Canon EF Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapter

Canon EF Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapter

I took delivery of a Metabones Canon EF Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapter Mark IV the other day. It was supplied by Epic TV but they don’t appear to sell them any more. It was bought as part of a wildlife cameraman rig. I didn’t want to buy a new camera.  The aim is to get a few more miles out of a Panasonic AG AF101.  The Metabones adapter will allow me to fit a Sigma 150-600 mm Sport lens with a Canon EF mount to the camera.

metabones adaptor on old Panasonic AG AF 101
Metabones adaptor on AG AF 101

This is a pretty old camera now.  It does not do 4k or anything higher, and never will.  It is an HD camera pushing out a maximum of 28 Mb per sec. This isn’t about the camera though. I will be using it for my own purposes, and did not want to fork out tens of thousands of pounds on any camera at the moment.  If I had to it would probably be a Sony FS7, but in a month’s time it might be something else. The Panasonic GH4 comes highly recommended too.

Metabones EF to 4/3 rear
Metabones EF to 4/3 rear

The Metabones adapter has eleven electrical contacts as you can see above. The mount of the AG AF101 also has eleven electrical contacts.  The Canon EF mount only has 8 contacts there I assume 3 of the Panasonic contacts are redundant and non-functioning.

Metabones EF to Micro 4/3 adaptor
Metabones EF to Micro 4/3 adaptor

If you have, say, a Lumix lens on the AG AF101, it will twist very slightly in the mount.  The same applies to the Metabones adapter, and I can only imagine that this is inherent in the design of the camera mount.  It’s far from ideal: when you have a zoom with a stiff action the lens will rotate slightly in the mount when you zoom in and out.  You really don’t want that happening.  Happily, with a good baseplate and lens support this twist is entirely eliminated. Ask any wildlife cameraman about this and you will be told how disconcerting it is to have any amount of play or slack in a long lens set up.

Canon EF mount on camera
Metabones adapter between AG AF101 and 1.4x Sigma adapter fitted to Sigma 150-600 mm lens

I had become so used to lenses with manual irises that I had forgotten that Canon EF lenses are controlled electronically. There is no aperture ring.The Metabones Canon EF Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapter Mark IV allows aperture control in two ways with the AG AF101. There is a little toggle lever on the adapter: when you press it downwards the lens stops down and vice versa. On the Panasonic body there is a roller wheel aperture control, and this works also with the adapter in situ.  The strange thing is, that if you have the camera powered up and use the toggle on the adapter it stops the roller wheel on the camera having any effect until you power up again, as if it overrides it permanently until you reboot.  The other odd thing is that neither of the aperture controls work until you power up the camera twice in a row! On first power up there is no indication of aperture control at all and if you usually have aperture displayed in the viewfinder it will not display.  Does the adapter need a small amount of residual power in it on camera boot to enable the aperture controls to work.  I don’t know the answer to that, but for wildlife camera work it is a bit irritating.  That said, this camera will boot up several times more quickly than a Sony F55.

aperture toggle lever
Aperture control toggle lever on adapter

The weird thing is that exactly the same thing applies to the image stabiliser.  The image stabiliser does work with this rig.  Again, for the vast majority of long lens wildlife cameraman work you will have the rig on a hefty tripod (within the bounds of what you can sensibly carry). For that reason a stabiliser can be frowned upon… however, when you’re locked off and it’s blowing a gale it can have its uses.  I can’t wait to try it.  The wind is blowing rather a lot this year.

The Canon EF Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapter Mark IV is a well made little unit.  For what it is I think it is pricey.  You’ll get one for about £300, but there is no glass in them.  It does work, but within this combination it has a couple of interesting quirks that I fail to understand.  I might investigate further, but life’s too short.

Panasonic AG AF 101 mount