PANASONIC GH5 - LENS ADAPTERS AND SPEED BOOSTERS

PANASONIC GH5 - LENS ADAPTERS AND SPEED BOOSTERS
'One of the things that first attracted me to m4/3 was the ability to use other lens ranges via adapters. And that continues to this day. I've built of a collection of mostly second hand lenses for Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica M and Leica R mounts. I also have a collection of adapters including speed boosters for the Nikon, Canon and Leica R sets.' 
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Panasonic GX8 + Canon lens. The best IS ever?

Panasonic GX8 + Canon lens. The best IS ever?
'The above video was shot 100% hand held using a Panasonic GX8 plus a Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS lens fitted via a Metabones Canon EF > m4/3 0.71x crop AF adapter. The lens IS is switched on as is the IBIS in the Panasonic. As you can see after editing the footage in iMovie and adding that apps. IS function, the footage is rock solid and looks just like it was shot on a tripod. '
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OLYMPUS AIR A01 + APPLE iPOD TOUCH + METABONES CANON FE > m4/3 0.71x SPEED BOOSTER + CANON FE 85mm f/1.8

OLYMPUS AIR A01 + APPLE iPOD TOUCH + METABONES CANON FE > m4/3 0.71x SPEED BOOSTER + CANON FE 85mm f/1.8
'Olympus owners of certain models will wonder what all the fuss is about with these Metabones adapters, since due to the construction of some Olympus cameras they can't actually use them without damaging their pride and joy. No such problems with the Olympus AIR.'
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Metabones Canon EF > m4/3 0.71x Speed Booster ULTRA (with AF) on a Panasonic GX8

Metabones Canon EF > m4/3 0.71x Speed Booster ULTRA (with AF) on a Panasonic GX8
'I've just bought a Metabones 0.71x Speed Booster ULTRA to use my Canon EF lenses on my Panasonic GX8's. This gives the one stop light boost as usual and makes a 0.71 crop for the lenses as opposed to the usual 2x. This means that my Canon 'Full-Frame' lenses will be slightly wider than they would be in front of an APS-C sensor. In addition to this, the Metabones has an electronic connection with the lens which means it a) autofocuses b) allows me to change the aperture electronically c) triggers the lens IS if it has it and d) provides a proper exif readout. '
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 - in-depth review and reappraisal of an underestimated camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 - in-depth review and reappraisal of an underestimated camera.
'But if you are interested in hybrid and are serious about shooting some (more than) decent stills and video, without havng a huge budget to expand your choices, then you won't go far wrong with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7. It's relatively cheap, unfussy and produces results way above it's 'pay grade.'  And I can't think of any higher praise than that. '
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Panasonic GX8 and a great wide-angle option

Panasonic GX8 and a great wide-angle option
'So this is another of my articles about why I've chosen m4/3 as my main work orientated interchangeable lens system. And those two lenses, via speed boosters and other adapters give me a nice range of options. In a previous post I wrote about doing some tests with these lenses. However, yesterday I decided that it was about time that I went out with the two Samyangs, the Speed Booster and the GX8 to see what they could achieve in a 'real world' situation. '
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DSLR or MIRRORLESS - Panasonic GX8 compared to Nikon D750 - GX8 Raw and jpg, file samples for download

DSLR or MIRRORLESS - Panasonic GX8 compared to Nikon D750 - GX8 Raw and jpg, file samples for download
'....it's a long running and popular debate. DSLR 'versus' Mirrorless. I've already made my position on this clear, I see virtues and faults in both and use both. However as time passes there are always new people coming to photography and it does no harm to look again at what the differences are.'
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Three reasons to get excited about the future of m4/3 - No. 2. The Metabones 0.64x Speed Booster

Three reasons to get excited about the future of m4/3 - No. 2. The Metabones 0.64x Speed Booster
'Brian Caldwell who designs the optics for the Metabones Speed Boosters is one of the unsung heroes of the modern world of photographic gear for me. Simply because of what he has made possible for photographers (and videographers of course)'
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Panasonic G7 plus MF lenses - GX8 and m4/3 possibilities

Panasonic G7 plus MF lenses - GX8 and m4/3 possibilities
'Now it's a personal choice I know, but for me m4/3 is a much more attractive proposition these days than either Fuji X or Sony FE. I do like the smaller footprint from m4/3 and I also like the way both Olympus and Panasonic are progressing and the direction they are going in.'
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Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA for Fuji X cameras -X-T1 + NIKON 20mm f/1.8G and 100mm Series E f/2.8 lenses

Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA for Fuji X cameras -X-T1 + NIKON 20mm f/1.8G and 100mm Series E f/2.8 lenses
'Now I don't know what caused it, the adapter, the lenses or my increasing the saturation on the classic chrome jpgs. I shot, but I really like this set of images. Grey dull light, but keeping the aperture wide has produced a very other worldly set of images. So an interesting and creative start to my work with the Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA. Camera was the X-T1 and because of the 'fast' lenses and adapter, everything was at ISO 200. '
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Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA for Fuji X cameras

Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA for Fuji X cameras
'I've just got myself the new improved (allegedly!) Metabones speed booster ULTRA for my Fuji X cameras and Nikon lenses. This is the adapter that makes 'FF' lenses approximate the same focal length on APS-C sensors and provides a 1 stop light gathering boost as well. '
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A superfast alternative - Panasonic GX7 + Nikon 50mm f/1.4 + Metabones Speed Booster

In my post yesterday I mentioned using my Nikon f/1.4G + Metabones Speed Booster as an alternative to the Panasonic  42.5mm f/1.2. It's faster, though manual focus only, no OIS in the lens but has IBIS in the GX7 body. Now I'm prepared to concede that the Panasonic lens may be sharper wide open but there is a something distinctly advantageous about the Speed Booster option. My three Nikon fast primes (28,50,85) when attached to my GX7 via the speed booster give me 35mm/'full-frame' approximations / 'equivalents' of 40mm f/1.2, 70mm f/1 and 120mm f/1.2 and the whole lot + bosster was only very slightly more than the cost of the 42.5mm. So I have three ultra-fast primes that, when you factor in the excellent focus peaking of the GX7, are not that much more difficult to use. 

Now imagine these lenses + adapter fitted to a GH4 shooting 4K video in low light. You then have some idea of just what the Speed Booster offers. Now the 42.5mm may be the holy grail for some photographers, but I'm a very occasional fast lens - wide aperture user. So much as I'd like to buy it and use it (and still might!) the Nikons offer a lot more in terms of options. Just imagine what you could do with a 120mm f/1.2.

Below are some examples of what this 50mm / Speed Booster combination can do wide open in very low light.






My point is not that the 42.5mm is worse than these options, I would sincerely hope for the price that it's better, if not a lot better, particularly wide open. But the speed booster means that you can get a larger selection of super fast lens options for a lot less than either the native AF options or the three Voigtlander MF lenses. (17.5, 25, 42.5) The booster isn't cheap, mine cost just under £400 but it's an amazing piece of kit and of course has other advantages. The 'widening' of lenses, changing the 2x crop factor to approximately a 1.5x one. Plus at all apertures you get a one stop light boost. So instead of having to use ISO 400 you can use ISO 200 and instead of 1/100th. sec. you can use 1/200th. sec. and f/2.8 instead of f/2. All very real and very useful assets for a variety of photographic situations. It also has an aperture ring which means that you can use Canon EOS and Nikon G lenses which don't have them. 

The Metabones Speed Booster was my accessory of the year for 2013 and it will probably be my accessory of the year for 2014 as well. If you like using MF alternative and legacy lenses and find them beneficial to what you do, then you have to try a Speed Booster. These days, with magnification, focus peaking and other MF systems, mirrorless cameras offer the easiest and most reliable way of manually focusing lenses ever. Much easier than using either the OVF on a 35mm film camera or a Leica Rangefinder. And there are many occasions where manual focus works better than AF. One of the pictures I posted yesterday shows why.


This branch was blowing in the wind and those who have tried it will realise just how AF struggles with something like this. However, using the Speed Booster and my Nikon 28mm f1.8G wide open on the Speed Booster I nailed it first time. Now you can rightly say that the 42.5mm has a MF option too. But then I can reach into my camera bag and pull out three superfast options in any given situation. And for me that's why this option is more compelling than buying one £1300+ lens, no matter how good it is.



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Panasonic GX7 - Nikon 28mm and 85mm f/1.8G lenses - Metabones Speed Booster

All images - Panasonic GX7 and Nikon 28mm f/1.8G and Nikon 85mm f/1.8G lenses + Metabones Speed Booster.








So the £1300+ Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.2 has ultra sharp rendering, a fast aperture, manual aperture ring, great bokeh and robust build quality and construction. Well been there, done that, got the t-shirt, courtesy of my Nikon lenses and Metabones Speed Booster. Admittedly manual focus only, but then I don't have one ultra-fast lens, I have three. Including, via my Nikon 50mm f/1.4, a 75mm f/1. (35mm / 'full-frame' approximation / equivalent) And boy are these sharp. So Ya Boo Sucks to anyone who has bought / is buying the 42.5mm. I mean, you can buy a Nikon 1 V3 + Zoom + Finder + Grip for that price and still have some change left over!!!


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The FUJI X-T1 - Is it the best camera for manual focus ever?


Well, I finally got out the front door with something other than a Sony FE camera and the 55mm f/1.8 lens. And I'm glad I did. Not only did I discover that the Fuji X-T1 is indeed the best camera I've ever used for manual focus, but also that the camera fitted with my Nikon 28mm f/1.8G lens + Metabones Speed Booster and Nikon 85mm + Metabones Nikon > Fuji X passive adapter gives me the sharpest images I've so far seen from any Fuji X-Trans camera I've used.







Like my other Fuji cameras the X-T1 is also a dream to handle. So why is this? Well it seems to me that with their retro design ethic, Fuji are putting together cameras that use past designs that have been around for a long time and actually work. Making camera bodies with a layout that has been road tested by photographers over the decades gives them an advantage. They seem not to need to be 'different' or to have some kind of standout design feature that may get nominated for awards but actually doesn't fulfill the primary goal of any design, that the item in question should be fit for purpose. And the X-T1 is certainly that. It just works for me and using it is non-problematic and therefore a pleasure. 

Returning to the manual focusing it's not that surprising that this should be a superb camera for that. As has been well documented the screen is one of the best, if not the best, EVF's out there. Since manual focusing is dependent on how well we can see the point of focus then this obviously gives the camera a real advantage. Add in the souped up super-contrasty peaking facility and it's not hard to see why this is such a great camera for MF. It's quick, it's accurate and with practice it should take not much longer to focus than using AF.

Finally, on the specific outfit I used. The Nikons are lenses I'm always enthusing about. Not up to the Sony 55mm, which is a special lens, but pretty good none the less. Much as I like the Fuji AF range, I have to concede that these Nikons produce sharper images. The 28mm was particularly impressive via the Speed Booster. The extra stop advantage produced faster shutter speeds, which combined with me being able to use narrower apertures gave me really crisp high-resolution images with lots of depth-of-field. The Speed Booster doesn't just help in low-light situations, it's just as much of a help in bright sunlight as well. 

I used the 85mm without the booster to 'pull in' the images more. On the Fuji, with the passive adapter, this gave me a 35mm approximation of a 127mm lens. As I've always maintained this is one of the sharpest medium telephoto lenses out there and when it's stopped down a bit it is amazingly sharp. 

So, combined with the warm sunny spring weather, a very successful afternoon. With the amount of cameras and lenses I currently own, it is going to take a while to get round all the combinations. Hopefully some of the others I try will be as good as this one, which was pretty special. And the Nikon lenses have certainly earned a reprieve from ebay, not that they were actually in any real danger of being sold, they are far too good and useful to me for that.

For my ongoing owner assessment of the Fuji X-T1 - CLICK HERE

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