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Old April 11th, 2008, 11:00 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Seattle, Washington
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BIG news from Letus!

I travelled to Portland yesterday to meet up with fellow DVXUser Ryan Walters and also arranged to meet with Letus engineering genius Hien Le. He brought along a prototype of the next generation Letus which he calls the "Ultimate". Preliminary results indicate to me that this is going to be the adapter that kills all other adapters. While I didn't have a chance to really analyze the picture while I was there, I played my test footage on a 50" plasma when I got home and the footage is absolutely breathtaking. I had to actually adjust my brain to understand that I was not looking at footage I shot with my native lens in terms of clarity and my eyes there is no difference in what the adapter can capture and that of the native lens of my camera in terms of perceived resolution. I was able to read small labels on distant trash cans in the street and see details on branches and softness and absolute consistant sharpness from edge to edge. Ryan's resolution chart looked edge to edge sharp to me although I'm sure he will share his own conclusions. Early tests also indicate that the Ultimate has the same ultra-low lightloss as the Extreme at about 1/2 a stop.

This new unit graduates from the vibrating model and enters the world of spinning ground glass which means no pattern appears when the iris is stopped down. The adapter is capable of shutter speeds as high as 1/1000 and beyond while still maintaining a pristine pattern-free picture. This is a huge boon for those of us feeling the limitations of vibrating adapters. The form factor and weight is near identical to the Letus Extreme, with the same easy setup.

Other features include the ability to adjust the back focus with a focussing ring. No more will you need to worry about infinity on the attached lenses being slightly soft. The adjustment makes the stopping point of the attached Nikon or Canon focus ring tack sharp. This also means that accurate measurements can now be taken from the film plane. The film plane itself is clearly indicated with a small drop down bar to easily hook a measuring tape for dead-on repeatable results.

The spinner speed is variable and can be controlled by the user via an LED readout with up and down buttons for faster or slower velocity. This allows you to fine tune the visibility of the glass depending on your shutter speed. Having the abilty to slow the spinner down also saves battery life.

I am a stickler for good bokeh and have harrassed Hien again and again to get it in line with real filmic bokeh devoid of the diffusion look associated with the Extreme adapter. This has been addressed with a new and much improved high quality ground glass. Distant specular highlights displayed a uniform oval pattern when the lens was wide open and the usual blade patterns when the iris was closed down. Very clean and cinematic to my eyes.

The adapter itself is virtually silent. Gone is the "rumble" of the vibrating GG. I wasn't even conscious of the sound while playing back my test footage.

Additional features:
- Flashing yellow light to indicate low battery life
- Built-in flash memory to retain the last spinner speed used
- CCD offset compensation
- Direct power feed from cameras allowing this type of connection

I am not at liberty to post the test footage yet as the adapter still needs to go through a few more revs before it's ready for prime time but, from what I have seen so far, no other adapter will be able to touch this one.

I strongly believe that you get what you pay for and Hien has gone to great pains to create this unit with the best materials and highest quality optics available. This adapter is aimed at professional-level users at $4500, not necessarily competing with lower end units... but shell out that kind of cash and what you are getting is the best of every adapter out there rolled into one.

I do not know the specific release date yet and everything I posted above is everything I know right now. I'm sure you all will have questions but be patient. As more information becomes available, it will be posted.

Watch this space for more news.
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Last edited by Steven Dempsey; April 11th, 2008 at 01:03 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #2
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That's interesting news, but a Letus deal clincher for me would be the relay. Sticking these things on the end of stock lenses is ridiculous. I don't suppose he mentioned the relay did he in your chats and tests?

The price is interesting. It's getting close to p+s, and having to buy an extra relay etc might make me think about finding the extra and going p+s. Maybe I'm alone on that one?

I've read a lot recently of the poor Letus build quality. Hopefully that's been addressed with this new model?
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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I don't know about the relay version because we didn't have a chance to talk about future plans.

The build quality issue you mention was associated with early models of the Letus. The bar was dramatically raised with the Extreme. I haven't heard complaints about quality since then.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #4
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How's Ryan Walters doing? I grew up with the kid!
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Old April 11th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I was about to lament the fact that I just bought a second hand LEX, but then I read the price tag on this new marvel of modern technology. I'm obviously not the target market for this thing anyway.
Sounds impressive, but I'm not sure my specifications are exacting enough to justify the price tag.
I do look forward to a comparison of the Extreme and Ultimate. I'd like to see a head to head.

-Ethan Cooper
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Old April 12th, 2008, 04:58 AM   #6
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some pics of it and of Hien are now on my blog
Philip Bloom
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