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Old January 5th, 2009, 10:09 AM   #31
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Blooms footage is great, but I've seen the similar with Steven Dempsey's XH-A1 footage.
I believe the EX1 is the better camera, but I already own a XH-A1 and it can make the films I want make with ease. If I upgrade, I will do a serious upgrade and move to something like the Scarlet.

I'm leaning towards the Canon EF lenses now. Looks like I can use them on my 40D, 5DII, Letus and hopefully the Scarlet one day.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 12:40 PM   #32
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Scott,

EF lenses are right a pain to use for video right now, I for the life of me don't see why you would choose that route! I have several Canon L lenses and don't touch them for video work. It seems like your determined to make it hard for yourself.

I've owned the XH-A1 and EX-1 (and 5DmkII), the EX-1 really produces a much better image than the XH-A1, honest.

If you are going Scarlet at some point in the future why not go for the EX-1 + extreme now? seeing as you are going to ditch the Letus anyway? how is that cost effective? surely better to lose on the XH-A1 now rather than a Letus Ultimate later?

Dan
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Old January 5th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Gold View Post
Blooms footage is great, but I've seen the similar with Steven Dempsey's XH-A1 footage.
I believe the EX1 is the better camera, but I already own a XH-A1 and it can make the films I want make with ease. If I upgrade, I will do a serious upgrade and move to something like the Scarlet.

I'm leaning towards the Canon EF lenses now. Looks like I can use them on my 40D, 5DII, Letus and hopefully the Scarlet one day.
You will then need to carry a DSLR with you when you shoot with the Letus in order to make any aperture changes. A real pain in the....
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Old January 8th, 2009, 02:00 PM   #34
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Scott, the question isn't if you upgrade, but when ; )

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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
You will then need to carry a DSLR with you when you shoot with the Letus in order to make any aperture changes. A real pain in the....
I agree...the good thing is that in most situations (at least with me) I just "set it and forget it." But as David said, I wouldn't recommend it...

All in all, as with Dan and David, it solely depends on your preferences and requirements (you never get tired of hearing that eh..) So I will just tell you what I would do. If I planned on having a nice collection of lenses, I would go with ones that will be interchangeable to each product. If I was only going to have say one nice prime and one nice zoom lens (for each product), I would get Nikon for the DOF adapter...and whatever nice Canon glass you want for the MkII.

JS
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #35
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It really depends on your output type, if you are only ever going to output 30p to computer or web the you really could use the 5dmKII as your primary camera. If on the other hand you are working for TV broadcasters then an EX with its variable frame rates makes a lot more sense. If you are going to make a film it is very much in the balance.

[..] But if I had to choose only one it would have to be the 5dmkII.Dan
Apologies in advance if you weren't suggesting the 5DmkII as a replacement set camera...

But Dan, I'm sorry - no one is going to take you seriously as a filmmaker rigging up your 5DMKII on set. Sure, it's a cool SLR, takes great shots and 12 minutes is more than enough for most takes in any film... But a film set camera it isn't for the simple reason it has limited functionality and is impractical. Although it would make a pretty sight fitting a matte box on the end of it...

When I upgrade, it will probably be to the Scarlet, but realistically I'm looking at 2010.

For now, think I'll stick to my XH A1 + Letus Elite!

Chris

Last edited by Christopher Warwick; January 15th, 2009 at 04:33 PM. Reason: typo fix
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #36
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I think you said it best Christopher, I'll upgrade in 2010 or 2011. For now, I'm sticking with a proven setup that will get my movie made, the XH-A1 and Letus. When I sell my XH-A1 and Letus a few years from now I'll still be able to get a pretty penny for it, I just sold my bare GL2 last year for $1,300.

However, I will still be buying a 5DII this year for the photography side of things and will definitely be playing with it's video features.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Scott Gold View Post
For now, I'm sticking with a proven setup that will get my movie made, the XH-A1 and Letus.
Well Scott, I don't quite understand why you are being advised to sell your XH A1 to buy an EX-1. I'm quite sure you, like myself and other proud XH A1 owners have done extensive research before finally deciding on the A1. Boffins could argue for endless hours about what picture grade looks better between all the high-end prosumer cameras.

At the end of the day, the A1 is an excellent and successful camera and in the right hands can produce superb results. The addition of a Letus adapter can only improve that result.

Back the the original question, I've toyed with the exact same dilemma. It's difficult to know (beforehand) whether back focus on the Elite over the Extreme is necessary or worth the extra $$$. I've made the personal decision, only through reading what pros like Philip Bloom (for example) had remarked having extensively used the various Letus flavours, that in this case, it is worth the extra bucks. See here: Philip Bloom Blog Archive My favourite things… (that's an brilliant page by Philip)

Of course I would love the Ultimate and let me tell you I have been sorely tempted, but at nearly $5000, three times more than the Elite, and one third of my total budget for equipment, after much thought I've had to regrettably discount it for now. I could use that money on other equipment that will make a real difference to the end result.

Remember that like any film production, content is key. If your content is good, no one is going to give a rats arse about a picture grade difference the likes of an EX-1 vs XH A1. It just isn't worth considering.

Buckle down, choose the Letus that's right for you and concentrate on the production ahead. Wish I could help you choose, but I'm in the same boat as you!

Good luck,

Chris
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #38
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Didn't know about that Philp Bloom favorite gear page. Thanks so much Chris!
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Old January 18th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #39
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I'm not going to waste too much more time here but I'm certainly not the only one thinking that DSLR's are a perfectly useable film makers camera. Zacuto's Great Camera Shootout '08 on Vimeo

If Zacuto are prepared to make and market this DSLR Filmmaker Baseplate Kit-Zacuto

and Red Rock Micro this Redrock for video DSLRs

And both these companies make or sell 35mm adapters, Zacuto being main Letus dealers.

Yes there are plenty of issues with a 5dmkII or whatever next new DSLR camera Nikon and Canon bring out but how it 'looks' on set is not one of them. You can look perfectly serious on set with a DSLR. They do have limited functionality and I'm not suggesting they could be used in every feature environment, but like every other cinema tool it CAN have its place. One major advantage for many documentary feature films is that the 5DmkII's low light capabilities pretty much beat anything else out there including F35s , Reds, EX-3's and any HDV camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Warwick View Post
Well Scott, I don't quite understand why you are being advised to sell your XH A1 to buy an EX-1. I'm quite sure you, like myself and other proud XH A1 owners have done extensive research before finally deciding on the A1. Boffins could argue for endless hours about what picture grade looks better between all the high-end prosumer cameras.

At the end of the day, the A1 is an excellent and successful camera and in the right hands can produce superb results. The addition of a Letus adapter can only improve that result.
Because having owned and used XH-A1, Sony EX-1 and 3's I can tell you that the Sony is a far superior tool for adapter work, honest. For starters you can actually get away without using an external monitor, which if you are budget limited is a very good thing. The EX's LCD focus magnification and peaking functions are as good as it gets, especially with a Hoodsock added. Just look at how Phil Bloom works with his EX-1 and Letus to see that in action. The XH-A1 by comparison has a very average LCD that on its own is pretty much impossible to get focus with using an adapter, so you have to add the cost and weight of an Ikan, Marshall, Manhattan or whatever HD monitor for starters plus relevant mounting gear.

Also the XH-A1 can't compete with the EX low light performance, depending on what sort of features you shoot this can be critical when using an adapter. If you only ever shoot in lit studio environments then I would agree there is very little to choose between XH-A1 and EX footage, but many filmmakers have a wide degree of lighting sitations to cope with and for that the EX's are just better. This is where the higher bitrate of the Sony EX codec really helps over HDV too, it rocks in low light.

In many real world environments the difference between the XH-A1 and EX-1 image quality really is evident, not night and day but I would imagine far greater than the difference between Letus Elite and Ulitmate to your final image quality.

I was trying to point out that on a limited budget trading in an XH-A1 for EX-1 + Letus Elite would be a better option than spending roughly the same amount of money on keeping the XH-A1 and buying a Letus Ultimate + good external HD monitor. This is obviously only an opinion but maybe you should try directly asking those with more knowledge like Phil what he would do in the same situation.

Dan
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Old January 19th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #40
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Dan, you are right.
After careful research, I've discovered that the XH-A1 is an inferior camera to the EX-1 and EX-3. Tomorrow I will commit an honor suicide as I cannot go on living with with the XH-A1.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 02:31 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Scott Gold View Post
Hey everyone, I'm buying a Letus for my XH-A1 and I'd like to know what you think.

1. Do you think the Ultimate is worth the extra moola$$$????
2. How about the Elite, is that back focus adjustment worth the $$$ as well?
3. What lenses would you recommend? I current own a Canon SLR and noticed my lenses don't have manual aperture adjustments :( that was a bummer finding out.
4. Feel free to throw in any other suggestions for a 35mm adapter noobie.

Thanks!
Scott from your note of sarcasm I guess you weren't really serious about points 1 and 4. If you weren't considering the Ultimate I wouldn't be suggesting a Sony EX alternative, the XH-A1 is a fine camera and mated with a Letus Elite is a good value combination. It's just that the EX is a better adapter use camera IMHO. I don't think I'm alone in thinking this. Obviously money no object a Sony EX + Ultimate is the way to go (or RED), but from what you've been saying money counts.

Anyway if you really don't believe me then perhaps you should take a closer look at Phil's older stuff with the EX-1 and Extreme (basically same quality as you would get with the Elite) and then Steven Dempsey's with the XH-A1 and Ultimate. I know which I prefer the look of but each to their own.

The Letus Extreme By Philip Bloom On ExposureRoom
New Letus Ultimate Footage on Vimeo
Snow Day on Vimeo
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Old January 19th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #42
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Dan, this thread has been very helpful. I've gotten all my questions answered despite your manifesto on the EX-1 and EX-3.

I appreciate your expertise.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #43
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Dan,
Excellent information. As someone who owns a Canon H1, A1 and Letus Extreme. I was really impressed by the quality of the EX1 and letus extreme on the Phil Bloom link. If the EX is much better in low light ( not to mention the beautifull image) it would be tempting. One of the most frustrating things about 35mm adaptor shooting (at least with the H1 and A1) is the need for so much light on indoor shoots. If I had the business revnue to justify it, I'd consider selling my Canon gear and getting a couple of Ex1's. But then again, I shot wedding for a company this week end and they wanted sd in 4:3!
I love the look of the Letus, and take any chance I get to us it.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 02:47 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Dan Chung View Post
Anyway if you really don't believe me then perhaps you should take a closer look at Phil's older stuff with the EX-1 and Extreme (basically same quality as you would get with the Elite) and then Steven Dempsey's with the XH-A1 and Ultimate. I know which I prefer the look of but each to their own.
Hi Dan,

Sarcasm or joking aside, I don't think anyone wants to dispute your claims over the EX-1. Perhaps it does have slightly better picture quality and have a slight advantage in terms of low-light conditions.

I think the point I'm trying to make is, why should a guy who has done his research, invested in a more-than-amicable Canon XH-A1, suddenly sell the thing and find an EX-1 to buy in its stead? Let's say for argument's sake, the EX-1 is slightly better... Both cameras are similar in terms of picture quality and a slight differential doesn't justify the sale of one to invest in another (in my opinion). He already has the A1, he should stick with it and worry about more important stuff!

Now if you were suggesting an A1 sale in favour of, say, a Scarlett, for example, that might be worth a damn!

I have the A1 and I'm personally very happy with it, the only thing I miss is the ability to shoot faster frames for true slow motion... Having said that, Twixtor has helped me out where I needed that effect.

When I upgrade, it will likely be to the Scarlett, but I'll wait and see what happens in the meantime!


Chris
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Old January 19th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #45
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Good points, Chris. I'll be keeping mu Canons until-
1- Something unbelievable comes along, and also
2- I have the business to justify a gear upgrade.
In the meantime, I'll be happy I have what I have.
Bruce S. yarock
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