The Blackmagic Cinema Cameras have just become a whole lot more attractable, and by no result of their own. Metabones has just released two new Speedbooster adaptors specifically for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT and Pocket Cinema Camera that provide a further increase in low sensitivity and wider angle of view.
Both adaptors are Nikon G to Micro Four Thirds mount. Both have an aperture dial that engages with the lever on Nikon lenses to enable full manual control over the aperture. Despite both adaptors being compatible with the micro four thirds mount, these are not listed as compatible with any other micro four thirds cameras. This is most likely due to the protrusion of the rear element considerably reducing the flange distance.
Metabones teamed up with Caldwell Photographics to produce an optically superior Speedbooster. according to some early reviewers the new Blackmagic adaptors have better image quality than previous Speedboosters.
So, what do these adaptors offer in terms of increased light sensitivity and angle of view? The blackmagic cinema camera Speedbooster offers a 0.64 angle of view increase, and a 1 1/3 increase in light sensitivity. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Speedbooster offers a 0.58 increase in angle of view, and a 1 2/3 increase in light sensitivity.
Figures like this can sometimes be hard to get your head around, especially in reference to other camera formats that most others are used to. So here’s a comparison of how different camera setups will hold up in relation to these new adaptors.
For the example we’ll compare what a 50mm f/1.8 lens resolves on various formats.
There are a few advisories with the above calculations. The first is the crop factor of APS-C/super35mm. For the sake of comparison I have listed it as 1.6 in reference to that of the Canon APS-C format. The crop factor of APS-C for Nikon is 1.5, and Super35mm enters this region also, however each camera manufacturer’s super35mm has a slightly different crop factor therefore don’t take this figure precisely. Second is the crop factor of both Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. I have listed these as 2.39 and 2.88 respectively, this is on a basis of the Metabones website. Other sources will list slightly different crop factors. Figures are rounded to one decimal place.
Calculating it this way offers an easy visual comparison between each camera format. Another, potentially easier way to do it is to take the new crop factor provided by Metabones of the Speedboosters for the Cinema Camera and Pocket Cinema Camera, which is 1.53 and 1.75 respectively. For this you simply take the focal length of the lens and multiply it by the new crop factor. There’s a slight discrepancy between doing it this way and the above way for the Pocket Cinema Camera, which can only be down to how Metabones calculate either the crop factor or angle of view figure.
What the figures tell you is that the new Speedboosters will provide both Blackmagic cameras with a focal length similar to that of APS-C/Super35mm (the Cinema Camera slightly wider, the Pocket Cinema slightly less). This is huge news, particularly when considering wide angle lenses for either format. The gap between cameras we are used to and the Blackmagic cameras has closed, making migration/integration with either format much easier.
Here are some screen grabs shot by Philip Bloom showing what the crop factors look like in real world situations.
I almost forgot to mention how useful the increase in light sensitivity is. Up to 1 2/3 stops increase from these adaptors is incredible. It will make lenses like the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 very useful. The f/1.8 aperture was a first for a zoom lens, yet we now see a constant aperture rating of f/1.0; for a zoom lens this is unheard of!
As a DSLR/Super35mm user this makes the Blackmagic format much more attractive. Despite their fundamental software flaws, the hardware side of things are truly shaping up. We’ll hoping get hold of a unit soon for testing.
As mentioned at the start of the post, the adaptors are currently only available in Nikon G mount. Although there is potential talk of a Canon EF one. Both adaptors are currently listed for $489.00.