Lens adapter manufacturer Metabones has announced new firmware for its Speed Booster and Smart Adapters that brings on-sensor phase detection autofocus to owners of Sony's Alpha 7R ll and the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Firmware version 1.8 for the Speed Booster and v0.43 for the Smart Adapter lends the products AF speed that the company says is comparable to that of the adapters sold by the main brands for their own products, but the Metabones adapter allows Canon EF and EF-S lenses to be used on the Sony and Olympus bodies.

Owners of other Micro Four Thirds bodies get faster contrast detection AF, the quality of which depends on the age of the lens being used. According to Metabones lenses newer than ten years should work well, but older models and lenses from third party brands, such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, may not. All EF and EF-S lenses, and those from brands other than Canon, will work with the OM-D E-M1 once the new firmware is loaded to the appropriate Speed Booster or Smart Adapter.

The company admits that there is no AF during video recording for Olympus users, and only very slow AF for those using the Sony A7R ll. Continuous AF may be slow when used on cameras that can enjoy phase-detect AF, and non-existent for those that rely on contrast detection systems.

For more information, visit the Metabones website.

Press release:

Metabones® adds phase-detect autofocus (PDAF) support for Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Sony Alpha 7R2

Vancouver, Canada, September 18, 2015: Metabones® adds phase-detect autofocus (PDAF) support for Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Sony Alpha 7R2 to its EF-mount Speed Boosters and Smart Adapters through firmware update version 1.8, available from Metabones' web site for download.

Free of any potential misalignment issues, on-sensor phase-detect autofocus is capable of attaining excellent accuracy. Overall, phase-detect autofocus offers a significant performance improvement over contrast-detect autofocus, and for shorter focal length lenses the autofocus speed approaches that found in digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. Performance, features and limitations of our solution are comparable to other on-sensor PDAF systems involving adapted DSLR lenses on mirrorless cameras, such as A-mount lenses on Sony Alpha 7R2 with LA-EA3 adapter, Four Thirds System DSLR lens on Olympus OM-D E-M1 with MMF-3 adapter or Canon SLR lens on EOS M3 with Mount Adapter EF-EOS M.
Limitations include:

1. During video recording there is no AF (Olympus) or only slow contrast-detect AF (Sony).
2. Continuous AF may have unsatisfactory performance (phase-detect AF) or not supported (contrast-detect AF).

Also added to Metabones firmware update version 1.8 is fast contrast detect AF for other Olympus cameras including E-M5II, E-M5, E-M10 and E-P5. Contrast-detect AF accuracy on Olympus is lens-dependent with most Canon-brand lenses introduced over the last 10 years working satisfactorily. However, some older Canon lenses and some third party EF-mount lenses may not be able to achieve pinpoint-accurate focus on Olympus cameras with contrast-detect AF. These lenses should be used on OM-D E-M1 instead.

In addition, AF support for JVC GY-LS300 is added to this new firmware version. Existing Panasonic contrast-detect AF support is enhanced with 24p added as a supported frame rate for single-autofocus (AFS) during video recording.

By simply downloading and running Metabones App Version 1.8, new autofocus support is added to the following Metabones products:
* EF-E Smart Adapter Mark IV (model number MB_EF-E-BM4)
* EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA (model number MB MB_SPEF-E-BM2)
* EF-E T Smart Adapter Mark IV (model number MB_EF-E-BT4)
* EF-E T Speed Booster ULTRA (model number MB_SPEF-E-BT2)
* EF-Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapter (model number MB_EF-M43-BM1)
* EF-Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BM1)
* EF-Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster S (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BM2)
* EF-Micro Four Thirds T Smart Adapter (model number MB_EF-M43-BT2)
* EF-Micro Four Thirds T Speed Booster ULTRA 0.71x (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BT4)
* EF-Micro Four Thirds T Speed Booster XL 0.64x (model number MB_SPEF-M43-BT3)

The following discontinued products must be updated by factory service. Please contact Metabones customer service for details.
* The original EF-E Smart Adapter
* EF-E Smart Adapter Mark II
* EF-E Smart Adapter Mark III
* The original EF-E Speed Booster