Archive for December, 2018

I have been begging for Metabones to make a fully AF compatible focal reducer-speed booster for EOS EF to EOS EF-M. The annoying thing is that making it would require little engineering that Metabones hasn’t already done. Metabones makes an EOS EF to Sony E already. The flange distance on the EOS-M is identical to Sony E and the mount diameter is very similar as well. A simple mount bayonet and pass through electronics are all that is needed both of which have been in the third-party market for years. The Sony adapter required Metabones to make complex software translation hardware so that the Canon EF lens could “talk to” the Sony body. None of that is needed going EF to EF-M. So what is the deal Metabones?

Well Viltrox has done it. They launched an adapter in late October that allows the use of an EOS EF lens on the EOS M series cameras with full electronic communication. I bought it the second I could. I am here to say it works brilliantly and there are no optical issues I have found at all. This is my second EOS-EF to EF-M focal reducer I bought. The first was a cheap unit that had no electronics at all. I used that with several manual focus SLR lenses that I had converted to EF mount. That low-budget unit worked very well except it has a tendency to induced some weird flare in certain lighting situations. This Viltrox unit suffers no such issues.

Rather than repeat I will simply refer to an article I wrote on how focal reducers and tele-converters work a few months ago, check it out here. That out-of-the-way I can go into the specifics of this Viltrox unit and how it performs. I find that there is no loss of focusing performance at all with this unit. EOS M users already know that the EF lenses on the EOS M are a little slower focusing than the native lenses. EOS M cameras have not been noted for having blazing fast AF. The M5 does have Canon’s amazing dual pixel AF and the low light performance is clearly better when using this Viltrox unit since more light is always better for AF than less and we get twice as much light with this adapter 🙂

Optically the unit appears to show no signs of image impairment. Physically the unit is slightly smaller than the standard EF-EF-M adapter although the glass makes it a tad heavier. The optics allow for a more compact design than a simple flange adjustment adapter. Although the size difference is nominal, it is quite noticeable on a real small camera like the M series bodies.

The focal reducer is not necessarily a replacement for the standard EF-EF-M adapter. In fact is makes a great companion item. The photo above shows the Viltrox adapter mated to a Canon USM 50/1.4 on the M5. That combination produces a 36mm F/1.0. When taking the crop factor of Canon’s APS/C sensor that shoots like a 57mm F/1.0. 57mm is still in that classic “normal” range and the extra stop is awesome. But using that same lens with the standard adapter produces an effective 80mm F/1.4 which is a wonderful portrait setup. Likewise on lenses like my 135/L I can shoot that lens as an effective 216mm F/2.0 or as a 153mm F/1.4. This combination is basically the opposite of using a 1.4x tele converter setup but yields in reverse the same thing.

I am rather surprised that Canon doesn’t make their own “speed booster” focal reducer. I don’t think they are that tough to make and Canon would be able to sell theirs for a premium price. I’d buy it 🙂 But the Viltrox unit works well and I am rather pleased with the results. It isn’t just about making fast primes even faster. I own the Canon EF 24-105 L and that is a nice solid lens. It has a max opening of F/4 and features Canon’s famous image stabilization. That lens mounted to the M5 is an unwieldy beast. Even on my new EOS-R that DSLR lens is bulky. Using the Viltrox with that lens on the M5 only adds a bit to the gargantuan out of proportion feel of the lens, but it turns it into a 17-168mm F/2.8. That shoots like a 27-120mm F/2.8 on a full frame camera. That is a usable range and very high-speed with IS to boot!

This unit is rather effective at making mundane kit lenses from the 1990s feel like professional grade glass. I bought a 1990s film lens 28-105mm USM that is F/3.5 at the wide end to F/4.5 at the tele end. It’s a decent lens that is very small and compact and I use it as a knock around general purpose lens on the EOS-R. It is about half the size and weight of my 24-105 L. On the M5 with the Viltrox it is effectively a 32-120mm F/2.5-3.2. That is some L lens speed and still a usable focal range. Although the lens is still double the size and weight of the EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS lens it has substantially more range and speed, 20-75/2.5-3.2; but focuses slower and has no IS. The 28-105 USM is widely available at camera shows like the PhotoFair or on Ebay for well under a hundred dollars. It can also turn a slow tele into a fast pro style lens without the traditional bulk of an L series lens. The 70-300 USM IS lens is an F/4-5.6 it becomes a 50-213mm F/2.8-4 and with the crop factor of APS/C it shoots like a 112-341mm F/2.8-4.

The Viltrox adapter does send all the electronic data to the image file. It also converts the F/stop so the properly corrected F value shows up in the view finder or screen of the camera. The image at right shows the EOS M5 display on the screen when using the 50/1.4 USM and the Viltrox adapter, wide open it is reading at F/1.0.

A couple of important notes about these adapters. The EOS M5 is not programmed to read out F/stops faster than F/1.0. When using a 1.2 lens such as the Canon 85/1.2 L the Viltrox create a 60mm F/0.85 lens. The wide open F/stop will read out as 1.0 due to the limitation of the camera. It will however meter the scene as an F/0.85. Additionally the smallest opening is also wider. So the aforementioned 85 L which has a minimum stop of F/16 now has a minimum of F/11. That’s a very minor concession on a digital camera, but worth noting anyhow.

Below I have some images made with the EOS-M5 and the Viltrox focal reducer. Viltrox does have a USA storefront on Amazon and offers a limited warranty for the products. I will be launching a video review on youtube as well in the next couple of weeks.

EOS M5, Canon USM 50/1.4 and Viltrox FR @F/1.0 400 ISO

EOS M5, Canon 135/2.0 L with Viltrox FR @F/1.4 ISO 800

EOS M5, Canon 28-105 USM with Viltrox @105 F/3.2 ISO 400

EOS M5, Canon USM 50/1.4 with Viltrox FR @F/1.0 3200 ISO

EOS M5, Canon 135/2 L with Viltrox @F/1.4

EOS M5, Canon USM 28-105 with Viltrox @28mm F/2.5 ISO 400

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