Let’s take a micro four thirds camera, a couple old m42 screw mount manual lenses, and put them though a cheap but well performing focal reducer, to see how it handles flare.
- Panasonic GX7 (standard picture profile, electronic shutter fixed to 1/100s, ISO 800)
- A warmed-up 40W light bulb (50hz 230V), hurts enough the eye, hopefully not the sensor too
- A normal m42 to m43 adapter ring, for comparison purposes.
- A focal reducer gotten from ebay which features a pixco sticker on the box, looks like the one in pixco site (which does not specify much technical info, anyway warns about aberrations).
- Auto Chinon 135mm 2.8 lens
- SMC Takumar 55mm 1.8 lens, hopefully not the radioactive batch
- No post production, I just resized the JPEGs gotten straight out of camera.
The reducer focuses past infinity and I have not tested it with the mechanical shutter, seeing that it intrudes slightly into the body, I am not going to take risks. Enough talk, on with the pics, you’ll be the judge:
The Takumar’s wider FOV made the bulb approach the image center, so flare gets reduced.
So, are the FOV and light gains worth the price (approx. 100€) and the added flares? That’s a matter of personal taste, personally I have witnessed very few instances where flares were present, while the flexibility of a new focal length for each prime I got is very welcome. Lastly, keeping the reducer on lets you switch adapted lenses without exposing the sensor to dust.
If you have good full frame lenses and need higher quality, there is the original Metabones Speedbooster whose reviews and tests elsewhere on the net are quite positive. Else, well, stick to the FF bodies? Anyway with M43 you can get native lenses and depth of field (sometimes you just need that), or adapted FF lenses with their shallow DOF and individual character.
More pictures at full resolution taken with the focal reducer (check EXIF data to see which ones) can be found in this page.