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Hav­ing bought a lens, begin­ners most often think about how to sup­ple­ment it with fil­ters — pro­tect, remove glare, add col­or to tone the frame with­out Pho­to­shop.

But what if we shift the focus and think about adapters? With the help of them, you can change the pic­ture so much, as if you have not one lens in the kit, but sev­er­al at once. We tell you what lens adapters are and why you might need them.

The adapter can act as a full-fledged and bud­get replace­ment for an expen­sive lens / Source: pxhere.com

Speedbooster — from crop to full frame

Speed ​​Boost­er or Speed ​​Boost­er is an adapter devel­oped by Metabones that allows you to turn a crop into a full-frame or near-full-frame cam­era. Such adapters appeared rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly — in 2013.

The adapter is put on the cam­era in front of the lens and increas­es the focal length. Sim­ply put, with it, the cam­era can cap­ture more space in the frame, which dis­tin­guish­es a full frame from a crop.

With a speed boost­er, the 85mm prime lens con­verts to 60mm, turn­ing the por­trait lens into a ver­sa­tile optic / Source: live.staticflickr.com

You can find out how much the crop fac­tor will change by look­ing at the num­ber indi­cat­ed on the Speed ​​Boost­er. For exam­ple, 0.71x, 0.64x. At the same time, due to the design fea­tures of the adapter, the micro­con­trast increas­es — the final pic­ture is sharp­er.

Why you need a Speed­boost­er:

  • “turn” a cam­era with a cropped matrix into a full-frame one;
  • calm­ly put lens­es on cropped cam­eras for a full frame. For exam­ple, if you decide to switch from a full-frame DSLR to a lighter mir­ror­less cam­era.

So, for exam­ple, you can use Canon lens­es on Olym­pus, Pana­son­ic, Sony cam­eras. Their crop fac­tor is reduced from 2x to 1.4x, which will allow you to get a wider angle when shoot­ing. For exam­ple, a 50mm lens on an Olym­pus cam­era with a Micro 4/3 mount with a reg­u­lar adapter will turn into 100mm, and with a Speed­boost­er it will turn into 70mm;

  • put non-native crop lens­es on your crop cam­era;
  • Increase lens aper­ture by one stop. For exam­ple, from f/1.2 to f/0.9. This is pos­si­ble due to the design of the adapter — it con­sists of 5 lens­es that col­lect light and “con­cert” it on the matrix;
  • sharp­en the pho­to by increas­ing its micro-con­trast.

Teleconverter — turn an ordinary lens into a telephoto lens

A tele­con­vert­er is an adapter for a lens that increas­es its focal length. The sub­ject in the pic­ture will appear clos­er and larg­er than it real­ly is. So, a 200mm lens with a 2x tele­con­vert­er will turn into a 400mm.

A tele­con­vert­er is need­ed if you often shoot dis­tant objects — ani­mals, birds, ath­letes, which at a great dis­tance with a reg­u­lar lens will seem tiny.

The tele­con­vert­er will be use­ful for ani­mal painters, land­scape painters, reporters, trav­el pho­tog­ra­phers. It’s def­i­nite­ly cheap­er than buy­ing a whole arse­nal of lens­es / Source: wikimedia.org

Just like a speed­boost­er (by the way, speed­boost­ers are often called reverse tele­con­vert­ers, since their pur­pose is to reduce the focal length), a tele­con­vert­er is placed between the cam­era and the lens. And in the same way, the mul­ti­plic­i­ty of its increase is indi­cat­ed on it — 1.4x, 2x, 3x.

But keep in mind that the tele­con­vert­er great­ly reduces the aper­ture ratio of the lens. So, a 1.4x adapter reduces expo­sure by 1 stop, 2x by 2 stops, 3x by 3. A lens with a max­i­mum aper­ture of f / 4 will turn into f / 5, or even f / 7. In addi­tion, a tele­con­vert­er (espe­cial­ly a cheap one) can increase chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tion and “knock down” sharp­ness.


Read also:

Chro­mat­ic aber­ra­tion: what is it and how to remove it

What is sharp­ness and how to raise it in Pho­to­shop, Light­room and online


macro rings

The macro ring is an adapter that allows you to get clos­er to the sub­ject and take a pic­ture of it larg­er, in greater approx­i­ma­tion. There are no lens­es inside such rings. This is a hol­low ring or sev­er­al rings attached to each oth­er that reduce the focus­ing dis­tance. For exam­ple, if ear­li­er you had to move half a meter to focus on an object, then with macro rings the dis­tance can be reduced to a few cen­time­ters.

Macro rings are used as a replace­ment for much more expen­sive macro lens­es. If you have not yet decid­ed that macro pho­tog­ra­phy is your thing, then macro rings are a great way to try your hand at a new genre and not go broke. Although many macro pho­tog­ra­phers con­tin­ue to use macro rings even after buy­ing expen­sive optics, they can be put on any lens and turn a macro lens into a super macro lens to take pic­tures even clos­er.

Often, macro rings are sold as a set of sev­er­al rings at once. This allows you to adjust the degree of approx­i­ma­tion, com­bine dif­fer­ent options / Source: unsplash.com

The dis­ad­van­tages of macro rings are a decrease in lens aper­ture. That is, with the same set­tings, pho­tos with them will be dark­er. But it is enough to raise the ISO or “length­en” the shut­ter speed and the sit­u­a­tion will improve.

Tilt/Shift adapter — to control sharpness and perspective

Tilt / shift adapter (from the Eng­lish Tilt “tilt” and Shift “shift”) is a spe­cial adapter that allows you to elim­i­nate per­spec­tive dis­tor­tion and shift focus. A char­ac­ter­is­tic fea­ture of such adapters and lens­es is sharp­ness, which goes in a con­tin­u­ous sharp straight line and blur in the rest of the frame. Because of this, a “toy-like” effect is cre­at­ed, as if the pho­tog­ra­ph­er did not shoot a real street in the city, but held a pho­to ses­sion of a grand lay­out.

Sharp­ness with Tilt / Shift equip­ment does not focus in one place with a dot, but goes along the entire length of the frame / Source: unsplash.com

Such adapters are use­ful for archi­tec­tur­al pho­tog­ra­phers to quick­ly, at the time of shoot­ing, achieve the desired per­spec­tive and then not sit for hours in graph­ic edi­tors. They are also often used in prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy to get a shot with a spe­cif­ic focus. This is espe­cial­ly true when shoot­ing jew­el­ry.

Tilt / shift adapter is a rare and expen­sive prod­uct in Rus­sia. But find­ing and buy­ing one might be more prac­ti­cal than spend­ing mon­ey on a Tilt/Shift lens.


Read also:

Tilt-shift lens: what is it and why is it need­ed


Programmable adapter with a chip for confirming focus on a lens without autofocus

Such adapters are used to put “non-native” optics on cam­eras. For exam­ple, you can hang a Carl Zeiss lens or the Sovi­et Helios 44–2 lens on a Canon cam­era, which is famous for its swirling bokeh.

Sony A7 cam­era and Sovi­et Helios 44–2 lens / Source: flickr.com

A pro­gram­ma­ble adapter with a chip will allow you not only to use a lens from anoth­er man­u­fac­tur­er, set its focal length and aper­ture in order to under­stand which optics the frame was tak­en with, but — the most use­ful — to set up the abil­i­ty to con­firm focus. That is, in fact, when focus­ing man­u­al­ly, the adapter will “bea­con” you that you are in focus. This makes it a must-have for all lovers of non-aut­o­fo­cus optics.

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