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Canon developing its own mirrorless speed booster

Metabones-inspired EF-M adaptor will turn a 50mm f/1.4 lens to a 40mm f/1.2

Since the launch of the full-frame mirrorless Canon EOS R (opens in new tab), the camera giant has stated – albeit sheepishly – that it remains committed to its EOS M line of APS-C mirrorless bodies. Current models in the EF-M-mount range include the Canon EOS M50 (opens in new tab) and the Canon EOS M5 (opens in new tab).

While the sentiment has been questioned by many in the industry (see also Panasonic's commitment to Micro Four Thirds), Canon does seem to be hard at work making new developments for the EF-M system – the most recent of which being pretty exciting: a speed booster for EF lenses. 

A speed booster is a converter that reduces both the aperture and the focal length of the attached lens, therefore 'boosting the speed' of your lenses. In the latest Japanese patent (2018-189864) uncovered by Canon News (opens in new tab), Canon cites a 50mm f/1.4 lens converting to a 40mm f/1.2 on the EOS M system.

Canon's speed booster has been patented for the EOS M line, but an EOS R version could follow

Canon's speed booster has been patented for the EOS M line, but an EOS R version could follow

In the initial patent (2018-185393) discovered by Canon News (opens in new tab), Canon makes reference to a US patent by Caldwell Photographic – the company behind Metabones, the leading brand of speed boosters (as pictured at the top of article).

Interestingly, Metabones does not currently produce an EF-M speed booster. While one was recently released by Viltrox (opens in new tab), the idea of an official booster with in-camera support and corrections (as via Canon software such as DPP) is very appealing. 

To further speculate, given Canon's development of adventurous EOS R adapters  including built-in ND filters (which Nikon believes (opens in new tab) to be well patent protected), a speed booster could well be in the pipeline for the full-frame mirrorless system. The prospect of turning the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 into something resembling an f/0.95 lens might further entice users to jump to the EOS R… 

Read more:

Canon EOS M rules Japanese ILC market (opens in new tab)

Canon EOS M50 review (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.