Fotodiox Excell +1 ...before you buy: NOT an alternative to Metabones.

LowriderS10

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A few weeks ago, Fotodiox announced that they're going to release a focal length reducer that also adds a stop of light to any lens mounted to it. Sounds just like Metabones, right? Better yet, it was $160 ($140 for the first week), making it a smashing bargain. I, along with a lot of other people, jumped on the opportunity. I missed the initial rush, and by the time I contacted them they were back ordered...which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

The initial video on the product boasted its abilities to reduce the focal length (leaving us with a 1.4x crop factor instead of the 2x we currently have) and that we'd pick up an extra stop of light along the way. That was it. What they failed to mentioned is that anything close to wide open is absolutely unusable. In fact...even though an f1.4 lens will essentially become an f1.0 with this converter, the resulting pictures are unusable until around f4 (or, f2.8 equivalent...essentially making the lens about two stops SLOWER than it started out with).

I guess it's good for converting a cheap 28mm 2.8 lens into a ~40mm f4...but I see very limited use in that. Sadly, it's useless for what I (and many other people) wanted to use it for: To make a 200 f2.8 into a 280 f2 (equivalent), or a 50 1.4 into a 70 1.0, etc.

I'm not bashing the company at all - in fact, the representative I have been emailing with has been awesome -, but this is why companies can't rush products to the market. In the video, he explains/admits that they really should have done a better job of representing the product - test charts, sample pictures, etc, all of which were completely absent pre-release.

EDIT: Now that I've re-watched the videos back-to-back, quite frankly, I'm a little peeved at Bahus and crew. He's using words like "confusion" and "misunderstanding" and essentially putting the blame on the customers for not understanding what this product was. When you watch the first video, you'll see he makes plenty of references about the lens being faster, even giving examples of this adapter/converter/whatever giving you the ability to shoot in "caves" and by "candle light." There was no confusion. They simply misrepresented the product. There is NO mention that actually, the OPPOSITE is true...and that that you should be using your lens at slower-than-normal aperture settings if you don't want your end result to look like garbage.

Anyways...here is the damage control video they put out and some samples comparing it to the Metabones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIv-2BQ3jRI&list=UU62EofNJm8s-qCcLNOQKZZg

Samples:

http://www.fotodioxpro.com/excell1-metabones-comparison

Original video...they mention that it makes your lens faster/image brighter a handful of times, but not the fact that the image is useless at those settings:

http://www.43rumors.com/fotodiox-announces-the-excell-1-speedbooster-alike-adapter/
 

OzRay

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That's probably why the Metabones speedboosters are more expensive, as they have better optical components, better construction and are designed by an optics expert.
 

LowriderS10

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Absolutely. I'm just quite frankly a little peeved at them for that initial video (as well as the follow-up video where they used words like "confusion" and "misunderstanding" instead of admitting that they didn't tell you the whole story to begin with). At first, they were proudly touting the capabilities of the converter as giving you a stop more of light, but not telling you that the resulting pictures are unusable and that, in reality, with a fast lens you lose about two stops with this adapter. That's a HUGE point to hide and then blame the customers for!
 

Turbofrog

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Interesting how the even-cheaper Chinese-made (i.e. LensTurbo, RJ Focal Reducer) seem to work even better than the "name brand" Fotodiox ones. I don't expect my $99 RJ FD-M4/3 reducer to work miracles, but it's definitely usable in my opinion.
 

LowriderS10

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Interesting how the even-cheaper Chinese-made (i.e. LensTurbo, RJ Focal Reducer) seem to work even better than the "name brand" Fotodiox ones. I don't expect my $99 RJ FD-M4/3 reducer to work miracles, but it's definitely usable in my opinion.
Hmmm...I haven't heard of those brands yet...thanks for the heads-up, I'll check them out!
 

Turbofrog

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Hmmm...I haven't heard of those brands yet...thanks for the heads-up, I'll check them out!
It also depends on your standards, and the individual lenses. They aren't what anyone would call pin sharp, but I think they're usable when you need to shoot in extreme conditions.

Here are a few OOC JPEGs from my $99 focal reducer from eBay on a Takumar 50mm 1.4. Honestly, I don't really like the JPEGs out of my GX1 at all, so they might not be that helpful. I think these were all shot wide open at f1.0.

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This one shows the chromatic aberration that can get somewhat bad in really contrasty conditions when shooting at f1.0.
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Some fur detail. There's a chance this one might have been at f1.4 or f2 (i.e. f2 or f2.8 on the lens), since it looks very good. But I think it was wide open.
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LowriderS10

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For sure...I think those look great, especially the bike and the cat shots! Thank you for posting them. :)

The Fotodiox, on the other hand, looks like mush. Heck, even they say don't use them wide open haha.
 

Cruzan80

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Didnt they already pull this stunt with the Light Cannon, eventually labeling it as Soft Focus?

Sent from my LG-P769 using Mu-43 mobile app
 

LowriderS10

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Didnt they already pull this stunt with the Light Cannon, eventually labeling it as Soft Focus?

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Haha did they? Do you have any links to it? Would be interesting to see...
 

MajorMagee

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They actually were being deceptive in the original video. At 3:12 to 3:15 they show a table with the max Aperture with the Excel +1 as 1.0.
 

LowriderS10

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Apparently, the 'Light Cannon' was supposed to be the competitor to the Metabones, but was so bad that it was re-named as a 'Soft Focus' adapter.:biggrin:
Oops. ;) Quite honestly, I don't see the point in putting soft focus adapters on old film lenses...most of them already are already soft by today's standards and give that "film look" some are chasing.

I was really excited about this Excell thing until I found out more about it (credit be given to the customer service rep I've been dealing with who sent me the backtracking video today to make sure this is what I wanted...it isn't)...I have a feeling it's an absolute gong show over at Fotodiox right now, as they're probably inundated with angry customers trying to return the product they were so happy to have sold out of a week ago. ;)
 

OzRay

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Some will read 'soft focus' adapter to mean something like the de-focus lenses made years ago, such as the Nikon 135mm f/2 DC lens or 105 f2 DC lens, and suddenly they'll have the same abilities at a fraction of the price.
 
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