The Nanguang Luxpad 43 LED Light Pad is a thin and light LED panel that gives beautiful soft light. It is ideal for both product photography and video recordings. The Luxpad works both on outlet power and with batteries and can therefore be used anywhere and anywhere.
The Taiwanese company STC is bringing an interesting filter to the market: the Icelava Warm-to-Cold Fader. It is a filter that can make the color temperature of the shot warmer or colder with a simple turn of the filter. On top of the filter, there is a neat scale with which you can see when the filter is neutral is and when the effect is at its maximum. The Icelava works just like a variable gray filter on the basis of polarization. The difference, however, is that the image does not become darker, but changes in color. The polarizing effect of the filter is more or less an added bonus. Reflections disappear, and for landscapes in particular, colors become deeper and more saturated due to the reduction of the reflection.
Which light source can you use without fear of short-circuits when shooting in damp spaces or in the rain? Earlier this year, we published an announcement of a water-tight and flexible LED panel from LedGo. That LED Flex Panel piqued by curiosity, since a water-tight solution for (LED) light is very rare. That also applies for the physical properties. The Nanguang CN-ST288Cx2 LED Flex Panel is not only flexible (2mm), but also very light (140 grams). The color temperature is smoothly adjustable to the environmental light (from 3200K to 5600K).
Combine these properties and you have a unique, versatile light source that weighs just a bit more than a bag of candy. I placed the Nanguang CN-ST288Cx2 LED Flex Panel on a shooting tent, without the thing collapsing. I couldn’t do that with the barn door LED panel that I normally use.
Experienced photographers act as though it’s child’s play to take action photos. As long as you just use an expensive camera and a very expensive lens, the rest is a cakewalk. In practice, it’s different. For action and nature photography, a great deal of practice and experience is required before your percentage of successful shots increases. The best investment—we are talking about a hundred euros—with the highest returns in the short term is probably the Olympus EE-1 Dot sight.
Chromakey recordings are business as usual in the TV and film industry. This is where a speaker, reporter or weatherperson stands in front of a (usually light green or blue) colored background, on which another image will later be placed. It is rather simple to make Chromakey recordings yourself. That is very handy if you do not have the cash for a studio and you want to make recordings for YouTube or your own website. You film yourself in front of an evenly lit, light green background and replace that background in a video editing program with whatever you like. The ease with which you make successful Chromakey recordings (read: the amount of time it takes you) depends strongly on the original recording. If the Chromakey background is not big enough, you will have to do extra editing, since otherwise, your living room will still be in the shot. This is true in particular if you use multiple camera viewpoints or a moving camera. If the background has creases, wrinkles or is simply not evenly lit, then the entire background will not be replaced, and you see those creases and spots in your new background.
Lithium-ion batteries are often used in photography and video. Not only to provide your camera with power, but also for peripheral equipment. Sometimes you wish that batteries were bigger, so that you did not have to keep changing batteries. And so that it isn’t a disaster if you forget to bring along a spare battery. What you want is to continue doing what you’re doing without interruption: photographing and filming.
My wish list includes a lithium-ion battery that I can use in combination with my Atomos Shogun. The longer I use this external video recorder (for Panasonic Vlog in 10 bits), the more enthusiastic I am about it. The Atomos Shogun firmware updates further expand the functionality. But I find the battery life—even with a bigger batter—to still be too short. I have multiple batteries, but I do not want to run the risk of having to change batteries while filming, at the moment that “it” happens.
Another reason why a bigger battery is on my wish list is that I sometimes want to provide a battery for my LED lights in the studio, so that I’m not bothered by the cords on the floor. I could also then use my LED lighting on location, although I don’t currently have any plans to do that.
For me, these are “nice to have” things, because it does not happen often that I am really bothered by cords, or that I have insufficient power with me for my Atomos Shogun. I’m therefore looking for an affordable, universally applicable and high-quality solution, including all the cables for linking from a lithium-ion battery to various devices.
New Metabones EF to micro-43 adapter with AF
A number of weeks ago, we published a review of the Metabones Speedbooster S, with which you can use Canon EF lenses on a Panasonic or Olympus OM-D camera. With the adapter, the crop-factor becomes 1.4 instead of 2 and the brightness increases by a full stop (f/4 becomes f/2.8). Usually, the image quality deteriorates a bit with the use of an adapter, but—in theory—that is not the case with a focal reducer like the Metabones Speedbooster. It depends on the brightness and the entrance pupil of the lens that you use and the quality of the lens design and the glass types that are applied in the Metabones Speedbooster. With a bright lens (.
We coupled a Canon 150-600 mm Contemporary with a Metabones Speedbooster S to a Panasonic GH4 and compared the image quality of practice shots with shots made with the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary on a Canon 5D MK2. Below you can see 100% image excerpts from shots made with the Canon 5D MK2 at 600 mm f/11, compared with the Panasonic GH4 at 280 mm f/5.6 and 425 mm f/4 (EXIF info; in reality: f/4.5).
Thanks to the 2x crop factor on a micro-43 camera, you can makes shots with the Metabones Speedbooster with a field of view that corresponds to an 840 mm lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor. The brightness is then f/4.5. That is not achievable with the Canon 5D MK2.
Kipon AF adapter for micro-43
A less expensive solution for using Canon EF lenses on a Panasonic camera while retaining AF is a Kipon adapter, which was recently released. This Kipon AF adapter does not fit on an Olympus OM-D EM1 (but it does fit on an OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 Mark II) camera. AF with Canon EF lenses on a Panasonic camera is lightning fast. On YouTube SHOTENKOBO has placed multiple videos, including a video to illustrate the function of the image stabilization when using the adapter. Below you see first video from his series, so that you can see the AF speed.
A less expensive solution does not necessarily have to result in poorer image quality. We took pictures with the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary on a Canon 5D MK2 and compared those with shots made with the Sigma 150-600 mm C with a Kipon adapter on a Panasonic GH4. If you use the 4K video or the 4K photo mode of the Panasonic cameras, then you get an 8-megapixel shot with a brightness of f/6.3 and a field of view that corresponds with a 1500m lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor! When you limi the output to Full HD, the filed of view is equivalent to a 3000 mm lens on a camera with a full frame sensor.
Click on the illustration for a larger version. Direct comparison of the image quality of the shots made with the Kipon adapter and the Canon 5D MK2 also shows how good the results from the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary with a Kipon adapter on a Panasonic GH4 are. All shots are made under not-very favorable atmospheric conditions, and you can also consider the photos that we publish here as a worst-case scenario. The image quality that the Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary delivers on a micro-43 camera with a Kipon or Metabones is very good. In better weather, you might expect an even better image quality and in any case a bit more contrast and more cheerful colors.
Metabones AF from firmware update
Do you have a Metabones Speedbooster for Canon EF lenses on a Panasonic camera? Carry out the firmware update and you also have AF.
Do you already have a Panasonic camera and a Metabones Speedbooster and are considering purchasing the new version because it has AF, and the old one doesn’t? There are firmware updates available for both Windows and Mac for the old Canon EF micro-43 Metabones Speedboosters. After carrying out the firmware update, you also have AF on a Panasonic camera with the older versions of the Metabones Speedbooster. I tested it with a Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8 MK2 on a Panasonic GH4. AF is not as fast as an original Panasonic or Olympus lens and is a bit less fast than with the Kipon adapter, but it is certainly not slow.
The two old Metabones Speedboosters are now listed on the Metabones website as discontinued. Certainly for owners of an Olympus OM-D camera who want to have a Metabones Speedbooster, hurry to buy a Metabones Speedbooster S, as long as they are still in stock. The new Speedbooster is only suitable for Panasonic cameras.
And if you do the exact opposite? With a "Speed Booster," instead of a teleconverter, instead of the magnifying the light rays, you compress them? So that—a wet dream for many videographers—the crop factor of a camera with a small sensor becomes smaller (1.4 instead of 2 for micro-43)?
What you need is a mirrorless system camera and a lens that is designed for an SLR camera with a larger sensor. You thus have the space to place a Metabones Speed Booster between camera and lens. If you use a lens that is designed for a camera with a full-frame sensor on a system camera with a smaller APS-C or micro-43 sensor, you reduce the vignetting on the edges. Lens flaws of the original lens will be made smaller and more light also falls on the sensor, so that you can choose a shorter shutter time when there is low light. A 24 mm f/1.4 full-frame lens becomes a 35 mm f/0.95 lens on a micro-43 camera, with—in theory—a higher image quality than the original! It seems too good to be true. And just as with a teleconverter, the lens quality of the Speed Booster determines the ultimate image quality.
How does a Speed Booster work? It puts a lens ("Focal Reducer") between lens and camera that makes the focal distance of the lens smaller. A smaller image ("Reduced Image") results than with the use of the lens without a Speed Booster ("Original Image"). Because more light falls on a smaller surface, the lens with Speed Booster is brighter than without it.
Metabones Speed Booster options:
|Metabones Speed Booster is designed in such a way that an APS-C/DX lens can be used on a camera with a micro-43 sensor, without the creation of extra vignetting. That has the consequence that with use of a full-frame/FX lens on a Speed Booster, only the center of the image will be used by the micro-43 sensor. Full-frame lenses with visible vignetting when used on a camera with a full-frame sensor show much less vignetting with the use of a Speed Booster on a micro-43 camera. |
Metabones Speed Booster: separate version for Olympus cameras
Metabones delivers Speed Boosters for 50 different lens/camera combinations (such as, for example, Nikon G, Leica M or Canon EF lens to micro-43 camera or Sony NEX camera). Sometimes, EXIF information (focal distance, aperture, zoom range) from the lens can be transferred to the camera. That makes it possible to set the aperture with the camera. Sometimes, that is not possible, and the Metabones Speed Booster has an extra aperture ring. Because there are so many different models, there is not a set price for all Metabones Speed Boosters. The higher the price of a Metabones Speed Booster, the more options you have. For our review, we chose a Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster S Version (MB_SPEF-m43-BM2), which can also be used on an Olympus camera. A previous version (MB_SPEF-m43-BM1) did not physically appear to fit on an Olympus OM-D E-M1, after which Metabones released the S version.
Design, build quality and ergonomics
The Metabones Speed Booster is delivered in a hard plastic box. With the use of a converter, it is important that the lens remain perfectly aligned with respect to the sensor. A little bit of play in the connection between lens and converter, or camera and converter, can have disastrous consequences for the image quality. But the Metabones Speed Booster ("made of brass, precision-machined and plated with chromium") is exceptionally solidly put together, and there is no play at all between adapter, lens and camera. The Speed Booster is about the same size and weight as a 1.4x teleconverter and is also fitted with a tripod foot ("detachable and compatible with Arca Swiss, Markins and Photo Clam ball heads").
Metabones Speed Booster on micro-43: 24 mm f/1.4 becomes 35 mm f/0.95
High center sharpness and full-frame bokeh on micro-43
|We reviewed the Metabones Speed Booster with a Sigma 150-600 mm Sports telephoto lens (Unbelievable! More later.) and with two bright wide-angle lenses (Canon 24 mm f/1.4L II and Sigma 24 mm f/1.4). The combination of a Metabones Speed Booster with a bright wide-angle is a favorite of videographers because it provides a bright 35 mm documentary lens, with which you can play with bokeh in a way unknown for a micro-43. The shots below are made with the Canon 24 mm f/1.4 L II, at full aperture, an Olympus OM-D E-M1. The second photo, of our bokeh test set-up, shows that at f/2.8, the angular edges of the aperture become visible, but that you still have a beautiful bokeh available. I realize that these are not very artistic shots. In the list with reviews, you will find sufficient image material with a higher level of artistry.|
|Next to the bokeh, we also tested other image quality properties of the Metabones Speed Booster, such as sharpness. From the practice shots of buildings, we immediately saw that the sharpness in the corners is nothing to write home about when you combine a wide-angle lens with the Metabones Speed Booster. Imatest measurements were carried out with the sharpest of the two lenses that we had available (Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art). As far as vignetting and distortion are concerned, the Metabones Speed Booster delivers what you expect: in comparison with the results on a camera with a full-frame sensor, the performance of this very good lens becomes even better. Nonetheless, both the Canon and the Sigma still show visible vignetting through f/2. The center sharpness is also very high starting at full aperture. The sharpness on the edges and in the corners is another story. The Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art changes from a modern, top-class lens with high sharpness in the corners into a vintage lens with characteristic blur on the edges. You actually have to stop down two stops (not unheard-of for an f/0.95 lens) before the corner sharpness has become sufficiently high.|
|Look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare the performance of the Metabones Speed Booster with a Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art (35 mm @ FF) on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with other lenses.|
Metabones Speed Booster with a Sigma 150-600 mm f/5.6-6.3 Sports telephoto zoom
Conclusion Metabones Speed Booster S (micro-43) review
Look in our list of reviewed lenses in order to compare the performance of the Metabones Speed Booster with a Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art (35 mm @ FF) or a Sigma 150-600 mm f/5.6-6.3 Sports (200 mm & 800 mm @ FF) on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with other lenses.