September 4, 2014 at 6:22PM, Edited September 7, 1:26AM

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Transitioning from Canon 5d m3 to Sony a7s

Anyone have any suggestions for what equipment one would need to switch from a Canon EF workflow to Sony E mount workflow? Any thoughts or reviews of the Metabones Speed Booster? Appreciate it!

20 Comments

I have recently done this with my personal setup.

I have the Metabones EF - E mount adapter (not the speedbooster). It has served me well so far. When it first came out, there was a bug where the adapter wouldn't recognize some Canon EF lenses. A firmware update from Metabones has fixed this, and now all my lenses work well without having to do any workarounds.

The studio I work for has the EF - E mount speedbooster (which we use on our FS700) and I can confirm that it works on the A7s with all our lenses (which are many). We have been using it for shooting with our longer lenses, or if we're doing work that will push the edge of what is "acceptable" rolling shutter. Maybe you have read by now, but switching from full frame to APS-C mode on the A7s helps reduce the rolling shutter, and this is a case where a speedbooster would be desirable if you still wanted a close-to-full-frame field of view.

Just about everything else from my kit carries over. Rode VideoMic Pro works the same on the A7s, SD cards, rigs, etc all work. Any analog (Glidecam/Steadicam) and motorized (Movi) stabilization rigs that would work for the 5D should work for the A7s since it's lighter and smaller.

One thing I had to get was new cables to fit the Micro HDMI port (the 5D has Mini HDMI)... Or is it the other way round? Whatever.

If you're on the fence about getting the A7s or holding onto the 5D just go with the Sony. The picture sharpness alone is enough reason to switch. The codec coming out of the A7s is the best 8-bit picture I've ever worked with, the colors hold up well in post (for 8-bit). If you have the money, go for it.

September 4, 2014 at 8:02PM

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Ty
Cinematographer, Editor, Director
553

Just checking, can you use Canon branded lenses (EF-S mount) with these adaptors?

September 5, 2014 at 2:42PM

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Chris Hyland
Student Filmmaker
178

Yes! Even non-canon lenses, as long as they are EF mount.

September 6, 2014 at 1:43AM

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Ty
Cinematographer, Editor, Director
553

I made the switch recently and certainly don't regret it. The Metabones Speed Booster won't work on the A7s in full-frame mode, but it will in APSC. People have suggested, since the rolling shutter is such a problem with the A7s, that switching to APSC mode and using a Speed Booster to regain the FOV/Full Frame "look" while avoiding the rolling shutter issue is a good workaround, but for me the benefits didn't justify the price point. I think, unless you're a terribly shaky shooter, that going with a simple smart adapter is totally fine. Saves you money. Forces you to shoot smoothly, haha.

Ultimately, I didn't even go with a Metabones adapter. I went with the much cheaper Commlite version. No electronic communication problems whatsoever. Autofocus sucks, but I focus manually anyway, so it isn't much of a problem. Build quality is fine.

Depending on what profile you go with, there might be a learning curve in regards to grading. S-Log2 is pretty awesome, and certainly very flexible, but it will definitely slow you down. That being said, I have found other picture profiles to be pretty amazing in their own right, too. PP5, unaltered, is a really great starting point for me.

Equipment-wise, other than adapting EF lenses, I haven't felt the need to purchase anything else. It's still a DSLR form-factor, so it integrates just fine with the gear I already have.

September 4, 2014 at 10:17PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
945

I've picked this camera up with the understanding that I would primarily be shooting in S-Log 2 as really that was the flagship profile. The only issue I would say it's worth highlighting around this matter is the ISO in S-Log 2 cannot go under 3200, which is fine if you are shooting in relatively low-light but if not I've found problematic if not as you have to stop down quite a bit.

For relatively bright situations I've been finding the PP5 setting works as a great alternative.

January 4, 2015 at 7:05AM

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Doug Gilen
Director/Videographer
81

Is PP5 a flat picture profile?

November 30, 2015 at 1:50PM

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Mason Rippel
Freelance
81

An important bit of information would be what kind of lenses you currently have. I switched from shooting with a Mark II to A7s with no problem because all of my lenses were Nikon mount. If you're heavily invested in EF glass, then listen to the folks above in terms of adapters.

For me, it was a no-brainer of an upgrade. Rolling shutter is just a tiny bit worse than the 5D Mark II. Everything else is a huge step up from the Mark II and Mark III—better codec, S-Log 2, high frame rate shooting, APS-C mode, unbelievable ISO performance, lightweight camera body, improved audio, adaptable lens mount, and more.

However, there have been three "issues" to be aware of, at least for me:

1) Absolutely no weather sealing. The a7s is not prepared for any kind of water, whereas the 5D Mark II and III are both well weather-sealed. I got used to being able to shoot in light rain with the 5D, so I've ordered a rain cover for the a7s.

2) Painfully obnoxious record button. I've missed a shot twice from getting used to the button (as in, thought it was pressed when it wasn't due to the awful placement). The 5Ds both had a pretty distinct record button and it was always obvious when rolling and when not.

3) Lack of native lenses. If native lenses and their features are a big deal to you, the Sony E-mount line only disappoints (for now). Plus, their zooms apparently have an electronically controlled focus ring, which is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of and sounds like a 1st AC's worst nightmare.

September 5, 2014 at 9:18AM

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David S.
2932

I have literally heard the exact opposite in regards to weather sealing. Would you mind pointing me in the direction of this information?

In regards to the native lenses, it's true, the electronic focus is terrible for film, but, from what I understand, absolutely wonderful for photography in terms of focus speed. I'm excited about the new Zeiss Loxia lenses, though. Fully manual and very compact. :)

September 5, 2014 at 1:01PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
945

I heard the opposite, too. I own the a7s—I assure you there is practically no weather sealing around any doors on this thing. I'm not sure how the rumor about weather sealing started with it, because I actually purchased it anticipating some degree of weather sealing.

September 8, 2014 at 12:58PM

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David S.
2932

I agree with your points above!

1. I suspected this, simply because they didn't advertise any sort of weather sealing as a feature. I have shot with the 5D3 and a weather sealed lens in pouring rain for hours with no issues. I suppose those days are over.

2. I hope they issue a firmware update that allows us to use the shutter release as the record button. Actually, literally any other button on the camera would be better!

2. I read that Zeiss is going to be showing some manual E-mount lenses, they look promising, and it's real Zeiss glass: http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sr5-new-leak-of-the-qx120mp-sensor-and-ne...

I think we'll know more after Photokina...

September 6, 2014 at 1:49AM

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Ty
Cinematographer, Editor, Director
553

Yeah, after I got mine and did some investigating, I couldn't find it anywhere in Sony's material about the camera. Not sure how that info got spread in the first place.

Reassigning the shutter button would be HUGE. Put it just about anywhere except the one place I can't really reach without moving my entire hand!

September 8, 2014 at 1:00PM

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David S.
2932

You don't *need* a speed booster (or rather focal reducer is the more general name for it, rather than just what metabones calls it. Others go by the name Lens Turbo and other names, but they're all focal reducers in the end) because the Sony A7s is already a full frame camera using all of your image circle from your DSLR lenses.

However.... rolling shutter is a lot better when in APS-C / Super35mm mode with the A7s, thus when you switch over to that you may well prefer to use a focal reducer.

September 8, 2014 at 7:55AM, Edited September 8, 7:55AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2297

Thanks all! Anyone have any experience shooting 4k or are we all still waiting for the new Atomos recorder?

September 9, 2014 at 9:39AM

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Ramon Galvan
Video Producer
122

Be prepared for file structure Hell... Old school video guys think this is no big deal but, If you came into the video world through Canon DSLRs, you've lived a spoiled life of arbitrary folder structures and Do-whatever-you-feel-like file systems.
A google search "How do I organize A7s files?" or anything about organizing MXF files yields nothing. It is a dark and mysterious world where no one wants to volunteer information and you can't alter any of your files and there are crying children.

Other than that, the camera is a champ.

September 29, 2014 at 4:52PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1092

I'm looking to switch from Canon to the A7S. I like the idea of shooting on a Canon EF 24-105 / F4, and with the APS-C mode, being able to switch it to a x1.6 longer lens...

But with Metabones, can you only use it on APS-C? If so, is there any way to shoot full frame on the A7s with EF lenses? If not, that's a bummer.

2ndly, if I were to just sell my Canon body and lenses, and start all over, the Sony lenses seem pretty crap, so what would be the best alternative, that would transition better than EF lenses, using an alternative mount system?

Thanks for your help!

December 1, 2014 at 9:45AM

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I personally kept my Canon lenses and went for the adaptor for my a7s. In fact I kept my 5dmark III and use it exclusively for closeup mug shots, surprisingly the softness of the footage is very flattering for this kind of shots, I find the a7s or even my C100 too sharp for this.

January 3, 2015 at 5:28PM

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Ryan Villanueva
Photographer, Videographer
11

I too am thinking of making the switch. I had a gig in NY and rented both the A7S and 5dIII (had my 5dII as well). I was super psyched to use the A7s with my canon lenses. Yikes, I had so many issues it made my head spin. I wanted to love this camera -- ready to buy one. But one minute it wouldn't even turn on -- the next no f-stop data or non responsive to changes. I have to believe it was the Metabones adapter. I noticed someone above mentioned Commlite adapter ... is this the secret sauce?? Help.

January 27, 2015 at 10:56PM

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I just started filming with the A7S using a metabones adapter (not the speed booster) and my canon 24-105 lens out here in the bush in South Sudan.

I had read a bit about some problems with the strength of metabones adapters and long canon lenses and the 105 was about as long of a lens it was possible to use with this set-up.

Very soon after starting, though, I started to lose the connection between the 24-105 lens and the camera. I stopped having control of my aperture, the light started flickering.

Out in the field on assignment, I could only amend the situation by reattaching the lens (off and on) which fixed it momentarily.

After a day of filming, back at base, I decided to switch back to my Canon 5D Mark II but it seems the set up ruined my lens to the extent the contacts no longer worked on my trusty 5D.

I'm shocked. Could the metabones/sony set-up have broken my 24-105 lens?

I can't imagine that all of you raving about the A7S have never used anything more than a 50/70 lens on the camera. I've read a bunch of posts but haven't heard anyone mention longer lenses... which is why I'm writing here.

What have been your experiences filming with these types of set ups? I've heard terrible things about the sony lenses so what's the solution if you shoot in difficult conditions and don't have the luxury of carrying around a sack of lenses? And even then, how do you prevent the set-up from ruining your lenses?

Do I suck it up and buy the sony lenses? Do I take the adapter back to Metabones and let them know the system busted my lens?

Thanks!

From South Sudan.....

July 6, 2015 at 1:18PM, Edited July 6, 1:18PM

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Anjali
Director/DP
74

I have the same problem. I’m also using a7s with the v4 adapter and the 24-105f4 (and I have also experienced it on an 85f1.8 and 24-70f2.8 too).

At startup or when I change lens or reattach. Often it just goes black, then when I reattach the lens or adapter I get pictures but no iris control and then after doing it again (sometimes I need to do it a few times) it all works. Its a pain in the arse. I havent tried the lenses back on a canon though so I dont know if there is permanent damage.

I’ve tried the lens and adapter on another camera (Sony NEX EA50) which works fine, I’ve also tested another v4 adapter on the a7s with the same result as the other adapter.

What really pisses me off is Metabones “support”. I emailed them about this two months ago and they said they would do some tests. I still haven’t heard from them!

August 10, 2015 at 10:18AM

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Can the metabones adapter still AF Canon EF glass on the A7S? I can't get a clear answer. Thanks.

January 3, 2016 at 6:13PM

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Craig Murray
Aspiring filmmaker
142

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