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A Quick Guide to Metabones Speed Boosters

Posted 9/10/2015 at 10:07 PM

There must have been countless enthusiasts who asked the photography gods if it is possible to use their full-frame lens into a mirrorless camera body. Now, this is possible with the creation of the Metabones Speed Boosters. These lens adapters fit well onto the lenses and guarantee an increase in angle of view and MTF.

Inspiration behind the product

Metabones Speed Boosters was made possible by lens designer Brian Caldwell and mechanical engineer Wilfried Bittner

The idea of focal reducers like the speed booster has been around since the late 19th century. However, its application is often limited to non-general functions such as in telescopes. In addition, teleconverters were also invented to increase a camera’s focal length. As DSLR cameras were developed, the concept of an inverse teleconverter has played in the minds of several experts.

The invention of mirrorless cameras completed the equation. From there, optical engineer Brian Caldwell and opto-mechanic Wilfried Bittner collaborated to blend all these concepts into one item. With more than 60 years of combined experience in optics and photography, they have created the Metabones camera speed boosters which are the first generically-used focal reducers.

How Metabones Speed Boosters Work

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When a full-frame lens is mounted into a mirrorless camera, not all of the lens’ light is being used in the sensor. But with a speed booster in place, its glass focuses the light from the full-frame sensor to a cropped one. This allows the cropped sensor to receive more light which results in an additional aperture f/stop.

Since it does not take much space between the camera body and the lens, the speed booster also decreases depth of field which makes it an ideal tool for out-of-focus or bokeh photography. To use this product, simply attach it with the mirrorless camera body before mounting the lens. There is no need to adjust the lens for Metabones speed boosters fit perfectly with its corresponding lens.

Benefits of Metabones Speed Boosters

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In terms of functionality, the photographs produced through speed boosters can rival that of full-frame cameras. For practical purposes, it lessens the need of purchasing another bulky camera body which is often more expensive than its corresponding lens. Speed boosters also allow photographers to mount their lenses into more compact cameras. It’s like having several camera bodies rolled into one.

Features of Metabones Speed Boosters

Metabones, a company which has offices in Canada, Hong Kong, and China, first introduced the speed booster in 2013. This compact device packs a powerful punch as it allowed the usage of single-lens reflex lenses with Micro Four Thirds cameras. It also increases angle of view by 0.64x, giving a wider perspective on the camera frame than regular lenses. The wider angle is due to the short distance from the lens mount to the sensor of mirrorless cameras. The addition of the speed booster makes the distance even shorter which results in a smaller lens image circle.

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Also, these speed boosters give an extra aperture stop which makes the camera perform better especially during low-light situations. Furthermore, they also increase the Modulation Transfer Function or MTF which measure the accuracy of image relayed from the object to the lens. When Metabones speed boosters are used, the photos are sharper and aberrations are minimised as well. Because of its ground-breaking features, it won the 2013 Best Photo Accessory Award from the Technical Image Press Association.

List of Available Metabones Speed Boosters

Metabones has produced speed boosters for the following brands: Canon (EF Lens to Blackmagic 2.5k Cinema Camera, EF Lens to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds S Version, EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds T XL 0.64x).

Leica (R Lens to Blackmagic 2.5k Cinema Camera with Micro Four Thirds Mount, R Lens to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with Micro Four-Thirds Mount, R Lens to Micro Four Thirds, R Lens to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera).

Nikon (G Lens to Blackmagic 2.5k Cinema Camera with Micro Four Thirds Mount, G Lens to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with Micro Four-Thirds Mount); Rollei (QBM to Fuji X, QBM to Micro Four Thirds).

ALPA Lens to Fuji X, Contarex to Micro Four Thirds, Minolta MD to Micro Four Thirds, Olympus OM to Micro Four Thirds.

Metabones Speed Boosters ULTRA


If that’s not good enough, the same company came up with an upgrade one year after the original speed boosters were launched. Alas, the Metabones Speed Boosters ULTRA was born! It still bears the same features that their predecessor had except for a wider angle of view at 0.71x. Likewise, the improved lens adapters carry an optical glass made from Tantalum which is known for its durability and high melting point. These elements help reduce image vignettes and distortion.

Metabones Speed Booster Ultra Nikon G to E-Mount

All speed boosters from Metabones are made from brass and plated with chromium which keeps its weight light and makes it more resistant to wear and tear. They also have a matte black external which reduces light reflections inside to improve photo quality. The electronic pins on the booster allow it to display EXIF data on the camera screen.

List of Available Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA adapters

Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA lens adapters are available for these brands: Canon (EF Lens to E-Mount T, EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds T, FD to E-Mount, FD to X-Mount); Leica (R Lens to E-Mount, R Lens to X-Mount); Minolta (MD to E-Mount, MD to X-Mount); Olympus (OM to E-Mount, OM to X-Mount); Rollei (QBM to E-Mount, QBM to X-Mount); Nikon (G Lens to E-Mount, G Lens to X Mount, G Lens to Micro Four Thirds).

ALPA to E-Mount, ALPA to X-Mount, Contarex to E-Mount, Contarex to X-Mount, Contax Yashica to E-Mount, Sony Alpha to E-Mount.

Metabones Smart Adapters and Speed Boosters

Before the speed boosters came to be, Metabones has already produced standard adapters that made full-frame lenses to mirrorless camera bodies possible. But unlike their more advanced counterparts, the basic adapters do not offer the wider angle of view and the additional aperture stops. Also, speed boosters perform better than the standard smart adapters in terms of auto focus.

Metabones also has a Mount-Rod Support Kit which is compatible with the speed booster’s detachable tripod foot. Meanwhile, the removable tripod foot is compatible to ball heads from Photo Clam, Arca Swiss, and Markins.


Where to Buy Metabones Speed Boosters

Metabones Speed Boosters and Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA are available in the Camera Warehouse website. These products come with a 12-months Genuine Australian Warranty. Prices for Speed Boosters start at AUD 639 while prices for Speed Booster ULTRA start at AUD 729.

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