Metabones has released an update to its EF-E Smart Adapter MARK IV and EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA, vastly improving auto focus, smoother aperture adjustments and enabling continuous auto focus on compatible Sony Alpha cameras.
Many Canon-turned-Sony users will have become accustomed to the compatibility quirks of using EF lenses on a Sony Alpha body. Metabones has been an ever present stalwart in the big player camera/lens mis-match and, despite their best efforts, have always struggled with producing reliable auto focus.
This hasn’t been a huge problem with filmmakers, many of whom won’t ever have the need for this feature. But many will also like to cross over to photography from time to time, one of the features that was so liberating with the Canon 5D. A lack of auto focus in stills photography is of course a much bigger deal, especially with the release of more advanced systems introduced with mirrorless cameras such as the A7RII and A7SII.
The mis-match in Sony body/Canon lens compatibility has forced many into exploring the less nurtured, less developed, less exciting Sony E mount lens line. These of course make full use of the Alpha cameras’ auto focus abilities, particularly the aforementioned continuous modes in newer bodies.
The firmware update that Metabones just released for its EF-E Smart Adapter MARK IV and EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA closes the gap dramatically between native E mount and Canon EF lenses.
With Metabones firmware V0.50, auto focus on an EF lens is much improved, aperture changes are smoother (still clicky, but improved) and continuous auto focus is now enabled on later compatible bodies.
Here’s some press:
- Release date: 23 Jun 2016
- Benefits and improvements:
- Wide-open button functionality is removed on A7 series and A6300. The button of the adapter is now dedicated to the function of the customisable Focus Hold button on the A7 series and A6300.
- “Advanced” mode is now the default operating mode. (Note: you may permanently change the default to “Green” mode, by holding down the button on the adapter while attaching to an already-on camera, and then, without ever releasing the button, turn off the camera’s power. Changing the default back to “Advanced” mode using the same procedure.)
- “Native” autofocus features including DMF, Eye-AF and fast CDAF on all E-mount cameras (see Press Release for details).
- Support for smooth iris feature of the latest Canon and Tamron SP lenses.
- PDAF improvement for Canon EF 50/1.4 USM and some other large aperture fixed focal length lenses.
- Descriptive lens name on EXIF LensModel tag (except on older cameras and Metabones Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and the original Speed Booster). A compliant utility such as exiftool is required. Sony Image Data Converter does NOT display the LensModel tag.
- Fixed a focus parking issue after an exposure with some older Canon lenses.
I’ve installed Metabones Firmware 0.50 on my EF-E Smart Adaptor and can confirm the improvements. As an owner of the Zeiss 25mm Batis lens, I’m fairly familiar with the continuous focus modes available on the A7R II and A7S II. Users of the Sony Alpha II/Metabones/EF combo can now look forward – under certain circumstances – to a useable focus mode when shooting video, featuring face detection, zonal monitoring, with speed and sensitivity modes.
Speaking from a wealth of experience with Canon’s Dual Pixel Auto Focus, the Sony equivalent is more complicated, less reactive and less subtle, but it does the job on wide focal lengths stopped down.
Whilst auto focus is vastly improved, initial experience suggests it’s not quite up to native E mount speeds, but it’s certainly getting there.