Metabones Speedbooster Canon EF Blackmagic Pocket Camera Guide
Here’s an update on a new release from Metabone for the Blackmagic Pocket Camera that we have at The Gear Factory.
It’s a new Speedbooster just for the Pocket camera which allows us to use Canon EF mount lenses.
This wasn’t possible before because Canon EF lenses are all electronic iris control only. If you don’t use them on a compatible camera there is no iris ring to manually adjust. You can switch to manual focus but you’ll be stuck on a wide open aperture.
The only ways around this were either cumbersome, optically problematic or expensive.
1: The cumbersome way was to set the iris on another camera and then mount it on your dumb mount. Very painful.
2: The optically problematic way was to use an adapter with its own mechanical iris. But then the aperture s doesn’t sit in the middle of the optical path but inbetween the last exit pupil of the lens and the sensor which is not optically correct and you’d get vignetting when you stop down.
3: The other options were quite expensive electronic mounts which then had extra parts to connect batteries to control iris.
Metabones have now solved all this for us. It is not cheap ($650 or £520 retail) and right now it is more expensive than a pocket camera itself. But you are getting that speedbooster glass which gives you back the coverage of a larger sensor on the small Super 16mm pocket sensor, an aperture boost, plus the active electronic controls passed through to the camera in a compact package.
So we have the ability to use very popular EF zooms like the Canon 24-70 and they’ll have the same sort of range as on an APS-C camera from wide to long, plus we get the light boost.
So now you can hit the iris button on the back of the camera and the EF lens works as if it was a native M43 lens and sets the iris for your shot. It doesn’t auto iris or pump from there on. You can then use the up and down buttons to manually change the iris.
Another plus: the active electronics mean you can use lenses with built in stabilisation. Using the pocket hand-held has always been a bit shaky: now you can eliminate a lot of that shake. This is really useful for run and gun, ob-docs etc.
Of course, most of the Canon EF lenses are not Parfocal. That means unlike an expensive film or TV lens, when you zoom in or out they don’t retain their focus: which is a pain. So you certainly can’t zoom during a shot and use that. But the green edging peaking focus the Pocket has assist helps massively in adjusting the focus once you are there. Not all lenses will respond to the tap of the focus button but some do. There is also a chance that some non-Canon lenses that are meant to be EF compatible may not work. There does not seem to be any way to upgrade the Metabones firmware, if there is one, to support any changes. Whereas Red’s firmware for example often has releases to support previously unsupported EF lenses.
Another useful feature: the Metabones adapter works out the correct stop data to pass on to the camera. So if you are using an F3.5 lens wide open, the adapter works out that you are now actually at F2.2 with the Speedbooster and that is what shows on your screen data.
So all-in-all a really useful addition to this little camera and another great way to use it. All available to hire as a package from The Gear Factory in London.