Photography News | Issue 69 | photographynews.co.uk
LaowaMagicFormat Converter £319 The mirrorless camera revolution has all sorts of benefits. Just look at the potential offered by lens adapters allowing you to use legacy lenses on brand new mirrorless cameras or even to mix brands. Compatibility and features vary greatly, so check the details carefully before buying. The Laowa Magic Format
Prices £319, Nikon F and Canon EF options available In the box Laowa Magic Format Converter adapter, front and rear lens caps Lens construction 5 elements in 4 groups Magnification 1.4x Light loss 1EV Focusing Manual only Tripodmount Supplied, Arca Swiss compatible foot Dimensions 69.6x44.1mm Weight 360g Contact laowalens.co.uk
Converter (MFC for short) is the first of its type. It allows owners of Canon EF and Nikon F lens owners to fit their 35mm format lenses to Fujifilm GFX medium format cameras. That in itself is not new, but what is innovative with this converter is that it contains the optics to give a larger image circle to fill the GFX’s 44x33mm image sensor. The payoff for this is a 1EV light loss and a 1.4x focal length increase. I tried a Nikon version of the MFC on a Fujifilm GFX 50R with the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D as well as a selection of Nikon lenses. The 24- 70mm f/2.8 G, 105mm f/2.8 macro and 70-200mm f/2.8 G went on fine while the 14-24mm f/2.8 G and 24- 120mm f/4 G did not fit. The Canon EOS EF mount has electronic contacts only so there shouldn’t be an issue. I tried the EF 24-105mm f/4 with a Canon fit MFC and that fitted fine. As you would expect, you only have manual focus with focus confirmation and aperture-priority AE andmanual exposure modes. On the Nikon version, aperture setting is done using a ring marked fromF to8 inhalf clicks between each full value. With the 24-70mm f/2.8, F represents f/2.8, 2 is f/4, 3 is f/5.6 and so on until 7 is f/22. Using the Laowa 12mm f/2.8, to get the lens’s full aperture range I had to set 8 on the adapter and then use the lens’s aperture control ring as normal. This system works well once you get used to it. To check aperture accuracy I used manual mains flash. I set a flash output to give a correct exposure of f/4 on the 32-64mm lens. Swapping to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on the converter and setting Fmeans the lens is an effective f/4, so
the same flash output should give the same exposure. It did; so aperture accuracy is good. Increasing flash output by 1EV and closing down the aperture one whole number on the converter should mean correct exposure stays in step, which it did. In use, focusing needs care and I used the GFX 50R’s focus magnifier to check accuracy. Being on a tripod helps too and the converter does have an Arca compatible tripod foot. I took test shots on both lenses; the ones shown here are from the Laowa 12mm. Adding an optical converter will always have a negative impact on the quality of the main lens. We’ve tested the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 previouslyandfoundittobeacapable ultra wide-angle. With the 12mm/ MFC combination on a GFX 50R, we got a very respectable performance, notably at mid-apertures from f/5.6 to 11 where sharpness and contrast were impressive across the frame.
At wider apertures, the centre was good but the edges were less impressive, lacking contrast and crispness. There was also evidence of vignetting at f/2.8 and f/4 which went with stopping down. Fringing was also apparent at those settings but that can be processed out. Generally, though, I thought the MFC turned in a decent optical showing with minimal impact on the main lens in use, and sharpness and detail at mid-aperture settings was very good. WC The mirrorless camera revolution has all sorts of benefits
In principle, the Laowa Magic Format Converter is a great idea, enabling a 35mm format lens to fill the GFX’s 44x33mm image format. Its appeal is obviously limited to GFX owners with Canon or Nikon lenses and not all Nikon lenses fit. The Laowa 12mm f/2.8 gives the MFC extra appeal because on a GFX this becomes a 17mm f/4, the widest lens available for that system right now. Laowa has a dedicated 17mm f/4 on the way for the GFX, but owners of the 12mm with the MFC have a capable ultra-wide lens for both 35mm and GFX formats.
Below These test shots were taken on a FujifilmGFX 50R with the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 fitted on the MFC. With the 1.4x magnification of the converter the focal length is just under 17mm. The combination was mounted on a Gitzo Systematic 4 tripod with the shutter released with the self- timer. The quoted aperture value was the value set on the lens, ie not the effective aperture, which is 1EV smaller
Pros Great idea, Arca Swiss tripod foot, aperture control Cons Not all Nikon mount lenses fit, vignetting
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