The concept of the Metabones Speed Booster Adapter is mind boggling, to say the least. Not only is it designed to adapt your full frame Canon EF lenses to E-Mount (for Sony NEX cameras, but a micro 4/3 version is in the works and scheduled for release in March, 2013), but it’s also purported to make your lenses wider, thus effectively making your camera full-frame, while also increasing the speed of a lens by a full stop. Although this sounds too good to be true, it apparently works by concentrating the extra light-gathering area of a full-frame lens down to the smaller E-mount sensor area, for example turning an f/2.0 lens into an f/1.4 lens. Additionally, the adapter supposedly increases sharpness on top of all that, and allows users to access automatic functions of later model EF lenses, such as auto-aperture, image stabilization, autofocus support,etc.
Will the Metabones Speed Booster lens Adapter be able to live up to it’s lofty promises?
Here’s EOSHD’s Conclusion
Because full frame is a ‘premium’ photography product, the Japanese corporate machine has been mindful of limiting supply of full frame cameras in order to maintain inflated prices and margins. We waited a long time for the D800 and 5D Mark III and it is only now in 2013 that for the first time we have two ‘affordable’ full frame DSLRs with stripped down features – the D600 and 6D. Neither do very good video. So to have that full frame look when I need it on my Sony video camera is a real blessing.
The real world performance when you shoot with the Speed Booster and see the result is far better than any lab test of corner resolution would imply. The claims of this adapter defy belief… Scepticism well founded. And yet…
Sure the corners aren’t as sharp as the centre but the same goes for all optics to a degree especially full frame – and look at what you’re gaining here –
Your NEX 7 becomes a ‘NEX 9′ full frame Canon mount mirrorless camera.
You get a full frame FS700 capable of 4K and 240fps 1080p plus a low light king in the FS100 which can shoot wide angle material at an amazing 24mm F1.0, with the same lovely wide angle shallow DOF look of the 5D.
You get a full frame camera for the price of a $400 NEX 5N and $600 Speed Booster.
You get a 24-105mm F4 that magically becomes a F2.8 with a longer range than the $2000 24-70mm L and the gain in aperture is done without the lens becoming bulkier. The list goes on…
One thing which could be interesting to try is a medium format lens on the adapter. A Zeiss 85mm F2.8 for Hasselblad can for example adapt to the EF mount and fit the Metabones. This may avoid any loss of resolution in the corners as the image circle of these lenses is designed to fit 70m!! I have not tested this yet.
I had no issues with the electronic side of the adapter but I don’t have a warehouse sized collection of EF lenses to test with it. My investment is mostly in anamorphic and manual focus stuff. It would make sense to check the compatibility list if you rely on things like IS and AF. Some lenses may have issues with focus on the adapter too – the Canon 100mm F2.8L Macro did not play well on the earlier Metabones EOS adapters.
All in all – if this adapter does not send shock waves through the camera industry I don’t know what will.
- 1 stop increase in low light performance
- Full frame look – wider field of view, shallower DOF, attractive vignette and light fall off towards corners
- Extremely good value for money (look at the saving over buying alternative full frame video solution like Canon 1D X / 1D C)
- Protects investment in existing glass
- Match glass between full frame camera and Sony E-mount camera on multi-camera shoots
- Corrects some optical defects in centre of the frame such as purple fringing and coma
- In-camera electronic aperture control for Canon lenses on Sony body
- Micro Four Thirds support in pipeline for March (and electronic adapter in June)
- Turns Blackmagic Cinema Camera into Super 35mm (matching Alexa)
- Every lens now has dual focal length and aperture (use with or without adapter to change crop)
- More creative possibilities
- Excellent build quality
- Very small and light
- Tripod mount
- Infinity focus tuning built into the adapter and straight forward to use
- Corner and edge sharpness a bit of a struggle with most legacy glass at fast apertures
- Soft corners and edges most noticeable at infinity focus with fast apertures or wide open
- Speed of auto-focus in need of improvement (painfully slow compared to same lens on a Canon body)
- Some lenses are not yet fully supported by the electronics
My 2 Cents
If this thing works, this technology represents a paradigm shift in imaging that will make professional photo-videography even more accessible to every day people. If the Metabones Adpater stands up to every day use, you can look for new lenses and cameras incorporating Speed Booster technology to be released in the next couple of years. Stay Tuned!