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Metabones announces 'Speed Booster' lens adapter for mirrorless cameras

By dpreview staff on Jan 14, 2013 at 10:38 GMT

Specialist accessory manufacturer Metabones and optics company Caldwell Photographics have jointly announced the 'Speed Booster', a lens adapter for for mounting SLR lenses on APS-C and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras that reduces the focal length by a factor of 0.71x and increases the maximum aperture by 1 stop. The Speed Booster also promises sharper images compared to using the lens with a simple adapter. The first version will allow use of Canon EF lenses on Sony NEX bodies, and will be available this month from Metabones' web site for US$599. Support for additional lens mounts (including Nikon F) and camera systems (including Fujifilm X and Micro Four Thirds) is also planned.

In a technical white paper on the Metabones web site, designers Brian Caldwell and Wilfried Bittner set out the principles behind the Speed Booster and its practical advantages in some detail. In essence it's the opposite of a teleconverter - rather than increasing the focal length and reducing the aperture, it decreases the focal length and increases the aperture. This also promises sharper images compared to using the same lens with a simple, non-optical adapter, as the visibility of aberrations is reduced.

The wideangle converter is made possible by the short flange (i.e. lens mount to sensor) distance of mirrorless cameras, which allows the addition of focal length reducing optics to the space within the adapter between the lens and camera body (in an SLR, the mirror is in the way). It has the effect of shrinking the lens's image circle, which means that it only works with optics designed for larger formats. All full frame lenses should work on APS-C cameras, but lenses designed for APS-C SLRs will likely vignette, although they should work on Micro Four Thirds bodies.

The Speed Booster uses a 4 element/ 4 group optical system, and works with lenses as fast as F1.2. The additional optics mean that it's actually shorter than a conventional adapter, resulting in a more compact overall system. On APS-C mirrorless cameras it offers an effective crop factor of 1.1x, meaning a lens will behave very similarly to how it does on full frame; on Micro Four Thirds the effective crop factor is 1.4x.

The adapter's precise functionality will depend on the lens and body used. The version to use Canon EF lenses on Sony NEX bodies will support electronic aperture setting and image stabilisation, along with (slow) autofocus when used with newer Canon lenses. However the Nikon F mount adapter offers only mechanical aperture setting with G-type lenses; there's no promise of either AF or VR at the moment. 

Press release:

Metabones and Caldwell Photographic introduce Speed Booster

Petersburg, VA, USA, January 14, 2013 - Metabones® and Caldwell Photographic jointly announce a revolutionary accessory called Speed Booster™, which mounts between a mirrorless camera and a SLR lens. It increases maximum aperture by 1 stop (hence its name), increases MTF and has a focal length multiplier of 0.71x. For example, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II lens becomes a 59mm f/0.9 lens on a Sony NEX camera, with increased sharpness. The faster F-stop allows for shallow depth-of-field and a lower ISO setting for decreased noise.

Speed Booster is also particularly pertinent to ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses. The combined focal length multiplier of Speed Booster and an APS-C mirrorless camera is approximately 1.09x, making the combination almost "full-frame". Full-frame ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses largely retain their angle-of-view on an APS-C mirrorless camera when Speed Booster is used.

The optics of Speed Booster is designed by Brian Caldwell, PhD, a veteran of highly-corrected lens designs such as the Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro lens with exemplary MTF performance (focusing done with visible light requires no correction whatsoever for the full spectrum from UV to IR).

Speed Booster serves double-duty as a lens mount adapter, from Canon EF lens (but not EF-S) to Sony NEX, with auto-aperture, image stablization, EXIF and (slow) autofocus support for late-model (post-2006) Canon-brand lenses. It will be available in January 2013 from Metabones' web site and its worldwide dealer network for US$599 plus shipping and applicable taxes and duties.

Other mount combinations will follow shortly afterwards. Leica R, ALPA, Contarex, Contax C/Y and Nikon F (with aperture control for G lenses) will be supported, as will Micro 4/3 and Fuji X-mount cameras. Support for other mounts will be added in the future.

To learn more details about this revolutionary technology, read the Speed Booster White Paper on Metabones' web site.

Specifications

 Magnification  0.71x 
 Maximum input aperture  f/1.26
 Maximum output aperture  f/0.90
 Lens elements/groups  4/4
 Objective lens mounts  Canon-EF, Nikon-F
 (Leica-R, Contax C/Y, Contarex, Alpa planned)
 Capabilities, Canon-EF version  Electronic iris control, AF and IS
 Capabilities, Nikon-F version  Manual iris control of G-type lenses
 Camera mounts  Sony NEX, Micro Four Thirds (Fujifilm X planned)
 Length reduction (Sony NEX version)  4.16mm
 Length reduction (Micro Four Thirds)  6.17mm
 Dimensions Sony NEX version
 (diameter x length)
 69mm x 27mm (with tripod mount removed)
 Weight Sony NEX version  194 grams
 Tripod mount  Removable type with Arca Swiss compatibility

Comments

Total comments: 457
123
Vitruvius
By Vitruvius (Jan 14, 2013)

The Wide AND Bright combo was the one thing missing from the compact system cameras. This blows the doors WIDE open! Awesome! FF lens to M4/3 body would be perfect. OMD EM5 and GH3 cameras would ROCK even more with all that glass available that would be Wide AND Bright!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 14, 2013)

woa.. slow down there. I'm pretty excited about this, but it only gives a .7x advantage to the MFT which is normally 2x crop. This in theory makes the MFT more like an APS-C camera with a 135 format lens.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Jan 14, 2013)

ummmm... with the increased bulk, why wouldn't I pick up a camera with a larger sensor for the price difference? I'd have a higher end camera, with higher end features... what is the point?

0 upvotes
Nudibranco
By Nudibranco (Jan 14, 2013)

this is where my beloved FF Sigma 15mm lens becomes interesting again!

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jan 14, 2013)

New life for classic lenses. Imagine using FD mount teles on a 12fps Sony nex 7

0 upvotes
wootpile
By wootpile (Jan 14, 2013)

Leica R to nex speedbooster is just 400 bucks on their site, sony alpha lens to nex is 450 ;)

0 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Jan 15, 2013)

To clarify, it is not Alpha misspelled, but Alpa of Switzerland. The famous lens in Alpa mount is the Kern Macro Switar 50/1.9 apochromat.

0 upvotes
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 14, 2013)

Here's a great article on focal reducers and how it works.

The article helps explain how and why this works.

http://homepage.isomedia.com/~cvedeler/scope/focal_reducers.htm

1 upvote
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 14, 2013)

Brilliant. This is something I had personally theorized for years.

Using the same technology found in astrophotography using a 'Focal Reducer' allows for compression of the larger image circle onto the smaller sensor.

This does increase resolution because it's changed the MTF LP/H to compress the full frame image circle into the APS-C area. This in turn means more resolution in a single area.

Focal reducers also have the added benefit of being 'brighter'. Think of this like a magnifying glass under the sun when trying to create a hot spot. The same applies with focal reducers.

2 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Jan 14, 2013)

It is not like they can't do this already!
A lens is designed for optimal results.
Add an optic into the equation, and you're just messing with that.
Of course you'll get more aberrations with this.
The only utility I see in this, is that a legacy 35mm lens will behave like a 35mm lens instead of x1.5 or x2 or whatever your camera's multiplier is.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 14, 2013)

Read the white paper and you'll understand the technology behind it.

This tech has been around a while, it's nothing new, that is correct. But it's still not improving the lens per say, it's increasing the MTF on a smaller sensor. This means the net results is actually higher resolution imaging.

When I used to be a line camera operator, I did the same thing with artwork. You took artwork that was 400% and reduced it which increased the quality of the image because it occupied a much smaller space. The errors or issues were still there, but when it's smaller or minimized the overall image looked sharper.

This too means the aberrations will be smaller. In theory the additional elements could introduce more, but the existing problems will be reduced in size which for example a 3 pixel CA problem would be reduced to 2 pixels. That is technically an improvement if the imaging sensor cannot resolve higher than the MTF of the lens output.

2 upvotes
wootpile
By wootpile (Jan 14, 2013)

I'll buy one the very second it comes out for m43 at 599 bucks.

The biggets wish would of course to get a version that works for m43 lenses, but Canon and Nikon mounts will be excellent in the meantime :)

0 upvotes
Wally626
By Wally626 (Jan 14, 2013)

might be possible to go from 4/3 to Nikon 1. Not sure there is any room between m4/3 and Nikon 1 to get it to work. The lens needs to have a larger image circle and a longer registration distance for this to work. Most any DSLR FF lens to NEX or Fuji or M4/3 will work, DSRL to DSRL will not. DSLR DX to m4/3 will also work

0 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Jan 14, 2013)

In this market sector people will buy almost anything so long as it's expensive enough and offers the tantalising promise of turning mundane subject matter into photographic whatsit.

8 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Jan 15, 2013)

...I'd say you're in good company! You were reading a site called "Digital Photography Review" with the rest of us, no?

1 upvote
GeorgeD200
By GeorgeD200 (Jan 14, 2013)

A lot of people are questioning the f-stop "gain" claim. As I understand it, F-stop is a function of the aperture diaphram size to focal length; it's a ratio. If you decrease the focal length without decreasing diaphram size, you have to gain f-stop. It's the opposite of using a teleconverter. Teleconverteres increase the focal length without changing the diaphram size, and therefore "lose" f-stop(s).

2 upvotes
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 14, 2013)

You are correct, however the confusion comes from using the term 'F-stop' through out the article and this discussion. T-Stop would be a better term to describe what is happening, however there is also the Depth of Field properties that are changed as well. But the transmission of light is increased rather than calling it f-stop.

0 upvotes
cyberstudio
By cyberstudio (Jan 15, 2013)

Yes, you actually gain one f-stop.

If you find this difficult to believe, consider we would actually lose one f-stop with a 1.4x teleconverter. So why wouldn't we actually gain one f-stop with Speed Booster, an "reverse teleconverter"?

Technically, the f-number is simply focal length divided by the size of the aperture. Focal length is reduced by 0.71x but the size of the aperture remains the same, so the f-number is getting smaller by 0.71x. for example f/2.8 x 0.7 = f/2.0, a one-stop gain.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jan 14, 2013)

Someone make a 1.0 crop version so I can use Canon's 35 f/1.2 as 35 f/0.8 on my X-E1

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jan 14, 2013)

Canon does not make a 35mm f1.2. Maybe your speaking of the 50mm f1.2l or the 85mm f1.2l

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Jan 14, 2013)

Use the 50 f1.2 and you then get the 35 f.8 with this gadget. Better yet use it with a 50 Noctilux or any number of the ultra speed lenses on Cameraquest's site.

1 upvote
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Jan 15, 2013)

No, it's still 50mm on crop sensor with this adapter. Without it, it'd be 75mm.. unless you mount it on FF NEX. But then it would be vignette like hell.

0 upvotes
HDF2
By HDF2 (Jan 14, 2013)

I have a question (and I admit my general ignorance on the topic). Will the depth of field also be affected?

In other words, if one uses this adapter on a f1.8 lens (which on a MFT camera would roughly give you the a depth of field of a f3.6 on a FF), would it also make the depth of field similar to a lens one stop faster (so down from f3.6 to whatever the new f-stop is with the adapter)?

I hope the question is clear.

0 upvotes
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Jan 14, 2013)

Yes, the depth of field will be gained because the image circle will be reduced to cover the entire APS-C sensor.

1 upvote
Wally626
By Wally626 (Jan 14, 2013)

If you assume the same lens on the same camera sensor size. Say a 90mm lens on a Alpha Mount APS-C camera adapted to a NEX APS-C camera. Keep the CoC constant (0.0189mm), a fraction, 1/1500, of the sensor diagonal. Then the adapted lens, if framed for the same object size, will have slightly less DoF.

Example 90mm f/2 lens at 4.2m distance adapted to 64mm f/1.4 at 3.0m distance. Object size is 1.3m (APS-C sensor).

If object size is kept constant DoF goes from 0.163m to 0.116m.

If distance is kept constant, 3.0m, then the DoF goes from 0.081m to 0.116m, object size goes from 0.92m to 1.30m.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
compositor20
By compositor20 (Jan 14, 2013)

It doesn´t work for m43 lenses! But olympus could make one with AF that would deal with the noise disadvantage of m43 against aps-c... while having the oportunity to have smaller lenses when you want to go light.

1 upvote
FuzzTheKingOfTrees
By FuzzTheKingOfTrees (Jan 14, 2013)

No they can't, the converter works by taking a lens with a wider image circle than the mirrorless camera and refocussing that into a smaller space so it only works for lenses that already have a wider imaging circle i.e. larger lenses.

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Jan 14, 2013)

Do I really need this? Spend $600 to put large FF lens to my little M4/3, NEX cameras.

0 upvotes
Nudibranco
By Nudibranco (Jan 14, 2013)

only if you have a couple of very expensive FF lenses gathering dust in a drawer and the equivalent focal length is unavailable on MFT mount... I am sure there is a market for this since there are plenty of people looking for high quality fast lenses on MFT and if you do not mind the extra size and weight you now have lots of choices ! I wished their price was less though!

1 upvote
Dennishh
By Dennishh (Jan 14, 2013)

If this works I would still wait for version 3. From past experience they don't stand behind releases of their product, they just want to charge more for new one. Way overpriced! If it works one of their competitors will come out one for 150 bucks

0 upvotes
Geoff-san
By Geoff-san (Jan 14, 2013)

Very interesting.
The main reason I got into mirrorless cameras was to have the option of using my Minolta SR mount lenses via an adapter. This 'Speed Booster' seems like it could improve the experience. However I'm guessing that the Minolta SR mount will be a long way down the priority list for manufacturing these things. I doubt there are too many people with a stack of SR lenses (I have about 10) willing to pay good money in any one mirrorless camera system. I use Samsung NX and I'm guessing you could count those interested enough to splash this sort of cash for an SR-NX version with small numbers. At least it would seem as though it would not need any electronics as shown in the picture above. On the other hand an incorporated electronically controlled lever to work the aperture pin of my old lenses would be a dream. Imagine using old lenses such as SR, FD and others at close to intended field of view, with aperture control on a small modern mirrorless cam ... bliss!

0 upvotes
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (Jan 14, 2013)

Lacks pentax lens support.
That would have meant many good manual lenses for small, very portable cameras. An adapter for K mount for, say, Nex Alphas is in many cases as long as the lens, and you still have the 1.5 crop factor.

1 upvote
Stephan Kleinert
By Stephan Kleinert (Jan 14, 2013)

pentax k to canon ef adapter--> no problem. these work without additional glass (as do m42 to canon ef adapters)

0 upvotes
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (Jan 14, 2013)

You mean like... Pentax K lens + K-EF adapter + Metabones adapter + camera?
...
I think I'll pass :-P

0 upvotes
kevindar
By kevindar (Jan 14, 2013)

Its a great concept. a little expensive. at 400 I would order today. at 500, have to think about it a little.
the only thing is for many, the mirorless in large part is about size and portability. I have a 5dIII as my main camera. the nex 5n is designed as a light couple of lenses alternative. there are a few canon lenses that may make sense on this, such as the 40 2.8, 35 f2 IS, 50 1.8, 85 1.8, and maybe the tamron 28-75 2.8. all lenses which are reasonably in size. Once you mount a 70-200 2.8 IS II on the nex, I would much rather be using my 5d3.

2 upvotes
Taikonaut
By Taikonaut (Jan 14, 2013)

Not if Metabone brings out an EF to EF adapter.

1 upvote
Wally626
By Wally626 (Jan 14, 2013)

The adaptor needs the space between a SLR APS-C or FF mount and the NEX or m4/3 or Fuji X mount to work. EF to EF will not work.

0 upvotes
CarVac
By CarVac (Jan 14, 2013)

Ah, but someone could design one that doesn't require that space. I would pay a good 400-500 bucks for an ef -> ef-s adapter if it didn't end up too bulky.

0 upvotes
Taikonaut
By Taikonaut (Jan 14, 2013)

Potential for BMD cinema camera with MFT mount using Canon EF lens turning the MFT or S16 size sensor to deliver S35 output is very appealing. Technically this turns a $3k video camera into something comparable to a $30k camera from RED.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Adrian Harris
By Adrian Harris (Jan 14, 2013)

IF this works without degrading the image quality, what a fantastic way to get a new range coverage for my existing M4/3 lenses. the 45-200 will now be a 31-140 and faster. Plus the excellent 14-45 will become a 10-31. Nice having that extra wide end for scenery etc.
But how well will the adapter perform optically, that is the thousand dollar question and could be the deal breaker ?
OOpsi - just realised I got that all wrong - it won't work with the proper lenses for the system, what was I thinking of.
Sorry for expressing my dreams.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Geoff-san
By Geoff-san (Jan 14, 2013)

Dreams are good!

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Sosua
By Sosua (Jan 15, 2013)

You need to start with a lens with a larger imaging circle... E.g. DX and FF lenses will work on M43 with the adapter, but not M43 / 43 lenses.

The white paper is really interesting, and well explained in laymans terms with images and illustrations.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jan 14, 2013)

If you think this is a joke, lookup the "Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro lens" this is one of the most technically perfect lenses ever made. The only funny part of this adaptor is the name. Phillip bloom already has a review on it.

2 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jan 14, 2013)

Review and samples

http://philipbloom.net/2013/01/13/speedbooster/

2 upvotes
AngryCorgi
By AngryCorgi (Jan 14, 2013)

"The Speed Booster also promises sharper images compared to using the lens with a simple adapter."

That claim makes zero sense. If you are going to spread out ALL of the glass of a FF lens, the center may get sharper, but now you are using the edge glass too, and that is generally a weak point in FF lenses. You've effectively removed the "sweet spot" effect of cropped sensors w/ FF lenses.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Mafoo
By Mafoo (Jan 14, 2013)

100% agree. However, if you are in low light, and you get one stop faster, you might get sharper images due to faster shutter speeds, but those are isolated cases, and not something I would "promise".

0 upvotes
jaykumarr
By jaykumarr (Jan 14, 2013)

Not necessarily. Widening does not decrease center's sharpness, it just adds center sharpness + with edge softness. i.e. it is increase in detail.

0 upvotes
Roberto Mettifogo
By Roberto Mettifogo (Jan 14, 2013)

more sharpness is possible, you are rendering almost the full lens instead of just a part, in the same sensor size. Makes sense to me. It should have more precise details. To give an example, imagine to use a cheap filter in a 600mm, then use the same filter with a 14mm and compare sharpness. imperfetctions of the filter will be less visible.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jan 14, 2013)

Why don't they just make these "Fast" lenses native in the new formats? Panasonic has a 42.5mm F1.2 with IS coming out sometime. They should start making more lenses and not making expensive components that make old lenses somewhat better.

1 upvote
AngryCorgi
By AngryCorgi (Jan 14, 2013)

That would be preferable, but Sony (for one) doesn't seem interested in creating any really excellent lenses anytime soon.

2 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Jan 14, 2013)

"They" need to see the return on their investment. How much of your own investment money and job standing would you bet that a native 59mm f/0.9 lens on a Sony NEX will sell in great numbers?

These lenses were already made for pro DSLRs i.e. nobody needs to take those risks again, and the adapter makes them available. They will NOT be made specifically for NEX and its enthusiast following.

0 upvotes
deleted_081301
By deleted_081301 (Jan 14, 2013)

The decisive matter is of course going to be Price £ $

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Jan 14, 2013)

looks like $400-$600 odd depending on mount complexity.

Cheaper than getting a set of faster, sharper lenses!

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Jan 14, 2013)

this is a joke, right?

1 upvote
bestremera
By bestremera (Jan 14, 2013)

Interesting but I can't help but feel that the real solution is for mirrorless manufacturers is to bite the bullet and make a series of real quality lenses, native to the size of the smaller cameras. Seems like Fuji is heading in that direction and OM-D has some really nice, hi-res lenses for that system. If I do mirrorless, I don't want to put an unwieldy, bad focusing lens my camera. OK, I get it, we love our legacy lenses but the mirrorless movement needs to start making lenses that are optically and spec-wise, on par with the traditional Canon and Nikon lineup.

5 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (Jan 14, 2013)

Olympus and Fuji are doing what you suggest to a small degree, but they have to be cautious and see how much those enthusiast level lenses actually sell. Most CSCs are bought by people who never use anything but the kit lens, just like inexpensive DSLRs, so making very high quality lenses may not be profitable. The overwhelming majority of pros will in any case continue to use their Canon or Nikon systems, which already have such lenses.

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Jan 14, 2013)

This is very interesting for us low-end digital cinema people too. Clawing back the noise issue of a smaller sensor, as well as giving a solid mount you could attach to rails, and the uber-shallow DOF when you want it, not all the time.

They could perhaps make one for those Canon DSLR shooters that have had their camera butchered (removing the mirror) so they could use FF lenses on DX cinema mode? Kinda limited audiance, except of course will fit the small sensor Blackmagic cinema camera too....ohh and the C100/C300 and C500...

Any idea of £££ ?

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Jan 14, 2013)

Wow, this will change how we see the world.

0 upvotes
GoremanX
By GoremanX (Jan 14, 2013)

Not quite... in essence, this will restore the full view of full frame lenses on APS-C (and m4/3) cameras. I'd consider this more like a "Full frame converter". So this won't change how we see the world, it'll just bring it back to the way we see the world in 35mm format.

0 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Jan 14, 2013)

I know they used this apprach on some early dslrs and I assumed that growing pixel counts made it impractical and that they stopped doing it because the image quality would have suffered but looking back they probably did it because people wouldn't buy full frame cameras if they could get the same field of view on a crop sensor with a stop more light.

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Jan 14, 2013)

No, it was not possible to make them for DSLRs as the space needed is occupied by the mirror itself.

0 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Jan 14, 2013)

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/htmls/models/digitalSLRs/E2E2s/index.htm

1 upvote
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Jan 14, 2013)

"It's all the result of Nikon's outstanding Reduction-Optics Technology, which compresses the full 35mm lens image into the smaller 2/3 inch CCD format."

1 upvote
WanderingSkunk
By WanderingSkunk (Jan 14, 2013)

Boy this comment thread is full of people who THINK they know what they are talking about but really have no idea.

Just because there is an additional glass element doesn't mean it acts the same way as cheap 3rd party adapters attempting to correct for a flange distance issue.

Apples and Oranges.

This is a focal reducer...and a potentially very useful one now that mirrorless designs have freed up so much more flange space on the mount.

0 upvotes
AV Janus
By AV Janus (Jan 14, 2013)

I guess my huge Samyang 85mm f1.4 + Nikon to m43 adapter OMD combo is staying.
By using this baby i will get 60mm f1.0 that has reach like 120mm and DOF like FF 2.0 while full open.
Helooooo, perfect long, stabilized, portrait lens, on the cheap.

Now:
-100mm f2 is also interesting, giving us 140mm reach and f1.4 light gathering
-135mm f2 gives us a 190mm reach at f1.4 light gathering

...if my math is correct.

0 upvotes
compositor20
By compositor20 (Jan 14, 2013)

It would be great for m43 to have full body portraits at reasonable distances with the background blured...

but it doesn´t work with OLympus SHG lenses

0 upvotes
Astrozoid
By Astrozoid (Jan 14, 2013)

DPReview says that " it decreases the focal length and increases the aperture."

This is incorrect and physically impossible.

The focal length is decreased which makes the focal ratio faster.

The aperture stays exactly the same.

These types of telecompressors have been around for years in astronomy with telescopes.

They were never made for camera lenses before because the physical distance between the lens and sensor has to be less with a telecompressor and you couldn't do this with a normal camera lens.

The reduced register distance on the mirrorless cameras now make use of a telecompressor possible with normal DSLR lenses.

The telecompressor may make the focal length shorter and the focal ratio faster, but I don't know about improving the optical performance. With a telescope the telecompressor usually has to be designed to match the specific optical design of the scope or lens for best performance. I doubt it's going to work great on fast lenses.

Jerry
http://www.astropix.com

10 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Jan 14, 2013)

Best tell the designers they're wrong, too, as they use the same terminology in their white paper. (It's worth reading, as it addresses the other points you've raised.)

In photography, 'aperture' is considered synonymous with 'focal ratio' or F-number. What you've referred to as 'aperture' is generally known as the 'entrance pupil'. With this adapter the focal length is reduced, but the entrance pupil (obviously) stays unchanged.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
18 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Jan 14, 2013)

Andy, I've always been instructed that "aperture" is the size of the opening, and that interchanging aperture with f-stop or f-number or focal ratio is purely colloquial. The dictionary seems to agree:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aperture

3 upvotes
Astrozoid
By Astrozoid (Jan 14, 2013)

Well, we'll see how it performs with lenses on a star field, the toughest test there is for a lens.

Perhaps my photographic education was more rigorous than yours, but I did not learn that aperture was synonymous with focal ratio or f-number.

To use the term aperture in this way is not only incorrect, it is confusing and misleading.

The formula that has been around in photography (for quite a while) is:

Focal Ratio = Focal Length / Aperture

You can not substitute focal ratio for aperture in this equation.

Jerry

4 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Jan 14, 2013)

In terms of improving the optical performance, their point is they project the lens's full frame imaging circle onto the smaller APS-C one.

So of course the glass in the telecompressor itself reduces the optical signal quality from input to output, but supposedly it is more than compensated for by the greater optical signal on the input side. In crude terms.

Kind of like projecting a large negative onto a wallet print vs. contact-printing a small 1:1 section of it. In some cases the reduced print, even having gone through an optical path, would be sharper than contact print due to the reduction.

0 upvotes
Astrozoid
By Astrozoid (Jan 14, 2013)

I understand what they are saying, and they have an excellent reputation with the Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro lens, and I'm sure they know infinitely more about lens design then I do.

I'm just skeptical by nature and I want to see what the coma looks like in the corners of a star field shot with a fast wide-angle lens.

1 upvote
SLove
By SLove (Jan 14, 2013)

Well, while it's true that f-stop and aperture are often used interchangeably in photography, it's still somewhat misleading. It would be very easy to search and replace all references to aperture in the text with either "relative aperture" or "entrance pupil", so it's basically just lazy writing to use just "aperture" when meaning f-stop.

0 upvotes
chriscotec
By chriscotec (Jan 14, 2013)

I'm struggling to find this "white paper" people are talking about but I think it might be this: http://www.metabones.com/sony/ef-e-speed-booster

Please feel free to correct me if there's more info somewhere. Hey, at least I tried to put up a link.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Jan 14, 2013)

http://www.metabones.com/images/metabones/Speed%20Booster%20White%20Paper.pdf

(Now also properly linked in the news story above).

1 upvote
D1N0
By D1N0 (Jan 14, 2013)

Interesting, could they make this for dslr-bodies? Probably not...

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Jan 14, 2013)

Not possible -

"The wideangle converter is made possible by the short flange (i.e. lens mount to sensor) distance of mirrorless cameras, which allows the addition of focal length reducing optics to the space within the adapter between the lens and camera body (in an SLR, the mirror is in the way). "

0 upvotes
Le Kilt
By Le Kilt (Jan 14, 2013)

Not in this case, it works because it converts a FF lens which has a wider image circle. On FF we would have to use larger lenses made for larger formats.

0 upvotes
xiod_crlx
By xiod_crlx (Jan 14, 2013)

awesome!

next step - use FF lenses on Cropped sensors with the same resulting image!

looking forward to see it!

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 14, 2013)

Er, I think that's what this step is...

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 14, 2013)

For m43, won't (couldn't) this adapter be made with a focal length multiplier of .5x instead of .71x for FF lenses?

Then, after figuring in the 2x crop factor of m43, legacy full-frame lenses could be used at their true focal length, but a stop faster.

Is that right, or am I way off?

1 upvote
Yehuda_
By Yehuda_ (Jan 14, 2013)

0.71 is roughly the root of 0.5

The ratio of circles is the square of their radii

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 14, 2013)

Not sure I understand your point.

0 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Jan 14, 2013)

You're right, that's exactly how the Olympus UHQ f/2.0 zooms work, only the compressor is built in and tuned to each lens.

1 upvote
Abaregi
By Abaregi (Jan 14, 2013)

Maybe you should read some of the reviews before speculating.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3367136

0 upvotes
MonkRX
By MonkRX (Jan 14, 2013)

Heh, can we get a Pentax Q mount (1/2.3) to Pentax K (Full Frame)? If they can pack the whole lens image into that tiny sensor, what'd the gain be? 5 stops?

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Jan 14, 2013)

If they can get this working well and launched, I'm in for an X-mount.
I'm a bit worried about focusing though.

0 upvotes
coudet
By coudet (Jan 14, 2013)

If I remember correctly, Brian Caldwell talked about this some time ago on dpr.

3 upvotes
coudet
By coudet (Jan 14, 2013)

Here it is:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/42427797

3 upvotes
castleofargh
By castleofargh (Jan 14, 2013)

can't wait to see the purple fringing of the canon 85L at f0.9 on a high contrast picture ^_^ purple rain!!!!!!!!!!!!

i doubt it is without drawbacks but it should provide a fun tool for creativity.

0 upvotes
Jen Yates
By Jen Yates (Jan 14, 2013)

Read the white paper, it all makes sense.

Using nasty cheep glass would negatively offset any gains but let's assume metabones isn't out to hoodwink anyone with shoddy goods and won't be melting down coke bottles for their lens elements.

1 upvote
1drey
By 1drey (Jan 14, 2013)

Do they plan to produce Canon EF to Fuji X-mount?
I would love to use my Canon EF 8-15 fisheye on (planned) Fuji X-E1

1 upvote
Chekr
By Chekr (Jan 14, 2013)

So lets say in theory they create a Leica M to MFT adapter and I am using a Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux - are we heading into Barry Lyndon territory?

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Jan 14, 2013)

No; according to the white paper the maximum aperture lens you can use is f/1.2.

1 upvote
Chekr
By Chekr (Jan 14, 2013)

OK cool, thanks for the clarification, I must have skimmed past that.

0 upvotes
arburdett
By arburdett (Jan 14, 2013)

Errrr.........didn't Kubrick actually use the NASA spec Carl Zeiss 50mm F0.75 for Barry Lyndon?

I guess we're doomed either way

0 upvotes
nelsonal
By nelsonal (Jan 14, 2013)

Yep, which from the Phillip Bloom link,
http://philipbloom.net/2013/01/13/speedbooster/ (it's a good way down the review)
appears to be slightly modified Planar/Biotar (I'd guess some sort of 100 f/1.4) with a fairly powerful focal length reducer attached.

0 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Jan 14, 2013)

Ok...so with the crop factor you can use a reverse TC and capture more of the glass. That part I get. Will it make it sharper? I don't get that part. Maybe using more of the main glass would yield some resolution, but you have to be loosing some on the tc end. Also, lenses by design are sharper in the center so aps-c hits the sweet spot, though it does challenge the glass harder than ff. So there are little tradeoffs everywhere. I really don't understand how this increases the lens by an fstop. You can add more glass and made things faster. Though I get that by taking more of the circle you are adding light and consolidating it into a smaller area, so is the gain there? A full fstop seems like a lot.

1 upvote
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Jan 14, 2013)

I meant to say you can add more glass and made things faster??

Hard to edit on mobile.

0 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Jan 14, 2013)

Id give up a stop actually if this worked with no loss in sharpness. Pentax please? Could be fun to play with....

1 upvote
aardvark7
By aardvark7 (Jan 14, 2013)

It is just the same maths as using a multiplying teleconverter: an f2.8 with a 1.4x becomes (approx.) f4.0 and with a 2x teleconverter becomes an f5.6

This is in reverse as it is a 0.7x wideconverter, so alters the f stop by that factor. However, I suspect it isn't all going to be roses...

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
PowerG9atBlackForest
By PowerG9atBlackForest (Jan 14, 2013)

aardvark7 wrote: ... this is in reverse as it is a 0.7x wideconverter, so alters the f stop by that factor ...

Does it?

0 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Jan 14, 2013)

Enlarging an image looses sharpness (in absolute terms) so it stands to reason condensing would do the opposite and increase sharpness. Imaging a projector, move it closer to the screen to get a smaller image, and that image will be sharper (over a fixed area).

2 upvotes
aardvark7
By aardvark7 (Jan 14, 2013)

@PowerG9atBlackForest

That's exactly how it works. As you can see by their own specifications of limit, if you multiply the maximum input aperture of f1.26 by the factor of the wideconverter 0.71, you get the new f stop of 0.8946 (effectively the lower limit of 0.9).

They also reference the Canon 85mm 1.2 to give the equivalent of a 59mm f0.9

If they have managed to overcome the usual limitations of non-specific lenses, as opposed to dedicated, then it would be a very useful tool for many.

1 upvote
Nigel Wilkins
By Nigel Wilkins (Jan 14, 2013)

The f stop is focal length divided by the aperture diameter. So, a 135mm f/2 lens =

135mm/2 = effective aperture 67.5mm.

135mm x 0.71 = focal length 96mm.

96mm / 67.5mm = 1.4.

f/1.4 = 1 stop wider.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
WanderingSkunk
By WanderingSkunk (Jan 14, 2013)

Fixed amount of light spread out over a much smaller surface area (with a reducer) = more light per pixel

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Jan 14, 2013)

@Nigel Wilkins

I fully understand the maths your present, but in reality is the aperture really any bigger? I mean, is there REALLY any more light hitting the sensor such that the exposure meter will automatically respond by indicating a 1 stop faster shutter speed WITHOUT being told to do so by the electronic contacts that I notice on this adaptor?

I am somewhat suspicious of this 1 stop wider aperture claim.

The only thing I can think of is, perhaps it's akin to the old school kids' trick of placing a magnifying glass over a piece of paper thereby concentrating the sun's rays on the paper, the result being that the paper burns.

0 upvotes
Nigel Wilkins
By Nigel Wilkins (Jan 14, 2013)

Yes, you will get more light, in the same way you get less light using a 1.4x extender. With an extender, you're making the image circle 1.4x larger & effectively cropping it with the sensor...1.4 being the square root of 2 means you're loosing half of the light. This works in exactly the opposite way, by reducing the image circle ,thereby recovering the light lost around the smaller sensors.
I would imagine they would programme a chip in the booster to tell the camera it has the extra stop of light, but even if they don't, does it matter? If you fit a polariser to your lens, the camera doesn't report the light loss from that either.

1 upvote
aardvark7
By aardvark7 (Jan 14, 2013)

I am sure that someone will be able to explain why we can't have our cake and eat it...

My immediate reaction is why wouldn't the lens manufacturers offer this, along with their existing line up? I presume there is a good reason.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
rikyxxx
By rikyxxx (Jan 14, 2013)

They (lens manufacturers) CAN offert this natively, at the expense of lens compactness.

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Jan 14, 2013)

There's a sequence in the article that reads:

"It has the effect of shrinking the lens's image circle, which means that it only works with optics designed for larger formats."

It can transform a FF lens to APS-C and APS-C to M43 and make it faster.

1 upvote
mgrum
By mgrum (Jan 14, 2013)

It's been attempted before (this is how Olympus made their f/2.0 zooms for m43), however people have generally found the condenser needs to be tailored to the lens it's going to be used with, no-one's been able to make a universal adaptor work.

2 upvotes
PowerG9atBlackForest
By PowerG9atBlackForest (Jan 14, 2013)

Imagine shrinking the image circle of an 9x12 lens - it will burn the sensor ... ("honey, I shrunk the mirrorless!")

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JhvaElohimMeth
By JhvaElohimMeth (Jan 14, 2013)

WHY NOT PENTAX? '70 and '80 lenses made by pentax are amazing

0 upvotes
eroll1
By eroll1 (Jan 14, 2013)

you can use a Pentax PK to EOS adapter and buy the canon version. Almost all brands can easily be converted to canon EF mount.

0 upvotes
JhvaElohimMeth
By JhvaElohimMeth (Jan 14, 2013)

@eroll:mmm... it should work

0 upvotes
slerman
By slerman (Jan 14, 2013)

Why does the adaptor slow AF so much?

0 upvotes
KentG
By KentG (Jan 15, 2013)

One of the main properties of telescopic focal reducers is the ability to also increase the area of the flat field of the image. In other words recovering the bad corners of the native optics, and increasing the usable field to allow LARGER media. For instance the one I have costs $995 and has 4 elements in 2 groups, with 2 being ED glass. It reduces 1000mm F6.7 to 600mm F4 and increases the flat field to an 88mm image circle, enough to provide edge to edge sharpness on a MF camera.
The trick with a camera lens is that all the lenses for a camera system have the same image circle and the registration distance. So a single design should work but depending on the aberrations of individual lenses the results might vary.
This will increase the lines/mm resolution of the image but to take advantage it would need to be carefully designed for a given sensors pixel. Which I guess is their real point. Telescope FRs have ratios as short as .33x but .5x, .66x, and .75x are more common and usable.

0 upvotes
casdewrf
By casdewrf (Jan 29, 2013)

This is right up there with ..............Infinite Power!! :D

http://a1.img.mobypicture.com/556dd12d9e1138866dd1c47c13b4b3e1_view.jpg

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
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