Bower 35mm f/1.4 with Focal Reducer

Talanis

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So about a month ago, I decided to order a focal reducer on eBay. It was only 97$ with shipping from China... Why not give it a try.

I received it today and after a few pictures tonight, I'm completely sold. I LOVE it. When I sold all my Canon gear, I decided to keep my Bower 35mm f/1.4 because it was my favorite lens... so sharp and such a nice Bokeh. I was still missing a 50mm equivalent on micro 4/3 so now, I have a 50mm f/1.0 :)

Here is a few shots from tonight.

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Razor thin DoF:
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Perfectly sharp... here's a 100% crop
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manzoid

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Thanks for sharing. I sometimes wondered what sort of result this would give... Assuming those are wide open it looks a fair bit sharper than the CV 25mm.

I know from pictures the lens is quite big, but I have to ask, do you find it very practical to use this combo?
 

tjdean01

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I did the 85/1.4 with the focal reducer. Full frame results...but not full frame. I have a MFT 60mm f1 but I've pretty much decided that it's better to NOT spend money on focal reducers and fast lenses for blurred backgrounds but to buy a $1000 Sony A7 instead.
 

Talanis

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Thanks for sharing. I sometimes wondered what sort of result this would give... Assuming those are wide open it looks a fair bit sharper than the CV 25mm.

I know from pictures the lens is quite big, but I have to ask, do you find it very practical to use this combo?
It is quite big. About the size of the 100-300 but heavier. With the GH4, it is well balanced but I didn't try it with the GX7 or the E-M5. It is indeed wide open shot so I'm very happy with the sharpness.

I would not use it as a walk around lens but I will definitely use it for portrait and video. It will also be the perfect lens for low light. For video, it will be perfect for rack focusing or follow focus shots since it's not a focus by wire lens like almost all micro4/3 lenses.

For the manual focus... I was already using this manual lens on the 5D2 so it is WAY easier on the GH4 with the focus peaking. :)

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bikerhiker

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Just curious. What's the brand focal reducer you bought from eBay?
 

manzoid

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It is quite big. About the size of the 100-300 but heavier. With the GH4, it is well balanced but I didn't try it with the GX7 or the E-M5. It is indeed wide open shot so I'm very happy with the sharpness.

I would not use it as a walk around lens but I will definitely use it for portrait and video. It will also be the perfect lens for low light. For video, it will be perfect for rack focusing or follow focus shots since it's not a focus by wire lens like almost all micro4/3 lenses.

For the manual focus... I was already using this manual lens on the 5D2 so it is WAY easier on the GH4 with the focus peaking. :)

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Mu-43 mobile app
Thanks for the insights and photos.

I keep trying to convince myself to by a focal reducer as it would be the cheapest route to the FF look... But I think it is mainly the standard to wide range where it is hard to get shallow depth of field approaching FF.

Unfortunately the adapted lenses that are still wide to normal and fast with a FR are all big and or expensive... Which makes me think if I just wanted a the look in this range I might be better off with a Voigtlander because it is substantially smaller, but more expensive, softer wide open and still manual.

Probably good that I can't decide as it keeps me from spending more money!

I am still hoping this might actually come to the market although everyone seems to have forgotten about it and only Phoblographer seems to have actual pictures:
http://www.thephoblographer.com/2013/10/25/surprise-surprise-sakar-bringing-fast-kodak-branded-glass-micro-four-thirds/#.VAJn9XV50hQ
 

Talanis

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Here are three more shots taken wide open with the same lens:

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darrellc

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Eric, the last shot in the second set of three (daughter?) is just fantastic. Very cinematic , great emotion. Thx for sharing!
 

damienr8

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Eric, is the lens that sharp or are you doing some PP. Most interested in this combination!

regards,
Damien
 

pompori

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Those are some truly good shots. There is some noticeable vignetting, but that is a minor thing in the context of the overall quality of the shot.
 

Talanis

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Those are some truly good shots. There is some noticeable vignetting, but that is a minor thing in the context of the overall quality of the shot.
The first one doesn't have an added Vignette from Lightroom. I added a vignette to the other 3 if I remember. You can see more photos here: http://www.mirrorlessjourney.com/blog/2014/9/focal-reducer

I don't think there is any vignetting from the lens but I often add a small vignette, especially on portrait shots. :)
 

Klorenzo

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I keep trying to convince myself to by a focal reducer as it would be the cheapest route to the FF look...
If I understand focal reducers correctly they will have no effect on the look of the picture (dof, background blur, etc.).

http://philipbloom.net/2013/01/13/speedbooster/

The 35/1.4 focal reduced should give approximately the same look of a 50/1.4 but the lens will be a little faster, like you are shooting with one less ISO stop.

Talanis, does this match your experience?

BTW, pictures are beautiful.
 

Talanis

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If I understand focal reducers correctly they will have no effect on the look of the picture (dof, background blur, etc.).

http://philipbloom.net/2013/01/13/speedbooster/

The 35/1.4 focal reduced should give approximately the same look of a 50/1.4 but the lens will be a little faster, like you are shooting with one less ISO stop.

Talanis, does this match your experience?

BTW, pictures are beautiful.
It has the same influence on the DoF as on the aperture. So basically, the 35 f/1,4 will look like a 25mm f/1,0 lens shot on micro 4/3 which would give you an equivalent field of view as a 50mm on full frame with a DoF of f/2,0 on full frame.
 

Klorenzo

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It has the same influence on the DoF as on the aperture. So basically, the 35 f/1,4 will look like a 25mm f/1,0 lens shot on micro 4/3 which would give you an equivalent field of view as a 50mm on full frame with a DoF of f/2,0 on full frame.
Are you sure about this? I'm asking because I've read a lot of different opinions.

I would expect no changes in the image as would be rendered on a 35mm camera: the focal reducer just "scales down" the image concentrating the light on a smaller surface. I suppose, that's what I'm trying to understand.

This is what I got from the article I posted before: "What’s nice is the Bokeh remains the same – it just scales down in proportion to the image".
 

Talanis

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Yeah, I'm sure about this. Imagine it like a magnifying glass. It not only concentrates the light, but magnifies it too. Here's a quote from the Metabones FAQ:

How does Speed Booster® affect the depth-of-field?
The short answer is Speed Booster® gives essentially the same depth-of-field effect as if a full-frame camera body were used.

The long answer is complicated. If we are referring to depth-of-field in the mathematical sense, that depends on the aperture, magnification and circle of confusion (CoC). Magnification in turn depends on distance and focal length. The 50mm lens now becomes a 35mm lens which behaves very differently in terms of perspective. The question is, do we still keep the distance the same? Should the CoC be kept the same? There are many missing variables we need to choose and fill-in before we could get a meaningful answer. When people claim Speed Booster® does not change the depth-of-field, they usually neglect to state the implicit assumption that the distance is kept the same (thereby changing the object size) and the CoC is kept the same. The same logic would lead to the conclusion that an APS-C camera has the same depth-of-field as a full-frame camera, too, which under the same implicit assumptions is mathematically true (the depth-of-field formula is format-size-agnostic, after all), but with which many people would disagree from practical experience.

However, when most people ask about depth-of-field, they are not interested in mathematics, but rather, they are after a certain kind of shallow depth-of-field "look". If this is the case, the short answer above applies.
But you can see it from the photos in my post. I can't get that shallow DoF with any other lens I have. http://www.mirrorlessjourney.com/blog/2014/9/focal-reducer
 
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Klorenzo

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Thanks for you detailed answer, but to me this sentence is still confusing:

"The short answer is Speed Booster® gives essentially the same depth-of-field effect as if a full-frame camera body were used."

Does this mean: the same DoF at aperture 1.0, 1.4 or 2.0? You chose the last one at 50 on FF but from the above quotation I'd choose the dof of 35/1.4 on FF (as a side note in this case the blur for a 35/1.4 and a 50/2 is almost identical, for the same framing).
I understand the content of long answer but I find it not very useful: what most people would like to know is just if two pictures looks the same to an eye inspection.

The DoF is your shots is thin, but nothing unusual to me for the headshots I've seen with m43: I just took a shot with the 20/1.7 with a comparable content and focus distance and the DoF is extremely thin. And with a 25/1.4 would be even smaller (I'm assuming your pictures are not cropped). If you own a P25/1.4 or a similar lens would you like to do a simple direct comparison?
 
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