can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S 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 April 18th, 2013, 04:35 AM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 17
can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S

I still have an XH-A1S, and was wondering if I can still buy a Letus 35mm adapter and some lenses?

some questions :

1) what type of Letus 35mm adapter works best with the XH-A1S?

2) how heavy is it? and can it be used with the camera on shoulder mount? and do the rails get in the way?

3) are fixed lenses easier to work with than zoom lenses?

4) what lenses would you recommend to use for an outdoor film shoot? requiring DOF and sometimes wide angle....also action shots with movement

5) what manufacturer of lenses would you recommend?


I cant find anyone in Vancouver that rents out the Letus with lenses anymore, so I may have to buy one.

Thanks in advance!
Ravi Kumar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18th, 2013, 12:58 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,356
Re: can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S

It looks like Letus is stll selling down their inventory of 35mm adaptors here :-

Letus 35mm Adapters :: Letus Adapters - LetusDirect - Letus HDSLR, 35mm adapters, lenses, and camera accessories

You can also find them on eBay. Take care though. There are two of the older generation Letus35 adaptors being passed off as Letus Extreme. They can be identified as Letus35 by the external battery packs wich attached to the case and had a pair of exposed power wires.

The cases were also machined out of Delrin plastic and were still "a work in progress" which had matured by the time the Extreme/Elite/Ultimate came along.

If you can get one cheaply enough, there's nothing wrong with trying one. The consensus these days seems to be go with spending the money on a digital SLR or the newer 35mm sensor video cameras.

Blackmagic are giving the scene a bit of a shake-up that even the Kinefinity S35/S35 Mini offerings from China ( Alexa/Scarlett lookalikes ) cannot match for claimed price/performance.

I still think the 35mm groundglass relay is a worthwhile image aesthetic even now but I biased in this respect. As a practical concern, the system has to be micromanaged obsessively to gain consistent results. You need to value-add with good lighting more often as your camera ISO becomes de-rated by up to 1.5 stops, depending on the 35mm adaptor used.

You also need good stills lenses in the ballpark of f1.4 aperture. Those are starting to become a bit overpriced with all the RED/Scarlet/NEX and other 35mm sensor camera owners chasing good 35mm stills glass.

I shot this behind-the-scenes extract on a home-made AGUS35/Sony HVR-Z1 combination using Nikon f1.4 lenses.

Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18th, 2013, 01:41 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,356
Re: can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S

1) what type of Letus 35mm adapter works best with the XH-A1S?

As mentioned above, the older Letus35 adapters in black delrin were not mature products. I am not familiar with the XH-AIS so I cannot advise if the Letus Extreme/Elite/Ultimate family or the Letus "Mini" is the best for you. Hopefully someone else will add their comment.

If you buy used, check if the Letus has the relay lens ( diopter ) for the Sony EX1 or EX3. This optic compensated for a corner softness issue which was discovered when offered up to the 1/2" sensor optics of these cameras. This optic will work on most other 1/3" sensor cameras but there may be unacceptable corner softness in the image. You may be better off with a Letus for 1/3" sensor type cameras.

2) how heavy is it? and can it be used with the camera on shoulder mount? and do the rails get in the way?

The whole assembly including rails is quite heavy. You will experience difficulty in viewing the LCD and comfortably shoulder-holding the rig. There are eyepiece loupes available for converting a side LCD screen into a side-viewfinder. A favourite for a while was the "sock-loupe" which required a little bit of added work to get it to function ideally. I use one with the Letus Extreme/EX1. The rig then has a nicer balance as you do no longer have to hold it out forward so your eye can focus on the LCD panel.

3) are fixed lenses easier to work with than zoom lenses?

Fixed or prime lenses are harder to work with but generally will give you a better image than a zoom on a Letus or other groundlgass based 35mm adaptor system. Prime lenses are good in that they force you to make a decision to position the camera versus just taking the easier path of reframing with the zoom and using an inappropriate focal length or field of view for what you intend to convey creatively.

4) what lenses would you recommend to use for an outdoor film shoot? requiring DOF and sometimes wide angle....also action shots with movement.

Action is going to give you a biggest headache. It is a heavier rig to run about with. You need deeper depths-of-field to stay safe for sharpness and a fairly diligent management of focus.

My personal preference would be for a basic 35mm set :-

85mm f1.4 (f1.8 is adequate). This is a telephoto view, a nice portrait look for dialog close-ups.
50mm f1.4 or even f1.2. This is normal to slightly telephoto view depending on the adaptor.
35mm f1.4. This is normal view to slightly wide depending on the adaptor.

Additionals :-

28mm f1.8. This is a moderately wideangle view.
20mm f1.8. This is a wider view. Corner stretch may become apparent. *
14mm f2.8. This is an ultrawide view. Corner stretch will be apparent. * May vignette.

5) what manufacturer of lenses would you recommend?

My personal favourites are older metal-barrelled AIS Nikons as they seem less prone to image shift during focus movements. Some older AI or non-AI lenses may not fit the newer Nikon mounts although the Letus mount was fine. Canon EOS and older FD lenses are favoured by others.

The lenses I refer to above which have * at the end of the sentence are Sigma. They tend to loose sharpness and contrast a bit with wider iris settings. My personal preference is to use them at f3.5-f4 and add light if necessary to avoid going wider with the iris. I also prefer to use the other lenses at f3.5-f4 also.

This would seem to be a contradiction when the lenses are capable of f1.4. The faster lenses will likely have their sweet spot closer to f3.4-f4. Most may hit their sweet spot at f5.6 which is the limit you reach with groundglass adaptors. Apertures f5.6 to f16 will inevitably introduce groundglass artifacts which can get ugly. Using a f3.5 lens at f3.5 will yield an inferior result.

The signature of newby 35mm camera or groundglass 35mm adaptor users is their resort to extremely shallow depths-of-field and its associated focus hunting behaviour because they can, not because they should.

Last edited by Bob Hart; April 18th, 2013 at 01:47 PM. Reason: error
Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 18th, 2013, 02:03 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,356
Re: can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S

I am starting to drift out of my competence to comment as proper camerman and DPs have better form to advise you.

For action sequences.

Wides and let the players do most if not all of the moving. Focus will also be easier to maintain with the wide lenses when there is movement towards and away from the camera. Wides also confer an effect of increased speed of movement towards or away from the camera. Agile camera pursuits down alleyways are cooler as wide shots.

Getting in really close at headheight among the combatants with a wide lens also confers a sense of immediacy for the viewer but may lose the combatants some knuckle skin on camera hardware and shove a viewfinder loupe into the back of your skull through your eyesocket.

The longer lenses can be used for getting close for short key events such as a kick or fist in the guts or an exchange of punches and blocks. An agile action sequence may take your view out of the permitted areas in your location as you track the moves. The soft-focussed background in a long lens view will often save those shots as the devil will not be visible in the detail.

Using a longer lens to confer a soft background also helps bury judder of background objects in lateral camera moves when tracking action.

I'll leave it to the people who know what they are talking about to advise you furthur in this respect.
Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 20th, 2013, 09:18 AM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 17
Re: can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S

Thank you so much Bob Hart for taking the time to write such an informative reply!
Ravi Kumar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2013, 06:12 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ferrisburgh, VT
Posts: 178
Re: can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S

Well, I have a Letus ultimate that I could sell to you. I use it now with a JVC and relay lens, but it should fit on to the face of your canon without the relay attached. I shot this:
using both the Letus and a Mark-II.
Finn Yarbrough is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 16th, 2013, 08:45 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 513
Re: can I still buy a Letus for my XH-A1S

Ravi - if you're still looking for the Letus and need shallow depth of field, you may want to think about the economics of buying a Letus adapter for at least $350 - plus lenses - versus something like a $650 CDN Canon EOS M kit that includes a couple of lenses.

Here is what this little camera can do:





Cheers,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
Bill Bruner 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 08:01 AM.


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