own right so not worried about the purchase per se.  I have 3 other FD/FL lenses and mostly shoot indoors (thanks to having no life with an infant) so I guess the flare issue won't be too big a deal for that kind of shooting.  I might add the FDn 50/1.4 to my collection again (passed the first to my brother) since it such a fantastic piece of glass.

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ProfHankD
OP ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Is there one SB/LT to which all mounts adapt?
1

Murx wrote:

Even though i don't like the LT on my FD 35/2 (or the 50/1.2), i like it quite a bit on my bog standard FD 50/1.8.

I have to admit that I've generally been far less impressed by most Canon FD/FDn glass than is common in this forum -- especially the 50mm f/1.8 versions and FDn 50mm f/1.4. However, I do think the FDn 35mm f/2 is a very good lens, it just happens to have flare issues that make it touchy on the LT. You're right that the normally pretty bad 50mm f/1.8s look surprisingly good on the LT; more importantly, the often undervalued FL 55mm f/1.2 performs beautifully on the LT. My FD SSC 24mm f/2.8, which by itself is near perfect, wasn't awesome on the LT.

If you think about it, the lens characteristics that work best on an APS-C crop are not the same as what will work best using full-frame or a perfect focal reducer. Beyond that, the flaws in any real focal reducer can partially compensate for or worsen those of a base lens. Thus, detailed IQ on LT is impossible to know from APS-C crop lens tests.

I like it so much that i ordered another one - this time in C/Y mount (for a distagon 28/2.8). The reason is that there appears to be no adapter for C/Y to FD. Before i invest much more in LT adapters - is there a good "in-between" standard from to which you can adapt to the LT ??

Well, I got the FD LT partly because of the FL 55mm f/1.2, but also because it's a short mount and others should be adaptable to it. The M42->FD adapters are also particularly nice. However, I have a lot of Minolta SR/MC/MD and Sony A-mount lenses (and a few Kiev 10/15 mount) for which FD adapters don't seem to be available.

My plan is to wait a little, for price drops and to see if the reducer optics improve, and then get one for SR/MC/MD lenses. Like FD, MC mount is quite short and takes M42 adapters. I'm hoping that I can 3D print custom adapters for the rest of my lenses to go to either FD or MC. I have had some luck using a MakerGear M2 to make flanges for FD, A-mount, screw threads as fine as 0.75mm pitch, and Kiev 10/15 mount....

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quezra Veteran Member • Posts: 3,915
Re: Is there one SB/LT to which all mounts adapt?

ProfHankD wrote:

I have to admit that I've generally been far less impressed by most Canon FD/FDn glass than is common in this forum -- especially the 50mm f/1.8 versions and FDn 50mm f/1.4. However, I do think the FDn 35mm f/2 is a very good lens, it just happens to have flare issues that make it touchy on the LT. You're right that the normally pretty bad 50mm f/1.8s look surprisingly good on the LT; more importantly, the often undervalued FL 55mm f/1.2 performs beautifully on the LT. My FD SSC 24mm f/2.8, which by itself is near perfect, wasn't awesome on the LT.

Heh you have literally rattled off all the FD lenses I have been through (along with FDn 28/2 and FL 85/1.8).  I didn't care for the 85/1.8 but I've never really put it through the paces, I thought FDn 28/2 was superb.  I haven't played much with the f2.8 versions of them, other than the FD 24/2.8 (which the 28/2 outshone so I ended up not using very much; and sold after I got the Sigma 19).  The FL 55/1.2 is the lens I'm most eager to put together with the SB which makes me really excited to hear you saying nice things about it.

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boardsy Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: Is there one SB/LT to which all mounts adapt?

ProfHankD wrote:

Murx wrote:

Even though i don't like the LT on my FD 35/2 (or the 50/1.2), i like it quite a bit on my bog standard FD 50/1.8.

You're right that the normally pretty bad 50mm f/1.8s look surprisingly good on the LT; more importantly, the often undervalued FL 55mm f/1.2 performs beautifully on the LT. My FD SSC 24mm f/2.8, which by itself is near perfect, wasn't awesome on the LT.

Can you elaborate on what was wrong with the 24/2.8 on the LT? My FDn version of this is great, and assumed it would be great on the LT as well. Do longer focal lengths fare better - how about 100mm?

Now the FDn 50/1.8 is far from pretty bad - it's super-sharp around f5.6-8, but is poorly coated and weak wide open. But the great 50/1.4:

...is up there with the 35/2, and should be fantastic on the LT?!

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Murx Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Is there one SB/LT to which all mounts adapt?

I have a nFD100/2.8 (which i really like a lot on a fotodiox adapter) - tried it on the LT

I like it better without the LT - but YMMV. It is probably like Hank said - you can't simply conclude from APS-C lens to LT lens. Makes sense i guess. In same ways, if you attach the LT you have a new lens -> and this can work out both ways.

Tastybread Regular Member • Posts: 107
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

Thanks for doing this comparison. I was apprehensive about the lens turbo because of the blue dot, but if you're telling I've it only effects a few lenses, then that's music to my ears. Is there a wide aat hatless that performs exceptionally welWilhelmina paired with the lens turbo?

Keit ll Veteran Member • Posts: 4,200
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

Just for comparison to some of the images posted above here is a photo taken recently of some day lilies.

Cropped & PP'd Day lilies

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Keith C

boardsy Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: Is there one SB/LT to which all mounts adapt?

Murx wrote:

I have a nFD100/2.8 (which i really like a lot on a fotodiox adapter) - tried it on the LT

I like it better without the LT - but YMMV. It is probably like Hank said - you can't simply conclude from APS-C lens to LT lens. Makes sense i guess. In same ways, if you attach the LT you have a new lens -> and this can work out both ways.

Why did you like the 100/2.8 better without the LT? Because you prefer the APS-C crop FOV, or something about it on LT doesn't work well?

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Murx Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Is there one SB/LT to which all mounts adapt?

The 100/2.8 on the fotodiox is very sharp in the center - even 'wide' open. And edge sharp a f5.6 or so. That is gone with the LT. (Starts to get better with f4.0). For this kind of lens i want rather a center sharp 100/2.8 than a non-sharp 70/2.0 ..

Best advice is: Try to loan a LT and try all your lenses. Even the ones you are not fond of (!) If you like one and if you like the corresponding change (in my case going from a mediocre 50/1.8 nFD to a pretty amazing - and even small - 32/1.3) - buy one.

kuuan Veteran Member • Posts: 3,649
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

thank you very much for this Professor

Having the LT to one and the SB on the other side of the test chart pics is great! However I have one request: Could you please make bigger files of those available? Or is it only me who can see only very small pics which make any evaluation impossible?

nevertheless you own conclusions are very interesting, thank you again

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santiclaws Senior Member • Posts: 1,104
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

kuuan wrote:

However I have one request: Could you please make bigger files of those available? Or is it only me who can see only very small pics which make any evaluation impossible?

nevertheless you own conclusions are very interesting, thank you again

Click on the photo or on the "original size" link underneath for a bigger photo.

EDIT: Never mind, I guess you mean the test charts. Yep, those only show up small. The others are larger.

ProfHankD
OP ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses

kuuan wrote:

Could you please make bigger files of those available? Or is it only me who can see only very small pics which make any evaluation impossible?

I kept the distance constant rather than the size of the chart in the image. However, the test chart images are 1:! actual pixels as captured, which is why longer focal lengths give bigger charts. No matter. The point is that there should be pixel-level detail in all of them. Look at edges and thin lines. There are exceptions, but the LT images seem to have slightly finer detail while the SB ones usually have slightly higher contrast.

I actually shot raw tests for all the fixed-focal-length lenses at all apertures, which gives one heck of a lot of data. I might put all of them in a real technical publication. The few images I posted are just some wide-open jpegs to give a feel for the basis for my (preliminary) analysis.

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little al Regular Member • Posts: 283
Re: Speed Booster vs. Lens Turbo -- with the same lenses
3

Hello ProfHankD,

Just want to say I love to read your posts - the information is so clearly presented.  Thanks for the generous sharing of your knowledge and observations.

Cheers

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Murx Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Is there one SB/LT to which all mounts adapt?

ProfHankD wrote:


My plan is to wait a little, for price drops and to see if the reducer optics improve, and then get one for SR/MC/MD lenses. Like FD, MC mount is quite short and takes M42 adapters. I'm hoping that I can 3D print custom adapters for the rest of my lenses to go to either FD or MC. I have had some luck using a MakerGear M2 to make flanges for FD, A-mount, screw threads as fine as 0.75mm pitch, and Kiev 10/15 mount....

Sounds like a plan (!)

Here is a little quiz : The following are with the LT on the nFD 50/18, with and without the LT, @1.8 and @5.6. Theoretically that gives 32mm/f1.3, 32mm/f4.0, 50mm/f1.8, 50mm/f5.6.

The quiz is - you have to guess which of these center crops  is with the LT and which is not ..

(and the point of the quiz is to show off, how good center sharpness is with 32mm/f1.3)

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