Metabones Speed Booster Full Review (EOSHD)

Metabones Speed Booster – FS100 vs 5D Mark III from Andrew Reid on Vimeo.

EOSHD’s Andrew Reid had a closer look on the most amazing photographic product since long: Metabones’ Speed Boost adapter (previously featured here). This little toy allows to mount Canon full-frame objectives on a Sony mirrorless APS-C and Super-35mm E-mount cameras. In March this will be possible also for Micro Four Thirds gear. And making lenses wider is not all the adapter can do: It makes lenses also faster. An f/2.8 becomes f/2, f/2 becomes f/1.4, and f/1.4 becomes f/0.90. This is a lot of magic to deliver by a small adapter.

The optical part of Metabones’ Speed Booster was designed by Brian Caldwell and Wilfried Bittner, both well known for their engineering skills. The best thing about this adapter: it is relatively cheap! It comes for $599 (click here) if you need the Canon EOS mount adpater, $399 (click here) for all others. That’s a bargain if you consider what you get for your bucks: the full-frame look on a Sony NEX-7 (price & specs)Sony NEX-5N (price & specs) or a Sony FS100 (price & specs). In any case much less than what you have to give for a full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III (price & specs). Andrew Reid writes:

In no way is the Metabones adapter giving us a poor man’s full frame image here. F2.0 becomes F1.4 on the Speed Booster and this increase in brightness is really evident. The 5D Mark III is very nifty in low light but it cannot compete with the Speed Booster and FS100.

From Reid’s conclusion:

The real world performance when you shoot with the Speed Booster and see the result is far better than any lab test of corner resolution would imply. The claims of this adapter defy belief… Scepticism well founded. And yet…

[…]

Pros

  • 1 stop increase in low light performance
  • Full frame look – wider field of view, shallower DOF, attractive vignette and light fall off towards corners
  • Extremely good value for money (look at the saving over buying alternative full frame video solution like Canon 1D X / 1D C)
  • Protects investment in existing glass
  • Match glass between full frame camera and Sony E-mount camera on multi-camera shoots
  • Corrects some optical defects in centre of the frame such as purple fringing and coma
  • In-camera electronic aperture control for Canon lenses on Sony body
  • Micro Four Thirds support in pipeline for March (and electronic adapter in June)
  • Turns Blackmagic Cinema Camera into Super 35mm (matching Alexa)
  • Every lens now has dual focal length and aperture (use with or without adapter to change crop)
  • More creative possibilities
  • Excellent build quality
  • Very small and light
  • Tripod mount
  • Infinity focus tuning built into the adapter and straight forward to use

Cons

  • Corner and edge sharpness a bit of a struggle with most legacy glass at fast apertures
  • Soft corners and edges most noticeable at infinity focus with fast apertures or wide open
  • Speed of auto-focus in need of improvement (painfully slow compared to same lens on a Canon body)
  • Some lenses are not yet fully supported by the electronics

The post is definitely worth to be read if you want to understand all the advantages of the Speed Booster. Let me just quote a last sentence from Reid’s post:

All in all – if this adapter does not send shock waves through the camera industry I don’t know what will.

Exactly, that’s it! :-)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III price check: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Canon USA, Digitalrev, eBay Sony NEX-7 price check: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Canon USA, Digitalrev, eBay Sony NEX-5N price check: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Canon USA, Digitalrev, eBay Sony FS100 price check: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Canon USA, Digitalrev, eBay [via EOSHD]