By now, you’ve surely heard all about the Metabones Speedbooster Lens adapter for NEX cameras (and soon, micro 4/3 cameras as well). Not only is it designed to adapt your full frame Canon EF lenses to E-Mount, 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.
In the video above, Chris Niccolls of theCameraStore takes a look at the new Metabones Speedbooster adapter and puts it through it’s paces in this hands on field test – and I suppose the biggest question on everyone’s mind is simply “Does this thing work?”
My 2 Cents
From most reports, it does appear that the Metabones Speed Booster Adapter does work as advertised. So am I ready to order one right away and should you too? Well, in my opinion, not so fast…
What follows is my opinion and you’re welcome to disagree as vehemently as you would like. While the Speed Booster does offer some interesting prospects, I’m personally going to pass for now, and here’s why:
- I’m not a fan of using adapters. In my experience, whenever you use an adapter you open the door to issues you wouldn’t have if you just used a lens that’s designed to work with your cameras (i.e. – electronic functions don’t work, lens and camera mount don’t fit properly, etc.). While this is usually true because the lens in question is a cheap foreign knockoff and the Metabones is a much higher quality piece of equipment, I have already read an article where the reviewer used a Speedbooster Adapter with a Zeiss Lens that cost thousands of dollars and during the testing, the electrical functions on the Zeiss lens burned out (I apologize for not having the link in the article – when I read the story, I was in an airport and don’t remember where I saw it – when I find it again, I’ll post the link). Was this because of the Metabones? Not necessarily. Do I think that this will be typical? No, but the Speedbooster is new and there are bound to be a few glitches, and the fact is that it did happen – so it could happen again.
- The lenses I already have perform wonderfully! I shoot micro 4/3 cameras and there are a ton of great lenses that I have at my disposal, and most of them are pretty affordable. Better yet, they’re made to work with my camera. For the money I would spend on the Metabones, I could easily add another great lens to my collection.
- Size does matter. Part of the reason I went with M43 is because they’re smaller and lighter, so why would I want to attach a huge Canon lens plus an adapter to the front of my camera. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
- Why should I try to make my camera something that it isn’t? When I purchased my cameras, I did so because they were excellent image making machines that produces superb HD quality stills and videos. They were easy to use and had advanced features that I couldn’t necessarily find on their “Full Frame” counterparts. So why is there an obsession to hold a camera up to the antiquated standard of a 35 mm “full frame” camera that is ostensibly built around 60 year old film camera technology? I’m not knocking full frame cameras here in any way, shape or form. They’re marvelous image making machines too. All I’m saying is that the IQ and advanced technology in today’s smaller sensored mirrorless cameras can stand up on their own and they should be embraced for what they are.
Who is the Metabones Speedbooster For?
Just because I’m going to pass on it for now doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of people for whom the Speedbooster is perfectly suited. For example:
- NEX Shooters might find the adapter more appealing because there aren’t a lot of high quality native e-mount lenses available at this time (although I still think those big lenses will look ridiculous on the from of an NEX camera).
- Those who already have a large collection of Canon EF lenses and want to switch to/add a mirrorless camera system.
- Filmmakers who want to use their Canon glass.
- Those looking to build an affordable lens collection by picking up inexpensive used EF lenses and don’t mind the oversized nature of those lenses when compared to their mirrorless camera bodies.
Why I’m Really excited about the Metabones Speedbooster
I hope that I haven’t given the impression that I’m all negative on the Metabones, because truth be told, I’m very impressed by the technology that’s built into this little guy. But what excites me the most is that I don’t think it will be very long before lens manufacturers start to build this kind of technology right into the lenses they are designing for our cameras. This technology only promises to produce brighter and faster lenses at more affordable prices, and that is something to be excited about!