July 18, 2014

Fotodiox Says Excell+1 Not a Speed Booster Competitor, Offers Refunds for Unsatisfied Buyers

Last week, Fotodiox Pro released the Excell+1, a product that had many of us extremely excited because it seemed to be a far less expensive counterpart to the popular Metabones Speed Booster. Cut to one week later. Many of the new units have made their way into the hands of eager filmmakers, and a few have put the Excell+1 up against the Speed Booster, only to find that the Fotodiox has some major focusing and sharpness issues at apertures wider than f/2.8. The folks at Fotodiox have released a few new videos in an attempt to explain more about what the Excell+1 can and cannot do, and to offer people who were expecting Speed Booster performance a full refund for their purchase.

First up, here's a video directly from Fotodiox Pro explaining the differences between the Speed Booster and Excell+1, and what the Excell+1 is ideally used for.

Here are photo comparisons of the Excell+1 and the Speed Booster, both on a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 at varying apertures. The results here are very clear at this size, but you can click for the full size versions.

It's extremely clear that the Excell+1 is not able to compete with the Metabones Speed Booster in terms of sharpness at any aperture really, but especially not at any aperture wider than a 4.0. Any higher than and it looks like someone stacked a pile of mist filters in front of the lens (and not in a good way). For people who specifically want the additional stop of light provided by these products, they'll definitely want to spend the extra cash on the Metabones, because you need to stop way down to get a usable image on the Excell+1.

With that said, Fotodiox says that it is marketing the Excell+1 as a focal reducer (as opposed to a speed booster), so its primary function is to reduce the crop factor that you get on smaller sensor cameras. If you're looking for a product specifically for that reason, then the Excell+1 might be worth a look simply because of its significantly lower price. However, you should be aware that the device is practically unusable at any stop wider than a 4.0. Here's how the Excell+1 compares to the Speed Booster just in terms of focal reduction.

Ultimately, the two provide a nearly identical field of view, but the Metabones is still the clear winner in terms of sharpness. The Excell+1 also seems to induce some kind of warm/magenta into the image, whereas the Speed Booster is neutral in color rendition.

Finally, for those who purchased an Excell+1 last week with the hopes that it would provide Speed Booster-like performance at higher apertures, Fotodiox is offering a full refund for that purchase. If you're not satisfied with the product, just send it back. Lastly, for those of you who want to keep the Excell+1, Fotodiox is offering you a $50 credit towards your next purchase on their website.

[via Wolfcrow]

Your Comment

30 Comments

OK so I stopped watching the video when he said they only just got the speed booster in. Some one help me if I am wrong. In their first video they didn't mention any of its so called spec which is a fail and now stating its not a competitor to the speed booster. This is ridiculous, when you make a focal reducer you check out the competition so you know who you will be up against. Now they are getting bad press it fells like they are trying to cover their ass. I have a few of their bog standard adapters and they work a treat but this is something I myself would be ashamed to put out in to the wild

July 18, 2014 at 4:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lee

IMHO they did a good thing. Took criticism, answered in all honesty. Full refund to anyone wanting to give it back. $50 off to anyone just a little grumpy expecting Metabones' quality at that price.

July 18, 2014 at 4:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Archie

Agreed. I think they handled it well.

July 18, 2014 at 5:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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alex

+1 Fair play to the guy for addressing customers with that video.

July 18, 2014 at 6:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ADC

Yes fair play and creating products is not easy by any stretch of the imagination BUT I feel there is a lot of inexcusable incompitance from fotodiox on this one, not being upfront about your product is bad practice and this video could have been avoided if they were up front. Also the fact they are throwing in a failed product with a new name is just crazy. They were just asking for the daggers to come out.

July 18, 2014 at 6:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lee

How can you be upset when they get James Spader to do their video?

July 19, 2014 at 1:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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This isn't the only incidence of them doing this type of business, the Light canon that they where giving away was the the same fail and it went down in a similar way. So there is a history of this type of behavior. I also can't believe they never seen the metabones speed booster before this it was only the biggest thing to happen in lens accessories in awhile and HEY THEY'RE IN SAME BUSINESS for crying out loud! Im going to make Excel 1 and not see the competition? I turn on the computer and a Ad pops up about the Metabones Speed Booster. The biggest thing that made me suspicious was that their launch, they offered a discount right off the bat for only 7 days before they ever released any video examples. What is the first thing a company dealing with optics do when premiering their product? SHOWCASE IMAGES MADE WITH THEIR PRODUCT! What did FOTODIOX do? Fotodiox showed a stock photo and re cropped it to show what the crop factor would look like. Go to that effort but not actually shoot with your own examples with your own lens adapters? I bought one completely useless to me, wasn't going to return it because its a pain and my time and that they make you pay for shipping and the refund does not include the shipping & Handling to receive it I figure around $13. and my time but I made myself return it and have to still waiting 10 days from when they receive it for a refund. Well I need the money back to pay for the Metabones Speedbooster I just ordered from B&H.

July 19, 2014 at 6:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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joe

They did not handle it correctly. If any of you actually owned one of these and tested it out, you'd know that the adapter is, absolutely, UNUSABLE. The footage, at ANY F-STOP is messed up: soft, purple fringes, and image discoloration. No one in their right minds would use this, for any purpose. We have HD cameras and high quality lenses for a reason.

In regards to their "comparison video":
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FYI Bohus said in another video that their adapter is “not a competitor [to the SpeedBooster] and never built to be that"... So why the comparison video?

They obviously massively stopped down on the lens and adapter(s) because that's the only setting where the Excell+1 can even be used against the Metabones SpeedBooster, and with a drastically underexposed image, people can't see the discoloration and lack of focal clarity that occurs. Look how dark that image is. That wasn't done in post. That scene wasn't lit that way. They stopped down so heavily on the adapters and lenses to expose it that way.

FWIW, I hate having to put Fotodiox on blast because I love so many of your products, but when you negligently try to trick consumers into buying an adapter that will, in fact, make their image far worse by using your adapter, I feel the need to speak up. Give us a good product and you'll get our praises. Try to sell us bad products, and put your name on the line for it, and you'll reap what you sow.

In regards to their Closer Look at the "focal reducer" and the "SpeedBooster":
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This video is nothing more than a well-crafted attempt at manipulating people into thinking that the Excell+1 is anything, other than a cheaply made SpeedBooster knockoff. Hats off to you @Bohus.

Bohus comments:
-“not a competitor [to the SpeedBooster] and never built to be that"
-“do a lot of the same things [as a SpeedBooster], but at a much more manageable price”

Customer reply:
the features listed are EXACTLY what the SpeedBooster does, and that is EXACTLY what consumers bought it for.

You are further attempting to mislead consumers by separating the Excell+1 from the SpeedBooster by stating that the “Excell+1 spec is f/2.0, f/2.8 or above”, whereas the SpeedBooster can operate at a wider f-stop. I want to point something out to you that most consumers already know: the Excell+1’s inability to operate at wider f-stops is nothing more than a serious build quality and optical issue. Nothing more… Otherwise, the adapter wouldn’t have been built to operate at these apertures.

We don’t spend money on quality lenses, only to have our image quality degraded by putting a bad lens in between our lens and our sensors.

The tests you showed comparing the two adapters that are “not competitors” (LOL) proved to us, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your adapter is nothing more than a cheaply made device that no one in their right mind should stick on their high resolution camera and expect a good image out of it. Your adapter will seriously degrade the image coming from a camera. Period. You stated that your “Excell+1 spec” is f/2.0, f/2.8 or above, yet in that comparison, even at f/8 and higher, the image on the left was dingy’er, blurry’er, and had color distortion/purple fringing. Anyone who knows lenses will tell you that this is indicative of bad optics.

Attached is an image showing that this very video PROVES your adapter is garbage. Consumers spend a lot of money on quality lenses and cameras with good sensors, and you shouldn’t GIVE this adapter away because it makes photos and videos look terrible.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/YIkoTL5wNiNA38Ukyg5pvcFsx8MYZMrj36vFO4...

Downloadable HQ image:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/w5ip3yj7wbb8nqs/Excell%20comparison%20image.png

The simple fact that I am using their own video to prove to you that the product is garbage is further proof that Fotodiox and Bohus are not to be trusted with manufacturing and/or selling optics to consumers. Period.

July 19, 2014 at 2:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rev

I agree, here is my shot with the excel+1 and its on a nikkor 2.8 and its SOFT!
https://vimeo.com/100778559

July 19, 2014 at 6:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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joe

speedbooster knock offs that work have been around on ebay for ages. They cost around $100 and do not have softness problems.

NFS are about 6 months late to the party and pimping a dud product.

July 18, 2014 at 5:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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TruthNuggets

I gotta lay some blame here on NFS and agree with TruthNuggets, you featured this product on your site a week ago in a blaze of excitement, but it wasn't just you, other blogs too. too coordinated in my opinion, but other than that NFS mostly does great reporting,

July 18, 2014 at 7:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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kuban

Im with you NFS's role in this

July 19, 2014 at 6:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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joe

Mitakon Lens Turbo seems to be getting solid reviews around the web. Fotodiox flopped with this one.

July 18, 2014 at 5:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I found a cheap "focal reducer" on ebay for about $90 and I have no softness issues like that. Sure, my adapter is soft and I was never expecting it to be as sharp as the speed booster, but it performs pretty well. This seems like a misleading product. They even threw in their light canon if you bought the Ex+1 impulsively enough, which they labelled as an effects adapter and spoke of its quirks. Just silly.

July 18, 2014 at 6:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thomas Barthle

what are some cheaper .58x focal reducers like metabones?

July 18, 2014 at 7:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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VinceGortho

The Mitagon Lens Turbo 2 is actually very good. Okay for photo work but plenty sharp for 4K video.

July 22, 2014 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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This is par for the course with Fotodiox. Remember when they released the Light Cannon? They marketed it as a focal reducer that brightened the image, the same way they marketed this. Then when it came out and was incredibly soft, they came back and said pretty much the same thing: this doesn't do what we led you to believe it did when we first released it. Now they call it a "soft focus adaptor" which might as well be labeled "we don't know how to build optics so we will release crap that makes your shots look like crap but maybe you won't mind as long as we warn you that it's crap." I'm all for cheap gear that works, but I don't group this in that category. I bought a Fotodiox adaptor once, and the mount was so loose that I could use it a tilt-shift. Everyone has lemons, but Fotodiox seems to be planting more lemon trees with every release.

July 18, 2014 at 7:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joel

What a fright, I thought my left eye had stopped working.

I recently shot through a glass bottle for a kid's POV shot, and its "optics" were better than this.

July 18, 2014 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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William

You get what you pay for in this business. Never trust something because it's cheap. Been burned too many times.

July 18, 2014 at 8:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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GHDM

A cheap alternative to the the metabones speedbooster has been out since last January...
At $135 the 2nd gen RJ focal reducer is quite good:
http://www.rjcamera.com/ocart/index.php?route=product/category&path=20_6...

I used one to shoot a scene remake from Bladerunner as a film class excercise; see it in action for yourself:
http://vimeo.com/92497163

July 18, 2014 at 9:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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which one of the three have you used? is it soft when the lens is wide open?

July 19, 2014 at 8:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Premini

I used the 2nd gen "new optical design" EF to m43 on the bmpcc w/ contax zeiss primes converted to EF w/ Leitax mounts by Duclous Lenses. It is sharper at all stops with the adapter. The downside to the adaptor is it reduces the focus knob throw range substantially and you loose the hard infinity focus. You can still focus at infinity, but you have to eyeball it. i.e if a lens normally has a 270deg throw range for its focus knob, it will now be about 100deg range for the same focus distances - basically nullifying the distance markers on the lens. Focus pullers will hate this. If there is focus peaking or 1:1 mapping function on a camera monitor its not such a big deal. It can prove problematic for lenses with short focus knob throws. A lens with a 90deg focus knob, will end up with something like a 35deg throw range and makie nailing critical focus a miracle !

July 22, 2014 at 2:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I also used the same 2nd gen RJ focal reducer lens with an 18mm lens again on a bmpcc for another film student project: http://vimeo.com/91755923

July 22, 2014 at 2:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I use and Love the Zhongyi/Mitakon lens turbo for canon fd lenses in Sony nex cameras and they are superior to this and -almost- as good as the metabones. I use and Love fotodiox regular adapters for nikon and fd lenses in nex and m43 mounts. It is a missed opportunity on fotodiox end to be better known... If you follow personal view topics it happened exactly the same with the vizelex focal reducer a few months back. Sad for a good company to misscalculate a product like that.

July 18, 2014 at 11:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Iván Gómez

Metabones quality is iffy. I can't imagine buying anything that is "almost" as good. Kinda like saying "it's a little bit more shitty than metabones, but… "

We need Leica to make something of the sort. Heck, I bet the Rokinon guys could nail it.

July 18, 2014 at 11:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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William

Leica wouldn't do it because it would compete with their lenses!

July 19, 2014 at 6:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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joe

Sort of subject related -- there are some rumors that Sigma will come out with a line of cine lenses. Someone asked their execs about that and they snickered and said, "No comment". Considering that some people simply rehouse/mod their photo lenses into the cine line - and for a lot of money too - this should be a very doable project for the company. Their Art series is rated at the very top in terms of value and near the top in terms of performance.

July 20, 2014 at 2:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I guess that $400 I dropped on the Metabones Nikon G to MFT was worth it.

Used it outdoors yesterday with a Tiffen variable neutral density filter out front on a 70-200mm Nikon zoom at f/2.8 on a GH4. Footage was great. Very sharp.

July 24, 2014 at 12:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

This is hilarious! Even the original "Speed Booster" is useless (to me) in terms of peripheral sharpness loss and significant chromatic aberration...and yet the gullibles really thought that something a fraction of the Metabone's price is not going to degrade the image even more. Doh!

Too many useless, funky gimmicks in this game now. Put the toys away...and get on with some old fashioned cinematography...

July 24, 2014 at 8:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Skeptikal

The excell+1 is a piece of garbage, i'd be ok if it was decent at 2.8.. it wasn't. i had a huge bright halo in all of my stills/video at every aperture. epic fail on this product. I still use their other adapters and they work fine. This one however was sent back within 2 days of getting it.

July 24, 2014 at 11:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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derek