The Rolls Royce Of Adapters

on September 04, 2016

Or the Fujifilm of motor cars...

In the spirit of the elk*, I knocked a Fujifilm M-adapter and a Zeiss 50mm f:2 M-mount lens off the shop shelves with a stick and clapped them onto my Fujifilm X-E2 with the turbo-boost vitamin -enriched firmware update. I was going to see how much different it made the adapter experience compared to the Ray-Qual and Tokina combination that I am most familiar with.

The first impression was quality improvement in both the lens and the adapter - hardly surprising as both of them are quality Japanese products. Not to knock the efforts of other sections of the Asian world, but there is no denying the superb machining on the Fujifilm or Zeiss mount. They clip together with no hint of distress.

No hint of a hitch, either, in the operation of the focusing ring and the aperture ring of the Zeiss lens. I am not surprised with this - when I operated Zeiss lenses on their own cameras or on Hasselblad 6 x 6 in the past there was never an operability issue - the operator might foul it all up, but the lens came through.

I have written before about the slowing down of the photo process when you use adapters and other-maker's lenses on your camera - how you are forced to give up auto-focus and are always opening and closing an aperture to view or expose an image. In some cases, like that of the Ray Qual/Tokina combination - it is really only suited to studio closeups and careful work. Even then the mind wanders, you forget to stop down or to open up and the image suffers...

Well, it ain't the same with the Zeiss on the M-adapter. Sure, there is no more AF. I accept that. I can turn the focus selector on the Fujifilm X-E2 to M and leave it there. In dong so I have opened access to the focus-peaking mechanism that Fujifilm provide. It is turned on with a push of the thumb control wheel and instantly zooms up the portion of the image that is covered by the AF box. Disregard the fact that there is no AF in this configuration - you still get to see exactly what is in focus in that box. I've set it so I get a bright red rime around the exact plane of focus.

It is a matter of a moment to thumb up this image, turn the focal ring until it pops, and then thumb back to the main view. Almost as fast as the Leica M2 camera...

Do I need to focus at full aperture and then stop down? Probably do if it is a close-up shot. I can whack it open and then count clicks down to the selected shooting aperture.

Do I need to do this in the field with a subject at is further away than about 2 metres? Nope. the Fujifilm X-E2 can boost the viewfinder image bright enough to let me focus and frame right down to about f:11 anyway so if I am going to get enough depth of field anyway I can just leave it at this stop and do nothing but focus and fire. Now that's about as close to the old Leica M2 experience I used to have as I can get.

Mind you, I do miss twisting my fingers into a knot at the end of 36 shots and then having to juggle the base plate as I load the next 36...

The results? Zeissuperb. Plus it has a silver ring at the front that makes it look cool.

* That was meant to read "week" but the autocorrect mechanism took over. I quite like the elk, eh?

See the Zeiss webstore here: