Review: Zhongyi Lens Turbo Adapters ver II for Fuji X mount cameras (FX)
I recently was sent a Canon EF – Fuji X Lens Turbo Adapter from a Hong Kong Based company called Zhongyi Optics. A Lens Turbo is a cool little adapter that fits between your lens and your camera body. It is suppose to both increase the speed of your lens a full stop and adjust the crop factor to full frame. This version was made specifically for fitting Canon EF lenses on to a Fujifilm X-Mount. This sounded too good to be true. In short, it was… sort of. Not that it wasn’t fun and in fact with a few caveats I’d even say it’s worth the $150 they sell it for.
Frankly, there isn’t a lot to this adapter to review. It either works or it doesn’t. There are no real moving parts with the exception of the small button on the side of the unit to lock it into the lens mount.
The unit I had was for attaching Canon lenses to a Fujifilm X-series camera but they make many other combinations of camera and lens adapters. On the day the Lens Turbo arrived I was showing a buddy that was visiting around Penang. We were off at a waterfall and I figured what a great place to test out my Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens on my X-T1 body. The fit was nice and snug, so off I went. Right off I had a problem, I couldn’t get the camera to fire. After texting Steve at Zhongyi Optics and getting a quick (instant) response back I realized I needed to set my camera to shoot without a lens on. The Lens Turbo has no electronics, thus the camera doesn’t know it has a lens attached. It also means any lens you attach will be focused manually. Another thing about this lens adapter is that since it doesn’t communicate with the Fuji camera the camera can’t read any aperture change. So you are stuck at a stop below your lens’s widest aperture opening. In my case I was using the Canon 50 f/1.2 so the camera’s aperture was really at f/1.0.
I tried to shoot a portrait of my friend and this time it worked. Well, at least the shutter fired. Have you ever tried manually focusing the Canon f/1.2 lens? It is a real pain in the butt! It’s like trying to focus on an eyelash at times. Even with focus highlights enabled on my X-T1 it was nearly impossible. But I eventually did manage to capture a few frames in focus. I then shot some of the same scene using the XF 35mm f/1.4 to try to see of this adapter really allow my full frame Canon lens to capture like a full frame lens on my Fuji. It did. You can see from these images below it was pretty close.
Right off I saw two problems with this little turbo adapter. The first being that it makes all lenses manual focus and using a fast lens like the Canon 50 f/1.2 was almost impossible to use. Second, the focus seemed soft. Look at the SOOC shots below. Especially the 100% crop images. You Can clearly see the softness. To view the 100% cropped images at 100% click on them and view them in the lightbox.
I was so frustrated with this adapter that I was about to give up on it, but I thought I should be fair and try it with a wide angle. I still have my Canon 16-35 f/2.8, My all-time favorite lens and frankly Fujifilm has come close to this angle of view in the 10-24 mm but not the speed.
So out I went to my local Chinese temple and shot away. The verdict? Much easier to focus given that there seems to be much more depth of field with this lens. It did give me the angle of view I love. There are some strong areas of blur on the edges of the frame with this adapter that were never there with the 16-35mm on the Canon or the 10-24mm on the Fuji. (By the way, I didn’t have images with the Fuji 10-24mm to compare because I actually don’t own that lens. I have only ever used a loaner from Fujifilm Malaysia.)
So would I recommend this lens adapter? I would if you met these criteria. 1. You have switched or are in the process of switching from Canon or Nikon and have a bunch of your old lenses laying around. 2. You don’t have the budget yet to upgrade to the XF equivalent lenses. If these criteria are met, then yes, it is well worth the $150. This little guy will give you a speed boost and allow you to use your current set of optics while you migrate over to the X-system. But if you already have the X-System equivalent lenses, then why bother? Unless you love shooting with a fixed f-stop and manual focus, there is no reason for you to own this. (My colleague Nate, did point out that the manual focus isn’t as much of an issue for shooting video on the X-System since most professionals will be manually focusing already. The fixed f-stop isn’t as much a problem if you have a good set of ND filters.)