Yet... Another Letus35(a) review. LONG, but informative, I think... at DVinfo.net

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Old October 23rd, 2005, 01:11 PM   #1
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Yet... Another Letus35(a) review. LONG, but informative, I think...

Yes... another Letus35 review... the 35a.

First off, like everyone else has previously uttered, Quyen Le is the best at customer service - the BEST. E-mailing him is almost like instant messaging, and he is very accomodating.

The design itself is where I had my qualms and problems. Very solid yes, but one of the main problems was the screw mount that attaches on to the camera. I own a DVX100a, and I had a 72-58 step down (two actually - 72-67, 67-58). Problem was, the only thing that is holding the screw mount that is on the adapter is only held by one screw, and everytime I tightened it, it slightly popped it out: causing the adapter to have a very slight downward angle. This caused the top of the vibrating thingy in the adapter to be seen in my image.

Another thing is the lens mount. I had a canon lens mount. The problem is that it's PLASTIC. You really have to wedge the lenses in. But I'm sure using the plastic mount is the factor in why the Letus35 is so much cheaper than the M2. If you can Quyen, if the price doesn't go up too much, use metal mounts.

I had a relatively easy time aligning it with my camera, and I recommend putting on the step down rings onto the adapter first, then just screw the whole thing onto the camera.

One other problem I had, probably only applying to DVX users, is that you will always accidentally nudge the sensitive focus ring and sometimes the zoom ring. you have to make sure that it's set on the exact number (mine was Z73 F12)

I couldn't zoom in enough for the bottom and top to be out of the shot. The only way (shooting in fullscreen 4x3) is to zoom in to around z85-90. But you can't focus on the screen when you are zoomed in that much: everything is just blurred. So I had to shoot letterboxed to get rid of the bottom of the vibrating mechanism and out of the shot.
Any way to fix this Quyen? Any other DVX/letus35a users have this problem?

While shooting, the problems I had was the image flip and remembering turn the motor on each time. First, the image flip... I tried the magnet trick on my DVX, and it worked. However, taping it on and having it stay there was a hassle. It kept falling off or moving slightly, and the image would flip back upside down while I was shooting. I eventually found a powerful enough magnet that would just stick to the LCD without any tape - fixed! Yay... Hope it doesn't screw up my camera! Any insight on this?

Second, the motor... I had a tendency to forget to turn the motor on, mainly because I only had the batteries that were in the adapter. I didn't want them to die on me while shooting. Next time I will definately carry spares. But if you don't turn it on, it'll mess everything up. (although, some shots were still usable, as the grain isn't too noticeable)
Quyen: do you know how long rechargeable batteries last on the adapter?
Anyways, this probably shouldn't be a problem for most other people. I'm pretty forgetful...

Another problem people have been having was dust in the adapter. I found a couple specks on the ground glass, and simply just blew it out with compressed air. There are no specks that I can see when the motor is on. I may have just been lucky, as many have had problems with dust appearing on the image.

After this, however... the image is BEAUTIFUL. From what I've seen shooting some footage, this adapter equals the G35 (image wise only, maybe not design wise), and doesn't exhibit the massive amounts of ghosting many of the M2 users have had problems with (also, sans bulkiness of the rod system and big ass box). (Although, don't quote me on this, as I have never used the M2 or G35... only basing this on the footage I've seen online and the footage I shot. From what I hear, the M2 is very solid, but I wasn't impressed with the images)

Everything with the Letus35 is crisp, clean, no colour abberations, the images and colours were sexy. I only noticed a 1 to maybe 1.5 stop light loss, which is not a lot. I was shooting f16 on a cloudy day (in vancouver) with my DVX.

As a final note, this adapter is definately the best out there (in my opinion). I know Quyen is still modifying the adapter to make it better, so I would wait until he is satisfied. But for the price, it is incredible. It's a fun toy and it gives you practice in choosing propers lenses for certain situations and forces you to dolly instead of using zoom, which is good. Prepares the budding filmmaker just a little more for professional scenarios in the future. I also think this adapter increases production value instantly, as it literally looks like film (along with 24p).

Finito.

I will post footage and images today or tomorrow. I'm shooting some more stuff today.

Now... back to midterms and essays! :(
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 03:15 PM   #2
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I had trouble focusing with my DVX100 (non-A model) also. The distance between the DVX lens and the focusing screen seems just a little out of reach as far as focus goes. I was getting the vibrating edge of the focusing screen on the sides.

The design of the adapter itself is brilliant. It combines the moving focusing screen element of most adapters (the idea of vibrating is a better idea than spinning IMHO) with the run and gun ability of the G35. I think when Quyen finalizes his design it will be something quite special.

I've used the adapter on my Panasonic GS400 and it works great. In Pro-Cinema mode the footage is amazing. The DVX footage when properly cropped looks even better. Couldn't get a proper macro focus with a GL1 I borrowed, this is an issue with the GL1, not the adapter. Hooked it up to a Sony Digital8 camera, but got weird ghosting from the grain on focusing screen, probably due to the small single chip.

On a side note: Any begining filmakers should consider the GS400, with a Letus35, and a Rode Videomic as a set up. I recommend Nikon MF lenses (24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm)
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 03:22 PM   #3
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Well, to answer some of your questions :

1) The new Macro/achromat on the Letus35a should have solved this problem of not being able to zoom in enough, I believe - maybe you didn't get the letus35a? Only Quyen can answer that.

2) the magnet is an old trick and one used by loads of people including myself. The magnet is sooo small and doesn't have much strength to it, so I think your tapes are safe. I remember when I wanted to give a bunch of floppy disks to charity and someone suggested running a magnet over then, even a really strong magnet that I had around the house didn't do the trick, you need a strong one like that have in video production house to bulk erase Beta tapes.

3) You are never going to fix the flipping problem so my suggestion is just get used to it. I have only a six month period of making my own adapter (or use the magnet). Without an expensive prism to fix this, upside down is the way to go.

4) The fact that you can't tell if the motor is on is a good thing for a noiseless system. A light would be a LED good idea and I am sure Quyen will be incorporating it in the next issue of his device.


Tony, does the Nikon MF series work with the mount on the Letus35? I thought it was on the Canon FD mounts...
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 03:24 PM   #4
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How noisy is the Letus35a?
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 04:19 PM   #5
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What is the new achromat that's being used? I'm very curious since I'm looking for a good achromat myself.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 06:38 PM   #6
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I believe the newest update to the Letus35 was the replaced transiter to make the motor go faster and a stronger, better achromat, but that is something that Quyen would be able to give you in more detail.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 06:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandy Leo
Tony, does the Nikon MF series work with the mount on the Letus35? I thought it was on the Canon FD mounts...
Yup, you can get a Nikon mount for the Letus35. You could technically use Nikon Auto Focus lenses also, but I believe you would be stuck at the wideest apeture opening.

Nikon has had the same mount since the early 1960's I believe. Thats why I opted for a Nikon mount. Also, I've always had a fondness for Nikon SLR lenses.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 07:33 PM   #8
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Lloyd Choi,

Use 1 step down ring will solve the problem of focusing. Also it will increase the stability of your system, thanks.

Matthew Wauhkonen

Any achromat with 46mm or bigger diameter and about 80-190 fl is good. Anchor Optics has many of them, thanks.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 07:49 PM   #9
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Tony : I am having a heck of a time findind a 1.4 FD lens for a decent price, I
guess I will try the Nikon mounts - is it the MF series?

Quyen : Was I correct in my assumption of the new features of the Letus35a?
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 08:15 PM   #10
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MF just stands for manual focus. Any Nikon manual focus lens should work.

I've got a few e-series lenses, and a couple of Nikkors. The Nikkors are nice. Basically any Manual Focus Nikon made after 1960 should work. You can find alot of these older lenses for a good price.Try ebay. Also, try looking on www.adorama.com and www.keh.com. Again stay away from any auto focus lenses (too expensive anyway)

Vivitar and Sigma both made manual focus lenses for Nikon.

Here is a nomenclature of all the nikon lenses:

http://www.cs.yorku.ca/~oz/nikon/nom...menclature.htm
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 11:22 PM   #11
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Leo Mandy,

If your unit has Canon FD mount, it should only work for Canon FD or FL lenses. Only the unit that configured for Nikon AI mount works for Nikon AI and newer Nikon lenses. The Letus35A has the resistor removed and a better achromat.

Emiel Labree

The Letus35a is a little noisier than the first Letus35 because of the resistor has been removed but still quiet enough for you to forget to turn it on.

Lloyd Choi

I believe good rechargable batteries can hold the charge enough for 2-3 8 hour days. I sometimes forget to turn mine off and found it still runs the next morning. I remember in 1 of my post post that I have mine runs for 15 hours straight to test the motor. Different batteries will have different properties, so don't count on what I am saying here, test it for yourself.

Thanks.

Quyen
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Old October 24th, 2005, 02:20 AM   #12
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Quyen,
Did you ever shoot a resolution chart with Letus (and I missed the post?)
Could you take a frame from HD footage and post it please?
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Old October 24th, 2005, 02:44 AM   #13
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Do you know where to get those charts?

Thanks.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 02:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quyen Le
Leo Mandy,

If your unit has Canon FD mount, it should only work for Canon FD or FL lenses.
Yeah, don't try to put Nikon lenses on a Letus35 with a Canon mount. You will need a new adapter...or at the very least a new mount for the adapter.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 08:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quyen Le
Do you know where to get those charts?
http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/respat/
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