Using a Metabones Adaptor with the Sony A9
28 July 2017 | Category: Stills
On a recent trip to Northumberland I took the new Sony A9, a few Sony FE lenses and a Metabones adaptor, so I could use my Canon lenses with the A9. One of my key objectives for the trip was to photograph puffins on the Farne Islands.
While you can get very close to puffins on the Farnes Islands, a long lens is still essential. Unfortunately the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens wasn’t available for the trip, but I was able to use the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM II via the Metabones adaptor.
As we approached Staple Island we encountered a herd of seals. It was an overcast day and their grey bodies didn’t offer much in the way of contrast against the rocks or the sea, however, the A9 was still able to focus the lens and I got some sharp images. On a few occasions, I found that I needed to use the manual focus ring to get the subject close to sharp but then the camera would take over and get it crisp. I even managed to get a few sharp images of puffins bobbing about on the water.
Once we reached Staple Island we were greeted by huge numbers of seabirds, including the puffins I was especially keen to photograph, having never seen them before. Although their black and white bodies offered more contrast than the seals I found that when the adaptor was in use the camera still struggled a little to get them sharp and again it needs occasional help from me. Once it was in the right zone, however, it usually got birds on the ground sharp. Shooting them in the air was a different matter. I did manage to get the odd sharp shot, but the focusing wasn't quite fast enough in most situations - something that can’t be said when the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS is mounted!
Switching to faster lenses like the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II produced an increase in the speed of focusing and it was only occasionally necessary to intervene by using the manual focusing ring. However, it still isn’t anywhere near as fast as with a Sony lens mounted directly. It’s also worth noting that the Autofocus options are a bit more restricted as only Wide AF, Centre AF and Flexible Spot AF mode are available.
After checking through my images from the A9 using the Metabones adaptor to mount a Canon lens I’ve been unable to see any increase in vignetting, even when shooting wide open and the detail levels are impressively high. While images of moving subjects are possible, the adaptor is best suited to use with static or slow-moving subjects, it’s an attractive option for landscape, portrait, still life and macro photographers.
Sony is becoming an increasingly important player in the photography market and the launch of the A9 has sent interest through the roof. However, even professional photographers can be put-off by the thought of having to upgrade all their lenses, and there are still some gaps in Sony’s lens range, so an adaptor like the Metabones Canon EF to Sony E Smart Adaptor is an interesting proposition.
Because of the smaller size of the Sony A9 (and A7-series), using the adaptor doesn’t result in a change in the framing of the image and the effective focal length remains the same. Also, the maximum aperture is as stated on the lens.
We stock a wide selection of Metabones adaptors to mount Canon or Nikon lenses and many others - you can see our full range here.