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Old September 23rd, 2007, 03:59 PM   #1
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The New Letus Extreme and XHA1 First Impressions

I've been working with a pre-release version of the new Letus Extreme for about half and hour so these are very initial impressions and I will write again when I have had a chance to work with it some more.

First impression out of the box is that this is a serious professional piece of equipment. There is nothing about it that looks like the old Letus except for the shape. It feels substantial, and the new black metal alloy finish definitely improves the "coolness factor". The finish on the metal is very nice and compliments my XHA1 very well. Top marks from me for the design.

The battery compartment is awesome compared to what I was used to on the older Letus. The batteries are now concealed in the unit, held in by a magnetic closing door and it looks very sleek. I wonder would it ever shake loose if the Letus got bumped around a bit? Probably not.

Gone is the flimsy little power switch and in its place is a big red button that illuminates when you push it on. This helps the user tremendously to know if it's on and to not leave it on by mistake when packing it away. :)

The Nikons I used fit well on the front ring... I would love to hear that audible click so that I could be reassured that the lens is on there securely but it fits so snug right now, I'm not too worried about that. The hex screw (on my model) to switch the front ring to the Nikon fitting was a bit of a pain. I had to go to the hardware store to get a hex set...I only had a standard one at hand which was way too big. I'm also glad I got the set for adjusting the rotation of the Letus so that the ground glass was straight. The Letus Extreme can be rotated so that the ground glass is properly positioned and then locked with three screws. No more mistaken movement and resulting vignetting. I would advise that the hex wrenches be included with the package or go to thumbscrews or phillips head instead. I realize the purpse for the current small screws is to keep the sleek look but it's the practical use of these screws that is more important.

The Extreme is significantly heavier than the original LetusFE and, even though it is a great fit on the lens threads, I would still highly advise users to utilize a rod system.

Useage:
It took me about 15 minutest to get the Letus Extreme on my camera and fitting properly. The screw adjustments were a little messy but I got used to it pretty fast. I would say to put it on again would take 2 or 3 minutes. It definitely feels a little more complicated to mount than the original LetusFE but for good reason. The extra adjustments necessary make the mounting much more solid and professional so it's an easy trade off for me.

The focus and zoom presets I had for the LetusFE worked the exact same for the Letus Extreme so I didn't need to do any adjustments.

The picture quality is better than the LetusFE but not significantly. This is fine because, in my mind, the latest version of the LetusFE was very, very good. What I notice about the Extreme picture is that it feels more like I'm looking at footage from the native Canon HD lens which is amazing when you think about it. There is no vignetting at all and the sharpness is consistent across the frame to my eyes although, at this stage, I haven't done any critical testing yet.

I have also not really tested the light loss of the unit although it is significantly brighter than the LetusFE. The notion of shooting a room only lit by a dull rainy sky using the LetusFE was never an option but the Extreme is capable of capturing a lot of detail in the same environment and, again, feels more like the native HD lens in terms of perceived resolution.... It's certainly not as bright as the native lens but you need to take into account what the actual attached lens (Nikon f2.8 in this case) is capable of doing. A fast lens will allow an abundance of light for the picture. The new system works with a prism instead of mulitple mirrors and is able to retain more light....very ingenious.

The bokeh is very filmic and lacks that typical circular pattern found in earlier Letus models and other adapters on the market right now. The overall picture is virtually grain free which is as it should be and the color is preserved very well.

The static pattern that was visible in earlier versions of the LetusFE, particularly when shooting bright white objects such as clouds, is all but gone. Some of the specks on the ground glass (I'm assuming that's where they are) is still a little visible when the motor is engaged but it's not a huge deal and it needs more testing on my part.

The motor is not silent, of course, and I would definitely say the low hum would be picked up by the built in microphone. It's not a huge deal because any serious or semi-serious productions shouldn't be relying on the built in mic anyway. Any amateur productions won't be affected by the noise as it is slight.

To say I'm excited about the new Letus Extreme is an understatement. It is a significant leap in the world of affordable adapters. There is simply nothing that can touch it on the market right now. It is unprecedented to find an adapter that flips the image and claims a total loss of 1/2 a stop of light. Like I said, I have not critically tested this claim yet but, based on what I have seen so far, it seems about right. With all of these new features, and an initial cost of only $1200, it seems like it's too good to be true. I can assure you it is true and, as critical and discerning as I am personally about these adapters, it addresses everything I have ever seen as a shortcoming in the original Letus or any other adapter out there right now.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #2
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when you do post footage, please post indoor footage. If you can, compare the Letus FE and The Extreme under the same conditions. ( assuming you still have the FE).
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Old September 24th, 2007, 05:44 AM   #3
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No picture of the rig?

And it's 1200? Did the letus just go from the least expensive to the most(for just the adapter)?
But then again it does flip, the others don't yet...
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Old September 24th, 2007, 07:15 AM   #4
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the website has a shot of the new one - it says the price is a limited intro price - will be going up to 1500 eventually

(probably the upgraded glass needed ran the price up)

http://adapterplace.com/

trish
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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Dempsey View Post
It is unprecedented to find an adapter that flips the image and claims a total loss of 1/2 a stop of light. Like I said, I have not critically tested this claim yet but, based on what I have seen so far, it seems about right.
Please test this... I am very curious to know how accurate that is... If it's true I will get out my credit card today... : )

Also, were you able to notice any improvement in the area that is in focus not being 'sooo' soft...? That was just something that bugged me that it seemed not only did the background and foreground go extremely soft but also the focus plane seemed to go slightly softer and minimizing quality or resolution...

Again, thanks for the review Steven, I would love to see pictures of the rig and some frame grab comparisons between FE and extreme...

EDIT: Also, is their a rod system you would suggest? Cavision Carbon Fiber? What about the Red Rock Micro rod/support system?
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Last edited by Doug Davis; September 24th, 2007 at 11:55 AM.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:26 AM   #6
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Hi Steven,

Thanks for the preliminary report!
I'm still thinking about which adapter to buy and from what I read from you the Letus Extreme made it to my short list ;)
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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #7
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Wow, sounds too good to be true, but I can't wait. Is there going to be a new, revised LetusXL "Extreme" version too? That would be like...HOLY MOLLY RINGWALD! (for XL-H1 users) if it's true.

Thanks for all this informativeness (is that even a word? ...no, it's not)!
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Old September 24th, 2007, 02:59 PM   #8
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great

sounds awesome! Would love to see a comparison between the FE and the extreme!
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Old September 24th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #9
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Press Release...

Somebody needs to let the good old folks over at Letus that they have this great new thing called a "PRESS RELEASE"... Or at the very least a 'coming soon' section on their site... I hadn't heard anything about this new version until today... If I would have known this was coming out I would have held out for it... Fortunately I held out due to indecision....
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Old September 24th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #10
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OKay, haven't had time to do any more real testing yet but wanted you all to know that there is also another new Letus called the "Economy" which is essentially the Extreme in a plastic casing but the same prism technology and light loss for $900
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Old September 24th, 2007, 05:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Dempsey View Post
The motor is not silent, of course, and I would definitely say the low hum would be picked up by the built in microphone. It's not a huge deal because any serious or semi-serious productions shouldn't be relying on the built in mic anyway. Any amateur productions won't be affected by the noise as it is slight.
Thanks for the quick write-up Steve

Is the motor on the Extreme noisier than on the FE?
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Old September 24th, 2007, 06:01 PM   #12
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Both sound great, especially the economy option. Any idea when they'll be available for sale?
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Old September 24th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Dempsey View Post
OKay, haven't had time to do any more real testing yet but wanted you all to know that there is also another new Letus called the "Economy" which is essentially the Extreme in a plastic casing but the same prism technology and light loss for $900
Lighter?!!

New Custom Condenser No :
How much impact does this have?!
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Old September 24th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #14
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Eugene, I believe they're both available now:

http://adapterplace.com/
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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Dempsey View Post
OKay, haven't had time to do any more real testing yet but wanted you all to know that there is also another new Letus called the "Economy" which is essentially the Extreme in a plastic casing but the same prism technology and light loss for $900
Sounds right up my alley! I wonder if it's more prone to break or something though.

Also custom condenser? What's that mean?
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