Grand Canyon Focal Reducers. Sony NEX-6 and Metabones. By Riaz Missaghi

Grand Canyon Focal Reducers

By Riaz Missaghi

I love checking your blog everyday for updates on gear and the inspiration posts. Last year I sold my Canon 5d mkII and Zeiss lenses and bought a Fuji X-E1, a cheap Pentax to Fuji mount focal reducer called LensTurbo and almost every Pentax prime lens in PK mount. They were awesome lenses, great image quality, outstanding build quality, and smaller than a Leica lens. The setup was sweet, I loved the pictures it was making but I missed my sharpness of Zeiss glass and the flare control of modern coatings, I also heard that Sony was coming out with a FF mirrorless so I got ready for Sony by selling the Fuji and all the Pentax lenses on Ebay and picked up a Sony Nex-6, another Lens Turbo and just 2 lenses the Zeiss 21mm 2.8 and the 100mm f2 macro, both in nikon mount so that they had an aperture ring, I now wish that I got the canon mount so that the metabones speedbooster could have controlled the aperture.

When the A7r arrived I really liked the pictures since they made full use of the Zeiss glass but I missed that extra stop of light from the Lens Turbo and the performance of the Nex-6 compared to the slow and loud A7r. I now shoot with the Nex-7, the Metabones Speedbooster , the Zeiss 21 and 100, I’ve also picked up the Sigma ART 1.4, it’s sharp but the rendering is not as lovely as the Zeiss, so I’m on the fence about the Sigma. Here are some pictures with the nex-6 and the Zeiss 21mm 2.8 from a recent trip to the Grand Canyon and the Phoenix Botanical Garden. You can see a comparison of the focal reducers on my blog

All shot on the Sony NEX-6 with the Lensturbo.

Thanks Steve!










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  1. Riaz – thanks for putting un-processed images up here for our review. Can I ask what no-one else has – are these taken with a Metabones Speedbooster or the cheaper Chinese version (Zhongyi Lensturbo)? Jordan Steele ( reviewed both ofthese a while back and found the image quality suffered in the cheaper adapter. Personally, I think I can see some signficant uneven distortion and blurring, especially on the right hand side of the images. It actually works well with the hummingbird image, but if this is the cheaper adapter then it is a really useful comparison with the much more expensive Metabones.


    BTW – it seemed pretty obvious to me that you had ‘set-up’ the cliff edge shots and not dangled your kids off the edge of a 3000′ drop! Strange what conclusions some people will jump to!!

    • Hi Don, These pictures were indeed all done using the Chinese lens turbo, which smears the edges and has a bit less sharpness than the metabones. The mount also got loose on the chinese one. I now excluseivly use the metabones, but I did enjoy the signature look of the chinese lens turbo to create some images. You can see my blog for a more controlled comparison of the two adapters:

      Also, thanks for being so reasonable 🙂

  2. I’ve seen some amazing images on this site; putting these in that category seems a bit of overstatement. These images do look somewhat flat & underexposed to my eyes, albeit not badly so; I think that’s just an aesthetic choice, which I might not have made myself but would decline to criticize… I believe the photographer has already taken enough unwarranted flak over his artistic choices.
    For whatever my opinion is worth, I quite like the hummingbird shot and the first & second-to-last cactus shots.

  3. How do you get an extra stop of light with a speed booster on APS-C versus FF ? I believe that the idea of the speed booster is that you’re putting the same light on the APS-C sensor that you put onto the FF sensor. Granted, you have to raise the ISO on the FF camera one stop, but that makes things about equal.

  4. My first reaction was (and I think other’s as well) was that the pictures are a bit darker than we’re used to seeing, not as much brightness, saturation, and contrast as most digital photographers are striving for these days. That said, the fact that they were processed that way consistently (on purpose, I think) made me reflect. I think our eyes are getting a bit fried from all the post-processing and we want everything bright, loud, and contrasty. The same thing is true in audio processing (consistently loud) and video/movie editing (choppy! fast! get to the point!). These are worthy photos and I support another NEX 7 shooter! (No one seems to appreciate the NEX 7 anymore!). As for the child endangerment claims and plain nastiness…please, life is too short and plenty nasty enough already.

    • Haha. Thanks I’ll be sure not to let my children experience nature again. Kidding aside, I’m curious what about the pictures repelled you, apart from the perceived, but illusory, imminent danger?

    • Bore off Dasar! Great pics Riaz, I love the fact that I get to experience some of these “nature” pics all the way from RSA.
      Thanks for sharing!

  5. I like the first, the second and the humming bird photos the most 🙂
    Would like as much sunshine feel on the photos with the children.

  6. A few things.
    First, I like all these shots, just a bit underexposed perhaps.
    Second, I couldn’t open Dimitris (PHOTOGRAPHER AT LARGE!) Georgopoulos’ Smug Mug website, and that’s just as well. It’s remarkably easy to NOT comment if someone’s photos aren’t to your liking, but it takes an extra special asshole to make remarks like those.
    Smug indeed.

    • Couldn’t say it better.
      As for the shots, I like them a lot. I especially love the kid above the cliff, I find this shot fascinating.

  7. The internet has certainly made it easy for folks to be nasty. And there is frequently a degenerative negativity as threads wind down to name-calling. That being said, honest criticism may be helpful, and none of us get a great deal of value from a “Wow, that’s great!” evaluation.
    I like these photographs. For me they have modest ambitions, but they are well-realized. We are surrounded by pumped up colors, and extra contrast so things “pop”. These are a bite from a reality sandwich. It was cloudy, an air pollution haze covers everything, and that’s just the way it looks. Or is the photographer not yet in control of the medium? The compositions reflect a lot of symmetry, but sometimes lack a focal point.
    Thanks for posting these, Riaz, I enjoyed them..

  8. Your shots have made me feel I should try Lensturbo. My current digital camera (I’m a film guy) is also NEX-6 and have several Contax SLR lenses. I have XE1 but I do like the focus peaking with MF lenses. I also tried A7R, but I didn’t like the overall feeling…

  9. Oh also the kids might look like they are in a precarious position but I assure you that it’s just camera perspective.

  10. Thanks for the compliments and suggestions. These images are unprocessed from the camera. I think the turbo results in some under exposure. So thrilled to be on the site, thanks Steve!!!

  11. Wow, some nasty comments above. Personally, these are some of the best photos I’ve seen on this site – tastefully processed, well-composed and with a very evocative atmosphere. Thanks for posting!

    • Wow, Thank you! I don’t mind the critics, I believe if you’re not ruffling some tail feathers then you are doing it wrong anyway 🙂 They are right, I think some levels adjustments would really make the pictures pop but there is something endearing about the effect of Zeiss coupled with a cheap adapter 🙂

  12. Yes, I like the understated colours, too. And I hoped you had invisible ropes on those kids! (Just talking as a grandfather….)

  13. Firtst of all. Do not let the children on the edges, especially on the edge of high rocks in the openess. The neuro-psychological system of the children, is a system still in development. So children can generate unpredictable reactions in a click of a second. Such reactions are difficult to be administered if you are caught by surprise with the camera on hand. Also check your physical condition when you are getting there.
    Second. I must regretfully comment that as far as I can see the overall quality of your pictures is mediocre. It seems that your gear hunting did not make you any good. You can try a rehab from GAS and taking photography seriously can be of great help.
    Wish you all the best.
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece

      • I am incredulous as to the responses to Riaz and the photos shared with us.
        First, the comments were not constructive and completely unkind and without basis.
        As far as the children go – these children look to be over the toddler stage and capable of following basic parental instructions when given in the face of potential immediate danger. I will assume because they did not make the news for falling into the canyon – I will bet dollars to doughnuts that Riaz is a capable parent.
        With regard to the photographs – they may be slightly underexposed however, the composition is lovely and the slightly darker exposure ads an artistic feel.
        Riaz – keep experimenting and keep taking photos – I enjoyed what you shared with us!
        JF Marin

      • Dimitris V. Georgopoulos, Come on Brother, have some respect. Your “critique” skills are very poor. Why not offer some helpful, insightful tips if you have them. Wouldn’t that be a better solution than just belittling someone. here is an example.
        I like some of your shots on your Leicaimages site. My favorites are some of the abstract shots such as the oil spill and the graffiti. Would be a great series if you had a bunch of similar shots hanging in a gallery. They Remind me of the American Abstract Expressionist movement in a way. On the other hand, your street shots seem as though you are just wondering the streets with no real purpose or motive. That works sometimes but I’m not feeling any connection to your subjects. It’s a slice of life with no moment of purpose being captured. I can stare at a Steve McCurry photo and the people in the photo feel as though they are pulling you into their world. You feel a connection. There….constructive criticism.

    • George, maybe constructive criticism would be more useful than “you suck, nya nya na na”?

    • Good shots, but awful technical quality. The worst seen in a long time, sorry.
      Let’s be realistic!

    • I’ve chanced upon some of Mr. Georgopoulos’ photos over on Leica Images. I wouldn’t take his comments to heart Riaz. Keep exploring and enjoying your photography.

    • Dimitris, what was the point of that? I don’t agree with praise for the sake of praise, but that was small-minded and petty. Constructive criticism would have been a better response and would enable Riaz to keep improving which is what photography is all about isn’t it?

  14. I suppose it’s a matter of personal taste…and admittedly I am on my work PC….but all of your photos look underexposed…and flat. You have some interesting shots that could be improved big-time with some simple levels adjustment in PS.

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