By site editor Dan Chung:
Metabones are well known for their Speedbooster and Smart adapter lines for Sony E-mount and M4/3 cameras. Now they have created a new smart adapter to allow Canon EF lenses to be controlled on Sony FZ mount cameras – the F5, F55 and probably the ageing F3.
First seen in prototype form at IBC 2014, the adapter is now in working form and our friend Paul Ream over at Extrashot has had a chance to try it out. The adapter is not a Speedbooster and there are no glass elements. The focal length of the Canon lens is maintained. Unlike the E-mount and M4/3 smart adapters there is no autofocus with the FZ version.
The main feature is a oversized geared aperture ring that is marked with actual aperture values and moves smoothly. This is actually a fly-by-wire system that electronically adjusts the iris in the lens as you turn the ring mechanically. At present this is a manual only system and there is no option to wirelessly adjust the iris with a handheld controller, unlike the competing MTF Effect 3 and Optitek OptiTron 2. The gear on the iris does mean you could add a remote motor to control iris if you really wanted to though.
This is what Paul had to say – “The actual adapter weighs 717 grams but you wouldn’t really notice that when using Canon EF lenses. It certainly feels solid and professional, in the same chunky way that those with an FZ mount will be used to. As well as the firm but smooth moving aperture ring, which is clearly marked with f/stops, there are two small function buttons and a three way switch labeled Auto-Lock-Manual.”
The adapter itself is powered via the mount and there is no need for external power supplies or power tap cables. Another nice touch is the addition of a locking EF mount which is similar to the one found on the Canon C500 EF version. This secures the lens much more than a regular EF mount would, making pulling focus much easier.
The actual movement of the iris blades is something Paul addresses in his review: “Obviously, although the aperture ring is well damped and moves extremely smoothly, EF lenses are not stepless. This is a function of lenses designed for stills and even Canon have to work with the limitation on their own cameras. When testing, all of my lenses appear to step at 1/8th stops, so this is certainly fine enough to be nicely usable. As you open a lens beyond its maximum aperture, the wheel will continue to turn all the way to 1 but the viewfinder display remains correct. When you then close down, the wheel automatically picks up at the correct point so that the lens and aperture marks remain in sync. This is a very clever solution and one I didn’t even believe could be possible with EF lenses.”
Paul made the video below to demonstrate this:
Another feature is an auto-iris function. This is something many camera operators don’t use often, but its nice to see it included anyway. Paul details all of this and gives a list of lenses he has tested with it successfully on the ExtraShot blog.
Price is expected to cost $999 US and it should be available this month from Metabones.