Metabones_spnfg-bmpcc-bm1_03sThis year a company called Metabones released the Speed Booster, an adapter which makes lenses faster, wider, and sharper as long as they were designed for a larger format than the format you're currently working with. They already introduced adapters for Micro 4/3 cameras like the GH3, but now they've created new Nikon mount Speed Boosters designed specifically for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera that make lenses on those bodies even faster and wider, and give the Super 16mm Pocket essentially a Super 35mm sensor.

Here is Metabones on the BMCC adapter (the generic adapter already turned it into effectively a Super 35mm sensor, but now lenses are even wider):

The new 0.64x Speed Booster reduces the full-frame crop factor of the BMCC from 2.39x to 1.53x, thus effectively transforming it into a Super-35 format cine camera. In addition, the speed of any attached lens is increased by 11/3stops, with a maximum output aperture of f/0.80. For example, a 50mm f/1.2 becomes a 32mm f/0.80, and Sigma’s new 18-35mm f/1.8 will become an 11.5-22.5mm f/1.1.

And on the BMPCC adapter for the Pocket:

The new 0.58x Speed Booster reduces the crop factor of the BMPCC from 2.88x to 1.75x, and produces the largest aperture optics currently available, with a maximum output aperture of f/0.74.  For example, a 50mm f/1.2 now becomes a 29mm f/0.74, and the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 becomes the world’s fastest zoom lens at 10.5-20.3mm f/1.0 with stunningly sharp performance.



These adapters also improve sharpness while increasing sensitivity:

In addition to increasing lens speed and field of view, both of the new Speed Boosters significantly increase the lens MTF.  The graph below compares MTF at 20 lp/mm for the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 by itself and combined with each of the new Speed Boosters.  For both the 0.58x and 0.64x versions there is a dramatic performance enhancement near the center of the image, but there is also a moderate performance improvement in the outer parts of the image as well.  This is especially impressive when you consider that the Speed Booster MTF is evaluated at f/0.80 and f/0.74, respectively, while the native 50mm lens is evaluated at f/1.2.

Metabones Speed Booster MTF 20131127_pr_01

These adapters are made only for Nikon lenses at the moment, so it will be interesting if we get either standard Micro 4/3 or Blackmagic-specific Micro 4/3 adapters for Canon lenses at some point in the future. The issue with a Canon adapter is that those lenses need power to change the iris, and there is apparently some trouble making this work reliably from the Micro 4/3 mount (and a powered adapter would only work with the active Micro 4/3 Pocket). The biggest differences between these new Blackmagic Speed Boosters and the regular MFT Speed Booster is that the Metabones team was able to put the rear element farther back into the camera since there is no shutter on the video-only cameras (whereas there is one on cameras like GH2 or GH3). That's what allows these adapters to make the image even wider than before.

The BMPCC adapter will only work with the Pocket, but the adapter made for the 2.5K camera will work with both. Here's a chart for all compatibilities:

Metabones Blackmagic Speed Booster Crop Factors

 *) Based on diagonal field of view

**) Do not attempt to mount – physical damage may occur

***) Can be mounted, but does not cover the full sensor with most lenses

With these adapters, both Blackmagic cameras are effectively Super 35mm, so your crop factor is right around what it would be on any APS-C camera like a Canon 7D. The Pocket adapter also gives that camera close to 2 stops of light gain, which is helpful in lower light situations. Here is Philip Bloom with some examples:



This kind of performance does come at a price. While the generic MFT adapter is $430, these are going to be $490 when they ship sometime this month (though the Pocket may take a little longer). If you own both cameras, it might make sense to get one that works with both, but if you've just got a Pocket, it really becomes a totally different camera with the Pocket-specific Speed Booster.


[via Philip Bloom]