Kipon recently announced an active EF to Micro Four Thirds lens adapter that may just become one of the most useful tools for MFT shooters that own Canon glass. Up until now, the Metabones Speedbooster was your best bet when it came to adapting EF lenses to MFT bodies, but this new adapter from Kipon is giving it a run for it’s money.
As many of you know, the Metabones Speedbooster is very powerful adapter that not only allows for electronic control of an EF lens on a MFT body, but also effectively makes EF lenses faster and wider. In other words, if you’re using a 50mm lens on a MFT camera with a 2x crop – you would normally be capturing an image that is a 100mm equivalent. With a Speedbooster however, the crop would be reduced to 1.6x (which is very close to the Super 35mm crop of 1.5x), and your 100mm equivalent lens now becomes an 80mm lens in full frame terms. Not to mention it’s also a stop faster, which is pretty amazing!
This is all well and good, but there are some downsides to Speedboosters as well… Namely autofocus -which is a huge problem on the current EF to MFT Speedbooster.
You be might be thinking – I shoot cinematic projects, I don’t need autofocus. And that very well may be true. Personally speaking I rarely use autofocus, but there are times when I need access to the autofocus feature on my camera even if I’m shooting manually. For instance if I’m shooting in a live environment I might switch the camera into autofocus mode before rolling to quickly snap my focus into place, and then switch it back to manual mode so I can do a proper focus pull once I’m recording. I don’t always do this (in fact it’s rare) but in scenarios that, it’s nice to know I have the option. I also shoot a lot of still photos, and those of you still photographers out there know just how crucial AF is for many types of photography work.
So with all that said, the Speedbooster’s achilles heel has always been it’s autofocusing system, which is practically unusable because it is just so slow. This is something that most of us have just learned to live with since many of us rarely need to use autofocus, but at the same time it does prevent us from maximizing our ability to use EF glass in the same way that we would use our native MFT lenses.
And then there was Kipon…
Unlike the Speedbooster, the new EF to MFT adapter from Kipon is not a focal reducer (meaning your lenses will still crop), but it has a much much better and faster autofocusing system. You can use autofocus on your EF lenses nearly as smoothly as you can with native MFT glass, which can be a lifesaver in certain instances. For MFT still photographers that are using Canon glass, this adapter is a no-brainer as it will open up a whole slew of possibilities that were previously non-existent. But for video shooters it’s amazing as well, especially for those covering live events, sports, or anything else fast paced.
But the Kipon doesn’t Speedboost you say… Well yes, that is of course a downside when compared to the Metabones Speedbooster depending on how your look at it. But in reality, these two adapters should be thought of as separate tools. I don’t necessarily think it comes down to choosing one over the other, but rather having both in your kit.
Often times when new products like this come out, we look for other products that we can replace with them. But in my opinion, the Kipon adapter is a tool you should use in addition to the Speedbooster, not as an alternative. In other words, if you need your 50mm to act as a telephoto lens in a bright environment for photography – use the Kipon. It’ll give you fast AF and a nice 100mm equivalent focal length. But on the other hand if you’re shooting video with that same lens in a tight space without a lot of light, throw it on the Speedbooster and call it a day. By using both adapters in tandem, you’re effectively turning every lens you have into two lenses which can be very helpful if you shoot a wide variety of material.
In time I’m sure Kipon will release a version of their adapter that has some sort of focal reducer built in… But for now at least they’ve kept their pricing in check. The Kipon adapter is going to retail for about $285, which isn’t bad at all when you consider the Metabones EF to MFT adapter (not the speedbooster version) is about $400. You should see it pop up on their website and on eBay in the next little while.
That’s about it for now. Just a quick ramble on this little piece of kit that I think will go a long way for so many of us MFT shooters that own Canon glass.