An interesting shift adaptor has been announced in the form of the Laowa Magic Shift Converter (MSC).
The adaptor sits between an ultra-wide angle lens (Canon EF or Nikon AI mount) and a Sony Full Frame E-mount camera.
Laowa bills the adaptor as transforming its own excellent 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D ultra-wide angle lens into a 17mm f/4 lens with ±10mm shift. To reiterate, only the Canon or Nikon mount version of the lens and Sony FE camera will work with the adaptor.
Compatibility with other lenses is rather vague at this point. On the product page we read that ‘It may also work with a selection of alternative ultra-wide angle lenses from other brands’.
The way the adaptor works is by expanding the image circle of the full-frame Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens from 43.2mm to 60mm. The extra space in the image circle allows a ±10mm shift along the axis.
Additionally, the Laowa Magic Shift Converter can rotate 360°, meaning the user can shoot at any angle, landscape or portrait.
Laowa claims that even when set to the maximum 10mm shift, there is no vignetting and the impressive 0.2% distortion of the 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens is maintained.
While the lens controls distortions really well, lines in architecture are only straight if the lens is level. When pointing up, perspective distortion is introduced – tall structures appear to lean in, being wide at the bottom and narrow at the top.
This is where the Laowa Magic Shift Converter really comes in, correcting perspective distortion. When angling the camera up or down, perspective is ‘corrected’ by shifting the image plane to be level with the subjects.
With the manual focus adaptor attached, there is a focal length multiplication of 1.4x and and 1EV aperture reduction. As for the build, it’s an all-metal construction with an optical structure comprising five elements in four groups.
We know the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens is good and the Laowa Magic Shift Converter looks like it could complement the lens really well for architecture photography in particular.
Here’s hoping to getting our hands on the adaptor for a test in the near future.
Pricing and availability
The Laowa Magic Shift Converter (MSC) was announced a little while back, but on the website it’s still listed as a backorder. We’ve been informed by Venus Optics that the Canon EF version should be available in September 2017 and the Nikon AI version in October 2017.
RRP is £299. Please visit the Laowa website for more details.