Excitement quickly replaced disappointment a few days ago as I tested the eagerly anticipated Kipon EOS to Micro Four Thirds adapter that promised us fast autofocus performance with Canon lenses on MFT cameras.
I had ordered my copy from China on eBay and got it in the mail Saturday morning. A little later, I mounted my Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II via the adapter on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and headed out to the Hudson to give it a shot. Since the MFT system has plenty of good short glass, what I really want is to be able to use Canon's long lenses on my MFT cameras.
At first, things looked okay. Focus wasn't stellar, but it was acceptable at 400mm with the camera set at single AF and the large or small center point used.
But quickly weird things started happening:
the connection would get lost between shots, even though I made sure never to hold the combo by the camera only, so there was never undue pressure on the camera, adapter or lens mounts; this would be solved by turning the camera off and on or by dismounting and remounting the lens-adapter combo;
focus worked at 100mm and at 400mm, but things got wonky - very wonky - in the middle with the image dancing in the viewfinder as the stabilization system started acting up (I assume), the image getting dark and aperture jumping to f/32 or higher with warnings the ISO was too low; this happened every time I turned the zoom away from 100mm or from 400mm;
it didn't happen on the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I also tried, but with that lens I couldn't focus at all in some cases; on location, after turning the camera on and off, dismounting and remounting all components, AF refused to focus; back home, it worked again, for no apparent reason;
when the AF worked, it was okay in single AF mode, but continuous AF was basically unusable, as the camera could never decide what to focus on, even when trying to focus on stationary objects against a clean background.
Turning the stabilization off on the lenses didn't make a difference. Changing to more focus points didn't make a difference either.
In Lightroom, the metadata read sometimes wrong as well. A shot at 400mm, reads E-M1 + 15mm (EF to M43 100-400mm F4.5-5.6). Not really a biggie, but it tells us something is not communicating correctly with this adapter.
Don't think that the fact that I published four sharp images here warrants buying this adapter. Those images were all shot in single AF mode at either 100mm or 400mm. I have way more unfocused shots in my files and many times the camera couldn't take a picture because the adapter stopped communicating with the lenses or turned everything into mush.
I hesitated with publishing this short review. I had really hoped that this adapter worked. My previous experience with Kipon has been good. There was also the chance that I had a faulty unit.
So, I contacted Kipon in the US and in China to get feedback and to request a loaner, so I could test it again without investing more money into a possibly faulty product.
Kipon USA, which doesn't list a phone number or email address on its site, didn't respond to three attempts for feedback via its website contact form.
Kipon China sent back a scary reply, which includes the following quote: "it’s impossible to use 100% all Canon EF mount lens with this adapter, those non-mainstream EF lens are not fit this adapter, it does not fit your lens even if we send you another adapter."
Mind you, I had by this time sent them the first draft of this article. It clearly states the lenses I used. If those aren't mainstream lenses, I don't know which lenses are.
My adapter is already on its way back to the eBay seller for a refund, so I cannot test it anymore on other lenses. Nor would I be interested to use it with my other Canon lenses, since they're all shorter and I'm pretty much covered with anything up to 420mm by my Olympus lens setup.
I have asked Kipon China for more details about its initial statement, but so far haven't heard anything back. I will update this post if I do get more information. UPDATE June 18: Kipon China said what I understand to mean that they're testing the adapter with various lenses and that they will post more information on their website later.
Please comment on this post if your experience with this adapter differs from mine. Despite Kipon's less than assuring answer, I might have had a faulty copy, so more user reviews are helpful.
For now, I can only advise people to not buy this adapter unless you have a good return policy so you can try it with the lenses you have and send it back if it fails like it did with my gear.
Better still, just wait until someone gets this product right.
By John van Rosendaal