Fuji X-E2 - Review and User Experience - Part 8 - Metabones Nikon to X Mount Speed Booster

Fuji X-E2 - Metabones Nikon > Fuji X Speed Booster - Nikon 85mm f/1.8G 

I've been undecided as to to get a speed booster for my Fuji's for a while and I finally got one from ebay a couple of days ago. Below you can see it fitted to my X-E2 with the Nikon Series E 28mm f/2.8.

For those of you who don't know what a speed booster does, it's an adapter that lets you use non-brand lenses on mirrorless cameras. It also has a glass lens fitted inside it. A passive adapter only lets through light to match the size of the sensor. Therefore a 28mm lens designed for 35mm cameras becomes a 42mm on an APS-C sensor camera to match the 1.5x crop. The Speed Booster however collects the light from all of the lens and focuses it on the sensor. It doesn't quite do all of it, its a 0.71x crop. So on the Fuji my 28mm lens becomes a 30mm (approx.) Still not quite the whole focal length but pretty close. It also lets in a stop more light, so an f/2.8 performs like an f/2 lens (However see below*) Many people, myself included, believe it also improves the performance of the adapted lens. I've tried to illustrate this in a diagram below. The passive adapter is on the left, the speed booster on the right.

*I would point out that using the same lens with a passive adapter and a speed booster I get a 1 stop advantage with the speed booster. i.e. At any given aperture, the speed booster gives me a shutter speed that is approximately double. However, if I compare my Nikon 28mm f/2.8 + speed booster with its supposed APS-C 'equivalent' a Fuji 18mm f/2 the two lenses don't give the same shutter speed reading. You might think they would give the same (or pretty near.) But they don't. The Fuji lens is 'faster' in that it consistently gives higher shutter speeds than the Nikon 28mm + speed booster at the same aperture. So assuming the Nikon becomes a 30mm f/2 when used with Booster isn't quite what is happening. Lens construction is different remember. All lenses of similar focal lengths and set at the same aperture don't necessarily let the same amount of light through as it might be assumed they might. If you think about it the speed booster is proof of that.

Anyway, what I do end up with is a faster and wider lens than I would get with a passive adapter.

Yesterday I used my Nikon 28mm and 85mm f/1.8G lenses with the speed booster.

I was very pleased with the results from a day of wonderful Autumn light. 

As expected, sharpness was excellent. I also saw no evidence of soft corners which some people say the speed boosters have. Focusing was easy with the focus peaking in the X-E2. I tried the split screen focusing aid as well on a few shots, though as I suspected It doesn't work all the time.

I would point out that Metabones have changed the design of this speed booster. Unlike my m4/3 one the aperture ring (for allowing some idea of what aperture you are selecting with Nikon G lenses) doesn't have click stops. They apparently changed this at the request of customers. So the video lobby have won out here. It doesn't make a great difference to me, though I would have preferred click stops. Metabones have in fact included the bits to turn it into an aperture ring with the click stops, but from the video they have released on how to do it, it looks like repairing a watch! VERY complicated and very fiddly, so I won't be doing that anytime soon.

So a useful piece of kit, and it was nice to have a medium telephoto prime with me for the Fuji. I did take both adapters so my 28mm functioned as both a 30mm and 42mm and my 85mm functioned as a 90mm and 135mm (All approximations of 35mm of course)

Incidentally, all the location images were processed from raw using PhotoNinja software as several readers have either recommended it or asked if I'd tried it. Next post I'll go into my experiences with it. It is, for the Fuji X-Trans sensor, something different from every other software package I've used for my Fuji files. However, it is a bit of a 'Walk on the Wild Side!' Personally I love what it does, but I'm not sure everybody will. More on that tomorrow. 

For all my posts on the X-E2 CLICK HERE

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