Panasonic’s GH4 becomes a Super35 4K contender thanks to Metabones XL 0.64x Speedbooster

By associate editor Elliot Smith:

Metabones Speed Booster XL 0.64x mounted on a Panasonic GH4 camera.
Metabones Speed Booster XL 0.64x mounted on a Panasonic GH4 camera.

Metabones are bringing S35-equivalent focal lengths to the Panasonic GH4 with their new Speed Booster XL 0.64x Micro-4/3 mount adapter. A stock GH4 has a full frame crop factor of 2x in HD mode and the new adapter changes this to 1.28x, which is closer to an APS-H crop. And when you combine the adapter with the GH4’s Cinema 4K video mode (which has about a 2.3x crop) it reduces to a 1.5x for a crop that is practically Super35 – the cinema standard.

Previously some users had tried to use the Metabones Speedbooster for BMPCC to get an equivalent crop, but use of this could easily result damage to the camera as it wasn’t designed to work on the GH4.

The adapter also increases the effective aperture of the attached lens by 1.3 stops to make your fast glass even faster – up to a maximum affective aperture of f/0.8. Stanley Kubrick eat your heart out. Well, almost.

What this means in the real world is that the GH4 can now properly compete on look, as well as resolution, with Samsung’s NX1 and JVC’s GY LS-300 (although the JVC does have ND filters and a variety of other crop modes). The GH4/0.64x Speedbooster combo offers 4K capture, a S35-equivalent lens mount and a much cheaper price than most other S35 4K cams. Now we’re just waiting for Panasonic to add their promised V-log picture profile to the GH4 to turn it into a real cinema-style pocket powerhouse. Despite been shown at Interbee last year it has still not been released.

Metabones Speed Booster XL 0.64x mounted on a Panasonic GH4 camera.
Metabones Speed Booster XL 0.64x mounted on a Panasonic GH4 camera.

The new adapter will also work with other cameras, but Metabones have changed the clearance the unit has from the sensor so not every M4/3 camera works with it. Currently compatibility has been confirmed with:

Blackmagic: Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Olympus: E-PL7

Panasonic: GH3, GH4, G3, G5, G6, G10, GF3, GF5, GF6, GX1

The Speed Booster XL 0.64x will be available in Nikon F/G ($479 US) and Canon EF ($649 US) versions. We have a review sample and will be sharing some thoughts and test footage shortly.

In the meantime, this from Metabones:

Petersburg, VA, USA, Jun 05, 2015: Caldwell Photographic Inc. and Metabones® are pleased to announce the Speed Booster XL 0.64x, a new Micro-4/3 mount Speed Booster® adapter designed exclusively for the Panasonic GH4 and other selected Micro Four Thirds cameras, with a magnification of 0.64x. 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 new Speed Booster XL 0.64x reduces the full-frame crop factor of the Panasonic GH4 from 2.0x to 1.28x, thus effectively transforming these cameras into APS-H format. When the GH4 is used in Cinema 4k video mode the horizontal full frame crop factor is reduced from 2.34x to 1.50x, thus effectively transforming the GH4 into a super-35 format 4k cine camera. In addition, the speed of any attached lens is increased by 1.3 stops, with a maximum output aperture of f/0.80 when an f/1.2 lens is used. For example, a 50mm f/1.2 becomes a 32mm f/0.80, which is the fastest aperture available for full size Micro Four Thirds format.

Metabones Speed Booster XL 0.64x Specifications:

Model Code: Speed Booster XL 0.64x

Color: Black Satin exterior; Black Matte interior

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

Supported Cameras3: Panasonic GH4, GH3, G3, G5, G6, G10, GF1, GF3, GF5, GF6, GX1, Olympus E-P5, E-PL7, Blackmagic Cinema Camera with Micro Four Thirds mount4, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera4

Camera Mount: Micro Four Thirds

Image Format: 17.3 mm x 13.0 mm (full Micro Four Thirds format)

Lens Mounts: Canon EF, Nikon F/G

Lens Compatibility: Any full-frame (36 mm x 24 mm format) lens with the appropriate mount can be used. DX format lenses can be mounted but may result in vignetting when the full Micro Four Thirds format is used, depending on the lens. DX lenses are fully supported when used on the Panasonic GH4 in Cinema 4k mode, and will function without abnormal vignetting. Canon EF-S lenses are not supported, but third-party EF-mount APS-C lenses can be mounted and will have full electronic functionality.

Special Features: Long-throw clickless aperture ring on Nikon F/G version; IS support and in- camera aperture selection with Canon EF version.

Dimensions: 27 x 76 x 72mm for Canon EF version

Weight: 182 grams for Canon EF version

Tripod Mount: Robust removable type with Arca Swiss compatibility

Subscribe to our newsletter