"Altglas" (waste glas), or: fun with old lenses

I love shooting with my Fujifilm cameras.

Of course, I'm neither a professional photographer nor an amateur with professional ambitions; I just enjoy it immensely. A big part of this are the cameras I use. I have a Fujifilm X-E1 and a X-T1 and it's a pleasure taking pictures with them.

I started out with the 18-55 mm (27–82.5 mm equiv.) kit zoom, which is really good. Shooting with the XF18-55, I found out quickly that my preferred focal length was somewhere around 23 mm (35 mm equiv.), which caused me to shell out the money for the XF23mmF1.4 R only a couple of months after I bought the X-E1 and it's the lens that I shoot with most of the time.

Recently, I became interested in experimenting with different focal lengths but didn't want to shell out the € 700 it costs to get a 15 mm equiv. lens on the Fujifilms, so I did a bit of research and quickly stumbled across a good number of old lenses that, while not as objectively great as many of Fujifilm's current offerings, would allow me to try and find out which focal lengths I really like using.

The X-series cameras use an APS-sized sensor and thus have a crop factor of about 1.5, meaning that I have to multiply the focal length of any lens I put on the camera with 1.5 to find out the 35 mm equivalent focal length.
This isn't much of a matter when it comes to optics like those used for portraits, but it makes it really hard to get the super-wide-angle feel.

The solution was to use a focal length reducer, which can almost negate the crop factor of the sensor (meaning that a 20 mm lens won't be a 30 mm lens on an APS-sized sensor, but somewhere along the lines of a 21.6 mm focal length). I heard about this kind of piece of kit on Jonas Rask's site and the same article made me want to buy a Helios 44 lens. My last holiday took me to Hong Kong and one of the points on my agenda was to get the recently announced successor to the focal length reducer Jonas is using.

Now, I can't say a lot about the optical quality of the Mitakon Lens Turbo II and I suspect that it's still not as good as the original Metabones Speed Booster (the product it is based on) but you know what? It's a ton of fun! I haven't noticed any major shortcomings and the build quality is really good, much better than I'd have expected for the price.

The two lenses I use with the Lens Turbo II right now are a Helios 44M-4 2/58, an old Soviet lens with a very particular bokeh—as seen in the photo at the top of this article—and a Tokina RMC II 17 mm ƒ/3.5 ultra wide-angle lens from Japan.

I haven't had a proper chance to really put the Tokina lens through its paces, but the Helios has already seen some good use. Below are some more pictures I recently took with it during a walk.

Wooden fence in the evening light



Alex Hoffmann @mangochutney