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Hands on with the new Metabones Speed Booster Ultra - fast AF with Canon lenses on Micro Four Thirds


Andrew Reid

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For the first time I now have usable AF with Canon EF lenses on the Panasonic GH4 and other Micro Four Thirds cameras.

I've been trying out the new Speed Booster Ultra, which as well as the AF improvement offers new and improved optics.

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very cool. it was a nice surprise to wake up to today's firmware upgrade (v1.7) which adds auto-focus to existing EF mount speedboosters too. guess I can stop eyeing that Kipon adapter. :)

 After 1.7 firmware upgrade (AF function), it's there any reason to  buy SB Ultra with 0.71x instead XL with 0.64x ? I don't understand the target of the Ultra version... Why did I choose it? The price will be the same. (GH4 user)

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 After 1.7 firmware upgrade (AF function), it's there any reason to  buy SB Ultra with 0.71x instead XL with 0.64x ? I don't understand the target of the Ultra version... Why did I choose it? The price will be the same. (GH4 user)

Well, as a XL version owner I'm considering switching to the ultra. My XL version was delivered defective and needs to be returned... I was just going to exchange it, but am thinking otherwise. Besides that reason, it's very common for me to use the 2x crop 1080p mode which with the ultra you'll get some fairly heavy vignetting on the wide end of the Sigma 18-35 or a Tokina 11-16. If you're only using full frame lenses then I don't see a reason to go with the Ultra over the XL. I use the 1080p mode and 18-35 most of the time, especially with the BM Video Assist that should be coming soon that'll allow me to get 1080p 10 bit prores 

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 After 1.7 firmware upgrade (AF function), it's there any reason to  buy SB Ultra with 0.71x instead XL with 0.64x ? I don't understand the target of the Ultra version... Why did I choose it? The price will be the same. (GH4 user)

The m43 ULTRA version is for all intents and purposes optically perfect over the entire m43 format.  It's intended as a general-purpose Speed Booster for both stills and video shooters, and it replaces the original m43 Speed Booster.  As a general-purpose Speed Booster, the ULTRA can be mounted and used with all m43 cameras.

The XL version is more specialized, and gives the maximum possible focal length reduction for video shooters using the GH4 and a limited set of additional m43 cameras.  Performance is extremely good, but is not as good in the extreme corners of fullframe m43 as the ULTRA.

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So it's time to sell off my Panny 12-35 2.8 and get a Sigma 18-35 1.8 with a MB.

I've been testing the Speed Booster XL 0.64 Canon mount with the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 for the past week or so and resolution is incredible. I might have purchased a Metabones Speed Booster back when I had the GH3, but without focus peaking, it would have been very difficult to use in dim light, and the lack of OIS on non-Panasonic lenses was also holding me back. I'm still trying to get steady shots with the Joby gorrilapod though: it takes some practice. Focus peaking on the GH4 makes focusing crazy simple (especially when set to orange). The color quality and bokeh of this combination are simply stunning. I'm not sure I'd sell my Pansonic G Vario 12-35mm just yet though. There might be times I'll need it, like when flying it on the Nebula 4000. I can't do that with the Sigma.

Below is a screen grab from a clip I shot at the Saigon Central Post Office this afternoon, no color correction. Settings: Natural, ISO 200, f/2, 35mm. And far from being the crispest image I've gotten so far... (sharpening in the GH4 was turned all the way down). Keep in mind, I have a $16 USD Hoya UV(c) filter attached, since good filters simply aren't available here in Vietnam. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 2.50.19 PM.png

And here is another one I shot this evening.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 6.54.54 PM.png

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