Focal Reducer Question

Started Apr 11, 2014 | Discussions
Digitalize
Digitalize Regular Member • Posts: 252
Focal Reducer Question

I saw on another thread, talk of a focal reducer for e-mount cameras.  I have a a6000 on order, and was wondering if these things really are that great?  Manual focus only?  Can anyone recommend a a-mount to e-mount focal reducer?  I have a few Minolta lens that might be fun to try on the a6000 when I get it.

Dennis

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Sony a6000
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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Focal Reducer Question

I have MB SB, which is quite expensive at retail. If you are lucky enough to find one on CL or at a low price, it can help make things more interesting. However, I was looking at it primarily for my Sony 135/2.8 STF which is a wonderful lens but not great FOV on APSc for portraits limiting its use. However, since my collection is primarily A-mount, most lenses "double" (50/1.4 also works as a 35/1, 24-50/4 also works as 17-35/2.8, 35-70/4 as 25-50/2.8, 70-210/4 as 50-150/2.8, 135/2.8 STF as 95/2 STF...). Doesn't work on Minolta 200/2.8 though which would have been 140/2... well it does but with some vignetting.

The IQ is pretty good out of SB. I was wary of losing in the corners (especially since the STF is fabulous corner to corner) but SB does quite well.

But, with these AF lenses, the aperture control is an approximation (not an issue with STF though as I use it mostly wide open or a stop down, sometimes via t-stop ring). And older Minoltas also had a pathetic MF ring (non existent at the very front of the lens).

I would recommend it if you have specific use in mind and can justify whatever price you might pay for it.

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
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SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 6,447
Re: Focal Reducer Question

For the Minolta lenses they would be MF only. For Canon EF lenses, Metabones has a focal reducer adapter that enables EXIF, AF, and IS. The AF is slow, but it does work.

-- hide signature --

A7 with kit lens and a number of legacy lenses (mostly Canon FD)

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Digitalize
OP Digitalize Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Focal Reducer Question

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I have MB SB, which is quite expensive at retail. If you are lucky enough to find one on CL or at a low price, it can help make things more interesting. However, I was looking at it primarily for my Sony 135/2.8 STF which is a wonderful lens but not great FOV on APSc for portraits limiting its use. However, since my collection is primarily A-mount, most lenses "double" (50/1.4 also works as a 35/1, 24-50/4 also works as 17-35/2.8, 35-70/4 as 25-50/2.8, 70-210/4 as 50-150/2.8, 135/2.8 STF as 95/2 STF...). Doesn't work on Minolta 200/2.8 though which would have been 140/2... well it does but with some vignetting.

The IQ is pretty good out of SB. I was wary of losing in the corners (especially since the STF is fabulous corner to corner) but SB does quite well.

But, with these AF lenses, the aperture control is an approximation (not an issue with STF though as I use it mostly wide open or a stop down, sometimes via t-stop ring). And older Minoltas also had a pathetic MF ring (non existent at the very front of the lens).

I would recommend it if you have specific use in mind and can justify whatever price you might pay for it.

Thanks for all the info.  Someone had mentioned reducers on ebay for $100. I wonder if they would be OK?  Maybe.

I have a 17 to 35 Minolta lens that I thought would maybe give me a really wide angle on the a6000.

Dennis

 Digitalize's gear list:Digitalize's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Sony a99 II Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM
Digitalize
OP Digitalize Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Focal Reducer Question

SQLGuy wrote:

For the Minolta lenses they would be MF only. For Canon EF lenses, Metabones has a focal reducer adapter that enables EXIF, AF, and IS. The AF is slow, but it does work.

Thanks for the info!

 Digitalize's gear list:Digitalize's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Sony a99 II Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM
osv Veteran Member • Posts: 9,970
Re: Focal Reducer Question

it would be a fun idea for, say, portraits or something, where the best possible resolution isn't always a priority.

if resolution and distortion are important, you may want to proceed with caution:

"Basically, you're sacrificing some image quality at the center and mid-center of your image in order to gain the wider field of view. And you can forget about getting sharp corners. If corner-to-corner sharpness is what you're after, this adapter is simply not going to work for your needs. It's also not a good one for architectural work—the adapter introduces a noticeable amount of barrel distortion to your images. Our Nikkor test showed only 0.6 percent on the D800, but exhibited a noticeable 1.8 percent when paired with the Lens Turbo and the NEX-5N."

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420102,00.asp

-- hide signature --

dan

bigley Ling Veteran Member • Posts: 4,428
Re: Focal Reducer Question

osv wrote:

it would be a fun idea for, say, portraits or something, where the best possible resolution isn't always a priority.

if resolution and distortion are important, you may want to proceed with caution:

"Basically, you're sacrificing some image quality at the center and mid-center of your image in order to gain the wider field of view. And you can forget about getting sharp corners. If corner-to-corner sharpness is what you're after, this adapter is simply not going to work for your needs. It's also not a good one for architectural work—the adapter introduces a noticeable amount of barrel distortion to your images. Our Nikkor test showed only 0.6 percent on the D800, but exhibited a noticeable 1.8 percent when paired with the Lens Turbo and the NEX-5N."

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420102,00.asp

not necessarily true about sacrificing quality at the center of the frame as the impact is being reduced onto a smaller focal plane, the image will actually become sharper rather than  softer.

When the SB is paired with the Canon 17-40 or the 24-105, the sharpness over the entire frame wide open is good and no worst than when using on a full frame Canon without an adapter.

The pcmag article you link to is for the Mitakon focus reducer which has a different lens element design compared to the Metabones speed booster. It is well know that the Mitakon version is much cheaper, but does not have as good corner performance as the Metabones more expensive version. There is also the blue spot or flar issue that can occur in certain shooting scenarios which is non existant on the Metabones Speed booster. Guess you get for what you pay for.

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Focal Reducer Question

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I have MB SB, which is quite expensive at retail. If you are lucky enough to find one on CL or at a low price, it can help make things more interesting. However, I was looking at it primarily for my Sony 135/2.8 STF which is a wonderful lens but not great FOV on APSc for portraits limiting its use. However, since my collection is primarily A-mount, most lenses "double" (50/1.4 also works as a 35/1, 24-50/4 also works as 17-35/2.8, 35-70/4 as 25-50/2.8, 70-210/4 as 50-150/2.8, 135/2.8 STF as 95/2 STF...). Doesn't work on Minolta 200/2.8 though which would have been 140/2... well it does but with some vignetting.

The IQ is pretty good out of SB. I was wary of losing in the corners (especially since the STF is fabulous corner to corner) but SB does quite well.

But, with these AF lenses, the aperture control is an approximation (not an issue with STF though as I use it mostly wide open or a stop down, sometimes via t-stop ring). And older Minoltas also had a pathetic MF ring (non existent at the very front of the lens).

I would recommend it if you have specific use in mind and can justify whatever price you might pay for it.

Thanks for all the info.  Someone had mentioned reducers on ebay for $100. I wonder if they would be OK?  Maybe.

I have a 17 to 35 Minolta lens that I thought would maybe give me a really wide angle on the a6000.

Dennis

Indeed. That will be one way to have a 12-25mm equiv lens. I will try to post some samples using Minolta 24-50/4 and 35-70/4 via SB over the weekend to evaluate overall performance, probably wide open (f/2.8 thru SB) at f/5.6 and at f/8.

Can't speak for the other FRs though, only have experience with MB/SB.

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
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bigley Ling Veteran Member • Posts: 4,428
Re: Focal Reducer Question

Digitalize wrote:

I saw on another thread, talk of a focal reducer for e-mount cameras. I have a a6000 on order, and was wondering if these things really are that great? Manual focus only? Can anyone recommend a a-mount to e-mount focal reducer? I have a few Minolta lens that might be fun to try on the a6000 when I get it.

Dennis

Recommend Metabone Speedbooster, as even though it is more expensive, it is proven to give the best optical quality.When you have good legacy lens, you definitely will want to pair it up with the best adapter to preserve quality.

 bigley Ling's gear list:bigley Ling's gear list
Apple iPhone X
Digitalize
OP Digitalize Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Focal Reducer Question

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I have MB SB, which is quite expensive at retail. If you are lucky enough to find one on CL or at a low price, it can help make things more interesting. However, I was looking at it primarily for my Sony 135/2.8 STF which is a wonderful lens but not great FOV on APSc for portraits limiting its use. However, since my collection is primarily A-mount, most lenses "double" (50/1.4 also works as a 35/1, 24-50/4 also works as 17-35/2.8, 35-70/4 as 25-50/2.8, 70-210/4 as 50-150/2.8, 135/2.8 STF as 95/2 STF...). Doesn't work on Minolta 200/2.8 though which would have been 140/2... well it does but with some vignetting.

The IQ is pretty good out of SB. I was wary of losing in the corners (especially since the STF is fabulous corner to corner) but SB does quite well.

But, with these AF lenses, the aperture control is an approximation (not an issue with STF though as I use it mostly wide open or a stop down, sometimes via t-stop ring). And older Minoltas also had a pathetic MF ring (non existent at the very front of the lens).

I would recommend it if you have specific use in mind and can justify whatever price you might pay for it.

Thanks for all the info. Someone had mentioned reducers on ebay for $100. I wonder if they would be OK? Maybe.

I have a 17 to 35 Minolta lens that I thought would maybe give me a really wide angle on the a6000.

Dennis

Indeed. That will be one way to have a 12-25mm equiv lens. I will try to post some samples using Minolta 24-50/4 and 35-70/4 via SB over the weekend to evaluate overall performance, probably wide open (f/2.8 thru SB) at f/5.6 and at f/8.

Can't speak for the other FRs though, only have experience with MB/SB.

I would love to see some of your samples from Minolta lens.

Thanks

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Digitalize
OP Digitalize Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Focal Reducer Question

bigley Ling wrote:

Digitalize wrote:

I saw on another thread, talk of a focal reducer for e-mount cameras. I have a a6000 on order, and was wondering if these things really are that great? Manual focus only? Can anyone recommend a a-mount to e-mount focal reducer? I have a few Minolta lens that might be fun to try on the a6000 when I get it.

Dennis

Recommend Metabone Speedbooster, as even though it is more expensive, it is proven to give the best optical quality.When you have good legacy lens, you definitely will want to pair it up with the best adapter to preserve quality.

Thanks, I'll take a look at the MB

 Digitalize's gear list:Digitalize's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Sony a99 II Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM
Digitalize
OP Digitalize Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Focal Reducer Question

bigley Ling wrote:

Digitalize wrote:

I saw on another thread, talk of a focal reducer for e-mount cameras. I have a a6000 on order, and was wondering if these things really are that great? Manual focus only? Can anyone recommend a a-mount to e-mount focal reducer? I have a few Minolta lens that might be fun to try on the a6000 when I get it.

Dennis

Recommend Metabone Speedbooster, as even though it is more expensive, it is proven to give the best optical quality.When you have good legacy lens, you definitely will want to pair it up with the best adapter to preserve quality.

Where would you recommend getting a Metabones speed booster for a mount to e mount?

 Digitalize's gear list:Digitalize's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Sony a99 II Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM
wb2trf Veteran Member • Posts: 3,124
Re: Focal Reducer Question

Personally I think that focal reducers are more or less gearhound amusements rather than terribly useful, but I will not go so far as to say they might not help someone take a better picture sometime.

I did enjoy buying one and playing around with it, for the gearhound amusement of it, but it was clear that it wasn't going to help me take any better pictures.

Since I already owned a pretty full set of prime lenses, and for reasons of needing more dof than they could give me at their widest native opening, the FR wasn't really doing anything for me.  Given that, it just didn't fit with any unique value into my lens lineup.  Also, I didn't find that the $100 one I bought worked at the very wide end, where it might have added something, but where my corner to corner sharpness demands are greatest.  I'm not sure even the SB would do that, and anyway I now have a 12mm prime on order.

So, if buying and playing with one is going to be fun, then do it, but I would have modest expectations.

bigley Ling Veteran Member • Posts: 4,428
Re: Focal Reducer Question

Digitalize wrote:

bigley Ling wrote:

Digitalize wrote:

I saw on another thread, talk of a focal reducer for e-mount cameras. I have a a6000 on order, and was wondering if these things really are that great? Manual focus only? Can anyone recommend a a-mount to e-mount focal reducer? I have a few Minolta lens that might be fun to try on the a6000 when I get it.

Dennis

Recommend Metabone Speedbooster, as even though it is more expensive, it is proven to give the best optical quality.When you have good legacy lens, you definitely will want to pair it up with the best adapter to preserve quality.

Where would you recommend getting a Metabones speed booster for a mount to e mount?

you can get it directly from the manufacturer

http://www.metabones.com/products

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fotowbert
fotowbert Senior Member • Posts: 2,892
B&H carries Speed Boosters but not all mounts

Digitalize wrote:

Where would you recommend getting a Metabones speed booster for a mount to e mount?

Unfortunately A mount  to E mount is not in the list of Speed Boosters that B&H carry so order direct from Metabones if you want a new one.

Perhaps consider the used market, Ebay/Craigs List etc. if you are willing to take the risk that someone isn't passing on a unit defective out of the box.  There's not much that can go wrong with them in use unless it's abuse.

  • John
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Digitalize
OP Digitalize Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: B&H carries Speed Boosters but not all mounts

fotowbert wrote:

Digitalize wrote:

Where would you recommend getting a Metabones speed booster for a mount to e mount?

Unfortunately A mount to E mount is not in the list of Speed Boosters that B&H carry so order direct from Metabones if you want a new one.

Perhaps consider the used market, Ebay/Craigs List etc. if you are willing to take the risk that someone isn't passing on a unit defective out of the box. There's not much that can go wrong with them in use unless it's abuse.

  • John

Thanks for the info!

 Digitalize's gear list:Digitalize's gear list
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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Focal Reducer Question

bigley Ling wrote:

Digitalize wrote:

I saw on another thread, talk of a focal reducer for e-mount cameras. I have a a6000 on order, and was wondering if these things really are that great? Manual focus only? Can anyone recommend a a-mount to e-mount focal reducer? I have a few Minolta lens that might be fun to try on the a6000 when I get it.

Dennis

Recommend Metabone Speedbooster, as even though it is more expensive, it is proven to give the best optical quality.When you have good legacy lens, you definitely will want to pair it up with the best adapter to preserve quality.

Where would you recommend getting a Metabones speed booster for a mount to e mount?

Shop around. If you are patient, sometimes deals will come around. I picked mine off CL in like new condition for half what it goes for.

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Focal Reducer Question

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I have MB SB, which is quite expensive at retail. If you are lucky enough to find one on CL or at a low price, it can help make things more interesting. However, I was looking at it primarily for my Sony 135/2.8 STF which is a wonderful lens but not great FOV on APSc for portraits limiting its use. However, since my collection is primarily A-mount, most lenses "double" (50/1.4 also works as a 35/1, 24-50/4 also works as 17-35/2.8, 35-70/4 as 25-50/2.8, 70-210/4 as 50-150/2.8, 135/2.8 STF as 95/2 STF...). Doesn't work on Minolta 200/2.8 though which would have been 140/2... well it does but with some vignetting.

The IQ is pretty good out of SB. I was wary of losing in the corners (especially since the STF is fabulous corner to corner) but SB does quite well.

But, with these AF lenses, the aperture control is an approximation (not an issue with STF though as I use it mostly wide open or a stop down, sometimes via t-stop ring). And older Minoltas also had a pathetic MF ring (non existent at the very front of the lens).

I would recommend it if you have specific use in mind and can justify whatever price you might pay for it.

Thanks for all the info. Someone had mentioned reducers on ebay for $100. I wonder if they would be OK? Maybe.

I have a 17 to 35 Minolta lens that I thought would maybe give me a really wide angle on the a6000.

Dennis

Indeed. That will be one way to have a 12-25mm equiv lens. I will try to post some samples using Minolta 24-50/4 and 35-70/4 via SB over the weekend to evaluate overall performance, probably wide open (f/2.8 thru SB) at f/5.6 and at f/8.

Can't speak for the other FRs though, only have experience with MB/SB.

I would love to see some of your samples from Minolta lens.

Thanks

The weekend was impossible for me to try (schedule and weather) but I did manage to try a few quick snapshots with 24-50/4 via SB during an evening walk thru a park. I have not has a chance to upload pictures yet but to summarize the findings: the combo is only acceptable (at 100%). The 24-50 by itself is a good lens but via SB, the extreme corners are soft/mushy at "effective" 17mm. I opted for f/5.6 (effective, which would be two stops past wide open) and that may be the optimal setting.

At closer distances, the combo actually does quite well even wide open but not in the very extreme corner. At the thirds, quite good actually. A big surprise was that the combo held better than I thought it would with looking straight into the sun. There is flare/glare ofcourse.

I will try 35-70/4 tonight if I get a chance and post images as well.

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bryanchicken Regular Member • Posts: 309
Re: Focal Reducer Question

Digitalize wrote:

I saw on another thread, talk of a focal reducer for e-mount cameras. I have a a6000 on order, and was wondering if these things really are that great? Manual focus only? Can anyone recommend a a-mount to e-mount focal reducer? I have a few Minolta lens that might be fun to try on the a6000 when I get it.

Dennis

I have the zhonghi one. I find it very useful. It does help in low-light, not by the whole stop they claim but maybe by 2/3 stop.

The biggest pro for me is that it doubles up your FLs. So 2 lenses + reducer + dumb adapter can give you (for example, in 35mm equiv):
24mm (ish)
36mm
50mm (ish)
75mm

I've never encountered the "blue spot" thing. There is distortion at the edges but nothing i've ever felt the need to correct for real-life photos.

I recently converted to an EVF and i've used my speed booster and MF lenses much more since i did that. Results doing manual focus on the LCD left me unimpressed but i've now realised i was just missing focus

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