NEX and Metabones
Well I’m still on the hunt for the next generation lense system to update the five year old Canon 5D Mark II. As we all know, there is so much changing in the camera world right now that the interchangeable lense systems are really overtaking the full frames as smaller and more practical. And the long term choices seem to revolve around the micro-4/3 and the NEX E-mount. The ideal is to have a lense system that works against a dedicated video camera, a small portable camera and a high quality full frame.
And it would be super nice if I didn’t have to swap all those lovely Canon EF mount lenses I have. Well, the answer may be here in the Metabones Speed Booster. This thing adapts an EF-mount to the NEX E-mount and also increase the speed of the lense by a full stop and gives you a 1.0x magnification factor. It does this magic essentially by condensing the light from a full frame into a smaller NEX sized image so you get more light and a faster lense. Wow! With all these changes, you wonder a bit if you even need a full frame or you should just get an NEX-6 and a Sony E-mount camcorder for professional uses.
The big drawback is that while it does support autofocus, it is slow as the NEX is contrast detection. So this solution won’t work for sports photography. You would still need a fast adapter for that or get some native E-mount lenses (or use your old 5D2 for that purpose). However, the NEX-6 does have focus peaking which makes it really easy to do manual focusing otherwise. I’ve been using the latest Magic Lantern firmware which adds this to the 5D2 and it really does work super well.
It also means all those vintage lenses you have from your Dad (:-) could work on an NEX which is pretty cool.
As an aside the longer term view is that the micro-4/3 is probably the best choice now particularly with the Olympus MD5. The long term issue is what happens to Olympus given its financial issues and the fact that Sony has an investment in them.
As a final aside the there are many models of the NEX. For prosumers the two to consider are the NEX-6 which is tuned for still photos as it has phase detection so is very fast to autofocus and has 16mp whereas the NEX-7 is more expensive and uses contrast detection so it can autofocus in video and has 24mp (although that doesn’t seem to affect image quality that much