Metabones EF to E-Mount adapter for Sony NEX Review

Metabones EF-E-Mount

The Metabones / Conurus EOS adapter for Sony NEX is not the first to have seamless electronic aperture control on NEX bodies for Canon EF / EFS lenses but it is the smallest and most affordable.

What is build quality like? I’ve had some Metabones adapters before, namely the ones for Contax G to Micro Four Thirds and NEX. These were far better built and manufacturers than their Chinese equivalents, and made in Japan. The same goes for the new Metabones EF to E-Mount adapter.

Metabones

The adapter features electronic communication protocols by Candian company Conurus. Unfortunately Conurus neglected to try the adapter on the Sony NEX 7 and NEX 5N, so the first batches of adapters had to go all the way back to the distribution centre in Hong Kong for a firmware update, one that Metabones wouldn’t let the user do themselves. The port on the side of the adapter looks like a USB connection but it is actually some kind of bespoke proprietary  connector. Next to that is a DOF preview button.

The adapter works as you’d expect with no lag, and OIS works fine. It really is like having a Canon mirrorless camera.

Seamless control of aperture on the body and both camera and lens communicate properly, like on a Canon DSLR.

In terms of build quality the adapter is far and away better than the alternative, especially when it comes to the all important tripod mounting. Believe me this simple feature is worth a lot of money.

Tripod mounting

It allows you to mount anamorphic lenses without stressing the mount and it gives you more stability. Often the weight is in the centre of the lens or toward the front with the NEX, since the NEX 7 and 5N are so small.

It also conveniently allows you to change the battery and card whilst mounted on a tripod, saving tons of time. You can even mount something on an arm from the main camera tripod mount since that is freed up. I use my Zacuto EVF this way, rising from an arm up in place of the main NEX 7 LCD and it can be angled in a similar way.

In the past it is almost impossible to find a good adapter for NEX with a tripod mount. The current ones on eBay really are very poor in comparison. On the Metabones the mount is one piece, as it should be, with the entire metal frame of the adapter. On my Pixco adapters (below) the tripod mount is screwed on – and not only that but the screws used are thinner than a blade of hair. That is just stupid design.

Metabones

I’ve had mine do a variety of things – snap, loosen and almost come clean off. Not what you want with a $3000 Iscorama 36 on the front of a Leica R. The tripod mount on other adapters isn’t even level. Your camera will slant 1-2 degrees to one side because the part is so cheap it isn’t machined precisely to fit the barrel of the adapter.

Frankly even without the discrete communication with the camera body for changing aperture, reporting EXIF and operating optical image stabilisation the Metabones adapter is worth the money for the build quality and tripod mount alone, not that there are any alternatives any way!

The release mechanism is very solid, actually better than on the NEX 7 camera body itself because it is a smooth metal latch rather than a tiny plastic button.

Metabones

Inside the adapter is a greyish plastic with a square cut out rather than the completely hollow circle of the cheaper EOS adapters for E-Mount. I’m not sure why the greyish plastic design is used – possibly to stop reflections? I’ve not noticed any issues with ghosting so far.

The only fly in the ointment of the Metabones EF – E-Mount adapter is the way the initial ‘bricked’ adapters with handled. Whilst the Japanese side did a superb job on machining the casing, I have no idea what was going on at Conorus and who was responsible for testing the lens. It seems it was rushed out before the NEX 7 had become properly available, and never used on that camera body. But even less of an excuse was that the issue was not picked up on the popular NEX 5N either. The adapter was completely non-operational on this camera, and the camera itself had been out for over 4 months by the time Metabones released the adapter. Metabones’s office in Hong Kong were not willing to go to any extra lengths to fix mine either, relying on me to post it back to them for repair and pay for the postage.

Despite those issues, which are now behind this product, the adapter is superb, unique and highly recommended for Canon lens owners who use the NEX 7, 5N or FS100 for video.

Stock issues

Unfortunately due to demand the item is still out of stock. Demand for this product is huge. It is available here for $399 but Metabones are not yet giving estimates on lead times.

Firmware updates

Metabones have now released a 2nd firmware update for the adapter with support for the Canon 17-55mm F2.8 EFS and more, as well as a fix for the OIS activation bug where when the lens is changed you need to press the DOF preview button to make it recognise the OIS function.

Annoyingly you still cannot do the update yourself via the camera’s SD card and must return the adapter to Metabones, even though the adapter has the functionality to be updated via the camera body!