Is the Letus Extreme still best value / performer? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Alternative Imaging Methods

Alternative Imaging Methods
DV Info Net is the birthplace of all 35mm adapters.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 16th, 2008, 06:03 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 627
Is the Letus Extreme still best value / performer?

Hi All.

I've decided to take the plunge on a 35mm adapter and wondered if there was any change in the letus Extreme being generally regarded as the best value / performer for the EX1? I know the Ultimate is out but I don't want to spend that kind of money at the moment.

So, anyone compare the Brevis (with EX1 kit) to the Extreme? What about the SGPro? Is there anything else in a similar price range that I'll kick myself for not looking into before getting the Extreme?

Thanks for any input

Paul.
__________________
Blog: www.pauljoy.com
Company: www.videotrader.co.uk
Paul Joy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 06:20 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Peel,Isle of Man(UK)
Posts: 194
Go for the SGPRO. I've only had mine a couple of weeks,and have no idea what I'm doing yet,but am still getting the 'look' I've always wanted - SGPRO/XHA1/17-40 on Vimeo

AND it's half the price of the Letus
__________________
Canon XH-A1,SGPRO flip,Apple imac,FCExpress
http://www.pbase.com/philkneen
Phil Kay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 06:25 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 627
Lovely imagery Phil, but your using the XH-A1 and I know these adapters struggle with the EX1's lens and larger sensor.

I did a quick search on vimeo for SGPro / EX1 footage and couldn't find much.
__________________
Blog: www.pauljoy.com
Company: www.videotrader.co.uk
Paul Joy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 07:00 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Peel,Isle of Man(UK)
Posts: 194
Cheers Paul. I could be wrong,but I think they've sorted the EX1 problem?....or am I thinking of a different camera?
__________________
Canon XH-A1,SGPRO flip,Apple imac,FCExpress
http://www.pbase.com/philkneen
Phil Kay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Peel,Isle of Man(UK)
Posts: 194
Just had a quick look. There is something on here about the EX1 'fix' Welcome to shoot35!
__________________
Canon XH-A1,SGPRO flip,Apple imac,FCExpress
http://www.pbase.com/philkneen
Phil Kay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 09:22 AM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,435
LEX is a very very good adapter.

However IMHO it is plagued by certain issues.

Engineering: backfocus adjustment is next to impossible to perform, is dangerous for the adapter, but I still was forced to adjust it because it was way off, and I could not focus on infinity.

This issue is supposedly fixed with the new iteration of Letus adapters - Ultimate. They should allow easy backfocus adjustments, along with some other minor improvements - at the cost of $4,500. (not a typo...)

Otherwise the LEX adapter quality is great. Very well built; image is fantastic; ground glass is excellent - sometimes you forget to even turn the motor on, and still can't see the ground glass. No blooming. I use it with Zeiss 100mm macro, and the image is gorgeous.

Note that you will need to shell out additional $350 for the EX1 achromat kit, on top of $1,200 for the LEX itself. If not, image will be very soft towards the edges of the frame - unusable. With the adapter, all is well.

Customer service is very spotty. Posts on their own site's forum mostly go unanswered. You really have to press them to have any kind of response to the support requests. Seems like they really want to get rid of you after the sale is made.

With rails and EX1 kit, you are looking at almost $2K investment with LEX. (Do Not use it without rails - it is way too heavy.)

Given the very good image quality (after you manage to adjust backfocus), I'd probably still recommend it to folks who can afford it, and who is unafraid of spotty customer service and a bit of DIY.
Alex Raskin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 10:01 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 627
I must admit I'm very tempted by the SGPRO, it is literally half the price of the Lutus Extreme, and it's made in the UK so no steep import duty and worries of shipping it back should there be a problem.

The only thing stopping me is that I cannot find any footage shot with an EX1 or reports of it's performance with it.
__________________
Blog: www.pauljoy.com
Company: www.videotrader.co.uk
Paul Joy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 10:15 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,435
Both music videos on our web site, Moby and Haunted, were shot with LEX.
Alex Raskin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 10:46 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 627
Thanks Alex, there are literally hundreds of examples using the LEX and EX1 in the EX1 channel I run on vimeo Sony EX1 Footage on Vimeo but I've only managed to find a single video that uses the SGPRO which is the one now at the top of the channel.

The SGpro seems to have a softer (more filmic) look to it than the ex1/extreme combo, although I'd like to see more examples as this one obviously shows fall off at the edges.
__________________
Blog: www.pauljoy.com
Company: www.videotrader.co.uk
Paul Joy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,435
Surely this is a matter of personal aesthetic preference... and i do not have experience with sgpro... but if you ask me, I definitely would Not go any softer than LEX. You are already losing some resolution in the LEX's (although excellent) ground glass etc.
Alex Raskin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 627
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Raskin View Post
Surely this is a matter of personal aesthetic preference... and i do not have experience with sgpro... but if you ask me, I definitely would Not go any softer than LEX. You are already losing some resolution in the LEX's (although excellent) ground glass etc.
Totally agree that it's down to personal preference. There's something about Phil's video that really grabs me though, not sure if it's the texture / bokeh but there is something kind of more organic about what the SGPRO is doing.
__________________
Blog: www.pauljoy.com
Company: www.videotrader.co.uk
Paul Joy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #12
New Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 20
Hey Paul. You needn't worry about the import duty etc as Creative Video now sells the LEX.

Creative Video > Lenses & Filters > 35mm Film Look adaptors

The LEX also has integrated flip, whereas you need to buy a separate flip module for the SGPro. Adding them together will bring the price up to 800.
Andy Wong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 627
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wong View Post
Hey Paul. You needn't worry about the import duty etc as Creative Video now sells the LEX.
Thanks Andy, I did investigate that but even after shipping, import duty and VAT, CVP's price comes in quite a lot higher than buying direct. They also don't have any stock unless you want to buy a complete kit, which I don't as I'm getting rails from cinevate.

I spent some time checking imports costs with HM Customs yesterday (not a fun process) and they said that duty will be 3.6% of the total cost including shipping with VAT at 17.5% applied to that total.

The Extreme (with EX1 kit and Nikon mount), v2 support bracket and shipping totals $1600. By my calculations that works out around 1,090 all in. The same at CVP would cost me over 1400.
__________________
Blog: www.pauljoy.com
Company: www.videotrader.co.uk
Paul Joy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,684
Paul,

The 2 main ( and I think equal quality) competitors to the Letus Extreme are the Brevis and the SGPro. All 3 have their pluses and minuses, but all 3 are in my opinion quite good. The Brevis was the best in low lowlight and the SG probably the prettiest imager.

Until recently the Letus was the only one that had worked out a good fix for the EX-1's unusual lens. However recently the SGPro announced a new achromat for the EX-1 and also the Brevis announced a new screen that they say works with the EX-1.

I can't speak yet for how good those fixes are. SG is also close to releasing 2 new versions (the "Blade") which sound like they will be significant improvements over their current model.

Alex's remarks about Letus are accurate - especially about backfocus issues though there seems to be an upgraded version of the Extreme available from Zacuto (the "Elite") with improved backfocus control. There is of course there Ultimate for $4500 which is probably the best of the bunch but a lot more money.

All of this indicates a rapidly shifting landscape and some unknowns. probably the most reliable thing if you buy immediately for an Ex-1 might be to spring for the Ultimate or try the Letus "Elite" from Zacuto.

If you are using on another camera though all three are fine.

Leonard Levy
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2008, 11:11 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 627
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
All of this indicates a rapidly shifting landscape and some unknowns. probably the most reliable thing if you buy immediately for an Ex-1 might be to spring for the Ultimate or try the Letus "Elite" from Zacuto.
Thanks Leonard, it certainly is a rapidly shifting landscape. I'd love a Letus Ultimate, but 3,200 seems way over the top to me for a 35mm adapter. I don't know what's inside it but it must be something very precious.

The SGblade sounds very promising and I'm going to keep my eye on that for a while before jumping in. Mind you with a nice 50mm f1.4 nikkor and cinevate rails starring at me waiting to be put together I'm not sure how long I'll be able to hold out :)
__________________
Blog: www.pauljoy.com
Company: www.videotrader.co.uk
Paul Joy is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Alternative Imaging Methods

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:02 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network