By site editor Dan Chung:
The Metabones Speedbooster Ultra on the FS7
Both Sony and Metabones released new firmware today which are designed to improve the performance of the FS7.
The FS7 receives firmware update v1.01 which cryptically has the following features and improvements:
1.) XDCA-FS7 Support
Activates the support of the optional extension box XDCA-FS7. A PXW-FS7 which has V1.00 installed cannot use the XDCA-FS7.
2.) Operation Stability Improvements
Overall operation performance has been improved.
I don’t have my FS7 with me this week and so will have to wait to find out exactly what this does. (UPDATE: Matt Allard at the Inter BEE show in Japan has spoken to Sony and they say the new firmware doesn’t fix the lens related problems I’ve been writing about).
Metabones have issued firmware 0.38 for their EF to E-mount Speedbooster Ultra and 0.37 for their Mark IV Smart adapter. The 0.38 update specifically refers to the FS7 only mentions that it addresses misreported aperture issues. I hope this firmware also deals with the issues I detailed in this post – but right now I can’t test it.
This is what the Metabones site states:
Name: Firmware update V0.38 for EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA
Release date: 20 Nov 2014
Benefits and improvements: Due to FS7 can not support aperture faster than f/1.0, lenses slower than f/1.4 report boosted aperture to camera body; lenses at or faster than f/1.4 report original aperture to camera body, in order to address a FS7 compatibility issue.
Name: Firmware update V0.37 for EF-E Smart AdapterTM MARK IV
Release date: 20 Nov 2014
Benefits and improvements: Improves stability with some lenses
If you own the FS7 and the Metabones adapter and have had a chance to test this I would love to hear from you.
Our technical editor Matt Allard spoke to Sony reps at the Inter BEE show in Tokyo and they told him that as far as they were aware the latest firmware isn’t designed to resolve the iris issues. This appears to be confirmed by our readers who have performed firmware upgrades on both the camera and their Metabones adapters.
Reader Thomas Frischhut has sent us this information:
“Got my FS7 and the Metabones EF to E-mount mkIV adapter yesterday. Upgraded the new firmware on camera to v1.01 and on the Metabones to the latest… but nothing got better. Both the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 and Canon 24-105mm f4 still have the same aperture problems (flashing when opening up towards maximum aperture).”
We also heard on Twitter from Guy Thatcher of Hireacamera.com He told us this:
“Just done updates on camera and Metabones Mk IV. Still same issues – blades opening all way. Tried both Sigma & Canon lenses.
Going to try some more lenses – wasn’t happy at all with Sigma (was older 50mm not Art). Advanced mode still unusable.
Tested with 8 lenses now and same. Tried 2 different MkIV adapters. Can’t speak for Speedbooster as all out. If you are very slow and careful you can avoid skipping apertures but it’s hard. Bolted on Mk I Metabones and night/day difference.”
However npfilms in the comments below had a slightly different experience with the Metabones upgrade:
“Thank you for posting! Just finished the update and in my quick tests using both the Metabones Speedbooster Ultra and Mark IV my sigma 50 1.4 is very responsive (which definitely was not previously) in closing and opening the iris. Much like I would have expected it to work originally. So yes, positive experience with the Metabones updates. At this point I’m not sure what bugs the Sony firmware addresses as my biggest concern I’ve had still remains and that is the histogram/video signal disappearing in 4k 60fps mode (which won’t display in that mode at all) and not returning unless I switch to 1080 24fps enable and move into 4k 24fps again from there. sort of ridiculous and frustrating.”
Also below Art Chong makes a very interesting point about how the change in the way the Metabones firmware update reports aperture values could be very confusing:
“Wait.. am I understanding this right? If I use an f/2.0 lens, the Speedbooster will report f/1.4 and if I use an f/1.4 lens, it will report f/1.4. So now I have two lenses reporting the same aperture even though they’re different? Oh the nightmares this will cause.
This is highly plausible if you have a ZE 25mm f2.0 and a ZE 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.4. Same problem when mixing f2.8 zooms with f1.4 primes. Better if they would just report original aperture across the entire range. At least the exposure compensation that you have to do in your head is consistent. The lens is the lens, you just boost the iso/gain in your head instead.”
So to sum up. It seems clear the FS7 firmware update does nothing to fix the iris and waveform issues. The Metabones firmware update is having some effect but it doesn’t appear consistent. Please keep the comments coming.