DPReview is reporting that specialty accessory manufacturer Metabones is teaming up with optics company Caldwell Photographics to manufacture ‘Speed Booster’ lens adapters for for mounting SLR lenses to APS-C and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. The new adapters will reduce focal length by a factor of 0.71x while increasing maximum aperture by 1 stop (Translation – brighter, faster adapted lenses). The Speed Booster Adapters should also produce sharper images compared to using the same lens with a regular adapter.
The first release will allow use of Canon EF lenses on Sony NEX bodies, which will be great news for fans of Sony’s vaunted NEX lineup, and will be available this month from Metabones’ website for $599 USD. Later releases will support additional lens mounts (including Nikon F) and camera systems (including Fujifilm X and Micro Four Thirds).
Here’s the Metabones / Caldwell Photographic Press Release
Petersburg, VA, USA, January 14, 2013 – Metabones® and Caldwell Photographic jointly announce a revolutionary accessory called Speed Booster™, which mounts between a mirrorless camera and a SLR lens. It increases maximum aperture by 1 stop (hence its name), increases MTF and has a focal length multiplier of 0.71x. For example, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II lens becomes a 59mm f/0.9 lens on a Sony NEX camera, with increased sharpness. The faster F-stop allows for shallow depth-of-field and a lower ISO setting for decreased noise.
Speed Booster is also particularly pertinent to ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses. The combined focal length multiplier of Speed Booster and an APS-C mirrorless camera is approximately 1.09x, making the combination almost “full-frame”. Full-frame ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses largely retain their angle-of-view on an APS-C mirrorless camera when Speed Booster is used.
The optics of Speed Booster is designed by Brian Caldwell, PhD, a veteran of highly-corrected lens designs such as the Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro lens with exemplary MTF performance (focusing done with visible light requires no correction whatsoever for the full spectrum from UV to IR).
Speed Booster serves double-duty as a lens mount adapter, from Canon EF lens (but not EF-S) to Sony NEX, with auto-aperture, image stablization, EXIF and (slow) autofocus support for late-model (post-2006) Canon-brand lenses. It will be available in January 2013 from Metabones’ web site and its worldwide dealer network for US$599 plus shipping and applicable taxes and duties.
Other mount combinations will follow shortly afterwards. Leica R, ALPA, Contarex, Contax C/Y and Nikon F (with aperture control for G lenses) will be supported, as will Micro 4/3 and Fuji X-mount cameras. Support for other mounts will be added in the future.
To learn more details about this revolutionary technology, read the Speed Booster White Paper on Metabones’ web site. (Read article on DPReview – Video above is a demo of an older Metbones Adapter on a Sony NEX VG20 from rivi1234)