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GH5+Speedbooster for weddings. Is it a wise choice? Thinking reliability, changing lenses on the go etc


Thpriest

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I've been using the GH5 for 3 weeks now. in general I'm very pleased with it. I've been using a Voigtlander 25 0.95 and a SLR Magic 12 1.6 for weddings and I'm happy with the performance, especially the Voightlander. What I've found is that I need a couple of other lenses to cover my shooting needs. I like the look of the Voigtlanders (10.5, 17 and 42.5) but if I'm to invest in them it means forking out around 1700€ just for 2 of them! I originally liked the idea of light weight native lenses but after shooting 3 weddings with them I find there are times when I miss a zoom.

I already have a Sigma 18-35 1.8 and a Sigma 50-150 2.8 efs Canon mount lenses so I'm tempted to buy a Metabones Ultra 0.71 (810€) and save some money! My really worry is whether this is a good idea for what is a stressful and intense shooting environment. Are the Speedboosters reliable when changing zoom distances and lenses often? How are quick lenses changes with a Speedbooster? I use MF mainly but I believe the Speedbooster would allow me to use AF to nail focus and then adjust manually. Is that right or is it trickier than a native lens? I guess I'm really wondering if it can handle the fast pace of a wedding or whether it will just leave me worried and frustrated!

I know there are other threads on the Speedbooster but I haven't found much info on people using it in this specific environment. Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated!

P.S.

I believe the Sigma 18-35 1.8 would end up being a 25.5-50mm f1.3 FF equivalent? The 50-150 2.8 would be 70-210 f2. Or have I misunderstood the maths?

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Here's my experience and opinion.

I have a GH5 and Sigma 18-35 Nikon mount. I have a Metabones adapter that is not a Speedbooster. My Sigma does not communicate to the GH5 electronically. This is important because each time I turn on the GH5 or change focal lengths I have to change the focal length setting on the GH5 for IBIS to function properly. This is massively annoying. On a controlled shoot it would still be annoying, but I could deal. For shoots like weddings, this would be impossible to handle because IBIS is awesome for weddings but the constant settings change would kill the shoot. 

What I don't know, and would love to learn, is if with the proper adapter the 18-35 could communicate with the GH5 to avoid this hassle. This is critical.

Also, the Sigmas are not light. We're not talking URSA heavy, but there is a noticeable difference in weight with those lenses on there. 

Lastly, I just got the Lumix 12-35. I didn't think the additional stabilization would be a big deal, but dang. I've only had it one day so my experience is limited, but so far I am very impressed. It is a light lens that makes pretty images. If I were shooting weddings this would be a definite. Hope this helps.

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I would ditto that, and add depending on the speed you need, that the Panny Leica 12-60 is outstanding to...and at the 35mm point only a 1/2 stop slower than the 12-35, but with a. Additional 35 mm of reach available....undoubtedly shooting with native lenses will yield more footage during a live event...plus you can have the 4K ETC enabled on a function button 12-60 changes to a 16.8-84 by pushing a function button twice!...of course you have the same crop of 1.4 to apply to the 12-35 with ETC...I've never used the 12-35 but the balance between the Camera body and 12-60 is one of the best I've ever used just in terms of feel.

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From what I have heared you need the canon mount speedbooster version if you don't want any issues, it appears that version does not require you to dial in the focal length each time you zoom. Autofocussing by halfpressing the shutter works but is reported to be slower then with native lenses. I also have the 12-35mm f2.8 which is one of those must have lenses if you are on m4/3, I also have the olympus 12-40 f2.8 which I find to be a better lens, it has a clutch focus ring which you can pull back to switch to manual focus and eventhough it still is fly by wire it feels more like a mechanical lens with very good gradual focus changes, something the 12-35mm can't do, it also has hard stops making repeatable focus pull possible. The IBIS from the camera alone is good enough to keep your shots stable since the 12-40 has no IS. When things move fast and if you work solo these zoom lenses can make a big difference compared to fully manual primes if you want to nail your focus.

 

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My experience with the specific Metabones that you are after for M43 cameras is mixed.

The work I'm doing on my hardware focus controller for Panasonic cameras has involved me creating a calibration procedure and the number of focus points for a native M43 lens is on average around 200 depending on the lens. On an EF lens via the Metabones its less than half that. And often much less than half that. This doesn't mean that it doesn't focus necessarily just that its very coarse in its points and the camera is returning some errors from it when trying to drive it too quickly between points. 

Now, all that might not seem to necessarily matter in terms of normal operation because I'm doing something completely different with it but it does tally with what I'm seeing from it when I am using it in normal operation where it is being a bit skittish. And this is using it with a variety of lenses from Canon including some short and long L lenses as well as more lower end ones like the nifty fifty and EF-S lenses but also the Sigma 18-35 1.8. 

Optically its fine, the aperture control is fine and the AF is generally OK but I would definitely advise that you try one out with the specific lenses that you will be using it with and see if it is right for you. Unfortunately, thats tricky depending on where you are as even in London I found nowhere that I could demo one.

 

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I'm not a wedding shooter but did help out a colleague at a wedding recently. I used a Tamron 24 to 70 on an EF Speedbooster XL, giving a 1.8 aperture in terms of light and 31 to 90 f3.5 full frame equivalent. 

IBIS worked perfectly 

AF was much slower and more unreliable so I used MF with focus peaking and rarely missed focus at 1.8

Plenty narrow DOF without changing lenses. Wide end is wide enough, but would have preferred extra reach on the long end. 

I was shooting 1080. I didn't use ETC as it gives a softer image, but clients may not notice this. 

Overall I'd recommend this combo if you're confident with manual focus and can get close to the action when the long end is not long enough.

If changing lenses is a hassle, have you thought about using two bodies?

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@Thpriest Even though I've been an advocate of fast native primes for a while now, I must say I'm amazed that you're able to shoot weddings while constantly changing lenses and manually focusing. Your eyesight must be great if you're able to nail focus every time, I just dropped nearly $1,000 on a camera cage and BMD Video Assist solely in order to be able to use my one and only manual native prime, a Nokton 17.5mm, with the G85. Also, even for someone who only changes lenses ocassionally, having to confirm the focal length each time the camera is turned on with lenses that don't communicate with the body is annoying, and I'm absolutely certain it's led to some missed opportunities for more than one of us. It's been a while since I've shot with my own SB XL (I don't own the Ultra), but I think if you're shooting in low light, you're going to resort to MF for everything: AF is probably going to be painfully slow. Anyhow, you've inspired me to go home this evening and update my SB, do some low light AF tests and compare speeds changing native lenses vs. adapted! Maybe I can share a clip demonstrating focus this evening, but I'm sure there must be a few online already. You should be aware that while many here may not have experienced issues with the SBs, Lensrentals .com does not recommend them at all for paid work, as they can be unreliable.

If you're shooting with Voigtlanders now and intend to throw in some Sigmas, I'm guessing slow native zooms aren't going to cut it, and if budget is a consideration, purchasing a second GH5 body and two speedboosters is going to be prohibitively expensive - as well as hard on your back! 

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8 hours ago, dantheman said:

From what I have heared you need the canon mount speedbooster version if you don't want any issues, it appears that version does not require you to dial in the focal length each time you zoom. Autofocussing by halfpressing the shutter works but is reported to be slower then with native lenses. I also have the 12-35mm f2.8 which is one of those must have lenses if you are on m4/3, I also have the olympus 12-40 f2.8 which I find to be a better lens, it has a clutch focus ring which you can pull back to switch to manual focus and eventhough it still is fly by wire it feels more like a mechanical lens with very good gradual focus changes, something the 12-35mm can't do, it also has hard stops making repeatable focus pull possible. The IBIS from the camera alone is good enough to keep your shots stable since the 12-40 has no IS. When things move fast and if you work solo these zoom lenses can make a big difference compared to fully manual primes if you want to nail your focus.

 

Very true regarding focus pulls - however the new focus transition feature does allow a smooth focus pulls on native panny lenses - however you do need to spend a bit of time setting them up in menus. 

 

 

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Thanks for all the interesting replies. 

I don't change the lenses too often especially in critical moments but I do so when things are slower. I haven't found that changing the lenses and redailing in the focal length to be a big problem. With a few touches of the joystick it's done. It's more of a problem changing the ND filter from one lens to another but my idea is to buy Xume filter rings.

For the weddings I shoot here in Spain I need fast lenses. I have even found the native 1.7 lenses to come up a bit short at times. Using the Voigtlander at 1.2-2.0 is the sweet spot when it gets darker. It's very difficult to light anything here apart from the main dance. So native zooms won't work for me. The Sigma would it was reliable enough but I see that might be a problem. Focussing at these apertures can be tricky but I use the EVF when thing get difficult and I find it excellent. 

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Maybe you might want to look at the Aputure Lens Regain system as an alternative. It'll give you the lower light and FOV reduction and aperture control of the EF lenses and if you're used to manual focus only anyway then the focus control might be a good halfway house for you. 

Yes its essentially manual but the two programmable hard stops might work well for you for zone focusing as well as being creatively useful for focus pulls. If nothing else it will give you hands off focus control of the Sigma which is no bad thing for a few reasons with that lens.

Its a lot cheaper than the Metabones as well but its a bit bigger because of the wireless interfaces. 

I have both and if I only had to have one then, for me, the AF of the Metabones isn't impressive enough to choose it over the Aputure.

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I'm a wedding shooter and just moving to GH5. Got a body by my desk and awaiting the two lenses I've ordered to arrive. I've gone for the 12-35 and 35-100 f.2.8ii models to give me the old favourite 24-70 and 70-200 equivalent. I'll be buying some Primes later in the year, probably the Leica ones. I've heard good things on the 12-60 as well. A couple of years ago I did have a GH4 with Speedbooster plus Sigma 18-35 and had issues with it. A number of times it'd cut out and just say 'lens not attached', happened during a ceremony once. Sort of lost my trust in using them, hence I've gone native glass this time.

 

I've also used the Xume adapters before and have got some for this kit. Best things I've ever purchased, makes changing NDs or filters between lenses really easy.

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1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

Maybe you might want to look at the Aputure Lens Regain system as an alternative. It'll give you the lower light and FOV reduction and aperture control of the EF lenses and if you're used to manual focus only anyway then the focus control might be a good halfway house for you. 

Yes its essentially manual but the two programmable hard stops might work well for you for zone focusing as well as being creatively useful for focus pulls. If nothing else it will give you hands off focus control of the Sigma which is no bad thing for a few reasons with that lens.

Its a lot cheaper than the Metabones as well but its a bit bigger because of the wireless interfaces. 

I have both and if I only had to have one then, for me, the AF of the Metabones isn't impressive enough to choose it over the Aputure.

Does the aperrure lens regain communicate the focal length of the zoom?

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1 hour ago, Thpriest said:

Does the aperrure lens regain communicate the focal length of the zoom?

No, the electronics to drive the lens are external (the little attachment that looks like a PocketWizard) so the camera thinks its got a manual lens attached.

With the 18-35, I set the IBIS to 24 and it works effectively enough for both ends. With longer focal lengths, especially those with much larger zoom ranges, that isn't as effective. An example would be a neat lens I picked up at a bargain price recently for the JVC LS300 which is a 35-350 Canon L. With a focal reducer, its a brilliantly versatile lens but that versatility of being 3 lenses is offset by having to change the IBIS setting every time if I use it on the GX80. But I'm not going to be doing zoom pulls with it so its not really an issue for me to go in the menu and quickly change it when I change focal lengths (as I say I'm using it more or less as 3 fixed lenses). And the flip side to that is if I use it on the Metabones (which saves me having to do that) the AF is erratic and it is fond of hunting so, for me, thats worse.

You can speed up the process significantly by assigning the IBIS control to a function key so when you change zoom position you can press the function key and change the focal length much quicker than burrowing round in the menu for it. 

As @Jonesy Jones says in his post though, for how he works this is non negotiable and thats why you need to try them yourself to see what suits.

The other frustration because there is no communications between the camera and the lens with the Aputure is that you need the handle to change aperture on the lenses whereas the Metabones does this through the thumbwheel like it would with a native lens. 

So, neither solution is without its issues !

Its really frustrating actually that a company like Sigma which has all of the pieces of the puzzle optically and electronically to make speed boosters doesn't make them as they'd be far more readily available in stores for people to try.

Whereabouts are you in Spain?

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2 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

No, the electronics to drive the lens are external (the little attachment that looks like a PocketWizard) so the camera thinks its got a manual lens attached.

With the 18-35, I set the IBIS to 24 and it works effectively enough for both ends. With longer focal lengths, especially those with much larger zoom ranges, that isn't as effective. An example would be a neat lens I picked up at a bargain price recently for the JVC LS300 which is a 35-350 Canon L. With a focal reducer, its a brilliantly versatile lens but that versatility of being 3 lenses is offset by having to change the IBIS setting every time if I use it on the GX80. But I'm not going to be doing zoom pulls with it so its not really an issue for me to go in the menu and quickly change it when I change focal lengths (as I say I'm using it more or less as 3 fixed lenses). And the flip side to that is if I use it on the Metabones (which saves me having to do that) the AF is erratic and it is fond of hunting so, for me, thats worse.

You can speed up the process significantly by assigning the IBIS control to a function key so when you change zoom position you can press the function key and change the focal length much quicker than burrowing round in the menu for it. 

As @Jonesy Jones says in his post though, for how he works this is non negotiable and thats why you need to try them yourself to see what suits.

The other frustration because there is no communications between the camera and the lens with the Aputure is that you need the handle to change aperture on the lenses whereas the Metabones does this through the thumbwheel like it would with a native lens. 

So, neither solution is without its issues !

Its really frustrating actually that a company like Sigma which has all of the pieces of the puzzle optically and electronically to make speed boosters doesn't make them as they'd be far more readily available in stores for people to try.

Whereabouts are you in Spain?

Thanks for the info!

I'm in Madrid.

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I shot 4 weddings with the exact same combo you are considering (gh5+SB ultra & Canon glass) and everything worked as expected. Tap to focus works with every Canon i tested so far, IBIS also and overall i didn't notice a single glitch. I was switching all day between a 24-70 2.8, a Tokina 11-16 and a vintage 50mm Helios. I will keep working with this setup since i feel i can totally trust it and will buy a native 14-140 as an all around & backup "save my ass" lens. My 24-70 with SB ultra turns into a 35-100 F2 and if you count EX telephoto in, then we have a 35-200 F2 lens in a m43 camera...quite impressive, isn't it?

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