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Jason on the Metabones Speed Booster
I'm a full frame nut and when the speed boosters came onto the market and the promise of full frame look on smaller sensors i presumed there had to be a catch.
Could you get the full frame look in a camera with more grown up control, form factor and codec?
I did my usual highly scientific test chart of going to a sea pool before dawn. Its actually quite a good real world test, find detail in the water, graduated colour of water & skies, fast movement for different frame rates, high contrast of sun into water etc.
Predominately shot at 100, 200, 400 & some 800fps (Cant help myself) Internal ND filters only, NO Vari ND's needed or used. A couple of shots at ISO 1000, but mainly shot at 400. Lenses were mainly the Leica Summilux 50/1.4, Zeiss ZE 35 f1.4, Tokina 11-16 & Contax 135 f2. All wide open.
And yes I noticed, like, & intentionally included sodium vapour flicker
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The camera? Its no Alexa or Epic but its very impressive actually and its the poster child for how spoiled we are these days. Sharp, cheap, compact HD camera with a really efficient codec and is miserly of both its data and battery usage. The camera is probably better suited to tripod use with a larger external monitor, it perhaps has a few too many buttons for handheld use as i found myself switching things on and off just hand holding. The F55 layout & ergonomics are much more handheld friendly but then theres a big difference between the way these cameras will be used in production and especially post. Users of the FS700 probably need more control as they are shooting more for the final product whereas the F55 clan are more after a clean usable image that will be enhanced in grade later.
Dynamic range probably isn't much better than a 5DMkIII, highlights blew out as id expect with a DSLR with e Prolost flat profile. LOVED having the built in ND's, i left my staple variable ND's in the bag and with the odd tweak of ISO i got by with the internal ND's just fine. Though i suspect in brighter conditions id be using a combination of both. The ‘viewfinder' arrangement lets the camera down a bit as its the popular ‘clamp a loupe to the LCD and kill 2 birds with one cheap stone' arrangement. I guess this is acceptable in this price range but as the rest of this camera is punching above its weight it seems the viewfinder system does let the rest of the rather impressive side down a little.
The Speed booster is very impressively made, once on the camera its as solid as a rock and feels like part of the camera if not more solid than the original mount. Changing lenses I completely forgot i was using an adapter at all. The exposure gain is immediately obvious, the menu on the camera showing minimum aperture on my f1.4 Leica was now an f/1. The bokeh is slightly different, not bad, just different. its perhaps a little ‘swirly' or different in the peripherals tho i still rent like i was getting the full frame look i loved.
Focus seemed sharp tho I've not done exacting side by side comparisons, it just didn't look soft to me. I also didn't notice any vignetting on any lenses. I only used manual focus lenses but focus and iris control is passed through the adapter if required.
As long as no full frame production friendly camera with Raw or better than DSLR dynamic range, grown up menus and connectors exists then I welcome further versions of speed boosters that will let us get the full frame look & FOV on other pro cameras like say.. the F55! get cracking Metabones!
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)