Fujifilm and the Zhongyi Lens Turbo II
It was Jonas Rask's blog article about the Lens Turbo that got me started. Achieving full-frame bokeh on a crop sensor? Um, yes please, sign me up!
I did more research on what focal reducers did and picked the Zhongyi Lens Turbo II over the Metabones brand because of how much more affordable it was (I have heard many good things about the Metabones one though!). I picked the FD-FX mount to use with my Fujifilm XT1 since I already had two Canon FD lenses and read how I could just stack another adapter to use other lenses with different mounts since the FD mount was a popular one. I purchased this M42-FD adapter from B&H and found it worked really well and keeps my M42 lenses secure on the Lens Turbo. I had purchased a different adapter from Amazon beforehand, but found it wouldn't lock onto the lens securely enough and would get loose.
Pictured above is my Fujifilm XT1 with the Lens Turbo II + M42-FD Adapter. First photo is with the Pentax Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 (my version is the 7 lens element version); Second and third photos are with the Helios 44m 58mm f/2.
Now M42 mount lenses sell for very cheap used and there are sooooo many to try! At the time when I was researching for which mount to purchase the Lens Turbo in, there weren't many selections for the Fuji X mount so I picked the FD one. However, I just discovered that there is a Lens Turbo II in an M42 mount for Fuji X systems on Amazon! So awesome! I highly recommend picking that one up to use with the wide range of M42 mount vintage glass that is out there.
The main reason why I purchased the Turbo was to use it with my Helios 44m 58mm f/2 lens. I'm not going to go into all the details and background info about this lens since a quick Google search about this cult lens can give you more accurate info than I can give you. But if you haven't heard about it, here's just two words to describe it: swirly bokeh. Some people love it and some hate it. I personally loooove the look and makes for some fun and artistic photographs. You can achieve the swirly look with just a cheap regular M42-FX adapter, but it isn't as dramatic as it is with the full-frame Turbo effect.
Being able to adapt vintage lenses on my Fujifilm cameras (I currently have 2 XT1 bodies and an XPro1) has made me fall in love with photography all over again. In fact, I'd have to say the Fujifilm system has completely changed the way I shoot and it has made photography fun again for me, but I will go into more detail on that in another blog post.
Now, I don't care much for getting the clearest, sharpest image out there. Even with the decent focus peaking aids with the Fujifilm cameras, it can be difficult to nail focus every singe time, especially when shooting wide open with a focal reducer like the Lens Turbo II. Don't expect the sharpest images to come out of this setup, but do expect beautifully rendered bokeh and colours.
What I love about using vintage lenses is that they are imperfect. There are flaws. Light leaks, dust, blurriness, sun glares, etc. But most of all, I am able to slow myself down and take the time to craft out my vision for each photograph. I find myself taking less photos, even when I make small focus adjustments, but keeping more of them. Post-processing these photos also takes less time for me (thank you Fujifilm film simulations!) because of the wonderful colour rendering. I am fascinated with how different vintage lenses can produce such different looks! Even the radioactive ones (my Super-Takumar has a yellow cast on its front glass element) give such beautiful tones.
For now, if you have a mirrorless camera, I highly recommend you get yourself a focal booster like the Lens Turbo II or Metabones and get ready for major GAS because I guarantee you will keep hunting for new lenses to try. Now go out, snap some photos and have fun!
- Fujifilm XT1
- Fujifilm X-Pro1
- Zhongyi Lens Turbo II
- M42-FD Lens Adapter from B&H
- Canon FD 85mm f/1.8
- Canon FD 50mm f/1.4
- Pentax Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4
- Helios 44m 58mm f/2
Post-Processing done in Lightroom CC or VSCO
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