Metabones Sony Alpha to NEX Speedbooster now available – a blessing for FS100 and 700 owners?

By site editor Dan Chung:

The Sony Alpha to NEX Speedbooster
The Sony Alpha to NEX Speedbooster

Christmas might have just come early for users of the popular Sony NEX FS100 and FS700 camcorders. Metabones has just added a new Sony Alpha to NEX Speedbooster onto their webstore.

This adapter allows users to utilise Alpha lenses designed for a ‘full-frame’ sensor on a Super35 NEX camera and gain a extra f-stop, while reducing the image so the result resembles closely the field of view of the same lens on a ‘full-frame’ body.

An electronic version of the Speedbooster that allows Canon EOS lenses to be used on NEX mount cameras has been available for some time and is widely used. This adapter is a little different. While it shares the same 0.71x magnification as the EOS version, it is also an all manual affair (like the recently launched Nikon-NEX Speedbooster) – there are no electronics and the lens iris is controlled via collar on the adapter. I much prefer this to controlling the aperture electronically using the Sony camera’s aperture dial on the side of the body. This does mean you loose autofocus but considering the gain in field of view and speed I think it a fair trade.

speedbooster a mount

But why am I excited about this adapter in particular? don’t Sony already make the LA-E1 and LA-E2 electronic Alpha to NEX adapters with autofocus? I’m excited because you can use the Speedbooster with excellent Zeiss ZA zoom lenses and get a look similar to full-frame while maintaining right-way around focus (ie the same direction as broadcast and cine lenses) and gaining manual aperture control. The only other lens options for NEX that offer the same control are cine lenses like the new Zeiss CZ.2 Compact Zooms, or cine-modded stills lenses, costing many times more.

The Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 ZA lens
The Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 ZA lens

I haven’t had a chance to test the combination but I’m optimistic the Metabones will work well with the Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8 ZA and 24-70mm f2.8 ZA lenses. The range of the 24-70 in particular becomes much more suitable for run-and-gun on a FS700 or FS100. It will of course also work with primes like the new 50mm f1.4 ZA, 24mm f2 ZA or excellent 135mm f1.8 ZA.

I’d also like to see Metabones make a similar adapter for Alpha lenses to fit M4/3 cameras like the Panasonic GH3, Blackmagic’s MFT cinema camera and Pocket Cinema camera – it would certainly be a welcome option. Lets hope we get to see some samples from these lens and adapter combinations soon.

You can order the new Speedbooster here.

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