As soon as I heard that the good folks at Mitakon were making a Metabones Speedbooster equivalent, I was part sceptical, part thrilled. I mean, this isn’t just your usual “tube” adapter. This actually has a piece of glass inside.
So, no doubt would the chinese Lens Turbo be cheap, but would it also be of acceptable quality? For starters let me explain a little bit of theory behind how these adapters work.
The adapter mounts between the old SLR lenses and the X-Pro1. It makes the lens wider by a factor of 0.71x, sort of like an “inversed” tele converter. Like the effect of a magnifying glass, it also concentrates the light. This gives a full stop of extra light. So an f/2.0 lens gathers light of an f/ 1.4 lens.
So if you mount a Minolta full frame lens on the X-Pro1, it will have the same angle of view and the same depth of field as a full frame camera. A 50mm no longer acts like a 75mm, but like a 50. A 21 like a 21… you get the point.
The build of the adapter is great. It’s what you would want to put on your X-Pro1’s metal body. It’s solid metal, and the lens element gives it a nice hefty feel.
The fit on both the X-Mount side, and the Minolta MD mount side is VERY good. A tight fit with absolutely NO give what so ever. I really don’t like that they painted the “Zhongyi” name in screaming orange/red, but that was an easy fix with a small brush and some acrylic paint.
This is where it gets a little more interesting. This is where I had most of my scepticism placed! I had read online, that the Lens Turbo showed extremely soft corners, and that it was NOT sharp at all. I’ll state this right away: If there are soft corners, my type of photography doesn’t give a shit! The street style shots, processed in B&W with an in-focus center’ish target and a background blurred to mush makes it close to impossible to notice soft corners. If you shoot nature, landscape, studio, fine arts this turbo is probably not for you. But then again you might as well shoot proper full frame anyways, right? :P
I found nice sharpness to my images. The softness that I DO get in them is the same as I get on regular adapters, and it is part of shooting old classic Minolta Rokkor prime glass at wide open apertures.
The below 3 images where shot on a tripod. I used the 58mm at f/1.4. One shot with the Lens Turbo, and one with the regular adapter. To compare I took a shot with the Fujinon XF 35mm at f/1.4. This illustrates nicely what the lens turbo does. Nice wide FOV with narrow DOF. Looks great.
Is it fun? – HELL YEAH!
Is it somewhat of a little miracle device? – HELL YEAH!
Is it sharp at the corners? – PROBABLY NOT, BUT WHO CARES!
Will it cost you a kidney? – HELL NO!
Would I recommend this? – HELL YEAH!
There you have it! This adapter is VERY fun. It gives a full frame experience on some great old minolta rokkor glass. Real shallow DOF, wider FOV… All of it, its there. Just like real full frame. Combined with the EXCELLENT IQ of the X-Pro1, and at a price of only a measly $130, this thing is a no-brainer. Try it out. You will not regret doing so.
The sample images below are taken with a mixture of my 3 Minolta Rokkor lenses, and some shots using an Avanar 135mm f/2.8. I divided the sample shots into groups after which lens I used.
The Minolta Rokkor 50mm f/1.2 – Bloody fast but very soft wide open!
The Minolta Rokkor 58mm f/1.4, is not as soft wide open as the 50mm f/1.2. It’s sort of in the middle which I personally love.
The Minolta Rokkor 55mm f/1.7. This last lens being the sharpest, and also the most compact of the bunch.
This is one of the lenses that actually stays on my camera for extended periods of time. I simply love this lens. The Lens Turbo definitely made it even cooler.
The Avanar 135mm f/2.8 is a great portrait lens, which I never used since without the Lens turbo the FOV was eq to the of a 210mm. The lens is SHARP! even at 2.8, which all 3 below shots were taken at.
There you have it! Go out and buy a Lens Turbo if you have some old Minolta MD glass. They even plan on making it for the M42 screw mount. That should give some GREAT swirly bokeh from the Helios 44m.