Monday, February 10, 2014

Canon EF To m4/3 Focal Reducer (Speedbooster) Review

After vacation, I picked up this focal reducer (FR) from Billy and tested it. Now, I can show you how things work. First of all, this FR has no aperture control and no electronic connection with camera. Your Canon EF lenses will be wide open all the time at its own largest aperture. I don't have any Canon EF-S lens but I'm pretty sure it can't work with EF-S lens. Without this FR, EF lenses' focal length on m4/3 cameras is doubled. A Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L will be a 100mm f/1.2 lens. With this Chinese made FR, the lens becomes 72mm f/0.86 (50mm x 2 x 0.72 = 72mm) & (f/1.2 x 0.72 = f/0.864). Pretty cool, right?

First test is using my old Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 DC with the FR. This lens is pretty good for travel. You can see (below) the shot that I took at St. Peter's in years ago. Camera body is Canon 30D. The widest end 10mm is 16mm on 30D (APS-C sensor 1.6x). You can see the lens is sharp.

Let's mount Sigma 10-20mm on Olympus OM-D E-M1 + FR!

OK! It fits. When I had "Canon 1D Mark II N" (APS-H sensor 1.3x) many years ago, I mounted this Sigma lens on it without breaking the mirror. Therefore, I'm very sure it works with this FR. I know the "usable focal length" is around 14~15mm.

@10mm (= 14.4mm on E-M1): Dark and not sharp at the 4 corners... Can be fixed in Lightroom.

@20mm (= 28.8mm on E-M1): Without serious problem.

Let's take a look at the performance with Canon EF lens! I pick 50L because it has the largest aperture with MF control (85L needs power to focus).

Focus at Ironman's forehead. Auto white balance. M Mode. Equal to 72mm f/0.86

Same M Mode setting with the previous one. Equal to 100mm f/1.2. It's obviously about 1-Stop darker without the Focal Reducer. Photo is sharper. E-M1's auto white balance acts differently, too.

Using Canon 50L. Focus at Start/Stop button. See the "C" at Canon Logo? Mm... Our 50L should be very sharp on 5D Mark III. Maybe, the reflections inside the FR affects the quality.

Let's try it with Sigma 35mm f/1.4 (Equal to 50.4mm f/1.0)

Subject is my E-M5 and 45mm f/1.8. I tried to focus at the white "37mm" word on the filter...

Look closer... I missed the focus a bit but you can see the lens' focus ring on the right is very sharp. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 rocks!

Conclusion: I think the result is acceptable when this FR is only $100+. What do you expect? I expect Metabones will make one with electronic control very soon.

Speaking of E-M1, its AF speed is really really fast (See the photo below taken with 12-40mm f/2.8 and 10 fps). It is a camera you can trust.

I brought E-M1 and E-M5 to San Diego last week. They served us very well. Light weight and weather proof. We could look at the photos on our iPads with Wi-Fi connection. I put an old Tamron 28-200mm lens on E-M5 for getting longer reach at the Zoo and Safari Park. The photo below is what I get from 200mm end + E-M5. Quite amazing!

Mirrorless products improve in a lightning speed recently. However at this stage, they still can't replace the pro series DSLR like 5D Mark III, 1DX, D4, and D800 etc. You never know what Sony will do in the coming months. If Sony updates their full frame A7/A7R like E-M1, it may change the whole industry.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reviews

    I didn't understand if there is still auto-focus with this adapter?

    Also there seems to be chromatic abberration? from the small iron man figurine