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Metabones Speed Booster - New Focal Reducer Makes Lenses Faster, Wider, and Sharper

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
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    Maybe free lunch exists after all. The Metabones Speed Booster is a new adapter for Micro 4/3 and Sony NEX that is designed to reduce the focal length of an adapted SLR lens while increasing the speed of the lens. This type of adapter, called a focal reducer or telecompressor, is essentially the opposite of a teleconverter.

    The idea is not new. For example, the very early Nikon E series DSLR, co-developed with Fuji, used a 4X focal reducer to get the full angle of view and light collecting power of full frame lenses condensed to a 2/3" sensor, and Kodak has a 1994 patent describing a device similar to the Metabones Speed Booster.

    To date, no one has been able to design a general use focal reducer that will work with fast lenses while effectively addressing optical aberrations, especially spherical aberration and field curvature. According to the white paper, the engineers behind the Metabones Speed Booster were able to create a focal reducer that accomplishes these goals by designing specifically for mirrorless cameras.

    The Metabones Speed Booster reduces the focal length of an adapted lens to 0.71X, where X is the original focal lengh of the lens. At the same time, it increases the lens speed (virtual aperture relative to focal length) by one full stop. Thus a 35mm f/1.4 SLR lens fitted to the Speed Booster physically becomes a 25mm* f/1.0 lens.

    *50mm equivalent angle of view on MFT, 38mm equivalent AOV on NEX

    For more information, read the white paper: http://www.metabones.com/images/metabones/Speed Booster White Paper.pdf
    • Like Like x 10
  2. wolfie

    wolfie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 15, 2009
    New Zealand
    Not sure about the "free lunch"

    The price mentioned was about US $599 - so not exactly cheap, but maybe price will drive down if someone does a non-AF version for manual focus lenses.
    Cant wait to see some reviews, it certainly is another booster for mirrorless!
  3. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    If it works, this could solve one of the big issues with m43--the lack of wide-angle legacy lenses. I know I'm interested, but probably not at $600!
  4. chasm

    chasm Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2010
    Ray, if I've understood this correctly, the lenses you fit with the adapter must be DSLR lenses and not native µ4/3 (or NEX) lenses...
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Yeah, just realized that and deleted my post. Oh well, no use to me.

  6. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    In addition to opening up some of the wide angle options, this is actually a pretty cool for the telephoto zoom side of the equation as well as it makes some inexpensive old legacy lenses fast telephotos ...
  7. red

    red Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 21, 2010
    I don't exactly understand...

    a) how it works
    b) why it costs 600$
  8. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    So what happens to a Noctilux?! Lol
  9. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    As you point out this is nothing new - Olympus filed for a patent on a 0.5x focal reducer adapter in 2010. The question is will it work well.

    I like to think that a 0.7x adapter doesnt really change a 35 1.4 lens into a 25 1.0 lens but instead makes it a 35 1.4 (35mm equivalent) on a camera with an APS C sensor.

    This would be great news for Canon and Nikon because it would make their legacy lenses very attractive on their mirrorless product.
  10. ggibson

    ggibson Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 9, 2011
    Question--will the DOF change in relation to the new f-stop or is it still equivalent to the old one?
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I don't know why anyone's surprised at the $600 price tag. A good simple teleconverter costs at least $500, and that is nowhere near as optically complicated as a focal reducer. $600 is a frickin' steal. This is a multi-use lens which can change the characteristics of all kinds of lenses you mount with it. It's like getting a whole new collection of lenses for $600, while we would have no problems paying $600 for just one lens.
    • Like Like x 5
  12. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Strange thing is that it would also take away one more reason for Pros/Proam's not to change over to m4/3 as their glass would no longer be "obsolete"!

    Problem is it will mean the price for second hand glass will not drop either.

    I can see how you would get more light onto the sensor and therefore a "lower" effective f number as it's just the opposite effect to a 2X converter but I cannot get my head round the physics of what happens to the DOF - does it end up as the same as the FF?
  13. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Interesting. I'm not into adapted lenses, but I'm gonna keep my eye on this thread.

  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    If it doesn't have AF, it's still obsolete, unless you're a video shooter!

    I can't imagine second-hand legacy glass dropping any more. It's already higher than it was in 2007-2008.

    Yes. 25/1.5 on DX has the same DoF (almost) as 35/2 on FX. You are after all projecting the same AoV and the same physical aperture size.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Wayneb

    Wayneb Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 2, 2013
    I believe the high price is because it has electronics to allow for AF, I.S. and aperture control on the Sony cameras, that and the fact that it is not a high volume item.
  16. Bravin Neff

    Bravin Neff Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 25, 2011
    Bravin Neff
    Sign me the heck up.
  17. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    The composite lens will act as the equivalence (0.7x focal length and 1 stop wider), which if memory serves means the depth of field will increase. You need 2x the aperture to remain the same DoF at the shorter focal length equivalent. i.e. a 100mm @ F2 is the same DoF as a 70mm @ F1 (but the convertor will make the 100mm F2 into a 70 F1.4)
  18. With regards to exposure, you would have to shoot it as if it were an f/1.0 lens
  19. noflux

    noflux Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 7, 2010
    Porto, Portugal
    Just got this message from Metabones about when can we expect their M43 version release:

    "For EF to M43 around June
    other around Feb to March"
  20. Bravin Neff

    Bravin Neff Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 25, 2011
    Bravin Neff
    Take the Sigma 30mm f1.4 DX lens. With the Metabones reducer, this becomes a 21mm f1.0. Put that on your m43 body for an equivalent 42mm f1.0.

    I said it before: sign me up.
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