Metabones Speedbooster for Micro 4/3 Beginning to Appear – Do You Really Need One?

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The Metabones Speedbooster Adapter has been all the buzz for the last several months, and that’s no surprise considering the lofty promises of this particular piece of equipment.

Unlike a standard lens adapter, which would allow you to mount say, your canon EF lenses on a Sony NEX or Micro 4/3 camera, the Metabones Speedbooster also includes a built in focal reductor – a peice of glass that takes the incoming light from the full frame lens and re-focuses it to fit onto the sensor of the host camera.  This is purported to have the effect of making the lens wider and faster, increasing your maximum aperture by a full stop.

The Metabones adapter for Sony NEX camera has been available for a while now, and PetaPixel is reporting that the new micro 4/3 version is beginning to make appearances.  Although it’s public launch has been pushed back to later in the year, some renowned M43 users have gotten early releases for testing, including filmmaker Philip Bloom and EOSHD’s Andrew Reid, who states that “Micro Four Thirds needs the Speed Booster more than any other camera.

The video above from AFMarcotec gives a good overview of just what the Metbones Speedbooster can do, but despite the adapter’s capabilities and the early assessments of testers, one must beg the question…

Do I really need a Metabones Speedbooster?

In my opinion, there’s no clear cut answer to this question as there are numerous factors that one must consider.

First and foremost, lets take a look at what the Metabones can do.  There’s no denying that there are some delicious, high quality lenses out there from Canon, Nikon, Leica, etc. – and the prospect of using these lenses on your mirrorless system while gaining an extra stop is greatly appealing indeed.  But will these lenses be any better than the native glass that you can get for your mirrorless system that is made specifically for your camera?  Since there are several types of shooters out there, lets break this down a little further.

If you’re a beginner or hobbyist who’s just moving into interchangeable lens systems, the I would recommend that you just stick with your camera’s native lenses for the time being – especially micro 4/3 users, who have the largest array of high quality lenses to choose from among any mirrorless camera system.

If you’re an enthusiast who likes to regularly get out and shoot photos and videos, but you don’t already have a collection of lenses, I would still recommend sticking with your camera’s native lineup.  Again – in my opinion – it’s better to invest your money in lenses that are made specifically for your camera system.  Even if you have an NEX system (and there’s not a ton of great lenses for those as of yet), I would be inclined to spend my hard earned cashola on a new Zeiss Touit lens or two before investing in a Metabones and a piece of expensive legacy glass.  Besides, in my mind, slapping an adapter and a huge bazooka-like lens onto the front of a small mirrorless body defeats the purpose.

No matter what camera body you’re using, you main goal should always be to collect as many high quality lenses as possible.  So if your plan is to pick up a Metabones Speedbooster so that you can use some el cheapo legacy lenses, then your money will be better spent elsewhere.

So, who should get a Metabones Speedbooster?

While the Speedbooster may not be for everyone, there are definitely some people out there who should give it a serious look…

  1. You’re adding a mirrorless system to, or moving over from, a DSLR and you already have a substantial collection of high quality legacy lenses.
  2. You’re a pro photographer or filmmaker who is building out an elaborate system and you want to use specific legacy lenses in your work.
  3. You’ve got money to burn and you’re one of those people who always have to have the latest and greatest gadgets, just so you can say you have one (and you know who you are ~_^).

In my mind, the most valid of the above are the first two. But even if (in the case of number 1) you have a large collection of legacy lenses, you might want to consider selling them off while they still have great value and look at their mirrorless alternatives that are built to fit your system.  Whenever you use an adapter, you should be aware that you will open the door to potential issues.  I’m not saying that you’ll have any, but the door will be open.

What do YOU think?  Are you planning on picking up a Metabones Speedbooster?  Leave a note in the comments below…

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