Metabones has released an update to its EF-E Smart Adapter MARK IV and EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA, vastly improving auto focus, smoother aperture adjustments and enabling continuous auto focus on compatible Sony Alpha cameras. Many Canon-turned-Sony users will have become accustomed to the compatibility quirks of using EF lenses on a Sony Alpha body. Metabones has been an ever present stalwart in the big player camera/lens mis-match and, despite their best efforts, have always struggled with producing reliable auto focus. This hasn’t been a huge problem with filmmakers, many of whom won’t ever have the need for this feature. But many will also like to cross over to photography from time to time, one of the features that was so liberating with the Canon 5D. A lack of auto focus in stills photography is of course a much bigger deal, especially with the release of more advanced systems introduced with mirrorless cameras such as the A7RII and A7SII. The mis-match in Sony body/Canon lens compatibility has forced many into exploring the less nurtured, less developed, less exciting Sony E mount lens line. These of course make full use of the Alpha cameras’ auto focus abilities, particularly the aforementioned continuous modes in newer bodies. The firmware update that Metabones just released for its EF-E Smart Adapter MARK IV and EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA closes the gap dramatically between native E mount and Canon EF lenses. With Metabones firmware V0.50, auto focus on an EF lens is much improved, aperture changes are smoother (still clicky, but improved) and continuous auto focus is now enabled on later compatible bodies. Here’s some press: Release date: 23 Jun 2016 Benefits and improvements: Wide-open button functionality is removed on A7 series and A6300. The button of the adapter is now dedicated to the function of the customisable Focus Hold button on the A7 series and A6300. “Advanced” mode is now the default operating mode. (Note: you may permanently change the default to “Green” mode, by holding down the button on the adapter while attaching to an already-on camera, and then, without ever releasing the button, turn off the camera’s power. Changing the default back to “Advanced” mode using the same procedure.) “Native” autofocus features including DMF, Eye-AF and fast CDAF on all E-mount cameras (see Press Release for details). Support for smooth iris feature of the latest Canon and Tamron SP lenses. PDAF improvement for Canon EF 50/1.4 USM and some other large aperture fixed focal length lenses. Descriptive lens name on EXIF LensModel tag (except on older cameras and Metabones Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and the original Speed Booster). A compliant utility such as exiftool is required. Sony Image Data Converter does NOT display the LensModel tag. Fixed a focus parking issue after an exposure with some older Canon lenses. I’ve installed Metabones Firmware 0.50 on my EF-E Smart Adaptor and can confirm the improvements. As an owner of the Zeiss 25mm Batis lens, I’m fairly familiar with the continuous focus modes available on the A7R II and A7S II. Users of the Sony Alpha II/Metabones/EF combo can now look forward – under certain circumstances – to a useable focus mode when shooting video, featuring face detection, zonal monitoring, with speed and sensitivity modes. Speaking from a wealth of experience with Canon’s Dual Pixel Auto Focus, the Sony equivalent is more complicated, less reactive and less subtle, but it does the job on wide focal lengths stopped down. Whilst auto focus is vastly improved, initial experience suggests it’s not quite up to native E mount speeds, but it’s certainly getting there. You can download firmware update V0.50 now from here.Read more
SmallRig has released a host of third party accessories for the DJI Ronin-M. The Chinese manufacturer, which specializes in making camera rig components, has designed a quick release tripod plate for the DJI Ronin plate—as well as universal mounts for the Ronin-M. DJI Ronin-M Dovetail Mount Switching between a gimbal and tripod or other grip devices can be a bit of a pain. It takes time; switching plates, re-balancing the gimbal, re-wiring monitors. If I’m shooting and there’ll be a requirement to switch between the two, I’d usually double up on camera setups. However, on many occasions, there’s neither the opportunity nor the budget to do so. One solution you can opt for is to adapt your gimbal to the same tripod plate as all your other accessories. This saves time switching plates on-set (something I never like doing). However, adding weight and height to your gimbal setup can have its disadvantages, too. The SmallRig Ronin-M Dovetail Mount does the reverse. It’s a quick release adaptor plate for the DJI Ronin mounting plate that allows you to attach the tripod plate of your choice underneath. Here’s a functional video of the SmallRig Ronin-M Dovetail Mount in action. With this, you can remove your camera from your Ronin and straight onto your tripod/alternate accessory without switching plates or adding weight via another adaptor plate to your gimbal—lovely! The SmallRig Ronin-M Dovetail Mount is listed as compatible with the Ronin-M, but previous ownership of a DJI gimbal leads me to think that this will work on the full-size Ronin also. If the plates are the same on both gimbals then this will indeed hold true. DJI elitists, please feel free to chime in! DJI Ronin-M Quick Plate Mount (mini) Also available from SmallRigs is the DJI Ronin-M Quick Plate Mount (mini). This bypasses the cross bar and top handle of the Ronin-M and gives you a couple of 1/4 20″ threads to attach to your tripod plate/jib etc. I’ve seen similar from other manufacturers, but this is a nice cost-effective version. In conjunction with other accessories like a jib, gimbals can be very useful in doubling up as a remote controlled head. SmallRig DJI Ronin-M Handheld to Tripod Adapter If you still want use of the crossbar and/or want more threaded options for mounting then check out the SmallRig DJI Ronin-M Handheld to Tripod Adapter. Rather than bypassing the cross bar altogether, the SmallRig DJI Ronin-M Handheld to Tripod Adapter acts as a replacement part to the original DJI collar, removing the top handle and replacing it with a cheese plate array of 1/4″ and 3/8″ threads. Retaining the use of the crossbar can be handy if you want to go from a standard gimbal configuration to your tripod/jib/other device quickly; if you’re clever you may even be able to do it mid-take. If you haven’t already, it’s worth checking out what SmallRig have to offer. Their list of products is getting quite specific, which is great; you can see they’re making a conscious effort to spot missing items between camera companies & other third party accessories, rather than just churning out random 15mm rod and 1/4″ thread support items. They’re very affordable—I guess that with them being a China-based company that is to be expected. The build quality may well reflect this; I haven’t purchased anything substantial to comment truly on the build quality, though. However, the odd little accessory item I’ve bought so far has been met my expectations.Read more
So, firmware version 3 is imminent for the Sony FS7 (end of January) and one of the big features that will be included is Center Scan mode. There are many advantages of this feature. In this article, I will be running through the benefits that the FS5/FS7 B4 mount ENG lens combo will bring to the table—making it a viable solution for many filmmakers. AbelCine’s recent article on combining the Sony FS5 with an x17 B4 lens piqued my interest. Many have anticipated this feature for the Sony FS7. It is a feature that has made its way down from the more expensive F55 and F5. I wanted to clear the air on exactly how it works, as many are not sure on the mathematics. What is a B4 Lens? Those coming from a stills or video DSLR background may not have come across a B4 lens before—a lens format that was most popular in a time when equipment lasted longer than a moderately sized gobstopper. B4 lenses are designed for a 2/3″ sensor, much smaller than a typical super35mm format. There are so many B4 lens options, the smaller sensor—when compared to super35mm—made long zoom lenses much more accessible. Factor in the concept of time, since B4 zoom lenses have been around for a while, and you can pick them up fairly cheaply (relatively speaking). A moderate zoom, perhaps the modern day shooter’s version of a 70-200mm, would be around an x20 B4 lens. That would be the equivalent of 650mm or so on super35mm. Add to that a doubler, which a lot of these good zoom lenses have, plus servo zoom capabilities and you can see the appeal of such a conversion. What is Center Scan Mode? Center Scan—yes, the Brit inside me cringed, as we spell it centre—is the key to making B4 lenses compatible. Both the Fs7 and Fs5 are 4K cameras and to output 1080 or 2K (in the FS7s case), the camera downscales its 4K capture into its respective lower resolution (1080 or 2K). Rather than downscale a 4K image, in Center Scan Mode the correct resolution is simply taken out of the centre of the sensor. From around 1.08 minutes in, the video below gives a good visualization of Center Scan. Please note that this video is for the purpose of the Sony F5 and F55, so the lack of 2K on the FS5 or 4K pixel count will alter slightly for the Fs7 and FS5, but the overall principle is the same. Center Scan Mode crops into the sensor, giving us a more zoomed-in portion of the image by 2x times. This is great for extending the reach of our lenses, as the above video continues to explain, or we can harness that crop differently by attaching lenses designed for a smaller image circle: the B4 format. How Does The Adaption Work? Google>eBay>B4 to E Mount Adaptor> Buy>Done, right? Almost. Yes, there are many physical adaptors out there, but there is more to this adaption than simply making two mounts compatible. Firstly, there is a discrepancy between the image circle of 2/3″ and the end result of Center Scan Mode on the Sony Fs5 & Sony FS7. Center Scan Mode on both cameras converts the image to a Super 16 crop. Looking back at the diagram we shared earlier in the article, we can see that Super 16 (S16) is a bit bigger than 2/3″. A good adaptor will convert this discrepancy, enhancing the image circle of the 2/3″ lens to a super 16 format. Not only this, but we have to consider the change of format in sensor technology. The 2/3″ format almost exclusively relies on 3 chip cameras, the same way large sensor technology relies on single sensor cameras. The expectation of a B4 lens is therefore that light will pass through a beam splitter on the camera side; a good B4 to E-Mount adapter will correct for the lack of a beam splitter on a single sensor super35mm camera. MFT services make an adaptor that does just this. The principles have been around for some time for the F5 and F55 cameras, but an E-mount package has become available more recently for the Sony FS5 and FS7. How Do You Power A B4 Lens? In case you weren’t aware, B4 lenses with servo zooms require power in order to fully operate. On a 2/3″ camera, this is usually via a connection built into the lens mount of the body. A port of this kind is seldom required on a super35mm camera. There are a few options out there; most will convert the lens lanc cable to familiar P-tap or Hirose. The Cameo Lanc Cable is a very interesting solution, however. It splits in two on the camera side. One power (Hirose or P-tap) and the other a 3.5mm connector to plug into the camera. This enables start/stop via the lens that is always found on the grip; offering another handy feature of the ergonomically pleasing ENG lens format. If you’re not already powering your camera via V-lock or the FS7 Extension Unit, here are two solutions that get my recommendation, which will work directly with the Cameo Lanc Cable: Sony BPU-60T. These work on both FS5 and FS7 and simply offer up a 4-pin Hirose connection on the battery, in addition to powering the camera. Hawkswood Bloc. These are good if you don’t want to invest in new batteries and/or want to power other accessories like a wireless transmitter. They come in a variety of battery options, including Canon BP and Sony BP and NP-F. Sony FS7 B4 Combo Works Without Center Scan Mode We have an old B4 zoom lens and we’ve attached our MFT adaptor on it. This combo will now send a super 16mm sized image onto our lovely FS7 4K sensor. Without any Center Scan Mode enabled, we get this: So we’re just waiting around twiddling our thumbs until Sony enable Center Scan Mode in the next firmware update, right? Well actually, many setups will work already. As I mentioned earlier in the article, it’s common for a B4 zoom lens to have a built-in extender—many of which with x2 magnification. An extender like this will do the same thing Center Scan Mode does, crops into the image to eliminate the vignette. However, doing the crop optically will expose the blemishes of the lens and also lose light. Center Scan Mode simply utilizes a smaller portion of the sensor. In theory, it will yield much better results (although it would be nice to see the difference in good light between a stellar performing lens with an x2 extender, versus a more readily affordable zoom lens and Center Scan Mode). Sony FS5 B4 Combo Already Available Despite being the more affordable camera body, the Sony FS5 already has complete support for B4 lenses. As it is a newer camera body, Center Scan Mode is already available. Check out the AbelCine video below where they mount an x17 servo zoom B4 lens to the FS5. Note that with the addition of an x2 extender, with Center Scan Mode enabled, you can make further use of the optical x2 extender by getting even more range from your lens. Sony FS7 firmware 3.0 should be available by the end of the month, and with Center Scan Mode it will become a very powerful tool. B4 lenses have such a long reach in comparison to stills lenses, add to that servo zoom and parfocal optics (ie. focus does not change when you zoom) and you have a very versatile setup in your arsenal. Wildlife and Live Event filmmakers will benefit highly from this setup, now operators can benefit from all the comforts of an ENG style servo zoom lens, with all the fantastic new features a super35mm 4K camera like the Sony FS7 or FS5 can offer. Rather exciting, isn’t it?Read more
Metabones has released a new lens adaptor, the FZ to EF Cine Smart adapter converts Canon to Sony FZ retaining aperture information for overlays and auto iris, as well as offering a manual aperture ring for quick and easy exposure adjustment. Metabones FZ to EF T Cine Smart Adapter The first announcement as a prototype at IBC had me raising my eyebrows for two reasons: The first: having used a previous solution from Optitek I was pretty disappointed with Canon EF/FZ marriage. The Optitek adaptor is very fiddly to use; aperture adjustments are done by two tiny buttons on the side of adaptor itself (not camera) and often the aperture readings would freeze altogether. So more competition in this adaption would be warmly welcomed. The second is the unique manual wheel Metabones has decided to include on the FZ to EF Cine Smart adapter. Despite still being an electronic adaptor and electronically controlling the adjustment of the aperture (as you would with the native lenses on your Sony FZ mount camera) there’s a wheel on the side that you can manually operate for aperture control. (Images via PhilipBloom.net) This is fantastic, it’s not quite in the league of a complete manual aperture control where the turning on the wheel directly opens/closes the aperture in a smooth fashion as it is still translating your adjustment into electronic information (aperture changes can only be as smooth as the camera/lens dictates). However it offers a very quick and fast way to change open/close your iris; one camera operators from a certain era will be very familiar with. The Sony FZ mount is found on cameras like the F3, F5 and F55. It’s great to have the option to adapt such a widely used lens format in terms of cost and versatility. The Metabones FZ to EF Cine Smart adapter will provide aperture information to the camera so you can visually see your stop, there is also the ability to auto iris. On the side you’ll find a user definable button as well as USB port for firmware updates. The Manual dial on the side of the adaptor is accompanied by an f-stop scale window, this ranges from f/1.0-32 and your lens will kick in at whatever range it is currently capable of doing (for example a f/2.8 will only start to adjust when the dial reads f/2.8 or higher) it does not unlock faster apertures. The adaptor is certainly a sizeable chunk, here’s a pic from Philip Bloom comparing it in size to the Optitek ProLock EF for FZ. When using it on a camera like the Sony F5/F55 I can’t really see the size being an issue. The cameras are built for PL sized lenses so a slightly bigger adaptor with relatively small EF lens isn’t going to prove very challenging. The final key feature of the Metabones FZ to EF Cine Smart adapter is the price, at $999 it is substantially more affordable than the Optitek, very good value for this type of lens adaptor. I hope to see the manual wheel > electronic aperture control in more adaptors, it would be great to see it in an E mount to EF for example, as long as the form factor is kept in relative size to the cameras it’ll likely to used it. There’s no word yet on availability, more info on the metabones website. via/ Philip Bloom & NewsshooterRead more
Genus unveiled a very interesting product at IBC. The prototype is an electronic lens adaptor that will remotely control your lens and most importantly, offers an electronic variable neutral density filter. ND (or lack of) has been an ongoing saga in the compact camera body world. The DSLR filmmaker was highly trained in the fast operation of switching his/hers variable ND filter as they changed lens. This is a skill that has been carried through to the use of mirrorless cameras; camera manufacturers simply have not, and are not installing any kind of ND system in their compact stills/video cameras. Third party companies have tried everything to solve this issue; we’ve seen fader NDs, lens adaptors with in-built filter wheels, magnetic lens threads that enable fast mount and remove of filters; there hasn’t been a definitive solution. With the sensitivity of mirrorless camera nowadays, this issue is more apparent than ever. Genus have a working prototype that looks very interesting indeed, a remote control adaptor with inbuilt electronic variable ND. Our friends at newsshooter.com took a closer look at the new product: To be clear, this is a prototype. The black box that the adaptor currently sits on will not make the final cut; this is merely proof of concept. The ND works using a liquid crystal display that when voltage is applied you can accurately dial in the level of ND. We’ve seen the same kind of technology being implemented in the new Sony FS5 camera that works with a variable electronic ND system as well. Genus make a point of this not simply being billed as an electronic ND; it is a remote control lens adaptor. This means you can adjust the aperture and focus of the lens remotely, which is very useful where you can’t reach your camera (drone, crane) and/or you camera doesn’t offer any native wireless support for such features. Little is given away by Genus in the above interview at this point. It sounds as if they’ve had some issues with color shift (as with many variable ND systems) and won’t disclose anything on sharpness (or reduction of). The ND will be effective around 2 to 12 stops, the prototype is adapting Canon EF to Sony E mount, a very popular conversion in this sector however the interview leads reason to believe that other adaptors will follow. Genus are hoping to launch the product by BVE 2016 (February) if not by NAB 2016 (April). via/NewsShooterRead more
Earlier this month Metabones announced firmware V0.41 for the Canon EF to E mount adaptor, promising to fix the frustrating aperture flash Sony FS7 and A7s users experience when using Canon lenses. In this article I check out how successful the update is. Many people have migrated from Canon to Sony camera systems of late, pound for pound there’s no denying Sonys dominance of the current market. Many of these people will have also brought with them an EF lens line. Sony still have a way to go in terms of offering a wide variety of professional E mount lenses, plus it makes sense financially; if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. However, users of the Sony FS7/A7s will all tell you of the… quirks when adapting EF to E mount via Metabones adaptors. The main problem lies in aperture adjustment. When opening the aperture, the iris will open to max before closing back down to the desired f-stop. The result is a bright flash every time you adjust exposure. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker, adjusting stills lenses on a native mount body won’t give you smooth adjustments like a manual aperture lens, however the flash is somewhat frustrating. Metabones Firmware Version 0.41 for the Canon EF to E mount Mark IV promises to fix the issue, along with a few other features. Here’s the list of updates: User may choose between lens OIS and IBIS using the lens’ IS switch (except for some Tamron lenses). If the lens’ IS switch is ON, lens OIS is used and IBIS is turned off automatically. If lens’ IS switch is OFF, IBIS is used instead. To turn off all IS, hold down the WO button on the adapter while switching the lens’ IS to the OFF position. IS is always turned on during magnified focus assist for ease of manual focusing Added autofocus support for some legacy lenses on A7 series Eliminated iris flicker when opening up the iris from a slower aperture to a faster aperture in Green mode on FS series, NEX-VG series and A7 series in movie mode. Eliminated iris tick noise while zooming a variable aperture zoom lens in Green mode Does it work? Check the below video where I’ve tested it. The initial clip is using the older 0.40 firmware, followed by results after 0.41 is installed. I’ve outputted to an Atomos Ninja Blade with overlays so you can see the aperture adjustment in action. Sony A7S with a Canon 50mm f/1.2 Music – Lights Motion | Our Time is Now. Provided by The Music Bed. I went ahead and tested all my in-house lenses also, I won’t bore you with the results, but after quick testing I can confirm the same results as the video for the following lenses: Canon 8-15mm f/4 Fisheye | Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 | Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS | Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Canon 50mm f/1.2 | Canon 85mm f/1.8 | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Marco L. The update now puts Sony cameras in the same boat as native EF mount camcorders (EOS C series) in terms of visual aperture adjustment. At 1/3 stop increments you’ll never get a perfectly smooth change. However this dramatic fix now means aperture adjustments may be suitable mid take for certain genres of filmmaking. Check here for download of Metabones Firmware 0.41 and instructions of how to update your adaptor.Read more
Metabones has announced a new Speedbooster adaptor specifically for the Panasonic GH4 that will convert its micro four thirds sensor into super35mm in 4K mode, and APS-H in 1080 mode. Metabones original Speedbooster announcement was revolutionary, breathing new life into smaller sensors by increasing their field of view, light sensitivity and sharpness. 0.71x was the magic number, this level of magnification increases super35mm cameras like the FS100 and FS700 into full frame, opening a whole world of new opportunities including sub f/1.2 apertures and for the first time, Full Frame 4K video. Towards the end of 2013 Metabones advanced further with Speedboosters specific to the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. These provided much wider fields of view on both Pocket and Cinema version of the Blackmagic cameras. It was the first time Metabones included a new magnification increase in their speedboosters; 0.58x and 0.64x respectively. Move to present day and Metabones has announced a new Speedbooster specifically for the Panasonic GH4. It to benefits from a 0.64x magnification, providing the flagship mirrorless camera with a very attractive x1.5 crop factor at 4K. This brings the GH4 right inline with super35mm; the original x2 crop factor* was a stumbling block for many, as negotiating a completely new lens line or crop factor for current collection was both frustrating and expensive. *Crop factor of x2 applying to 1080 mode on the GH4, not 4K. As many well know, the Panasonic GH4 has two crop modes, one for 1080 and one for 4K, which are x2 and x2.34 respectively. Whilst the new Speedbooster provides 4K mode with a super35mm crop factor, it goes one further in 1080 mode offering a near APS-H crop factor of x1.28 (Canon 1D territory). As expected from a new Metabones adaptor, the GH4 EF Speedbooster XL needs no additional power, carries focus, zoom and aperture information, as well as powering Image Stabilization for compatible lenses; like many (if not all) new Metabones adaptors it uses high quality patent pending Caldwell Photographic Optics. Speaking of optics: “The Speed Booster XL 0.64x uses an advanced 6-element optical design to achieve extraordinary optical performance at apertures up to an incredible f/0.80, a new record for Micro Four Thirds format.” The 1.33x stop increase is highly impressive; it will convert an f/1.2 prime into an astounding f/0.80. To calculate the new field of view of your lenses, simply multiply the focal length by the new crop factors in each respective GH4 mode (1.28 in 1080, 1.5 in 4K). For example, a 50mm lens will become 64mm in 1080 mode, and 75mm in 4K mode. Here is the specification list of the GH4 Speedbooster XL Magnification: 0.64x Crop Factor for Full Micro Four Thirds format: 1.28x Crop Factor with GH4 in Cinema 4k (4096 x 2160) Video Mode: 1.5x Maximum Output Aperture: f/0.80 (with f/1.2 lens attached) Rectilinear Distortion: < 0.8% Lens Elements/Groups: 6/4 Length Reduction: 6.2 mm Camera Mount: Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount: Canon EF (EF-S not compatible) Image Format: 17.3 mm x 13.0 mm (full Micro Four Thirds format) Despite the Speedbooster XL being marketed as an adaptor for the GH4, it will fit a host of other mirrorless cameras, the table below highlights fully compatible cameras in green: Metabones state that others (including some of the above listed in red) may work, the physical connection between adaptor and camera will always mate if your camera has a Micro Four Thirds lens mount. However only the above listed in green will be compatible without any mechanical clashing of the adaptor and shutter/shutter cover. By opening up the sensor to super35mm size and increasing the light sensitivity by 1 and 1/3 stop, the Metabones Speedbooster XL really makes the GH4 a whole different camera. Users migrating from other cameras with a large EF lens collection have a much simpler transition, and super35mm users now have another credible option as a B or C camera that isn’t worlds apart in terms of crop factor or light sensitivity. The GH4 Speedbooster XL is priced like many popular, new Metabones adaptors at $649.Read more
We only send updates about our most relevant articles. No spam, guaranteed! And if you don't like our newsletter, you can unsubscribe with a single click. Read our full opt-out policy here.