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Fringer’s Canon EF to Fujifilm X smart adapter

This is a short review of the Fringer Canon EF to Fujifilm X lens adapter, a so called smart adapter meaning it let’s you use auto focus with Canon lenses on your Fujifilm X camera. Smart adapter’s for Canon lenses have been available some time now for Sony cameras but this is the first for the Fujifilm X systems.

I take a lot of photos of bicycles in Copenhagen. They move fast so it requires good auto focus ability and long fast lenses. Fujifilm lacks those longer prime lenses, the longest is the 90mm f2 but it’s too short. I bought this adapter to try out lenses like the 135mm f2, 200mm f2 or 300mm f2.8.

I bought the Canon EF 135mm f2 USM and I also borrowed a few other lenses to test it with: Canon XF 85mm f1.2 L II, Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II and Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 STM.

Product overview

  • Can mount Canon EF lenses on your Fujifilm X camera. A long list of lenses have been tested.
  • Auto focuses lenses.
  • Image Stabilization also works if lenses have that option.
  • Aperture ring to change aperture. Turning it all the way to the side sets it into auto.
  • Lens EXIF data gets saved, focal length and aperture.
  • Price is $299 bought from Fringer website.

Taken with Fujifilm X-T20 + Finger adapter + Canon EF 135mm f2

Testing the auto focus

Lets get it out the way: this adapter works, auto focusing works, the question is how good does it work? Will it work on fast moving subjects? And will it have any problems?

I tried to test auto focus of moving subject coming towards me with these 3 setups:

  • Fujifilm X-T20 + Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 at 135mm.
  • Fujifilm X-T20 + Fringer adapter + Canon EF 135mm f2.
  • Canon 80D + Canon EF 135mm f2

Result: all shots taken was in focus. Not bad!

I had some smaller focus problems when using the Fringer adapter over longer time in daily use, sometime one or two shots was not completely in focus when doing burst shots. Once it even wouldn’t focus at all, and I had to turn off and on the camera for it to work. I only see this as minor problems and probably something that will be improved with future firmware updates.

Example of a photo that was a bit misfocused using the Fringer adapter

Fujifilm X-T20 + Fringer adapter vs. Canon 80D

I bought a Canon 80D camera to compare with the Fujifilm X-T20 + Fringer adapter. If you already know Canon cameras, this won’t have interest for you. But for people like me that only uses Fujifilm, here are some interesting observations:

  • The Canon 80D focuses a bit faster than the Fringer adapter but that’s to be expected.
  • DSLR’s are just better for real professional work, the viewfinder is clear and easy to track fast moving subjects with. Noting compares to DSLR’s when tracking fast moving subjects.
  • On the other hand DSLR’s are big and clunky. I rarely take photos with it walking around alone on the streets. So unless your photography is professionally paid work, you will probably prefer a smaller mirrorless camera with a flipscreen.
  • The Canon Colors: I know a lof of gear relativists are gonna disagree (“all gear are basically the same, it’s about your skills”) but there is something about the colors in some camera. I dislike the Nikon colors, the Fujifilm colors are great and so are the Canon colors. The Canon colors are beautiful, especially for those golden our people photos, it’s the color style you have seen everywhere for the last 10 years. Fujifilm has a bit more of an analog film look, a bit more hipster friendly colors. I like both.
  • Photos from the Canon lenses look better from a Canon camera than a Fujifilm camera. It’s like they miss some colors and contrast compared to when they where taken with a Canon camera or if using native Fujifilm lenses. This is gonna be a bit emotional with no hard fact to back it up, so I would love to get other peoples opinion on this, is it just me?

Taken with the Canon 80D + Canon EF 135mm f2 – to me this is clearly Canon colors, a bit warmer, I like it!

 

Conclusion

If you are just starting out with Fujifilm, stick to the native Fujifilm lenses, they are the best. But if you already got a lot of Fujifilm lenses and wan’t to try out some of the lenses you don’t have in the Fujifilm lens line up, get this adapter!

Pros:

  • It works! Auto focus is great, not 100% to the same level as a native Fujifilm lens but good enough.
  • Keeps getting better through firmware updates.

Cons:

  • Dosen’t work as good as a Fujifilm lens with fast moving subjects and following them but it’s close.
  • I didn’t like the Canon lenses I tried as much as my Fujifilm lenes. The colors are a bit off and micro contrast are lacking (especially compared to the Fujifilm XF 56mm and XF 90mm).

Links

Rådhuspladsen, Copenhage, with Mamiya M645 + 80mm f1.9

Shooting analog film: medium format, 35mm, Cinestill and more

I started out with photography when analog film was already dead. But recently it has come back among camera nerds. What got me interested was to see photos taken with Cinestill, a brand new film that gives a very cinematic look, something I just couldn’t reproduce in post processing. So I decided to give it a try. I wrote this to document all the stuff I went though from beginning to end, and with a conclusion to hopefully help people that is thinking about doing the same.

Mamiya 645 medium format camera

It all started out when I won an auction for a suitcase full of Mamiya 645 stuff. To people that don’t know, that is an old medium format camara system with film in the size of 6×4.5cm (large size!), something that professionals used back in the 70s to 90s. The suitcase contained a Mamiya M645 camera, a few lenses, a flash, teleconverters, macro rings, filters and more.

Suitcase full of Mamiya 645 stuff including a few rolls of film that expired in the 80s

Suitcase full of Mamiya 645 stuff including a few rolls of film that expired in the 80s. Full size

What attracted me most to that camera was the Hasselblad look and modular system, and I heard that this was a cheaper but still very good alternative to the expensive Hasselblad cameras and Zeiss lenses.

Initially it was a bit of a challenge to use. The waist level viewfinder (you look into the camera from the top) that I had looked forward to trying was hard to use: what you see through it is reversed, meaning you have to make the opposite movements when framing, very hard to learn. Also the waist level viewfinder don’t have a light meter, so you have to figure out exposure otherwise. Nailing focus is also hard but it has a magnifying glass you can fold out that helps, but still not as good as a good prism viewfinder. Expect to have problems with these waist level viewfinders, they are cool and I love to use them, but they are also a pain in the ass.

The Mamiya 645 lenses are great. I have tried a lot of vintage lenses (35mm, medium format), and so far I only really got impressed by two vintage lens companies: old Zeiss lenses and Mamiya 645 lenses. I love the rendition and colors. Also ended up adopting the lenses on my digital Fuji X cameras with an adapter, and uses the lenses with a Rhinocam adapter (will write more about that soon on the blog).

These are the lenses I ended up getting, all nice lenses.

  • Mamiya Sekor C 45mm f2.8 N – a wide angle lens.
  • Mamiya Sekor C 80mm f2.8 – The standart length, 50mm equivalent. Great lens, small, light and very cheap. Amazing value for money. Check out this 134 megapixel photo I took with this lens, my Fuji X-T20 and a Rhinocam adapter.
  • Mamiya Sekor C 80mm f1.9 – Great lens for street photography (film don’t have high iso so you need faster lenses to shoot in the dark) but also more big, heavy and expensive.
  • Mamiya Sekor Macro C 80mm f4 – Macro lens that people also claim is the sharpest lens.
  • Mamiya Sekor C 110mm f2.8
  • Mamiya Sekor C 210mm f4
  • Mamiya Sekor C 300mm f5.6
My girlfriend in Amager Strandpark, Denmark. Taken with the Mamiya M645 and the 110mm lens.

My girlfriend in Amager Strandpark, Denmark. Taken with the Mamiya M645 and the 110mm lens with Kodak Portra 160. Full Size

Pros:

  • Awesome lenses. Even if I never use the Mamiya film camera again, I will always use these lenses on my digital cameras.
  • Everything is high quality stuff.
  • Camera looks cool!

Cons:

  • Too old school: The Mamiya M645 and other 70s/80s cameras are very mechanical cameras, not much electronics. Can be good since you can repair stuff. But you will end up missing all the electronic options. A good lightmeter, auto rewind, auto focus even, better viewfinder. Continue reading to hear about more modern options.

Cinestill 800 film

This new film was original why I got into shooting film. I saw Big Head Taco using it and loved the cinematic look it gave, perfect for evening street photograhy. The look has these blue-green tones, with red rings around light sauces. The film is very depended on your light source, newer light like led won’t look good, older bulb lights look super cool.

I had high expectations but after getting the first film developed and scanned I was disapointed. Iso 800 on film is not like iso 800 in digital, it’s has very high noise. More noise than I can accept. If you post it online as a small thumbnail like Instagram (where I had original seen Cinestill photos) it looks fine, but for viewing it on a big screen in full resolution it looks terrible.

Nørreport station in Copenhagen taken with Mamiya M645 + 80mm f1.9 with Cinestill 800 film

Nørreport station in Copenhagen taken with Mamiya M645 + 80mm f1.9 with Cinestill 800 film. Full size

Pros:

  • A unique look, good for urban-neon-hipster-night-photography.

Cons:

  • Most lights today are led-lights, that limits your options to get that cool Cinestill look when shooting. But limitations can also be a fun thing 🙂
  • Too much noise, low quality photos.

Lightmeter options

If you go for older film cameras you will probably have to meter your light manually. Even if the camera has a build in lightmeter, it can give unstable results or be broken (they often are, ask before you buy).

Your options:

  • External lightmeter – good ones are a bit expensive, but this is a your best option.
  • Light meter apps for your smartphone – I tried a lof of them free and paid onces. I like the idea, since you always have your phone on you. But they don’t work so don’t waste your time.
  • Use your digital camera as light meter. It works but it’s a bit of a pain in the ass to always hold two cameras.
  • Learn to guess your exposure settings. I never learned to guess all light settings, but going out shooting street in the evening you can easily learn to guess those settings (light will problably only vary 2-3 stops max and easy to guess).

It’s a big minus that you have to deal with this. On modern cameras we have got so used to the comfort of build in light meters. A big minus for shooting film.

Pentax 6×7 medium format camera

The bigger the film, the finer film grain and the more details. So I wanted to try something bigger and got the Pentax 6×7 system. Compared to the Mamiya 645’s 6×4,5cm film, the Pentax 6×7 has 6x7cm film.

My friend holding the giant Pentax 6x7 + 105mm f2.4 lens

My friend holding the giant Pentax 6×7 + 105mm f2.4 lens. Full size

The camera looks like a monster, it’s big and ugly and when you bring it somewhere public you will get attention, people will laugh of you and when you take photo the shutter sound will make people wonder “what is that sound?”.

Because of it’s bigger film size, and longer and slower lenses, I used this more as a landscape/cityscape camera, but to me that is not where film has it’s strength compared to digital. Everytime I did use it I ended up liking the same photo shoot with my digital Fuji camera way more. Therefore I can’t recommend this camera even though this camera is legendary.

Here are the lenses I ended up with:

  • SMC Pentax 6X7 55mm f4 – A wide angle lens, known for sharpness and good for landscape photography.
  • SMC Takumar 6X7 105mm f2.4 – Standart lens. The fastest lens for the camera. If you get this camera, you probably want this lens.

Pros:

  • Big 6×7 size film and finer grain.
  • Looks cool in an ugly way, will get you lots of hipster friends.

Cons:

  • Bigger film (or sensor) comes with a prices, the camera/lenses becomes bigger, lenses become slower (lower aperture), longer lenses means you have to either use tripod or shoot at higher shutter speeds (to avoid lens blur), and less things are in focus on bigger film/sensor. Taking those things into account, the 6×7 film size is too big.
  • It’s big and heavy + you need at tripod (because of the things mentioned above) so you rarely bring it along.
  • The lenses have a lot more chromatic aberration compared to other medium format lenses like the Mamiya’s. But I only noticed it when adopting them on my digital cameras, not on film. Also I just don’t like the colors and image rendition as much the Mamiya’s.
Christianshavn in Copenhagen, taken with the Pentax 6x7 +55mm f4 with Fujifilm Velvia 50 slidefilm

Christianshavn in Copenhagen, taken with the Pentax 6×7 + 55mm f4 with Fujifilm Velvia 50 slidefilm. Velvia 50 has low dynamic range, so I cheated and used to exposures and mixed them in photoshop to get sky and foreground. full size version here. You can compare it to this photo I took the same morning with same lens but with my Fuji X-T20 and a Rhinocam adapter, in full resolution (134 megapixels) or resized version.

35mm film camers

I also decided to try out 35mm cameras (what most people had back in the day). Advantages are smaller cameras and lenses, faster lenses, and more shoots on one film roll.

I had a lot of them laying around from when buying vintage lenses for my Fuji X system. I ended up using my Minolta x-300 the most with a Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58 mm f1.4, a very cheap option and still good quality.

But let’s just stop here: 35mm is too grainy! The higher resolution of medium format is really needed when taking film and digitizing it. Sure back in the days some great photographer used 35mm and got great results. But doing it today and comparing it with digital cameras are so disappointing. 35mm is only usable if you only use your photos to low res image services like Instagram.

Taken with Minolta x-300 + 58mm f1.4 lens + Cinestill 800 film

Taken with Minolta x-300 + 58mm f1.4 lens + Cinestill 800 film. See full size version here and notice the low quality of 35mm high iso film.

Pros:
– Cheap, you can go to your local 2nd hand store and find lots of cheap options.
– Faster lenses and small size, good for street photography.

Cons:
– Too low photo quality, don’t even bother.

Pentax 645 medium format camera

In the end I bought this Pentax 645N a bit by chance and hadn’t many expectations, I found a cheap lens for it in a 2nd hand store and wanted a matching camera. This is a modern medium format film camera, it has auto focus, fully working light meter with the modern options, very big and bight viewfinder, auto rewind the film and much more.

I was blown away by this camera! The film camera I enjoyed the most using, and it makes it hard for you to use the more old school cameras afterwards. Only minus is that it lack the charm and cool look of the older cameras and it’s rather large. So I can recommend it, but maybe the fun of trying film is to try the old mecanical cameras?

Pros:

  • Viewfinder is amazing.
  • Everything just works.
  • I just like to use it, feels good and makes me happy 🙂
  • You can adopt Pentax 6×7 lenses with an adopter, nice if you own both cameras.

Cons:

  • Big and heavy.
  • Lack some retro coolnes, not good if you wanna have high status among your hipster friends.

Other cameras and films tried

  • Pentacon Six TL – this camera is older and cheaper. I got it with a Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm 2.8 and a MIR 26B 45mm f3.5. I never used the camera much, so not much to say about it.
  • Yashica Mat-124G 80mm f3.5 – found it cheap in a 2nd store and was inspired to get a TLR camera because of Vivian Maier. But didn’t like it, the images has this not vintage look, faded (not in a good way).
  • Fujifilm Velvia 50 – this film is good for landscapes but it’s super hard to use because of the low dynamic range. You have to use graduated nd filter for anything you do with it, and for me that takes a bit of the fun away.
  • Kodak Provia 160 – Like it, good for photos with people.
My girlfriend and her bike in Kødbyen, Copenhagen. Taken with the Yashica Mat 124g 80mm f3.5 with Kodak Portra 160 film

My girlfriend and her bike in Kødbyen, Copenhagen. Taken with the Yashica Mat 124g 80mm f3.5 with Kodak Portra 160 film. Notice that the photo is square because the negative is 6×6, why many Instagram photgraphers love these kind of cameras. Full size

Other notes

Getting your film developed are normally pretty easy. Most big cities have good professional film labs. Here in Copenhagen there is the lab “Laboratoriet i Nannasgade”, they have good quality service but they close early. Recommend to go to Photografica (Skindergade 41, Copenhagen), they will give your film to the same lab, that gives a an extra delay but you end up paying a bit less, and more flexable opening hours. 65 danish kroner for developing film.

People always say that bigger sensors gather more ligth, therefore bigger sensors are better. The Angry Photographer always reject this and makes fun of people that claims it. When you use a medium format film camera you realize quick that it’snot true, they don’t gather more light. The same film in a 35mm camera gather the same light in a medium format camera. The difference for film is that bigger film gives you finer grain and details. For digitial it’s the same, bigger sensor gives producers option to make higher resoltion sensors, but with technology changing smaller sensors now also support higher resoltions. Bigger sensors are often better to handle noise, I think this is a decision the companies make by choice, not by pysical limitations.

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Medium format film cameras have great lenses and you can even use them digitally in many ways. A lot of them are very undervalued right now, might change as digital medium format cameras like the Fujifilm GFX-50 gets more popular.
  • It fun to shoot film if you are not used to it, especially the first couple of rolls are a thrill. You need to think more because you don’t have unlimited shoots, that’s a good experience to try.
  • Film gear keeps it’s value, buy it, try it, resell it again with small or no loss. So even if you end up disliking film you can always resell.

Cons:

  • Film is expensive because you will get G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). There’s something satisfying about buying what used to be the most expensive gear only professionals could afford. You will end up spending a lot of money on ebay, but like mentioned above, you can easily resell it again.
  • Old film cameras looks cool and are fun to try but they are a pain in the ass. You will often miss a lot of great shots right in front of your eyes becase you had this old school gear and not a modern camera. And for me that is the purpose of photography, capturing the moment.
  • High iso film is not the same as high iso digital sensors, your photos will be so grainy that it’s unusable (unless you are an Instagram only photographer).
  • You will very likeley have to spend extra money and time on the cameras you buy, because something is broken. It happend again and again to me. Expect it before buying.
  • Scanning film to digitalize it is painfull and very unsatisfying. It takes a lot of time and you will most likely be disapointed. I had a hard time getting good results, tried different scanners and methods, always got same bad results.
Mid summer even (Sankt Hans) in Denmark. Taken with Pentax 6x7 + 105mm f2.4 with Cinestill 800 film

Mid summer event (Sankt Hans) in Denmark. Taken with Pentax 6×7 + 105mm f2.4 with Cinestill 800 film. Full size

Was it worth to try it? No! Don’t do it, unless you care more about cameras than you do about getting good photos. In the end I had 3 developed films I didn’t even scan, I was so disappointed in the results I got. And I know people are gonna say I did this and that thing wrong (try processional scanning, try another lens, etc.), still doesn’t change all the problems involved with film makes it all not worth it.

Maybe as a portrait photographer film can make sense. It gives you a unique look, and getting unique portrait photos is hard on digital (portrait photos often look too clean and generic).

I do understand the charm of film, a lot of digital photos just lack something. But that is also something you can change. Personally I think Fuji’s cameras give a more film-ish look, maybe try one. And also, don’t give your digital photos that HDR look where you pull highlights and shadows, it makes your photo look lifeless and boring.

Finally: it’s fine that some people love film, we all have different preferences. The thing that pisses me off is that a lot of film shooters will cover up the problems with film or lie. I.e. I often hear people claiming that film has very high resolution, come on guys, it’s not true. Film looks great on Instagram (the small size and high image compression makes the low quality hard to see) but otherwise quality is just too low. Don’t be dishonest.

Links

If you get into film, check out these:

Ben Horne (youtube channel) – american nature photographer that uses old large format cameras.

The Film Photography Project (podcast) – the ultimate group of film nerds, very enjoyable to listen to.

Nick Carver (youtube) – american dessert photographer, love his videos, wish he would produce some more!

Autumn in Christianshavn, Copenhagen, with the XF 56mm f1.2

Fujifilm XF 56mm f1.2 vs. Fujifilm XF 50mm f2.0

Yes the test have been done by many people, but this is a hard choice. Personally I couldn’t decide for a long time, after reading reviews and trying them both out. I preferred one, then changed opinion, then changed back again. Therefore here is another comparison of the two lenses.

Size and stealth factor, XF 50mm f2 wins: It’s small and light, even walking close up to people they won’t notice you, and if they do they won’t care with such a small camera and lens. Not only is the 56mm lens much bigger but add the difference in their lens hood, and the 50mm comes out much much smaller. If you are still new to street photography, this lens together with a flipscreen camera is awesome. Of cause if you plan to shoot weddings or portraits, this dosen’t matter.

Parade at Piazza San Marco, Venice with the XF 50mm f2.0. Flickr Link

Focal length, XF 56mm f1.2 wins: this is a very small thing and very personal but there is a noticeable difference between 50mm and 56mm. Personally I like the 56mm better.

Price, XF 50mm f2 wins: 449$ (50mm) vs 899$ (56mm), that’s a big difference.

Fast aperture, XF 56mm f1.2 wins: this is obvious, but it matters. Fast aperture f1.2 means more light for low light situations, it means smoother bokeh and to get better separation between objects in and out of focus. In low light situations you need a high shutterspeed for longer lenses (1/120) so you will need that f1.2 for night shooting, that made my 50mm unusable for me.

My friend Janus + family + bike, with the XF 56mm f1.2. Flickr Link

Closer focus, XF 50mm f2.0 wins: It’s not that it focuses super close, it’s more the 56mm that can only focus at long distance. If you want to take closer up shots of objects or closer portraits of part of the face, you can’t do it with the 56mm. Not a big deal for many people since they often carry two or more lenses. 

Rendition, XF 56mm f1.2 wins: this is very subjective, but there is a clear difference in the look of photos from the two lenses. And I don’t just mean the look resulting from the different aperture. The 50mm has a more clear generic hard look, where the 56mm has more clarity/micro-contrast and has better colors. And the 56mm has some kind of softness (but still sharp) that can’t only be from the different aperture, try comparing this 50mm photo and this 56mm photo zoomed in. I heard lens guru The Angry Photographer say that both lenses are great without commenting on this, but I have also heard other people make the exact same observations as me.

Hospital in Nanjing, China. With the XF 50mm f2.0. Flickr Link

Other notes (that doesen’t matter): the 50mm focuses a tiny bit faster, the 50mm is a tiny bit lens noisy when focusing, the 50mm is weather resists, 50mm has more rounded aperture blades. There’s also a APD version of the 56mm with better bokeh, but it’s more expensive and let’s in less light, don’t think it’s worth it.

Final discision:

  • If you are a chicken, then size and stealth factor will matter for you. It matters more that you bring your camera and get the shot than if the lens rendition is perfect. Get the 50mm.
  • If price matters to you, you could get almost get 2 lenses with the 50mm.
  • What matters to me is that very characteristic rendition, almost unique like an old vintage lens but still sharp and with spot on colors. The XF 56mm f1.2 is my favorite lens.

Autumn in Copenhagen with the XF 56mm f1.2. Flickr Link

Links: 

More of my photos:
XF 50mm f2.0 Flickr Collection
XF 56mm f1.2 Flickr Collection

Buy the Fujifilm XF 50mm f2.0 R WR:
AmazonUS, AmazonUK, AmazonDE, eBay

Buy the Fujifilm XF 56mm f1.2 R:
AmazonUS, AmazonUK, AmazonDE, eBay

Christianshavn at winter, Copenhagen with my Fuji X-100T

Welcome to my site

About myself: I’m 33 years old, I’m danish, live in Copenhagen, have a lovely girlfriend called Fanshuang, work as a freelance software developer, spend a lot of my free time on photography.

Why another blog: I wan’t to use this blog to share my nerdy experiences as a photographer. I know blogs are not the cool thing in 2017, but I often find them when I search for camera or lens details and it can be a great help. So for me they still have some relevancy.

What kind of photography: my goal is to have some interesting photos of our life today that people can look back at in the future and both find interesting and appreciate it’s technical quality. Street, event, cityscape, politcs, all kinds of stuff that matters to me and are relevant for my life.

What about the gear: I love the Fuji X series, the small size, the mechanical dials, the Fuji image look. I also have fun with old vintage gear, vintage lenses and playing with medium format film gear.

I have a lot of weird camera knowledge I want to share, so keep subscribed.