Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Adapted Lens Comparison

(July, 2019) - Because I only own one Sony lens, I am basically forced to adapt some Canon lenses for use on the Sony body. From everything I've read, the majority opinion is that there is performance degradation with auto-focus when using an adapter and non-native lenses. Because I shoot action sports as well, I was very concerned whether this camera would work for me. Thanks to Bryan Crowe for loaning me his Sigma MC-11 adapter to test with. I was immediately impressed with the responsiveness of the auto-focus system. Honestly, I could not tell that the lens (Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8) was not native. Although I didn't get to test any action, the auto-focus felt nice. Here are some test images with the Sigma MC-11.

Shot with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 

Shot with the Canon EF 80-200mm f/2.8 (Magic Drainpipe)

So a couple of days later, I found a used Metabones Fifth Generation Smart adapter. I was able to pick it up at a significant discount. My initial thought was how could it be that much better than the Sigma MC-11? Again, the Sigma is so good, but somehow the Metabones did feel better. So the next test was to photograph some moving objects. With the Canon EF 70-200mm at 200mm, I locked on to a car driving by. The auto-focus locked on in an instant, and stayed locked while the car moved behind another car. Check out the sequence below (note the driver in the third frame is in-focus through the window of the other car). Amazing!

So the true test was to mount some long glass. I headed down to the Vans US Open of Surfing and setup on the beach with my Canon EF 500mm f/4. I've mentioned to a few people that I am still getting used to the electronic viewfinder. It's different than an optical viewfinder because there is a slight lag and coupled with the blackout while shooting you lose track of your subject. I also wrestled with some of the focus settings because of the previous wave in the foreground. Anyway, at the end of the day I was unsure what my keeper rate would be? As it turns out, just about everything I shot was in perfect focus! Again, amazing! Below is a sample shot.

So here's my synopsis of using adapted lenses with Sony cameras. The performance that you experience is a product of your settings. I spent a lot of time combing through the pages and pages of camera settings. In addition, I tried many different combinations of these settings. Just when I thought I was good, the tracking box was jumping all over the place because it was moving between the previous wave in the foreground. Anyway, I made adjustments on the fly and nailed the focus. I highly recommend either the Sigma MC-11 or the Metabones v.5. They were so close that either would be fine.

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