So, I thought I was done with all the gear talk after the X-E3, XF80mm and GF45mm articles last week. But I have been testing a very exciting product for about a month and a half.
It’s the Techart Pro Canon EF – GFX smart adapter.
One of my absolute favourite things to do with my mirrorless cameras is putting all sorts of quirky non-compatible old lenses onto them. This is also in part why I decided to dive in and buy the GFX. I have written about this in the Minolta Rokkor X GFX post. The possibilities are endless.
I have talked to a few people about this over the last 6 months, that if Fujifilm want to get a hold of a new medium format audience, that doesn’t already own a Hasselblad or a Phas One, they need to look at the crowd using high end Nikons and Canons for their professional line of work. These cameras are almost in the same price league as a GFX, and most of these photographers have a big arsenal of their all time favourite lenses for their particular system. So what if it was possible for these photographers to actually use their well known lenses, but get medium format quality files from the GFX sensor?
Problem is all about the focus. Some of the best Canon portrait lenses are focus by wire, and by using a normal “dumb adapter” you would have to set your focus and aperture on your Canon camera and then focus with your feet! – Not really a useable solution, now is it. So when I got an email from the guys at Techart, asking if I wanted to be one of the few to test out their new adapter that let you mount and AUTOFOCUS as well as control aperture in camera on Canon EF lenses my heart skipped a small beat. My first though was, that if they nailed this, then it would be so much fun! I already knew that certain lenses from the Canon EF range covered the sensor very well, and I had heard that especially the Sigma ART series more than covered it.
So I agreed to testing it, knowing very well that I would have one minor problem:
I own no Canon EF lenses – at all! 😀
So I did what any reasonable man with a Facebook app would do. I asked my peers! – And whaddajoknow – I had the opportunity of testing some nice Canon lenses. I also went to my very good friends at Mimosa Foto store in Aarhus and Robert the store owner let me play around and borrow what ever lenses I needed to test this thing out.
I don’t want to say much about the individual lenses that I tested, only that they all covered the sensor apart from the Sigma 24-35 zoom, that gave hard vignetting at 24mm.
From Canon I tried the
300mm f/2.8 mk2
85mm f/1.2 mk2
50mm f/1.2 mk2
45mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift
40mm f/2.8 STM
From Sigma I tried the
Of course you need to refer to some sort of lens compatibility chart if one is ever made, to know which lenses covers the sensor. But for now, if you want to jump on this train early – then it’s all trial and error.
Autofocus and Aperture
In the video I say that the Sigma is my all time favourite lens for the GFX. I misspoke, I obviously mean favourite ADAPTED lens. The native Fujinon GF lenses are still way better in conjunction with the GFX
This is of course what this adapter is all about. The technical stuff.
The Techart Pro adapter uses the focus engine in the lenses. The adapter is just a tube with electronics and contacts. Thats it. No external motor, no nothing. Just a conversion of signal and mount. It looks incredibly sleek, and it doesn’t add extra bulk at all.
It has a USB plug for when you update the firmware. (I tried this a couple of times, and it works flawlessly)
The very clever engineers at Techart managed to get the camera to recognise the individual lenses, and pass through proper file info such as focal length and aperture. It still identifies as a GF63mm f/2.8, but the metadata is different.
You control the aperture using the front dial of the GFX – and it works bloody well! No fuss, no muss. It just works. Period!
Above is the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 to the left, the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 to the right. Stunning rendering lenses, and coupled with the GFX the files are awesome!
As you can see from the lens-list above, I mainly tested portraiture and short-tele focal length lenses. These aren’t usually the fastest focusing lenses in their respective systems, so I wasn’t going for lightning AF speeds with these. I had ZERO expectations about speed of autofocus. I mean, I considered it a feat if the lenses could just lock on. – But what I got was a lot more than just basic achievement of focus.
With the latest firmware updates, I was able to accurately capture people on the streets when walking or driving by on bicycles. I could even capture my oldest daughter jumping on the trampoline!
I have no way of measuring the autofocus speeds, so this is really just impressions at this point in time. It doesn’t focus as fast as native GF lenses (obviously) – It doesn’t focus as fast as with the lenses used on a native Canon camera (obviously). But it’s not really that much slower than the native GF lenses. It performs better in good lighting conditions, and it tends to hunt a little in low light. But most importantly, it does achieve focus. And it’s accurate! I caught a lot of moments with the kids that I didn’t expect to catch with this adapter setup, and even though I’m quite skilled in manual focusing, I would still not be able to do better than this adapter with the extremely narrow DOF that you get when putting an f/1.4 lens on a 0.79x crop GFX.
I know there are some other manufacturers working on similar adapters. I have not tried any of them out, so I do not know which of them will focus faster or more accurately. I guess we’ll have to see over time.
But the Techart Pro EF/GFX smart adapter is an amazing piece of technology that actually works really really well. Techart is committed to updating firmware to improve focusing speeds and compatibility and from my experiences with them over the last 6 weeks I’m really impressed. SO if you’re a Canon shooter looking to switch to a GFX, this might just be your gateway drug. Or if you already own Canon lenses and a GFX this is a must-buy in my opinion. But most importantly, I would actually consider buying some of the sigma lenses for their great quality that can easily resolve and cover the GFX sensor. Then I can have access to some really fast glass to achieve great separation in my images.
This really is a great piece of gear!
you can preorder it at Techartpro.com
In the pictures below you’ll find metadata in the files. The images report the metadata wrongly since they were taken before the firmware was updated to show correct focal length and aperture. It now puts through correct focal length and aperture for all the lenses that I’ve tested.
(you can right-click and open the image for a larger image file)