Monday, January 28, 2013

Metabones Speed Booster First Test impression

There has been a great buzz following news about the recently released Metabones Speed Booster, which promises to achieve what seems to be the photography equivalent of "having your cake and eat it too".

Following the successful last year release of the Metabones Smart Adapter II, which allowed for the first time to use EF and EF-S lenses on E-mount cameras (and videocameras too!) in fully electronic mode, with Aperture, IS support and Exif support with the notable exception of Autofocus, the new adapter from Metabones will add the following:

  • Using a 4-lens element that acts as a focal reducer, it will multiply the focal range of any EF lens by 0.71x, allowing to use the same full frame coverage, on an APS-C sensor such as the one found on the Sony NEX Series!
  • Since the same amount of light is concentrated on a smaller area, the equivalent aperture will be 1 Stop faster! An f/4 lens will behave like an f/2.8, and a f/1.4 will act as an f/1.0!!
  • The lens MTF (sharpness) will actually increase a bit too
  • Autofocus is now supported! It has to be noted that, it will be slower than when used on an EOS camera, but manual focus with focus peaking and auto-magnification is still supported and it works much better, because peaking becomes more easy to use with the increased light gathering.
The adapter started shipping January 24th, and it reached my doorstep today, here's a very quick test, just to check if it's working:

Here's the Canon EF 17-40 f/4.0L, at 17mm, on the NEX-7, with the original Metabones Smart Adapter II. The FOV is cropped 1.5x due to the APS-C sensor. Full aperture at f/4, not much light available, so the ISO was set automatically at 800.

Now the same Canon EF 17-40 f/4.0L, at 17mm, with the new Metabones Speed Booster. The FOV is now about the same as it would be on a FF camera like the EOS-5D. Full aperture is now f/2.8 (which is confirmed in the Exif data too), and ISO was down to 400! IT WORKS!

1:1 Crop of the center area with the original Metabones Smart Adapter II. This is how the lens performs without any optics in between, and on its original aperture of f/4

1:1 Crop of the center area with the Metabones Speed Booster. Sharpness improves and there's less noise due to the lower ISO.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The war of the 24 mm - Sony vs Canons

This text will compare the following four different lenses at 24 mm aperture:

  • Canon FD 24mm 2.8
  • Canon EF 24-105mm L
  • Canon EF 17-40mm L
  • Sony 18-55mm kit lens

First the Center crop:

Note that the Canon EFs are wide open at f/4, because of heavy vignetting caused by the adapted when closing its iris control. We'll have a look at the effect of the iris in a follow-up post.

Upper Left crop

Upper Right Crop

Lower Left crop

Lower Right crop

The results shows again the lower quality of the Sony 18-55 kit lens compared against the Canons. Unsurprisingly, the FD 24mm prime is the sharper of the bunch, and maintains good performance even in the corners. Amongst the two EF zooms, the 17-40mm looks sharper and with less chromatic aberration, especially in the Upper Left and Right corners. The 24-105mm L it's a bit disappointing, considering its cost.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Canon FD 50 mm f1.4 vs Sony 18-55 kit lens

This test compares the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 against the Sony 18-55 kit lens, both stopped at f/5.6, using the above reference points for center and corners. The FD lens was focused manually with the help of Sony's Nex-7 focus peaking and magnification features, the Sony lens was set in default Autofocus mode.

This test was very unfair for the humble Sony 18-55 kit lens: there's no way a cheap kit lens like this one could compete with the classic FD 50 prime. If anything, it demonstrates how inadequate the kit lens is for the very high resolution Nex-7 sensor. There's no need to spend lots of money to get an expensive "german glass": even an affordable Canon FD it's enough to improve a lot over the Sony 18-55 kit lens. It's very interesting to note how an almost 40-years design like the Canon FD 50, can still offer very good quality today.

Sony NEX 7 with Canon FD Lenses test

These classic Canon FD Lenses will be used for some test with the Sony NEX-7 mirrorless camera. The camera can be connected to a Canon FD lens, using an FD-NEX Adapter. They can be easily found in many stores, with different levels of manufacturing accuracy. I'm using a fairly high quality adapter made by italian optical factory COMA