First Impressions: Metabones Speed Booster

The Metabones Speed Booster is shown here mounted on a Sony NEX-6 with a Canon EF 40mm F2.8 lens.

We've had the Metabones Speed Booster in the office for a few days and wanted to share some initial thoughts on the possibilities and challenges presented by such a unique product. While Metabones has announced plans to support a variety of lens/mount combinations, its first offering is a Canon EF to Sony NEX Speed Booster, so we put some Canon full frame lenses on our Sony NEX-6 and did some comparisons alongside the Canon EOS 6D we're currently reviewing. 

What is the Speed Booster?

As we reported recently, the Speed Booster is an adapter that allows for a full frame lens to be mounted on APS-C or Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. There are two reasons why this is very big news, and both revolve around the optics inside the adapter. Firstly, Metabones claims that by reducing the image magnification, the Speed Booster gives an overall focal length multiplier of around 1.09x, promising a nearly full frame field of view on APS-C. The second claim, as its name implies, is that the Speed Booster increases the lens's speed by a stop, turning an F2.8 full frame lens into an F2.0 optic that allows for low light shooting at a lower ISO sensitivity.

This image was shot with the full frame Canon EOS 6D using the EF 35mm F1.4 L lens. The green crop illustrates the field of view when shot from the same position with an APS-C  Sony NEX-6 using the same 35/1.4 lens via the Metabones Speed Booster. The blue crop shows the native field of view of the NEX-6 if shot from the same position at the same focal length without the Speed Booster adapter attached.

How can an adapter change the focal length and aperture of a lens?

The Speed Booster is most easily understood as being the opposite of a teleconverter – in that it reduces your focal length. This, then, has a domino effect on the F-number of the lens. Because the F-number is the focal length divided by the width of the entrance pupil, reducing the focal length without changing the entrance pupil increases the F-number. So, adding the speed booster to a 50mm F1.4 lens turns it into a 35.5mm F1.0. But, since we’re then going to mount it on an APS-C camera, a comparison of this lens-plus-adapter combination to a full frame camera means we have to multiply these numbers by the camera's 'crop factor'. The end result is a 53.25mm equivalent lens that gives the same depth-of-field as an F1.5 lens would on a full frame camera.

The Metabones Speed Booster contains optics, designed by highly regarded lens designer Brian Caldwell, that match the image circle of a full frame lens to a smaller format sensor.

And, if making lenses faster sounds like witchcraft, don’t forget that when you normally mount a full-frame lens on an APS-C camera, it illuminates an area larger than the sensor. With the Speed Booster, rather than losing this light, you’re effectively condensing it all onto your sensor. Again, it's doing the exact opposite of what a teleconverter - which loses light - does. The end result is that in terms of light capture and depth-of-field - as well as field of view - your full-frame lens behaves essentially as it would on a full-frame body.

AF compatibility

The Canon EF to Sony NEX version of the Speed Booster supports autofocus. But before you get your hopes up, here's a quote from Metabones' own product page:

'Autofocus speed is very slow and inadequate for most moving subjects. The autofocus speed is unfit for professional use for sure, and it would disappoint most enthusiasts.'

Our experience confirms this. Essentially you need to think of the Speed Booster as a manual-focus adapter. Even in good light, you'll get much faster results by focusing manually, particularly on a camera like the Sony NEX-6, which offers focus peaking. This is not surprising if you think about it, as the adapter is mating a lens optimized for phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) to a camera that uses a contrast-detection autofocus (CDAF) system.

It's also worth noting that the Canon EF to Sony NEX mount model is currently the only Speed Booster version to support AF at all. And the choice of AF-compatible lenses is limited to Canon EF models introduced in 2006 or later. Older (and third party) lenses operate in manual focus only.

Optical performance

As you can see from the examples below, Metabones' claim of 'almost full-frame coverage' is no idle boast. We've shot our resolution chart using the same lens on both the NEX-6 with Speed Booster adapter, and the EOS 6D; each camera was shot with its sensor plane located the same distance from the resolution chart. Based on our image comparisons, we calculated a focal length multiplier of about 1.07x, which is virtually identical to the company's assertions.

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM with Speed Booster: 1/50 sec. F8.0, ISO 100 Canon EOS 6D + EF 50mm F1.4 USM:
1/50 sec. F8.0, ISO 100

The Speed Booster combines with the Sony NEX-6 to provide a slightly narrower field of view compared to the full-frame Canon EOS 6D. The raw files were processed in ACR 7.3 beta to match white balance and brightness, with all other settings, including sharpening at their defaults.

As the 100% crops below attest, the center sharpness performance of the Speed Booster is very impressive. You'd be hard-pressed to find significant difference between the two files in the center of the image, other than the slightly higher resolution of the 20MP Canon EOS 6D versus the 16MP NEX-6. In the second set of crops, however, taken from the lower left corner of the chart, you can see softer corner performance and more prominent chromatic aberration (CA) from the Speed Booster.

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM with Speed Booster. 100% crop Canon EOS 6D + EF 50mm F1.4 USM. 100% crop
100% crop 100% crop

With such impressive results, we thought it would be interesting to see how optical performance fares at a very wide aperture. The image below was shot with the same Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM lens on the Sony NEX-6, and the Canon EOS 6D, but this time at an aperture of F1.4. Raw files were again, processed with ACR 7.3 beta.

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM with Speed Booster: 1/40 sec. F1.4, ISO 100

In the image above, you can see more obvious lens distortion at F1.4, as you'd expect. (Click the image for a full resolution version.) In the 100% crops below you can see that image quality suffers somewhat in the corner of the frame compared to the full frame EOS 6D.

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM with Speed Booster. 100% crop Canon EOS 6D + EF 50mm F1.4 USM. 100% crop (Click for full resolution image).
Top right corner: 100% crop. Top right corner: 100% crop.

We've also found that the Speed Booster introduces significantly more vignetting in image corners with the Canon EF 85mm F1.8 lens than you find on the full frame Canon EOS 6D, presumably due to a mismatch between the size of the lens's rear element and the Speed Booster’s front element.

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM with Speed Booster: F8, ISO 100 Canon EOS 6D + EF 85mm F1.8 USM:
F8, ISO 100

Still, you can't help but be impressed with the sharpness performance of the Speed Booster at an optimum aperture. And while vignetting, CA and large aperture corner performance are concerns, we must stress that 100% crops of test charts can overstate the practical implications of how the lens performs out in the real world. So we took the Speed Booster out of the testing studio for some shooting.

Real-world usage

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM with Speed Booster: 1/160 sec. F4, ISO 1600.  ACR 7.3 beta raw conversion.

There's no denying the pleasure of putting your SLR lens on a mirrorless body without significantly limiting your field of view, particularly with wide angle primes. And the ability of the Speed Booster to allow more light to reach the sensor should mean that you can capture equivalent exposures while shooting at an ISO setting that is one stop lower than using the same lens without the adapter.

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM with Speed Booster: 1/30 sec. F2.0, ISO 3200 Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM with Speed Booster: 1/60 sec. F2.0, ISO 1000

In the low-light scenarios above, using the Speed Booster allows the Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM lens to behave as an F2.0 optic, thus letting you shoot handheld at ISO 3200 and ISO 1000, respectively.

We did find, however, that shooting at the widest possible aperture (so F1.0 on a nominal F1.4 lens, for example) consistently resulted in a darker exposure. We found this to be true whether we allowed the Sony NEX-6 to meter the scene or set exposure manually. As you can see in the comparison below, maintaining an equivalent exposure between F1.4 and F1.0 actually results in a darker scene.

Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 35mm F1.4 L with Speed Booster: Av mode, 1/500 sec. F1.4, ISO 100 Sony NEX-6 + Canon EF 35mm F1.4 L with Speed Booster: Av mode, 1/1000 sec. F1.0, ISO 100

The most likely explanation is not due to any flaw of the Speed Booster. Rather, with the phenomena known as pixel vignetting, in which at very wide apertures, the light gathering ability of the sensor's photosites diminishes slightly. If you've never heard of this, it's because characteristics like these are often corrected automatically in-camera based on the information the camera has about the lens mounted on it. And of course, this chain of information is affected with the use of the adapter. We want to stress, however, that on all of the EF lenses we've used with the Speed Booster it is only at the maximum aperture (enabled by the Speed Booster) that we've seen this occur.

Summary

There's a lot to be excited about with a product that so transforms lens behavior and addresses such a long-standing issue for photographers who long for the wide-angle and light-gathering performance of their older full frame lenses on their newer APS-C body. Image quality is very impressive, with results that compare exceptionally well against a full frame sensor. You do pay a small price in terms of corner softness and CA.

The biggest remaining challenge, however, with the Canon EF to Sony NEX mount is AF speed, a direct consequence of pairing a PDAF-optimized lens on a CDAF sensor. And to their credit, Metabones makes it very clear that AF performance is going to lag far behind what you'd get by using the Sony NEX's conventional AF system.

This does effectively make the Speed Booster an even more niche product, as it's best suited for manual-focus shooters. We'd be keen to see a camera manufacturer license this now-proven technology and offer this optical quality and near-full-frame performance mated with an effective AF system. But for now, we tip our hats to Metabones for releasing a product that accomplishes what many had thought nearly impossible.


You can follow Amadou Diallo on his Facebook, Google+, Instagram or Twitter feeds. Richard Butler shares insights on his Google+ feed.

Comments

Total comments: 355
123
Serena Steuart
By Serena Steuart (4 months ago)

Interesting device, although hardly new technology. Wish people would stop referring to that useless term "crop factor". Field of View is the directly relevant term, which by-passes the mental gymnastics of "what would be the field of view of that focal length on a full frame 35mm camera, now divided by the camera's crop factor".

0 upvotes
New Daddy
By New Daddy (6 months ago)

"So, adding the speed booster to a 50mm F1.4 lens turns it into a 35.5mm F1.0. But, since we’re then going to mount it on an APS-C camera, a comparison of this lens-plus-adapter combination to a full frame camera means we have to multiply these numbers by the camera's 'crop factor'. The end result is a 53.25mm equivalent lens that gives the same depth-of-field as an F1.5 lens would on a full frame camera."

Is the last sentence of the above statement correct? I don't think 50mm + speed booster on an APS-C body will create the same depth-of-field as a 53.25mm lens on a FF body. The math was provided in the previous sentence. It will only create the DOF of a 35.5mm lens on a FF body.

0 upvotes
sportyaccordy
By sportyaccordy (8 months ago)

Someone made a very good point that this could be built into small sensor cameras to give them a bigger AOV...

Imagine a 1/2.3" camera with the light gathering ability of an FX... imperfect optics could be fixed by algorithms, and even if the glass added cost it would come nowhere close to the cost of an FX sensor...

The implications of this are huge...

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (11 months ago)

hmmm... a $60 tele-converter on backwards and selling for $600.
interesting!

1 upvote
Rob Sims
By Rob Sims (11 months ago)

A tele-converter is a divergent lens (or a number of lenses that work to that effect)... so mounting it backwards would give a similar effect to mounting forward.

Early days yet in terms of pricing. You can already see the clones appearing on ebay (eg the 0.72x Nikon-NEX lens turbo) being sold for under $200, and that's after only a few months since release.

1 upvote
kb2zuz
By kb2zuz (10 months ago)

Worth pointing out Metabones makes 2 Canon lens to NEX adaptors: the Smart Adaptor that has no optic but just has the electronics to allow the NEX body to control the aperture, provide power to the IS system, and allow autofocus (though very slow)... that with no optic costs $400.

This adaptor does all that and then adds the anti-teleconverter optics (which is not the same as putting a teleconvert on backwards). Also where are you getting teleconverters for $60? Canons are $450 and even the cheap Kenko's are $150.

0 upvotes
Aidan Jaros Grilli
By Aidan Jaros Grilli (11 months ago)

someone put the EF 50mm f/1.0 on the nex with the speed booster

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (11 months ago)

MSRP is $599

http://www.metabones.com/sony/ef-e-speed-booster

Here's a chronological list of lenses released by canon. The pickings are pretty slim if you are looking for a fast FF prime:

http://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/lenses?sort=chronological&view=list

0 upvotes
Lapkonium
By Lapkonium (11 months ago)

Golly!

I hope they release something alike for MFT once. Great opportunity to put my OM 50 1.4 to a better use. Or is it? I hpe they release one for OM - 4/3 anyways

0 upvotes
Lumixdude
By Lumixdude (11 months ago)

If nothing else it allows EF lenses to be mounted on an NEX giving you more options that support auto focus. That sounds good in itself.

0 upvotes
the Mtn Man
By the Mtn Man (11 months ago)

So the question is, is the reduced autofocus performance an acceptable trade-off for a shorter focal length and larger maximum iris?

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (Apr 6, 2013)

As expected, sharpness, contrast dropped and chromatic aberration increased. However, it is pretty much the effect you'd get if a faster lens were available (say a 50mm f/1.0, etc) for the adapter is working well enough to justify itself as a speed increaser. If you need the speed, it may be the only practical way (financial or otherwise) to obtain it.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (10 months ago)

And of course, the speed increase applies to all the lenses you will be able to use on it. So another added bonus.

0 upvotes
BobORama
By BobORama (Apr 6, 2013)

Other names would be: "CA Amplifier" and "Contrast Reducer"

4 upvotes
km25
By km25 (Apr 4, 2013)

Full frame mirrorless, Sony has one. Thirty-five MM cameras came out of being spy cameras, the were the APS-C of there day. Six by Six cameras would have been the full frame cameras, the film film got better! By the 1960s and th NIkon F, 35mm photography was good for reportage all the way to fine art. I feel as if the new mirrorless cameras have that same quialties. APS-C maybe the new "35mm formate".

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Mar 25, 2013)

Dear DPR, some food for thought about the last images in this comparison and your explanation why f1.0 is darker than f1.4 with the adapter:

f1.4 is darker than f2.0 with the same bare lens in most cases. Stills lenses are not rated at T stops, and are not always perfectly 1EV darker one stop down from wide open. And almost every fast SLR lens I'm aware of vignettes to some degree.

The differences in exposure and vignetting between the last two images are inherent to those aperture settings on that lens. Your preview here should be reworded to reflect this.

1 upvote
Burbclaver
By Burbclaver (Mar 19, 2013)

It won't be long before we see a FF mirror-less camera, probably a Sony NEX, that will change the game again.

4 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Mar 25, 2013)

Then we can get a new version of this adapter for our LF and MF lenses!

1 upvote
Klipsen
By Klipsen (Mar 11, 2013)

If a pretty unknown company, and not necessarily primarily an optical company, can develop and manufacture an adapter that good, imagine what Canon, Nikon, Sony etc. could do!

So: Why don't they?!

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Mar 25, 2013)

Because Brian Caldwell. Canikolta ain't got him.

He happens to have designed a couple lenses that nobody else can touch, like the 60mm/4UVIR. Look it up. It has zero CA, all the way into the UV and IR ranges. That's a pretty amazing feat.

2 upvotes
Lemming51
By Lemming51 (Apr 2, 2013)

They can. Nikon actually did with its earliest DSLRs (D1, E2, E2N, E3). They choose not to. They'll make more $$ selling new lenses for the mirrorless bodies, the new system lenses will be smaller and the AF system better matched, and none have any interest in supporting lenses made for other makers' cameras.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (Feb 16, 2013)

The dark photos do not appear to be the result of Pixel Vignetting.

Condition statement, the iris aperture blades are located at an intermediary focal plane, hence not affecting the lens field of view.

The Speed Booster is an optical compressor. Hence, the last element is at a fixed distance from the focal plane. As such the solid angle field of view per pixel is also fixed.

Altering the lens aperture to the maximum open setting only alters the illumination intensity and not the solid angle cone of light at the detector (pixel).

Pixel vignetting, like film vignetting, being a non uniform field effect, the level of vignetting increases with off axis distance. The full field B&W test photos appearing uniform in illumination.

The dark photo and slight color shift looking like coating phase interference, visible as a drop in black levels on axis being minus the chromatic halo seen in the corner of the image field. The phase interference affecting the accuracy of the exposure meter.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
brian
By brian (Feb 17, 2013)

Pixel vignetting, which I call sensor-induced apodization, occurs everywhere in the image, including the center of the field. Its all about marginal ray angle and the reduced sensor sensitivity as the angle of incidence increases.

At f/2 the marginal rays on-axis strike the sensor at 14.5 degrees, which most sensors handle very well. At f/1 the marginal ray angle increases to 30 degrees, which causes significant signal reduction with most sensors. At f/0.7 the marginal ray angle is 45 degrees which. Remenber, this is for the center of the image, and has nothing to do with field-dependent falloff.

So, opening up a lens from f/2 to f/1 will not give you four times as much signal from the sensor. This is purely a sensor effect and has nothing to do with the optics.

1 upvote
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (Feb 17, 2013)

Hello Brian

1) I did not claim that pixel vignetting does not occur on axis, I said the effect is non uniform, hence can occur on axis, the effect increasing with off axis distance.

2) Sensor sensitive does not change much with incident angle, given a normal surface interface with matching indexes of refraction (matching optical impedance). What does change is the total energy that enters the sensor.

3) As a friendly FYI, have a shared paper on diffraction apodization, and why I do not agree with your termanology "sensor induce apodization".

http://www.phisicalpsience.com/public/SPIE_NWO_Lo_Glassman_Lillie_McGraw.pdf

4) It appears from your emphasis on pixel field of view (FOV), stating

“At f/1 the marginal ray angle increases to 30 degrees”

which I refer to as "solid angle cone" missed how the fixed distance of the focal reducer last element and aperture blades (iris) function together when an iris is placed at an intermediary focus, thus not equivalent to an "aperture stop".

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
falconeyes
By falconeyes (Feb 22, 2013)

I think the darkening at F1.0 is much easier to explain ...

A field compressor would have to have a VERY large rear element to provide F1.0 equivalent aperture. It cannot as the mount hole is finite. With an SLR it is known to be limiting max. aperture to about F1.2. With the E-mount I don't know but the Metabones rear element doesn't appear to be extremely large.

From the image provided above, I'd deduce the rear lens element diameter to be about 63% the mount diameter. With a flange distance of 18mm and a mount diameter of 46mm, this still shouldn't clip at F1.0 but I don't know the exact figures.

Therefore, at F1.0 the field compressor is likely vignetting the lens exit pupil and makes it about F1.4 again. It's like a second aperture fixed at F1.4. It may make the Bookeh smoother but wouldn't make for a narrower DoF. A careful inspection of out-of-focus specular highlight disc shape and size should reveal this.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
brian
By brian (Feb 23, 2013)

No. The Speed Booster is designed to accept a maximum aperture of f/1.2 (actually f/(2^(1/3)) = f/1.2599) from the attached lens and then output a maximum aperture of f/0.90 to the camera.

The only possibility of clipping the on-axis ray bundle is if you attach a lens that is faster than f/1.2. The only SLR lens that meets this requirement is the Canon 50mm f/1.0. If you put that lens on the SB and open up to f/1.0 you won't get f/0.71 but rather only f/0.90 - the same as if you had attached an f/1.2 lens.

0 upvotes
papillon_65
By papillon_65 (Feb 14, 2013)

Jesus, what's not to like? The only people getting their knickers in a twist will be the FF snobs who don't like the fact that you can buy a cheap NEX, stick an old lens on it and replicate that FF look. For the rest of us it's another tool which gives us better options and more dof control if we want it. Curmudgeons, camera snobs and pixel heads get over it! nice one Metabones!

15 upvotes
RoccoGalatioto
By RoccoGalatioto (Feb 14, 2013)

I am in total agreement. Personally I have never liked AF and find that it's virtually impossible to focus manually on the AF cameras. Be that as it may, the idea that I can use some slower lenses and actually make them faster is like a dream come true. The important thing is REAL WORLD images not sharpness charts etc. There's way too much emphasis being placed on all this techie nonsense.
http://galatiotophoto.blogspot.com

5 upvotes
sarit
By sarit (Feb 12, 2013)

"The biggest remaining challenge, however, with the Canon EF to Sony NEX mount is AF speed, a direct consequence of pairing a PDAF-optimized lens on a CDAF sensor."

I thought NEX-6 comes with PDAF ?

1 upvote
Juck
By Juck (Feb 16, 2013)

I dunno about that, but the slow AF is purely an issue of electronics,, not optics,, one I'm confident will be solved as more people buy this adapter,, looking forward to fast AF on the Speedbooster II.

2 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 17, 2013)

The Sony Phase detect comes with caveats - see Page 131 of the NEX6 manual. It is hardly surprising that an outside third party adapter manager cannot hook into this when Sony also struggles in places.

1 upvote
tosvus
By tosvus (Feb 20, 2013)

LA-EA1 can autofocus with SSM/SAM lenses - I own the 35mm 1.8 SAM (I think, or maybe it is 30mm..). Anyways, it is INCREDIBLY slow at focusing, and that adapter is made by Sony. I wouldn't hold out too much hope that this will ever autofocus that fast - but with focus-peaking manual focus on the Nex can be quite fun.

1 upvote
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (Feb 8, 2013)

How dare you english pigdogs create a camera product...
I fart in your general directuion!
I swear reading some of these coments is pure comedy.
Its like grumpy old men up in here.
Fire new! Fire bad! Fire burn my food! Nobody can ever use fire or I will bonk them on the head.

0 upvotes
RDMPhotos
By RDMPhotos (Feb 9, 2013)

LOL.. I agree with you .. Reading all the comments is pure comedy. I have a degree in Mechanical engineering with a concentration in Optical design and use to intern for firm that designed telescopes. So I understand optics. And its so amusing to read what the skeptics write especially when they spout what they believe is correct technical knowledge. lol

0 upvotes
RoccoGalatioto
By RoccoGalatioto (Feb 14, 2013)

In my humble opinion as a working pro for 43 years, without an engineering degree but with a solid education nonetheless, I could not really care less about all this tech and pseudo tech talk. It's the final photo that has always counted for me. Go to any museum and look at the great images shot by real photographers using primitive equipment. You see photos can also be taken without all this obsession about technology.
http://galatiotophoto.blogspot.com

0 upvotes
RDMPhotos
By RDMPhotos (Feb 17, 2013)

Exactly Rocco..
I agree with you .. you see what i am talking about . So people should stop complaining about how accurate this products claims are and talking about the superior technical knowledge they think they have over the designers..
Just use it, take photos .. if you like it great, go out and take photos .. if you don't like it.. return it and move on ..
I have taken great photos and even had sold some in gallery shows which I took using a Kodak Box camera that have a plastic lens.
This speed booster is just a tool, a good photographer decides if they want to use it or something else to take photographs with.

0 upvotes
moebius22
By moebius22 (Feb 7, 2013)

Film and video people like me are going to benefit most from this product.

1 upvote
Isit13
By Isit13 (Feb 5, 2013)

I've understood the maximum speed for a lens is dependent on the rear element diameter vs the sensor distance?

If so, this means you cannot get any magical low size number mounting a version of this with a f/1.2 Noct Nikkor?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dvlee
By Dvlee (Feb 5, 2013)

If you take the same amount of light that covers a large area and redirect it so it covers a smaller area, you now have the same amount of lightconcentrated in a smallers space, which makes it brighter.

Its kind of like using a spotlight which uses a lens to adjust the size of the spot...the smaller the spot of light the brighter it become.

All this lens does is add one more element of refraction to the light path, bending it so as to turn a wide cone of light that covers the larger sensor area into a narrow cone of light that just covers the smaller sensor.

This not only concentrates the light making it brighter but also compresses the image so that the part of the image that would lie outside the sensor is now inside.

I think the fact that it compresses the angle of projection and enables the full field of view to be projected onto a smaller sensor is FAR more interesting and usefull than its brighteness boosting function.

1 upvote
Isit13
By Isit13 (Feb 5, 2013)

I understand that a bigger lens can be widened and therefore let in more light by condensing it, but the rear element has a finite size. But is it really so, that by having let us say the Nikkor 200mm f/2.8, and use this approach in multiple times, you could end up with wide angle f/1 on any mount? Aperture must have its limits, regardless. Because i find it hard to believe that lens makers which have this knowledge would not construct a lens that would let in the light in an unlimited fashion that this adapter does not tell us. No matter how big the first element is, the rear one is limited by F-stop, a mount can only give "so much" f-stop for a given length. I am not sure though?

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Dvlee
By Dvlee (Feb 6, 2013)

I wish I could draw you a diagram because its so hard to describe in words.

1st...this adaptor does not have any direct effect on the lens or the f stop. It does not increase the amount of light that enters the lens, it is only taking the light that is being projected in a wide beam and tightening the angle of the beam to a more narrow beam so that the SAME amount of light is being onto a smaller space. The same amount of light in a smaller space makes the light brighter.

2nd...the adaptor does not make the lens wider. You cannot make a 200 MM act like a wide angle. The problem is that when we use a wide angle lens intended for a large sensor on a camera with a small sensor, the lens projects too big a circle and the tiny sensor only sees a small portion of it; it crops the image, so the chip only see a portion of the image.

This adaptor makes a 40mm act like a 40mm by projecting a smaller image onto a smaller chip. It focuses the light into a small space and makes it brighter

0 upvotes
Dvlee
By Dvlee (Feb 6, 2013)

I might add that this only work when using a lens designed for a big sensor on a camera with a smaller sensor, becasue the lens is designed to project a larger image circle and the adapor is shrinmking it donw to the size of the small sensor. It would work using a full frame lens on the smaller APS-C chip but not on a full frame sensor. The adaptor would make the image circle too small and the corners would be cut off.

The way this works is the exact opposite of a teleconvertor, which makes the image circle bigger, stretching the image out and making it appear larger. By spreading the image out...same amount of light over a wider space makes it dimmer.

Lens designers do know about this concept but it's a trickier design to build into the lens. Instead of designing these wide angle convertors into the lenses, they have instead given us ultra wide lenses for APS-C. I have an 11mm which is equal to 17mm on full frame and thats pretty damn wide!!

0 upvotes
Trumptipa
By Trumptipa (Feb 14, 2013)

The f-number of a lens depends on the exit pupil (XP) diameter and focal length, not the final glass element diameter. The XP is the image of the physical iris-- the lens' aperture stop--as seen through the glass elements between it and the image plane. That means that it does depend on the final glass element, but it's more complicated than just the final element's diameter.

This isn't built into SLR lenses because of the large distance from the image plane to the lens mount occupied by the mirror. On mirrorless cameras there is a significant amount of space to add elements between an SLR lens and the image plane. That's why f/1 lenses are available for mirrorless (Leica, SLRMagic etc.).

Regarding multiple speedboosters, remember that the speedbooster is going behind a lens with a finite back focal distance. Adding the speedbooster decreases that distance further (see white paper), so too many speedboosters=image inside of glass (i.e. you can't actually put a sensor there).

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 17, 2013)

Partly true, maybe the original poster was talking about the absolute limit. I recollect that the absolute limit designed into the Speed Booster according to the white paper was f0.90. f0.70 apparently could potentially be realised but the size of the necessary elements would make it non feasible and few EF lenses have the magical f1.0 to take advantage of it.

0 upvotes
SantaFeBill
By SantaFeBill (Feb 5, 2013)

Quote from the review:
" we calculated a focal length multiplier of about 1.07x ..."

Can someone explain how _multiplying_ the focal length by 1.07 _decreases_ the focal length?

According to my calculator, 50 x 1.07 = 53.5.

Even if you think DPR doesn't know the difference between multiplication and division, and divide 50 by 1.07, you still don't get the values for reduced focal lengths stated in the review.

Apparently somewhere in the process '0.71' got turned into '1.07'. ( And then there was the multiplier value of '1.09' mentioned earlier in the review)

Proofreading anyone?

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 5, 2013)

I "proof-read" again but I am not able to find anything that is outright wrong, although it is true that it could have been made more clear. As always, it is the confusion between "physical" focal length and "35mm equivalent" focal length.

If anyone writes "focal length" it'd better be "physical" focal length, because focal length does not care what sensor sits behind the lens. When we talk about cropped sensors, we could add (equiv.) to the focal length, to denote that we are not talking about the physical quantity, but about FOV.

In your example, 1.07 is the net effect from a 0.71x physical reduction in focal length, times a 1.5x increase in 35mm equivalent focal length due to the APS-C "crop factor". The "physical" focal length REDUCED by a factor of 0.71x. The "35mm equivalent" focal length INCREASED by a factor of 1.07x. Hope this makes sense. Once we clearly denote whether we are referring to physical or 35mm equivalent, there is no confusion.

0 upvotes
SantaFeBill
By SantaFeBill (Feb 5, 2013)

Thanks for the clarification. As you say, we need to specify whether we mean 'physical focal length' or '35mm equivalent focal length'.
Guess I've been around photography so long that I always read 'focal length' to mean the physical measurement, as was safe in the old days.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 6, 2013)

You are right. An unqualified utterance of the term "focal length" shall always denote the physical quantity.

"35mm equivalent focal length" is a quantity describing FOV, which is not focal length at all. It is also some kind of a social convention, since nothing in physics dictates you must use 35mm film as the reference standard.

If we walk into a store and see a point and shoot compact with a 28-110mm zoom, I have no gripes with that, since it is understood to mean "35mm equivalent focal length". Just don't call that "focal length" without qualification. The physical focal length of that point and shoot is like 6-20mm or something like that.

1 upvote
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Quite often a lens (specially on a compact) is usually described by it's equivalent focal length even though the lens markings clearly show the actual focal length. However in photography the equivalent focal length gives some idea of a lens field of view standard to a photographer wheras actual focal length on a particular lens is just "numbers". (to the point that a Pentax Q might need a calculator handy). Perhaps some standard shorthand like an "E" might be adopted to help avoid confusion eg: 50mmE f1.4.
We are surely too late to find any other generic term that will give a universal field of view indication across multiple sensors.

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

As regards the equivalent focal length of the "Speed Booster" some confusion must arise by the constant reference to it's x0.71 multiplier (which is quite correct) but no, or simply "by the way", reference to the NEX crop factor of x1.5 which in the specific context of the NEX or other aps-c sensor must always be present. The two factors must be multiplied to get the equivalent focal length of any lens mounted on a NEX body using a "Speed Booster" adapter. Consequently there must be a dis-service of confusion created when a "Speed Booster" and a NEX camera body are mentioned in the same breath without mentioning the true equivalent multiplier of x1.07.

0 upvotes
Dvlee
By Dvlee (Feb 5, 2013)

Some years ago i worked for a studio that had a room full of vintage gear. There was a kit of old large format lenses that had interchangable rear elements that screwed onto the back of the shutter module. These elements enabled the the same lens to be used for 8x10 and 4x5 with exactly the same field of view. They seemed to work as well on other lenses that shared the same shutter module.

In 2002, when I first learned about the APS-C crop factor, I had opportunity to ask an optical designer if it was possible that such an element could be built into lenses for APS-C to compenste for crop factor so that the lens would have the same field of view on APS-C.

He explained, not only is it possible, it is the same principle that used in zoom lenses.

We all know that to focus a lens, al we are doing is moving the lens in relation to the film/sensor plane. Lookthe rear element of a prime lens and you'll see it move in and out as you turn the focus ring.
(Continues in REPLY)

0 upvotes
Dvlee
By Dvlee (Feb 5, 2013)

If you look at a zoom lens you'll see the rear element stays still during focusing but moves while zooming in and out. He explained that the rear element(s) in a zoom plays an important role in the spread(coverage) of the cone of light which determines the magnification of the image. The lens elements that actually focus the lens are in front of the rear element(s). So in essence the rear element in a zoom lens is a built in tele/wide angle converter.

There really is no reason why a lens element to do this cannot be designed right into the lens.

So why don't they do this? It's a matter of economics. It's easier to design and manufacture the lenses without having to deal with an added element . Most APS-C cameras are designed to be smaller, lighter and less expensive than full frame lenses and the lenses need to mirror that design philosophy.

But it is possible and it would be better to have it specifically designed for a particular lens and built in than to use an adaptor.

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Pentax surely dropped the ball and missed this one with the K-01 which would have been ideal for this purpose. Nikon and Canon have had this idea staring them in the face whilst they were off fixing their nails and their hair. The idea is well known in photography - the early Kodak Retina cameras had part lens built into camera - there were probably others. It is beyond belief that trained optical engineers can have completely overlooked the "Speed Booster" principle. Maybe not.
Perhaps more to the point - the "Speed Booster" offers a new lease of life for the aps-c sensor right at the moment when most "talky-talk" is about moving "up" to FF sensors. The SB allows "slr" FF capable lenses to be "recycled" on aps-c at something better than their natural capability rating. Putting the same lens on a FF sensor has the advantage of a larger sensor. Comparisons are inevitable.

1 upvote
Dvlee
By Dvlee (Feb 10, 2013)

This lens was designed to provide an increase in speed using full frame lenses on an ILC, but I am more intrigued by the potential of this concept to allow full frame lenses to deliver the same field of view on APS-C.

With image stabilization, better noise reduction, and each generation of cams having better hi ISO performance, the need for faster lenses is moot. It’s more about the optical qualities of wide aperture(shallow depth of field, bokah) than “speed.”

When using a full frame lens APS-C crop factor forces us to either step back to get the same field of view, which changes perspective and depth of field, or use a shorter focal length, which will not have the same optical or depth of field qualities.

Lens makers have addressed the APS-C wide angle problem by making even wider lenses. Even the Canon 17mm tilt shift seems to have been created to address this.

This actual usefullness is limited to retaining the qualities of lenses like the 50mm1.2 ir 17mmTS-E.

0 upvotes
nathanleebush
By nathanleebush (Feb 4, 2013)

Am I crazy or is there not more barrel distortion with the adapter? Nobody seems to be talking about that. The aspect ratio is the same, but the image seems to warp more.

0 upvotes
Dvlee
By Dvlee (Feb 5, 2013)

Its hard to tell with the samples provided...but I think I might see some distortion but not so much that could not easily be fixed in Photoshop.

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

More a problem is vignetting - none to about 100mm then very slight not very noticable, but still there, to about 200mm when it becomes more pronounced and obvious, not huge, not a deal breaker except for the ultra-perfectionist who might see this as cancelling out the undoubted real advantages of the device.
Pick a problem and throw out the baby with the bath water.

0 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago
By Alejandro del Pielago (Feb 4, 2013)

Very nice news. Thank you, DP, it was... fast !!!

I like very much my Nex C3, but the E-mount lenses are a PAIN, so this Metabones Speed Booster is an amazing temptation for my wallet and my Canon glasses!!!

C`mon Sony, do something better for E-mount !!!!

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
1 upvote
jase
By jase (Feb 3, 2013)

Now, if they made one of these that let you put Leica M glass on an XPro-1....

0 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Feb 4, 2013)

That would sure be wonderful! I mean those Leica lenses are already manual focus anyway....

I don't know if the flange distance is sufficient though. One reason for these adapters is that the Canon and Nikon 35mm SLR flange distances are so large in comparison to the tight APS-C mirrorless designs like the E-mount. I don't know how much room there is between Leica and Fuji's mounts.

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Leica R is apparently ok - but compact original flange focal length mount is out of the window for the reasons just stated. However what is wrong with Leica M glass on the NEX ? Any old dumb straight through adapter can do this.
It is easy to forget that the essence of the genius of the "Smart Adapter" and "Speed Booster" is to make electronically controlled lenses (eg: the Canon EOS EF series) talk to and work on other camera bodies. Any other utilisation is really "by the way" and truly a bonus.
Fair enough to look for an extension that might suit a personal purpose but not the original intent.

0 upvotes
Salvador Abreu
By Salvador Abreu (Feb 3, 2013)

Interesting, this is in essence what Nikon (& Fuji) did with back in 1995 (!!) with the Nikon E2 and E3 (aka Fujix DS-560 and Fujix DS-565) - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikon_E_series for more details.

Now what I'd really like to see is a Nikon F-mount adapter like this with add-on AF, for use with MF lenses, a bit like the TC-16a. That would be mighty useful on DX bodies...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 3, 2013)

Ya, very intriguing early history of digital SLR.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
brian
By brian (Feb 3, 2013)

Salvador:
Any similarity between the Nikon E system and the Speed Booster is superficial at best.

The wikipedia article leaves out several critical details that ultimately doomed the Nikon E series. True, it used an image reduction system, but it was a relay type located entirely behind the normal image produced by the objective lens. I call this a Keplerian type reducer. As a result, it added a huge amount of bulk to the system. The lens aperture was limited to f/6.7 in early E versions and f/4.8 in the last version. In other words, even if you used an f/1.4 lens, if you opened it up wider than f/4.8 (or f/6.7 in the earlier versions) the exposure and depth of field would not change.

By contrast, the Speed Booster is a Galilean type reducer that fits between the objective lens and the image plane. The Speed Booster actually reduces the system length and bulk, and is also fully usable with f/1.2 objecttives, which means you can take full advantage of a shallow depth of field.

8 upvotes
Salvador Abreu
By Salvador Abreu (Feb 3, 2013)

@brian: thanks for the insight, I wasn't aware that the E2/E3 had that sort of design limitation.

There's more on that (and lots of other things) here: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/htmls/models/digitalSLRs/E2E2s/index.htm

0 upvotes
KentG
By KentG (Mar 1, 2013)

While the Nikon Adapter had some issues, Pentax manufactured and sold the 1.7x AFA TC that did just that successfully since 1987. It was designed to allow mf lens owners to still use their lenses when Pentax switched to AF in the mid-80's. It was so successful in its 10 year production run that a few years ago Pentax started assembling ones from available supply parts to sell. They all tend to command prices in the $400 on the used market.
Companies like Nikon and Pentax that spent years making upper end APO refractors as a sideline have had the knowledge and ability to make what was actually called a Focal Reducer/Field Flattener or FF/FR in astronomy shorthand for years. This is essentially nothing more than that. Except that the registration distance of the lens to sensor imposes limitations on what can actually be made to work. Using it on anything but a mirrorless camera would be next to impossible.

0 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Feb 2, 2013)

Ref to <cyberstudio> and else:

For the price of this funny adapter you can get two great lenses new (or a new decent camera) which covers the needs. Progress in life is not made by adapters – look forward.

Invest your hard earned money to up to date products (excluding Metabones).

2 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 2, 2013)

Where do you get a 17/1.0 or a 35/0.9 in E-mount?

9 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Feb 2, 2013)

Those of your examples are extremes, normal people do not require or use this. I stored away so many classic lenses which felt so good in the hands. Sometimes, one must say farewell. I try to stay pragmatic.

The money now decides which gets me something better upcoming. I wish Metabones well. For me they are backward oriented. A waste of Dollars.

0 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 2, 2013)

To each his/her own - I agree most people will only use native lenses.

By being "backward oriented", we now have 10/2.0, 17/1.0, 35/0.9, 60/0.9, 17-50/2.0 on NEX, opening up new possibilities. Will this put pressure on the big manufacturers to introduce better new native lenses to compete? I don't know. But choice is always a good thing, or else everyone rests on his/her laurels but not make any advancements.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Feb 2, 2013)

With film you needed hi-speed lenses on the burden of more glass surface. Today, anywhere, software drives it, from cars to cameras. Just increase ISO in our use case. Sensors with contemporary processing power take over.

You do no more need adapters (or connectors as in the legacy IT world). Trust the progress. When Metabones get down in price, they might be ok for some.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 2, 2013)

This is only a "funny adapter" if you cannot think of any use for it. But there are plenty of uses for both photographers and cinematographers. If people want to stay in a narrow world where price determines the usefulness of gear, that is their prerogative. But why they feel it necessary to convince others of their POV when so many "normal people" already successfully use all kinds of adapters and teleconverters is beyond me.

17 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Reference by the OP who seems to be having a "bob each way" - keep your old lenses and save your money. People do not need "exotic" lenses and therefore need to spend the cost of a "Speed Booster" on a less-exotic normal lens. Anyone turning an f1.2 into a f0.9 with improved performance and shorter flange focal distance has already invested more money in that lens than the cost of a "Speed Booster". The big and more obvious issue is that the "Speed Booster" allows alternative use of electronically driven lenses on mirrorless bodies whilst improving their rated performance - no matter what that lens might initially be.
The sentiments expressed are asking that (say) Canon EF lens users just invest their money in an equivalent priced better performing Canon lens (if such a thing exists) and use on a dslr body. Upgrade the dslr body if you have to.

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Hmmm - "Speed Booster" + Canon 50mm f1.8 = 53mmE f1.3 - maybe I should just buy a 50mm f1.2 and save the cost of the "Speed Booster"? Logical.

0 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Feb 2, 2013)

No adapter can replace an equal or better lens

1 upvote
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 2, 2013)

A tautology?

6 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Feb 2, 2013)

...of course not--you need a lens to use with an adapter!

This is a tool. It may have some uses. You may not appreciate those uses. Get over it.

3 upvotes
KentG
By KentG (Mar 1, 2013)

That depends on your requirements, Thomas. I have a 150mm F6.7 APO refractor that takes pretty decent images natively. But if I add the F4.1 4 element (2 ED) field flattener/focal reducer in back of it I have a hybrid system that is now 600/4.1, has reduced distortion, and a flat field of 88mm in diameter capable of being used with medium format imagers as large as 60mm x 90mm.

0 upvotes
9VIII
By 9VIII (Feb 2, 2013)

I agree that you are far better off without a converter if they make a mirrorless native lens in the range you're looking for. An EF-M 600mm f4 (and an EOS-M camera that doesn't suck) would make the platform pretty tempting (especially since the lens should be cheaper), but as long as we know that lenses of that sort are basically never going to come out the adapter looks like a good idea.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (Feb 2, 2013)

Adding more glass over existing glass, does not convince me in quality. However the test images, I see that there is enough CA enough to not get convinced with the quality you can expect a product like this. The idea of applying to the M4/3 is good, it may be useful to many, but not more than that, a good idea. If M4/3 users will want to broaden their horizons at the expense of this accessory, so I think that will be in the wrong format sensor. Versatility vs. quality, there are always a option.

3 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 2, 2013)

Well, making blanket statements without defining premises can be rather meaningless.

If you mean, will a hunk of glass let an APS-C camera outgun a full frame camera in a resolution chart test? Then you are right, the answer is no, but then why would anyone expect that to be possible?

However, if it is not a test chart we are shooting, but real photographic subjects, will we be able to tell the difference? (Can you find any CA in the real world samples?) Anyway, I won't go too much into that. I will grant that a loss at a resolution chart is still a loss.

On the same APS-C camera, SB does increase image quality compared to a plain adapter.

SB does not change the relative positions of the format war. Full frame still reigns, but APS-C is catching up close. Real close, indeed.

7 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (Feb 5, 2013)

Not a statement, is an opinion.

This product fill a gap that's native format sensor can not naturally offer. It's like putting silicone in the breasts for cosmetic reasons only.
Personally I prefer the compact system with interchangeable lenses from Fuji, the X. with APS-C, for compact proposes. Or the FF. Without silicone :)

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Adding more glass to existing glass is a criticism seems to contradict without thought the principles of a focal reducer that have been well known to optical designers for a very long time and have been set out in the Metabones white paper and have been not refuted in by any expert in the field but have generally been taken as read.
To worry about the number glass elements is to not ever have had a look at some of the complex lens designs freely available to view that already sport a very large number of glass elements. Apparently if the elements are included as standard within a lens barrel this is ok and disregraded.
The focal reducer design is well explained and contrasted to the loss of light and quality offered by it's converse the telephoto adapter.
Small and firm and natural has it's own attractions I have to agree.

0 upvotes
PicOne
By PicOne (Feb 2, 2013)

so why EF to Sony APS as first model... vs. EF to EFS ?

0 upvotes
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (Feb 2, 2013)

EF and EF-S have the same mount distance - there is no space for the optics. This design is practical only because the difference in depth of DLSR vs. mirrorless.

4 upvotes
Dave Seeley
By Dave Seeley (Feb 2, 2013)

So how bout EF to Eos M... currently you can mount EF lenses with the Canon adapter, but there is a 1.6 crop. The adapter is merely a spacer with no optics. It seems like this could add optics to eliminate the crop, and speed up the lens too.

1 upvote
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 2, 2013)

If canon are not thinking about licensing the technology right at the moment then they truly are asleep.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Feb 2, 2013)

They don't cause they care about image quality.

1 upvote
Jun2
By Jun2 (Feb 2, 2013)

"how bout EF to Eos M", a lot fewer EOS M cameras sold comparing to NEX cameras. EOS M has bad AF so far. It will MF anyway in the end.

1 upvote
Eleson
By Eleson (Feb 3, 2013)

Making an adapter for the largest lens userbase for the mirorrless with the mosts bodies out there makes perfect sense.

0 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Feb 4, 2013)

EF to EFM question was answered in Speed Booster Q & A page -> http://www.metabones.com/speed-booster-questions

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Surely it would be up to Canon to decide on whether they license the "Speed Booster" design or ignore it.

0 upvotes
Cal22
By Cal22 (Feb 2, 2013)

It's a very interesting new thing albeit no magic device. I guess since this adapter brings additional glass between the lens and the camera sensor, you should not expect it to deliver high image quality regardless of the lens you combine it with. In optical terms the adapter is a compromise because it has been designed to be used with many different lenses and not with one specific lens only. Therefore it might work well with this lens of yours and in a different lens/adapter-combination deliver disappointing results.

I'd like to know how the adapter performs with super wide angle lenses!

1 upvote
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 6, 2013)

Works like a charm on the 14mm f2.8. Becomes a 15mm f2.0.
Wider? Cannot see any problem.

0 upvotes
MAC
By MAC (Feb 2, 2013)

put me first with my T4i and Live View and touch screen and magnification

0 upvotes
Karl Summers
By Karl Summers (Feb 1, 2013)

I like the pairing.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
plastique2
By plastique2 (Feb 1, 2013)

And so the metabones speed booster isn't that fast after all - although it increases the speed without any doubt! What?!?!?!

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Feb 1, 2013)

So you didn't read the article. The device probably suffers from "pixel vignetting" caused by the more oblique angle of light coming from the lens/aperture edges.

4 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Feb 1, 2013)

that would be the camera suffering?

0 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Feb 2, 2013)

Anybody producing a native f/1.0 lens for the E-mount will suffer from the same problem.

4 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Feb 2, 2013)

...unless it's a bulky retrofocus design. Or has a gigantic rear elements.

Except in the marketing literature from Olympus and some third party lens manufacturers from ten years ago, this isn't a problem for the DSLRs.

0 upvotes
jase
By jase (Feb 3, 2013)

I think what's missing here is that if you put an extra layer of glass in the way you are reducing the transmission efficiency of the lens. If you imagine a lens with 1 thin element and another with 10 similarly thin elements, all other things be equal the single element lens will transmit more light.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Feb 3, 2013)

@jase, True, but noone automatically claims that an 85/1.4 design with one more glass element is automatically worse.
I'm not claiming that this adapter can incerase quality, just sayin' that noone normally cares about extra glass,
unless you are interested in both T-values and F-values...

0 upvotes
plastique2
By plastique2 (Feb 1, 2013)

It is really about time to change the term used in the English speaking photography community for the capability of a lense to let through more or less light. The term "speed" is absolutely misleading. We from non-english speaking countries have to endure the torture of reading photography related material translated from English by people who have no clue about photography.

This can look like this (my attempt to make an impression of what we actually have to read in our language - because someone translated literally something he didn't understand what it's about - but then who can blame them given the English text):

"This lens is very fast, although it isn't fast at all."

When we say in our language that a lens is fast, it always relates to it's ability to perform any kind of mechanical operation in a short time period. Yet when we wan't to address it's quality of light gathering, we use two words, the translation would be: "light power". Doesn't that make more sense?!

2 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 1, 2013)

Agree with your logic, but unfortunately, linguistics do not always follow logic. Young little kids would say "mouses" instead of "mice". The former is correct logically but the latter is correct linguistically.

0 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Feb 1, 2013)

I will now aim to be extremely vague in my posts so as to confuse more people. Internet is fun.

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 1, 2013)

Usually, the only other time people use the term "speed" in referring to a lens is when discussing "auto focus speed". If the discussion has anything to do with "bright" or "large max aperture" lenses, the term "speed" as in "lens speed" refers to the "max aperture" of a lens. So if you establish the context of the discussion, it's more difficult to get confused by ambiguous terms.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Feb 2, 2013)

Totally agree with you, and BTW it doesn't really make any more sense in the English language either! Another term often used is "bright" lens, and that is what should be used all the time (especially on photography websites catering to an audience of varying levels of experience). Just because a bright lens allows you to use faster shutter speeds isn't a good reason to call it a fast lens IMO.

2 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 2, 2013)

I agree, I am native English speaking and when younger had to have lens-speed explained - it comes from the wider aperture allowing a higher shutter speed to be used - hence the "speed" capability of the lens increases. Not logical when speed can mean many things but unfortunately now entrenched in the language of photography. The only excuse is that the present generation of photographers did not introduce it.

2 upvotes
Bernard D
By Bernard D (Feb 2, 2013)

The choice of the term speed for a lens, is totally logical, but as some said, perhaps not language wise that obvious. But it refers to the fact that the wider the aperture, the faster it will be for the film and/or the sensor to receive the right amount of light to produce the image, hence the use of the word speed. A lens with an aperture of 1.0 is fast, because it will take a lot less time than a lens with an aperture of 5.6 to let the same amount of light through to the film and/or sensor, fast, slow, is speed.

1 upvote
9VIII
By 9VIII (Feb 1, 2013)

Mirrorless cameras now have a reason to exist.
APS-C is cheap compared to full frame, but gives up clarity and light from the smaller sensor. If Canon were to put one of these on a EOS-M that doesn't suck, people would have legitimate reason to chose EOS-M over an equivalent SLR.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Feb 2, 2013)

Let's not push it... the M isn't exactly the best of the mirrorless, if one would trust the reviews. ;)

3 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 2, 2013)

More like the Pentax K-01 might have really flown in a different orbit if Pentax had the wit to build their own version of the speed booster into that body. (Sorry non English speakers - that is not going to translate that well)

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Feb 2, 2013)

What happens if you just take a legacy lens and move it closer to the sensor (of a mirrorless, for example). Do you just lose focus to infinity, or is it more severe than that?

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Feb 2, 2013)

If you put the lens closer, it focuses past infinity = behind you, which means nothing is ever in focus. Actually what this gadget does is to move the lens closer but also shorten the focal length, so that the focusing ability is retained.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Feb 1, 2013)

Wow that is really impressive. However, I wonder how you can get the copyright on a focal reducer that uses technology that has been around for decades?

I really want to see if this works for m4/3s as well. I would love to use my Canon 55mm F1.2 in this fashion on m4/3s.

Does image stabilization works as well with the adapter?

2 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Feb 1, 2013)

I think because they're the first to use it as a universal still camera adapter.

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Feb 1, 2013)

Patent not copyright, execution not idea.

7 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 2, 2013)

Many parts can be patented, new ideas can be protected, existing universally known parts maybe not. I am not a patent attorney. But what part is patented and what part is not would have to be read off the granted patent. Yes image stabilisation works fine.

0 upvotes
Taikonaut
By Taikonaut (Feb 1, 2013)

On older lens that was developed during the film days such as the EF 85mm f1.8 and EF 50mm f1.4 corner sharpness, vignetting and CA is much more pronounced. With more modern lens made from the digital era it fits the Metabones more perfectly and optically performs much better.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 1, 2013)

Nonsense. These are both FF prime lenses that test great on Photozone with no problems save vignetting at large apertures on FF. Both lenses have great sharpness right across the frame at mostly every aperture (The MTF graph of the 85 1.8 looks like a picket fence it's borders and corners are so good). CAs are almost non-existent. Vignetting exists on FF at larger apertures but on APS-C it shouldn't be an issue.

Film or not, these are two excellent lenses, which is why they are still in Canon's lineup.

Canon EF 50 1.4 (Photozone on FF)
http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/564-canon50f14ff?start=1

Canon EF 85 1.8 (Photozone on FF)
http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/419-canon_85_18_5d?start=1

0 upvotes
Taikonaut
By Taikonaut (Feb 2, 2013)

You are being nonesense here. At wide aperture on FF both these lenses suffers severe vignetting and CA. The reviews confirms my own findings. The Speed Booster gathers all of the EF lens characteristic and not just the center as it would be for crop, and the 85mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.4 has some of the the worst vignetting and CA issues at wide aperture. I suggest you get clued up first before berating anyone with your own nonesense.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Feb 2, 2013)

It's what he does best! lol

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 2, 2013)

You never said "at wide apertures". Not once.

But ALL bright "modern" FF lens have vignetting at max aperture. ALL of them. It's not a question of old film lens vs modern, vignetting is a characteristic of large max aperture lenses.

On FF, neither lens suffers from high CAs.

From Photozone re: the EF 50 1.4:
"Similar to most other fix-focal lenses chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are very low and nothing to worry about."

From Photozone re the EF 85 1.8
"Lateral chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are basically a non-issue - this is a very rare characteristic."

If you want to make things up, that's fine.

You said corner issues, but neither lens has major issues with corner sharpness. The 85 1.8's borders and corners are almost as sharp as the center. Have a look at the test. The EF 50 1.4 ONLY has softer corners from f1.4-f2.8, just like most EVERY 50 1.4 lens ever made including modern ones.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Krich13
By Krich13 (Feb 1, 2013)

Could you please clarify the testing procedure? When the Canon lens is tested at say f/1.4 with Speed Booster, is the "boosting" effect already taken into account? In other words, is the lens itself stopped down to f/2, and "becomes" f/1.4 using the adapter? Or is it used wide-open at f/1.4 and effectively turns f/1 with the adapter? Later in the review you discuss the 40 mm lens at f/2, so it seems that the effect of the adapter is taken into account, I just want to be sure.

The same question about the f/8 test. Are both _lenses_ set to f/8 or both _systems_ (including the adapter) set to f/8?

Thank you in advance

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Feb 1, 2013)

The Canon lenses we used all have electronic aperture control, which is supported by the Speed Booster. All aperture settings we list in the captions reflect the value reported by the camera itself.

0 upvotes
brian
By brian (Feb 1, 2013)

According to metadata for the wide-open test chart image (as reported in Photoshop) the focal length is 35mm and the aperture is f/1.0. So I assume that at least for this comparison we are looking at f/1.0 vs. f/1.4.

0 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 1, 2013)

In my opinion that is indeed the right thing to do because we want a wide open vs wide open comparison.

This question is very illuminating!!! It demonstrates how difficult it is to perform an apples-to-apples comparison, because we are not always in agreement what would be a fair comparison.

For example, comparing NEX-6 and EOS 6D certainly puts the SB at a huge disadvantage.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Feb 2, 2013)

"For example, comparing NEX-6 and EOS 6D certainly puts the SB at a huge disadvantage."

You need something to compare it with, and that has to be something very good, if you want to be able to measure just how much CA etc is actually caused by the SB.

2 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Feb 2, 2013)

I was thinking of VG900 vs NEX-7+SB - same 24MP, same manufacturer. Not that it will change the outcome - the SB is poised to lose at the resolution chart. It is simply impossible for any APS-C camera to defeat a full frame camera in IQ, period (assuming both are competent modern sensors).

Those who care about a resolution chart a lot have a very simple answer: D800E. Short of digital medium format, D800E reigns supreme and is unrivaled in resolution. For critical commercial photography, you must have that kind of performance to succeed.

For the rest of the world, SB narrows the gap between APS-C and full frame (but without eliminating it).

0 upvotes
rjsanyal
By rjsanyal (10 months ago)

With a Canon lens + Speedbooster mounted on a NEX, the aperture reported by the body is exactly 1 stop larger than the actual aperture set on the lens (save for lenses faster than f/1.4; the NEX can't report f-stop values smaller than f/1.0).

In other words, with a 35/1.4, if you're seeing f/1.0 reported by camera, that means the lens is wide open (35/1.4). If you're seeing f/1.4 reported by the camera, that means the lens is actually stopped down to f/2.0.

The reason it's reported as 1 stop brighter is b/c if you take into account the focal length reduction (0.71x), the 35mm lens with the Speedbooster is acting like a ~25mm lens on the NEX. But the physical diameter of the lens, wide open, with or without the Speedbooster, remains 35mm/1.4 = 25mm. So now you have a 25mm focal length lens with a 25mm aperture diameter. Since f/stop = focal length/diameter, your f-stop is now f/1.0.

Hope this helps.

0 upvotes
rjsanyal
By rjsanyal (10 months ago)

Oops, that should read: 'physical diameter of the lens *aperture*, wide open, with or without the Speedbooster, remains 35mm/1.4 = 25mm.'

0 upvotes
Wubslin
By Wubslin (Feb 1, 2013)

Because breaking the laws of physics is cool and trendy.

2 upvotes
stasvolik
By stasvolik (Feb 1, 2013)

"... NEX-6, which offers focus peaking. This is not surprising if you think about it, as the adapter is mating a lens optimized for phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) to a camera that uses a contrast-detection autofocus (CDAF) system."

Interesting - NEX-6, AFAIR, offers PD-AF on sensor. So the adaptor cannot use this camera feature? It would be interesting to know why.

1 upvote
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 2, 2013)

The NEX6 Phase detect comes with caveats - see Page 131 of the manual. These include aperture greater than f6.3 and only compatible (Sony) lenses that have proper firmware upgrades. Obviously Sony Phase detect focus is not "free for all".

0 upvotes
TwoMetreBill
By TwoMetreBill (Feb 1, 2013)

My wish is for a Nikon to Fuji adapter WITHOUT the focal reducer so I can use my Nikon D and G lenses on the Fuji. I'd pay $400 for a quality adapter that passes through the electronics and the autofocus motor drive.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 2, 2013)

You can already buy such an adapter just not with AF. And I'm not talking about a dumb adapter but a Nikon G-to-Fuji X adapter.
Rainbow Imaging sells one.

0 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Feb 1, 2013)

Is there an error or i'm misunderstanding ? Turning 50mm f1.4 into 35mm f1 is two stop brighter, not one. f1, f1.2 is 1 stop and f1.2, f1.4 is 1 stop

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 1, 2013)

F-stops are multiples of square root 2 apart (around 1.4) so they are correct. Whole stops go 2.8, 2, 1.4, 1, 0.7

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number#Standard_full-stop_f-number_scale

5 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Feb 2, 2013)

Agree f1.2 is half a stop.

0 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Feb 1, 2013)

Recent quote today from the forum:

<Unit price of about $ 60-80. This is indicated by pictures shown here.
The excess of the price to 10 times is fraud.>

Why do we all – aspiring to use better technology – let those alchemists like Metabones enter serious photography to make money on our bones. There is no Alaska Gold Mine as promised by the Holy Metabones’ Land. Free the mind and forget old lenses on m43, etc. Sometimes it's time to say good-bye even to the beloved classic stuff.

Buy one excellent new lens, take pictures, and enjoy. You invested $+600 for the future proof.

3 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 1, 2013)

Is there any actual source for that unit price, or did someone just make it up?

2 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Feb 1, 2013)

This converter has serious development cost, both for the optics and the electronic coupling (which is why the glassless EF/EFS->E adapter isn't too cheap either). The high-index glass might also boost the price somewhat, but even rather ordinary teleconverters are not too cheap. In any case, I can see the price dropping quite substantially over time and higher sales quantity, but I can't fault a company for wanting to recover development cost and have income exceed outlay ASAP.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
HELG
By HELG (Feb 4, 2013)

Simple question: why Leica Nikon or Canon has not made ​​such a miracle. For their own optics.
Answer: a dubious device with their logo is a negative impact on sales and lower consumer confidence.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Feb 4, 2013)

Nikon and Canon have not been doing serious mirrorless yet, and it isn't feasible on DSLRs. As for Leica, they've traditionally gone more with "convertible" lenses, not converters... which makes more sense when you think about the mechanical complexity of rangefinder coupling. Those three are also very conservative (slow to innovate) companies.

Historically, Minolta or maybe Pentax would have been the most likely to innovate in this way. However, Pentax doesn't have an appropriate mirrorless and Sony is probably busy designing native E lenses.

In any case, there's nothing "dubious" about this -- it makes much more sense than (and gives better IQ than) a teleconverter, and both Nikon and Canon make those. The truth is that the folks behind the Metabones converter have excellent credentials as lens designers and they did something really smart. I'd bet that a lot of camera companies are taking a hard look at the patents now to figure-out how they can make their own versions....

0 upvotes
HELG
By HELG (Feb 4, 2013)

"In any case, there's nothing "dubious" about this -- it makes much more sense than (and gives better IQ than) a teleconverter, and both Nikon and Canon make those"

If you have had solid experience with teleconverters different manufacturers you would have had to cancel such a bold statement.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Feb 6, 2013)

Optically reducing focal length (and coverage) theoretically should work better and it pretty clearly does. I've tested 8 teleconverters with various base lenses and not one delivers IQ comparable to the base lens wide open -- which the SB apparently often does. In case you're wondering, the best teleconverters I've tested were a 6-element Tamron SP 2X 01F and the Vivitar macro focusing 2X, both of which are well respected and do deliver quite usable IQ when paired with an appropriate base lens (stopped down a couple of stops).

0 upvotes
Deleted1929
By Deleted1929 (Feb 1, 2013)

So where's the cheap manual only version, given that the AF isn't worth having ?

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Feb 1, 2013)

Why would there be a 'cheap' manual only version? You still need the glass, and for the Canon EF - Sony NEX version, you still need a chip to enable electronic aperture control and image stabilisation. AF has always been an afterthought for Metabones.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
r700
By r700 (Feb 1, 2013)

There is a non-af model for Leica-R lenses for $399
($200 cheaper)
http://www.metabones.com/product/sony-nex/leica-r-lens-to-sony-nex-adapter-detail

0 upvotes
Taikonaut
By Taikonaut (Feb 1, 2013)

Speed Booster is much more valueble for video cameras. The BMCC and Digital Bolex wth MFT mount will turn their S16 size sensor to something close to S35 and don't need to spend $25k-$60k for an equivelent in Red or Alexa.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Prime_Lens
By Prime_Lens (Feb 1, 2013)

More I read about it, more interested I become.
Initially I thought of it as a snake oil, but that impression is changing..

0 upvotes
trungthu
By trungthu (Feb 1, 2013)

Because the F-number is the entrance pupil divided by focal length, reducing the focal length without changing the entrance pupil increases the F-number.
I think, it's wrong here.
When reduce the focal length without changing the entrance pupil will DECREASE the F-number. So it's from 50mm f/1.4 will be 35mm f/1.0.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Feb 2, 2013)

No, the F-number increases. If you reduce the denominator in a division, while keeping the numerator constant, the quotient becomes larger.
Therefore, changing from F/1.4 to F/1.0 really is an increase. There is a good reason why you should write F/1.4 and not F1.4, like many people unfortunately do.

F/1.4 = F x 1/1.4
F/1.0 = F x 1/1
1/1.4 < 1

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
trungthu
By trungthu (Feb 3, 2013)

I understood. Thank Revenant very much

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 1, 2013)

A nice product for people who want an FS100 videocam to mimic a FF camera. The small optical distortions will not offset the advantages, particularly for video. $600 is a lower price than to wait for a video-optimized FF DSLR that may never appear or cost >$25k, or settle for a VG900 with awkward controls and an irrational mount system that forces one to pick cropping and vignetting or lose AF.

The problem will be that, without careful manual focus, the slower AF and narrow DOF will cause havoc. Might this challenge be steeper still in the m4/3 version?

1 upvote
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Feb 1, 2013)

The full frame mirrorless VG900 is the swiss army knife of cameras since it will work with almost all full frame and APS-C lenses. It has both full frame and APS-C modes, the best OLED EVF, zoom rocker button for power zoom E mount lenses and shoots 24.3 full frame jpeg/RAW stills with shutter speeds from 30-1/8000 sec. Try using full frame Pentax K-mount lenses on a full frame DSLR without chopping off the aperture control on the mount.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8489/8159590765_803d943a74_k.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8338/8170745790_59300d69fc_k.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8343/8194434390_dcb0dbdbea_k.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8433680912_2c0e3ab361_k.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8224/8433748054_f01d1c28d7_k.jpg

2 upvotes
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