Can the Metabones Speed Booster actually improve lens quality?

All images Panasonic G6 + Nikon 85mm f/1.8

Can the Metabones Speed Booster actually improve lens quality? Well my brain was telling me no, how can it? But my eyes were telling me something else. I had decided not to write about it since I thought, its just me. But then I had a look at some other reviews and it seems I wasn't alone with that thought. In this review http://philipbloom.net/2013/01/13/speedbooster/ there is this. 

'An adaptor that turns your current Canon/ Nikon lenses (no EF-S or DX) and makes them faster, wider and better optically.

And this 

'In a nutshell, it makes your lens faster, wider and sharper! Yes, really. Have a look at the film and tests below to judge for yourself.
It really is that good!'

And this

'Does the optical performance of the lens decrease when used with the ‘Speed Booster’? It’s easy to assume it would, as you are all aware that teleconverters adapters basically will magnify the aberrations of the given lens.
The reverse is true for the MetaBones ‘Speed Booster’ as it compresses the image and reduces lens aberration for the given lens. Of course, the adapter is not completely aberration free, but still taking this into account, there is a significant improvement in MTF compared to the given lens used without the ‘Speed Booster’.'

So its not just me then.






The really great thing about the speed booster, and what made me conclude that, yes it can actually improve the performance of my lenses, is the performance at the extremes. I had noticed that both wide open and fully stopped down, I was getting much better results than I would normally expect. See pictures and 100% crops above. Now its very rare that I actually use a lens wide open. Firstly with what I mostly shoot its not what I want and secondly, the results are usually disappointing. Soft, with lots of CA and fringing wide open and just soft when fully stopped down - f/16, f/22 etc.. Again, with the shots I was taking with the speed booster, that's not what I was seeing. Its still the case that the performance of my lenses is better at their 'sweet apertures'  but now I would be perfectly happy to shoot at all apertures. The shot at the top of the page of the horses isn't the sharpest result I can get from my Nikon 85mm f/1.8G (Yes I've bought another one!) but its a significant improvement on what I've previously got from the lens wide open, which is how I shot it. 

So not only the advantages that I've been writing about in previous posts, but this thing improves my lenses as well. Is there no end to this? Is it going to improve my compositional skills and make my images earn more money as well?? I can only hope!!

When the prestigious (!!!)  Soundimageplus camera and lens of the year awards come around at the end of the year (You can hardly wait can you?) I'm creating a special new category, Accessory of the year. The Speed Booster is of course already the winner. It would also probably win the Accessory of the Millennium award if I had one as well. 

Finally via a comments section on a review site I have actually had the opportunity to have a brief internet 'conversation' with Brian Caldwell, the designer of the Speed Booster and I took the opportunity to convey to him just how good I think this is. Its not often (if at all) I get that chance and I was pleased to be able to do that. Its also not often that you can say 'I bought this piece of gear and it improved my photography.' In the case of the Metabones Speed Booster for Nikon lenses on m4/3 cameras, I can say exactly that. 


 


All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.