[ah.b|ack] Zhongyi Lens Turbo REVIEWED!!!


ahblack

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2014
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#1

Battle of the "EQUIVALENT" and "NOT REALLY BUT CLOSE" 50mm

It has been long since the first time people brought out the topic of "35mm equivalent" focal length when it first came the APS-C sensor (so called cropped sensor). I'll spare you all the long long history of camera sensor as well as the much heated debates between Full Frame and APS-C. Let us focus on what we have today, as what Fujifilm has been offering to us, the consumers. For anyone who has done a little of researches about their cameras, one can easily noticed Fujifilm packed most of their top tier camera with APS-C sensor, not Full Frame. So basically, if you buy into Fujifilm, you are stucked with a cropped sensor, and to choose your desired focal length, you have to factor in the 1.5 crop factor in every lens you choose. If you're looking for 50mm, there's the XF35 f1.4 (35mm x 1.5 = 52.5mm), XF18 (18mm x 1.5 = 27mm), etc...

But is this a bad thing? For the looks of it, everything become "different". One of the main difference which people care/know/picky/debate/flame/troll between these "equivalent" focal length and the "real" focal length, is the Depth of Field. You can hear many people saying "you get more DOF with FF, period!". Well no one can deny it, it's the law of physic. But here comes the question, "how much" do you actually need??

Well lucky you!!! Technology has been much advance compared to what the world can offer us last few decades. And now, there's something that might satisfy your hunger for DOF if you're stuck with APC-S mirrorless cameras (be it NEX or FUJI-X)


I present to you all, Zhongyi Lens Turbo



Zhongyi Lens Turbo II M42-FX (left) & M42-FX adapter (right)


So WHAT IS the lens turbo?
For those who already know the answer, you may skip this part, as it's going to be a little bit boring.

The lens turbo works like a focal length reducer (same concept with Metabone's offering). It acts like a reverse tele-converter and "widen" your lens so that when you factor in the 1.5 crop, you can get back the original focal length (not exactly, but close). So how do you calculate the final focal length if you use it with your legacy lens? It's not as hard as you think... Ok, I've worked out a simple diagram for you all see and hopefully understand how it works. Like one said, "a picture speaks of a thousand words"



Well... I'm no scientist/optic expert, so please understand this is not a 100% accurate diagram, but you'll get it...
Can understand lah hor??

As you can see from the diagram, with normal adapter you will lose the edge of the light image, hence the "cropped" sensor... But but but!!! Notice how the lens turbo works? It actually "shrink" the light image onto your cropped sensor, making use of the full light circle of the full frame legacy lens! So you will get something like this:

50mm (original focal length) x 0.726 (Lens Turbo) x 1.5 (crop factor) = 54mm (pretty close if you ask me!)

Due to the "shrink" process, the lens turbo gains extra stop of light and resolution as well!!! Think... compress... when you compress the light, it becomes denser, more light! Think... resize... when you resize an image to smaller size, more resolution! Another thing is the adapter size. As you all know, to adapt a certain lens, you need to use an adapter with exact length to compensate the original flange focal distance of the lens with your own camera body, but you can see the lens turbo is actually shorter than a normal M42-FX adapter! My bet is on whatever science/sorcery inside the lens turbo that actually require them to reduce the size of the adapter.

So enough with the perks, let's talk about the cons.

1. Weight - with glass elements inside the lens turbo, despite the small footprint it still much heavier than a normal adapter.
2. Image corner deterioration - many reports say/show that this problem actually exist! But we will talk about it more later on (real test coming up next!)
3. limited selection of mount - currently Zhongyi only covered Nikon Ai, Canon EF and M42 mount for Fuji X mount. (more for NEX and less for Micro 4/3)
4. Infinity focus - adjustment required. It's easy actually, you just need to loosen the screws around the mount (Lens Turbo, not the lens itself har!), move the mount in/out and tighten it back once you get the accurate infinity focus.



Up next, will be a series of test I done to let you all see the difference between using a normal adapter and lens turbo with a 50mm legacy lens
AND a 50mm (35mmm equivalent) lens!!! Not much of a hard guess...

Stay tuned...

 

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ahblack

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2014
1,040
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#2
Let's start with one of the main reason why people actually consider to use focal length reducer

Angle of View

Due to the nature of a cropped sensor, the angle of view will be different from what the focal length originally suggested. For example, the angle of view of a 50mm lens is 40º, but after you factor in the 1.5 crop, you will get only 27°, which is... well quite a lot for certain people. If you wanna measure it by steps, perhaps around 1-3 steps back if you want to capture the same scene, which is not a great idea if you have limited space (you know... beside a cliff, river, waterfall, longkang, etc...). Not just that, the depth of field will also be different (I'll talk about it later). For more lens angle of view, you may refer here (Google is such an amazing thing...) Lens Angle of View Chart for the Long Dimension of the Film

Introducing the main cast of the day!


Left: Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 (M42), Right: Fujinon XF35mm f1.4


And now... Feast your eyes!!!


Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 with normal adapter



Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 with Zhongyi Lens Turbo



Fujinon xf35 f1.4 with... nothing?? It's already in X mount what...


The test was done by fixing the tripod at 1 spot. These shots were taken in about 60cm of distance. No extra cropping whatsoever, and already the difference is about 1 steps. You know how angle of view works in real world, so imagine if you're shooting at longer distance (let's stick with a 50mm first), how far you need to step back so that you can include more things into your frame??? ;)

So as you can see, the difference between the first and 2nd photos are quite huge (well technically we are talking about 75mm vs 54mm), but not much difference if you compared the 2nd and 3rd photos (54mm vs 53mm). The lens turbo managed to "fix" the angle of view, to a much closer angle of view compard to the original angle of view of the 50mm. It's a great news for people who love to shoot at certain focal length, but doesn't like the 35mm equivalent focal length (you ni sipeh picky sia!).

So that's about it! I mean, for "Angle of View" at least... Up next, I'll go into a much technical/feel part of the testing. Gonna be juicy for those who worships Depth of Field like it is the ONLY AND MOST IMPORTANT THING in the universe.


Hope you enjoyed my humor...
Stay tuned!!!
 

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ahblack

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2014
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#3
The juiciness of
Depth of Field

To be honest, how many people actually notice the difference of subject background separation (one of the main uses of depth of field) when they look at photos from a Full Frame and a Crop? (assuming we don't shoot the same thing with same lens but different body and put the photos side by side for people to guess...) It's actually a much heated debate when you look into certain parts of certain forum, where people "debate" about it. It's true that Full Frame holds its advantage over the Crop, but for the Crop itself, ain't bad at all!

Yes, you may say a crop is forever a crop, and it will never offers the kind of DOF which Full Frame can offers (let's stick with just DOF for now).BUT... do you really need that kind of DOF? To be honest, I'm just a hobbyist, just like many people out there who simply wanna enjoy photography like others enjoy golf (never my thing...). What difference does it make if I can get THIS >----< kind of DOF and THAT >--< kind of DOF? They are not that much of a difference to begin with, so why bother? Let's just enjoy our life, keep calm and keep on shooting!!! OK, back to the topic...

For the following test, I may not used the best method to present it. I tried my best to make full use of my Lego Ironman(s), so please cut me some slack okayyyy? I choose to "move to frame" instead of "shoot then crop" because under normal circumstances, you would actually move back and forward when you shoot with prime if you have the choice right? Unless you're shooting beside a cliff, river, waterfall, longkang, etc... For that you will shoot then crop. It's actually quite hard to do re-frame with the camera attached to a tripod... so go easy on me if there's slight difference...


Here comes the Legion!!!


Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 with normal adapter


Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 with Zhongyi Lens Turbo


Fujinon XF35mm f1.4



Hmmhmmm... What do you think? "WOW I DIDN'T KNOW THERE IS SO MUCH DIFFERENCE!!!", "Ahh... I see... There is some difference...", "What? I only see Ironman, maybe 5"

The Ironman(s) were arranged as the Black one (dont know Mark what...) being at the front row, Iron Patriot and Red one (dont know Mark what...) at center, and 1 War Machine and Mark 2 (this I know!) at last row. All where shot wide open, f1.4, so THIN DOF you shall get. Focus was on the face of Black Ironman.

The obvious outcome is that the Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 + Lens Turbo has the best subject background separation among all, next being XF35mm f1.4, and then Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 + normal adapter. Do you see the 2 silver thingy at the back? In 2nd photo, it almost melt into the background, compared to the 1st photo which you can still barely see the eyes of the ironman. Check out the background as well!!! How creamy... Imagine if you shoot highlight bokeh, yummmmmmmyyyy... Not to say the XF35mm f1.4 loses out a lot, but if bokeh is your thing, you know what combo you should go with.

So with that, I conclude this chapter of my review. Before I start with the next chapter, I have a question for you. Do you think you should get yourself a Lens Turbo after going through the last few chapters? Is "Angle of View" or "Depth of Field" or maybe both is enough to convince you to get it instead of just get yourself the native lens or just go big and get yourself a Full Frame camera? I think it's still too early to make that kind of decision, because... up next, I'll be talking about performance of the lenses with different combo! That's another important factor to think about when deciding what you want, RIGHT???

So stay tuned!!! Again...

 

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ahblack

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2014
1,040
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Singapore (west)
#4
The MOST IMPORTANT...
Resolution & Image Quality

Up until now, This is the one things that really matters. You may not care about angle of view, or depth of view or yadaaa yadaa... But this! This is the one thing that can overrules all the nonsense I was talking about. If the performance of the lens is bad, no one will give a s*** about it, even if it's given out for free. If you appreciate how great one lens performs, money may not even be an issue! So how does the Zhongyi Lens Turbo stacks against others?


Let the show begins...
12 x thousand of words


Fujinon EBC 50mm f1.4 with normal adapter



Fujinon EBC 50mm f11.4 with Zhongyi Lens Turbo



Fujinon XF35mm f1.4 by its own...


Judging by these photos, you have to be blind to not see how great is the XF35mm f1.4. Being the native lens of the Fujifilm X system, the performance is simply unbeatable. You can say the old M42 lens is... OLD, and XF35mm f1.4 is way more advance. However, another factor comes into the picture, RENDERING. You see, there's reason why people still loves to shoot with their legacy lens, despite the loss of auto focus, flare resistance, higher contrast & color that comes with the latest coating, weather resistant (only the few WR lenses in Fujifilm lens lineup), etc... It's too subjective for me explain it any further. If you don't understand, try to look and compare photos from legacy lens with modern lens. Modern lens has a much "clinical" looks to it, sharp and contrasty, while legacy lens offers a softer and pleasant looks on the photos. You and yourself alone decide what you like, and hopefully you can find something you like after going through with the whole review. Oh, and I almost forgot, legacy lens is usually cheaper ;p But beware, the world of legacy lens is like a deep deep rabbit hole... You might not be able to turn back once you get in! But nonetheless, it will be the most enjoyable experience.

So that's it! We have come near to the end of the review. Before I end this, I would like to thank you all for enduring my hardly funny humor and broken English (Didn't study hard in school...). The review was rushed out in only 3 days because I don't want to hang on to the XF35 for too long which I borrowed from a fellow member. I would like to take the chance to thank Alvin my man! Without his help, the review would be less complete as the comparison would only between the lens turbo and normal adapter. With the XF35 in play, we get to see how the combo stack against a much advance modern native lens.

Again, this review is meant to be light and fun, and no way it will be scientifically accurate (if it was scientifically accurate, I would have written a book and be famous. Ok I know I'm dreaming, so back to reality). I started this so that for those who still doesn't know the wonder of the lens turbo can maybe understand it a lil bit more with this review. But my English might be more of a challenge to understand than the lens turbo itself hahaha... Still, thank you all for dropping by! And I wish you all the best! Keep on shooting! Till next time!


THE END
 

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ricleo

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2004
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#6
good review! more please hehe...

actually the fujinon XF35 1.4 has very smooth bokeh. the bokeh from the 50 1.4 seems harsher although it has better isolation after using the lens turbo. Speaks volumes about the quality of the fuji lenses for the X system.

can you try some shots with strong lightsources in the frame so to see the flare performance? some mention a "blue dot" in the frame when faced with strong lights.
 

ahblack

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2014
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#7
good review! more please hehe...

actually the fujinon XF35 1.4 has very smooth bokeh. the bokeh from the 50 1.4 seems harsher although it has better isolation after using the lens turbo. Speaks volumes about the quality of the fuji lenses for the X system.

can you try some shots with strong lightsources in the frame so to see the flare performance? some mention a "blue dot" in the frame when faced with strong lights.
Thanks ricleo!

The Fujinon XF35 f1.4 is one hell of a lens. Agree with the harsher bokeh from the old 50mm, noticeable when you compare the Iron Patriot from 2nd and 3rd photo. Up next I'll be comparing the IQ from different combo, and I must say, XF35 f1.4 is simply magical!

Blue dot? you mean a big blue at the center of photo? I can't seems to find a sample from google... I remember saw it before, but not caused by lens turbo, something they call sensor reflection or whatever... I've been using the lens turbo for quite a while, didn't notice anything like that. Let me check back my photos to see whether I can find anything about it...
 

ricleo

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Mar 13, 2004
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#8
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ahblack

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2014
1,040
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#9
some samples i could find online below. apparently zhongyi had a "mark 2" of the lens turbo that fixed the lens reflections, and yours is the mark 2! so will be good to confirm their improved coatings worked.

http://themartist.com/lens-turbo-canon-fd-review/


http://rogerdeng.com/lens-turbo-review/
Yes! That's what I was looking for!

From what I heard, the mk2 improved a lot! I never got the mk1 because there wasn't a m42-fx mount. I'll try to test it against strong light and see whether the problem is still there. Thanks for the sample!
 

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ricleo

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2004
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#12
hehe bro you still have your sony A7? if can compare the bokeh of the same lens on a FF mirrorless vs a the fuji with lens turbo, that will be great haha. can really show how much the lens turbo helps achieve 35mm like bokeh.
 

ahblack

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2014
1,040
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Singapore (west)
#13
hehe bro you still have your sony A7? if can compare the bokeh of the same lens on a FF mirrorless vs a the fuji with lens turbo, that will be great haha. can really show how much the lens turbo helps achieve 35mm like bokeh.
I never own A7 before LOL maybe you mixed up someone with me. I only have the X-T1 hahaha...

To be frank, I too wish to include that combo in the review, but too bad my network is too small hahaha... There's still a reserved post up there, maybe if I managed to borrow one, I'll add it in!! But I think the chance is not very high hahaha...
 

ricleo

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2004
6,570
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Eastern Singapore
#14
I never own A7 before LOL maybe you mixed up someone with me. I only have the X-T1 hahaha...

To be frank, I too wish to include that combo in the review, but too bad my network is too small hahaha... There's still a reserved post up there, maybe if I managed to borrow one, I'll add it in!! But I think the chance is not very high hahaha...
hahaha alamak....i remember wrong keke... it was bro "blackman" who had the a7 hehe.... CS nicks quite similar :p.
 

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