March 19th, 2012, 09:37 PM
I've had my HM100U for a couple of months now and am really missing the ability to go tighter or wider than the standard lens.
I've looked at a couple of options from 3rd party companies and I'm leaning towards the Letus Mini35. Biggest reason: I'm planning on adding a DSLR to my toolkit sometime down the line and I'd like to be able to invest in some lenses that I'd be able to use on both cameras.
I've seen some test videos online that have produced some nice results, just wondering if anyone here could share their experience with it.
Thanks in advance!
March 20th, 2012, 09:08 AM
Groundglass based 35mm adaptors have fallen away due to the arrival of 35mm sensor cameras and the digital SLRs which are now HD video capable.
You have described a product as Letus Mini35.
P+S Technik in Munich Germany produced the first modern groundglass 35mm adaptor which matured from the Mini35-300 to Mini35-400 for 1/3" sensor camcorders and the Pro35 for 2/3" sensor camcorders.
Letus products matured to two basic platforms, the Extreme/Elite/Ultimate for large consumer/prosumer camera systems and a Letus35 "Mini" system for smaller palmcorder styles.
Could you identify the Letus model you have and more valid advice may come than I can provide right now.
The old JVC GY-HD*** tape based camera family and the P+S Technik Mini35 were a natural partnership and yielded pleasing images from a relatively compact combined package.
There was a special relay lens made by P+S Technik for the JVC and the package from the outset was probably the most integrated and reliable but also very expensive.
The Letus products and anothers, the Cinevate Brevis, SGPro/SGBlade and Redrock models all evolved from alternative experiments which had their genesis on this very website. By the time full 35mm sensor cameras came along these products had also matured.
All can produce pleasing images with a 35mm filmlike aesthetic to the practical resolution of the JVC GY-HD***system which is natively 1280 x 720. Special relay lenses for the JVC GY-HD*** 3 x CCD prism split imaging system proved a severe challenge for the alternative 35mm manufacturers and had not long matured or development was abandoned when adaptors fell out of favour.
I will find myself in an argument here quite likely. - Users of the current crop of HD video-capable DSLR cameras like the Canon 7D and 5DMk2 count them as superior to groundglass 35mm adapted imaging and so they can be.
A very well managed groundglass relay adaptor coupled to a good video camcorder can yield an equally pleasing video image but requires a lot more time and effort to achieve the comparable result.
With any groundglass relay adaptor system, there are two stages of focus and exposure management which must be maintained very carefully or the outcome can become disappointing very quickly and not always apparently at time of shooting.
There are essentially two imaging systems, the lens/adaptor/groundglass combination which produces an image on a groundglass screen and the camcorder/lens combination which sees and records the groundglass image.
P+S Technik use the definition "non-coherent" to describe this two-stage image path.
Unless you are prepared to committ to buying good fast lenses for either a digital SLR camera or the groundglass adaptor, you may not achieve the value-adding you seek. The 35mm format and the creative depth-of-field work you can achieve does not count for much if your work is often out of focus.
With groundglass 35mm adaptors, the fast lenses are pretty much essential as all adaptors require lens apertures to be f5.6 or wider for best results and the two-stage process eats light. Digital SLR cameras are far more forgiving of slower lenses providing the sharpness of those lenses is good.
That's about as much as I should be commenting ujntil I have more information on exactly what 35mm adaptor you have in hand and what relay lens you intend to use to link it to your camcorder.
March 20th, 2012, 09:16 AM
Examples of how good groundglass adaptor work can be are available in the feature movies :-
"Merantau" - Pro35/Panasonic P2 camera.
"Monsters" - Letus Ultimate/Sony PMW-EX3 camera.
"Kandahar Break" - Pro35/camera unknown to me.
"Dear Wendy" - Pro35/Sony HDCAM.
March 20th, 2012, 09:22 AM
You have probably already been there but if not, have a look at Alternative Imaging Methods posts furthur down the topic list. There is a lot of reading there which might be helpful on groundglass 35mm adaptors.