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Archive 2012 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread
  
 
millsart
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p.1 #1 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Welcome to the Ultimate Fuji X100 tele conversion lens test






As many have perhaps read in previous threads, it's been a bit of a hobby/obsession of mine finding conversion lenses for the fixed 35mm equiv Fuji X100.

Its not that I don't find the 35mm focal length useful, because I do, and when I had my Leica M9 I had a 35mm Cron or Biogon C mounted probably 90% of the time. I frankly am not even interested in theXPro simply because for me, there would be little point as I just don't enjoy the wider/longer focal lengths enough to warrant spending $600+ on each lens.

Additionally with multiple DSLR bodies and a wide range of lens I've got plenty of ways to get a shot if I really need to. Generally I find myself enjoying the X100 for my casual shooting and I really only reach for the D3s and assorted gear for work. Though its not as if I can't grab my 70-200 2.8 etc for a quick portrait or whatever if the need arises. I basically just have gotten tired of hauling all that gear around on vacations, hikes etc.

So that all said, I do find it fun trying to find some cheap solutions to expand the X100's focal range, and yes, there are sometimes where it is nice to have a wider angle etc. I've had great success with wide angle conversion lenses, and have a 16mm and 24mm that are darn near as good as the naked lenses.

Tele conversion lenses have proved much more difficult though as they seem to always have really blurred corners, horrible CA or massive vignetting that covers more than 50% of the frame. I had some difficulties with wides though to start and through lots of experimentation with spacing, focus methods, and brands found some that worked quite well.

I just simply couldn't try a TC and say since it didn't work I'm going to throw in the towel. I had to keep on searching thinking there has to be something out there that I could make work.

In that pursuit, I've assembled the following collection of darn near every affordable TC I could get my hands on.







I've tried a few of the other TC's such as the Olympus TCON17, B300, Canon TC58 2x and while I'm sure optically great on a superzoom camera, which they were designed for, they vignetting is awful, the size is huge, and they can cost upwards of $200. Simply no point in spending that type of money or carrying something bigger than the camera around for what is at best 70mm equiv reach.

Though if you can spend $20 or less and pick something up that works reasonably well, and that weights mere ounces, that can add a bit of fun to the camera.

One exception to my size/weight rule is this ultra rare Olympus VF-KL2






This thing weights 13oz and is about the size of the camera! All and all a bit unwieldy just to get a modest 1.5x increase in focal length right ?







Probably so, but unlike a majority of TC's, which have tiny little exit pupils, this Olympus one is 58mm, thus no vignetting at all, which is the reason I tracked one down.








I've been testing all the TC's at various apertures and focus distances with results ranging for dreadful to pretty encouraging. Sadly some clouds blew in and the light drastically changed so I can't present a in depth comparison just yet as I want to have the same light for each image.

Figured I'd go ahead and start this thread though so I can update it as I get my results and hopefully it proves useful for other X100 owners who might have been wondering if any conversion lenses would be worth picking up.



Mar 07, 2012 at 10:02 PM
millsart
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p.1 #2 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Forgot to mention that all of these total cost me less than $50


Mar 07, 2012 at 10:27 PM
jotdeh
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p.1 #3 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


I don't own an X-100 nor am I interested in buying one, but I'm really looking forward to your results - something good's got to come out of this much determination for sure!


Mar 07, 2012 at 10:29 PM
millsart
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p.1 #4 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


jotdeh wrote:
I don't own an X-100 nor am I interested in buying one, but I'm really looking forward to your results - something good's got to come out of this much determination for sure!



Its good cheap fun if nothing else. In the past I'd jump if I saw a ZM for $750 and now its something like an Olympus A-200 for $7.50, makes the bank account happy



Mar 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
davenfl
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p.1 #5 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Well consistent with what I said when you were doing your wide angle tests, this is much appreciated by myself and I am sure many other FMer's who own the X100. I very much look forward to your conclusions, thanks again.

Dave



Mar 07, 2012 at 10:46 PM
ken.vs.ryu
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p.1 #6 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


That's dedication. I wonder how the final result would compare to an LX5 at 90mm.


Mar 07, 2012 at 11:51 PM
millsart
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p.1 #7 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


ken.vs.ryu wrote:
That's dedication. I wonder how the final result would compare to an LX5 at 90mm.


Good question though sadly I recently sold my LX5 so I can't do a direct comparison. I know the camera well though so should be able to provide a little insight.

Actually one reason I had the LX5 was because I thought I needed something small to carry in addition to the X100 for when I wanted reach, but really I found that I just wasn't using the longer end much, if at all, and obviously if both are in your jacket pockets, the X100 gets pulled out first for anything else as it does have better IQ.

Not that the LX5 was bad, but just that it, like most all compacts, up to and including the Fuji X10 I also tried out, just don't get the right look as they have so much DoF. I'm not one of those razor thin, only the nose is in focus types or anything, but when I'm shooting a short tele, I do like some compression and subject isolation. Compacts just can't produce that as their actual focal length is so short.

I might still have some comparisions I did a ways back with the LX5 at 90mm and the M9 with 90mm Elmarit, same framing overall but just night and day different look.

Long story short, I think that the X100 with a little cropping/uprez could probably match the LX5 for overall detail and IQ. X100 files are so nice and sharp they should stand up to a bit of uprezzing and probably would match the smaller sensor.

Again, not that its really saying a lot, but for me anyways, I'd rather have a $10 Tc for when I want a little reach for the random portrait type shot, rather than carry a $250+ compact for the same purpose. None of these TC's will remotely match a decent real lens, like the 45mm f1.8 for m4/3 of course, but just to shake up the X100 a little bit, with a different FOV should be fun

Cheers



Mar 08, 2012 at 12:44 AM
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p.1 #8 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Very interested to see the results of this thread. I *love* the 35mm focal length (the 35L is by far the most used lens on my 5D2), but I'd love a bit of variety on my X100 (a 50mm equivalent would be terrific). Like you, I don't enjoy lugging a DLSR kit around with me on holiday.

What are you using for your 16mm conversion? I understand the Nikon WC68 is the go-to 24mm conversion, yes?



Mar 08, 2012 at 02:20 PM
millsart
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p.1 #9 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


edge100 wrote:
Very interested to see the results of this thread. I *love* the 35mm focal length (the 35L is by far the most used lens on my 5D2), but I'd love a bit of variety on my X100 (a 50mm equivalent would be terrific). Like you, I don't enjoy lugging a DLSR kit around with me on holiday.

What are you using for your 16mm conversion? I understand the Nikon WC68 is the go-to 24mm conversion, yes?


I use a Sony FishEye conversion lens, originally meant for the NEX, which gives very sharp results across the frame, weights mere ounces, and that has very little actual distortion (about as well corrected as some UWA lenses I've owned before lol)

The second page in this thread has some example photos both of the lens itself and also some images from myself and another FM'er who's tried it out.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1068972/2#10379569

It not perfect by any means, but for $100 or less for a very useable ultra wide angle FoV on the X100 is a pretty good deal.



Mar 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM
millsart
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p.1 #10 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Since I've gotten quite a few messages regarding this thread, though an update would be in order. Been a bit swamped still, working today on getting credentials in order for the NCAA tournament. I know where the "madness" part of March Madness comes now!

Been working a bit as I have time testing converters and its certainly proving more time intensive that I thought it would be.

Some lenses work best when set to macro focus mode, even when focusing on distant subjects, and others don't. On top of that, a lens might clear the front element just fine in normal focus mode, but if you switch to macro mode, then it hits, but it might perform better in macro mode so its a long process of trying different spacer thicknesses, focus modes etc to really get a feel for a given lenses

If that wasn't tricky enough, there are issues with some lenses being sharp at a distance but very soft closeup, or not being able to focus at all at a distance if you space it so it works at closer focal distances.

Given that it may not be possible to have a conversion lenses that works at all distances I'm going for trying to make them work best at close to medium distance as I think that is the more useful application.

There are a few that while vignetting a bit, can provide excellent center of frame sharpness at infinity focus, but I don't see a ton of use for that purpose with this type of camera. I mean its not like its going to turn it into a birding camera with a mere 50+mm equiv focal length. Likewise, I don't want something that needs to be stopped down to f8 to prove sharp results. No one would carry a 50mm f8 lens in addition to a 35mm f2 in an ILC system so why carry a convertor to give you that ?

Size/weight also are a bit of a factor, at least for me. That big honking Minolta for example just wouldn't be practical to ever carry, especially for the 1.5x reach it provides. Only gets you about 50mm equiv but given its nearly 1lb, who's going to carry it in a pocket.

AF performance is another issue I'm looking at closely. Some of these lens have trouble focusing, or, have a rather long minimum focus distance of 2 meters or more. Given the X100 isn't a speed king as is, anything that makes it perform any slower I'm not too fond off, likewise when the MFD gets a bit long the practical aspects aren't really there.

So while I don't have any good winners/losers list yet, hopefully this gives you a little more info about what I'm trying to find and how I'm testing them. End goal is something that is real world usable for actual photography, not just test images.




Mar 12, 2012 at 11:20 PM
 

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millsart
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p.1 #11 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Forgot to add, I also got a Ricoh TC1 1.88x conversion lens, as based upon reading this thread http://www.fujix-forum.com/index.php?/topic/3751-x100-w-ricoh-tc-1-188x/

For some reason I can't seem to match the results though getting images that always seem a bit soft even using the 43/52-52/49-49/52 method

Also it seems Panasonics m4/3 conversion lenses are finally in stock and shipping. These are designed for the 14-42 zoom and 14mm prime lens, both of which have 46mm filter threads

They have a 0.8x wide conversion lens (I'd frankly pass on this as I don't think 35 to 28mm is really that exciting of change), a macro one (again, don't see much need for me personally) a semi fisheye that should be interesting and what I've really had my eye on, a 2.0x tele conversion lens.

Given these are designed for the relatively large m4/3 sized sensor and 28mm equiv lens, there is a possibility they could work well on the aps-c 23mm X100 lens.

Little pricer mind you, at over $100 each, verses some of the ones I've gotten for $10 or less, but they could prove worth the modest expense if they work well.



Mar 13, 2012 at 02:01 AM
millsart
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p.1 #12 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Finally have had a little time the past few days to do some experimenting and to try to get some results together.

Rather than post ten's if not 100's of images from all the TC's of the centers and corners etc, I think I can somewhat summarize some results.

Basically tele conversion TC's fall into 2 camps, those that vignette severely and those that don't (though they may still have very soft edges)

Interesting thing is is that many of those that have a strong vignette are actually very sharp. They simply weren't designed for wider focal lengths though. Rather they were made for using the long end of zooms and only at those setting will they not vignette.

What this means for the X100 user is that we can basically rule out all the Canon, Panasonic, Ricoh etc TC's at 1.5x and higher powers, they just aren't going to really work in a practical manner.

I'm posting an image, this one from the Olympus 1.9x c-210 (and actually the best performer of the higher powered bunch) to show what I'm taking about.

As you can see, you get a crazy amount of vignetting, and stopping down can cause slightly more, though its more defined and sharp so no real net difference.

You are throwing about probably 75% of the frame once you crop out the dark circle, and the exposure can be a bit off as well since the camera is seeing so much dark.

Good news is that the middle of the frame is actually pretty sharp. As you can see from the 100% crop with the TC, there is good per pixel sharpness there.

I also uprez'd the non-TC image to match the pixel dimensions and its no contest, TC is much better.

Thing is though, after you crop out all the dark parts, your left with about a 2000 pixel wide image, or about 3 megapixels. Looks okay for the web, or a very small print I suppose, but thats about it.

Basically you've got about a 150mm equiv lens on a 3megapixel camera when using these type of TC's after cropping. If you wanted to take a picture of something really far away I guess its better than nothing, and yeah, it beats cropping the native image, but what practical applications are there ?

One interesting side note is that in the video mode, where you can apply an automatic crop using just the center of the sensor as is, is that your then using just the non vignetting part of the image so your getting something like a 5x crop effect. Thats kind of a cool, but again, not very practical for video work given the lack of stabilization.

So here are some results, and the next part is where things get a bit more interesting with the lower power, yet non-vignetting TC's that can give you nearly total coverage, but with a more modest 1.4x or so increase, roughly giving a 50mm equiv.








Mar 16, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Marco
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p.1 #13 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Thanks!

Looking forward to your results with other TCs which bring less magnification but more coverage, as admittedly I can't find any serious use for that "sharp but pinhole" teleconverter...



Mar 16, 2012 at 02:55 PM
millsart
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p.1 #14 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Marco wrote:
Thanks!

Looking forward to your results with other TCs which bring less magnification but more coverage, as admittedly I can't find any serious use for that "sharp but pinhole" teleconverter...


Yeah, its impressive that some converters that cost as little as $5 can deliver sharp results, as does the X100's overall per pixel sharpness, but the coverage just makes it pretty useless for general photography.

You can put the framing guidelines on where the screen is divided into 9 sections and use just the middle one, pretending its the small frameline on rangefinder, but your only getting about a 3 megapixel image so no real point sad to say regardless of how little the TC cost.

I guess if the X100 was your only camera, and you liked shooting distant subjects and were always cropping away about 75% of your frame, then it would be useful, but for everyone else, just using a different camera makes a lot more sense overall.

I'll hope to get some info on the other ones up today/tomorrow. They only require cropping out about 20% of the frame or less due to vignetting/unacceptable image softness and can give about a 50mm equiv FoV which isn't bad. Some might actually even prefer the optical effect for a bit of a "toy camera" type look.

Hardly makes for a real 50mm lens replacement, but if you think of it instead as a very cheap 50mm "toy camera" type of add-on lens, then they are pretty cool.



Mar 16, 2012 at 05:49 PM
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p.1 #15 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Heii dude, so how was the results? I am still curious about it Thank You.


Jun 15, 2012 at 09:18 AM
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p.1 #16 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


I bought the RCA LX52A, here's my two cents.

It looks identical to the Olympus one from the original post. It's big, however I mostly have a bag with me, so I keep it in there until I'm ready to use it. The benefit is that you don't get any vignetting and if you can find one, it's bound to be pretty cheap. If you're living overseas, like me, the customs charges might very well be more than the actual teleconverter!!

I haven't yet used it on aperture above 5.6 but from the center to the corners it's totally usable. And like previously mentioned, when shooting at low enough, the softness just becomes part of the bokeh.

Here's a quickie sample shot to show sharpness, handheld 1/60 f2.8 at iso 800. It's a screenshot from lightroom 1:1 without any adjustments on the RAF file.

I wish the teleconverter was smaller, but it's still awesome to get a 50 out of this bad boy x100!




Nov 22, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Tenisd
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p.1 #17 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Thank You Eriksawaya, results seems pretty good
What is the RCA LX52A as I caant find it on ebay, not google..



Nov 23, 2012 at 09:44 AM
munckee
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p.1 #18 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Just discovered this kit (http://www.ebay.com/itm/TELE-WIDE-FILTER-RING-CASE-LENS-FOR-49mm-Fujifilm-Fuji-X100-Camera-/270895197403?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f129cacdb) and was wondering if anyone has tried it out?


Nov 29, 2012 at 02:11 PM
millsart
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p.1 #19 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


Looks like a low quality kit, basically the same stuff you see listed on Amazon etc for $20 per item or so. Typically horrible CA and really smeared corners. There are sometimes deals to be had used, but largely you get what you pay for.


Nov 29, 2012 at 06:33 PM
druu84
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p.1 #20 · The Ultimate X100 tele conversion test thread


I found a vf-kl2 and while definitely soft in the corners, it gets a lot better by f/5.6. But around 2.8 its super sharp in the center.


Feb 09, 2013 at 11:22 PM





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