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All about using the Canon 1D X, 6D, 5D Mk. IV / Mk. III / Mk. II D-SLR for 4K and HD video recording.


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Old February 19th, 2010, 07:36 AM   #1
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Thinking of Selling Letus Ultimate

With all of the excitement I have seen about the Canon 5dMKII, I am considering selling my Letus Ultimate package I bought a couple of months ago to get the Canon. Wife says the only way you can buy this is if you sell that. I thought she was pointing to the dog, but was mistaken! At any rate, I do like the Letus and it works very well on my EX-1. As I am almost 60, I am thinking also of lugging the equipment around and the Canon is looking much better to me if for no other reason the weight difference. Just wanted to get some feedback from you all as to the pros and cons here. I don't want to sell the Letus package and be unhappy with the Canon and I don't want to wait too long if I decide to sell the Letus and lose a great deal of money on it. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Thanks,
Phil
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Old February 19th, 2010, 08:15 AM   #2
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At this point, the EX1 is a far better video camera than any dslr.

In my opinion the 5DmkII or 7D are fantastic tools when the conditions are right.

My two biggest complaints of the Canons are:

The very bad codec and aliasing in sharp shots with lots of detail and horizontal lines (certain shots are just unacceptable). Under the right conditions, lots of the same color like sky or lots of out of focus the codec is OK.

Ergonomics, they just are not video cameras.

I think the Canons are fantastic in low light, and the SDOF is fantastic. The lens selection very inexpensive, I have several $1,500.00+ Canon L's, but even the $400.00 50 f1.4 is great. These are cheap compared to good 2/3" glass. And much better than the EX1 lens. The wide angle choices are really great as well.

I view the DSLR's for video as tools like jib, dolly or Letus. I would never make a camera like these my only video cam. But they are a very important part of my kit, and they have enhanced my shooting repertoire.

And they are really inexpensive, plus they are some of the best still cameras around.

I would consider selling the Letus and getting a 7D or 5DmkII. Price wise they are similar.

Why not rent one with a few lenses and shoot for a weekend and then decide.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #3
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Thanks, Olof

This is the kind of feedback I need. I am not selling the EX-1. I love the camera, but the purpose of going with the Letus is the DOF features it brings to the EX-1. I though the Canon might be used for certain shots and be an adjunct to the EX-1 certainly not a replacement.
Phil
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Old February 19th, 2010, 11:15 AM   #4
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Phil:

There are issues with the 5D just as with the Letus. I am 59, and I had shot with 35mm adapters in the past. Even built one or two of my own. The 5D brings you a whole new world. And if you build a proper kit, and learn to shoot around its issues, you may find youself going to it as you primary camera for most applications.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #5
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One more thing to consider, slipped my mind. Audio.

The built in audio in the DSLR's is really only good for scratch. You need an external recorder, for serious work.

I do want to reemphasize I love these Canons, but they are primarily still cameras. They fit in my kit instead of Letus or similar SDOF adaptors.

But with my style of shooting they can never be the primary cameras. I feel the same way about the REDs.

That is not to say that they are not the perfect primary cameras for some shooters, it is a personal style and preference choice.

I think it is wonderful that we have all these tools at our disposals. Gone are the days of $100,000.00 Betacams, with nowhere near the quality of todays sub $10,000.00 rigs. Or the expense and hazzles of film.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 02:52 PM   #6
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After shooting with the 5D mkII for just a couple days I sold my Letus and have not missed it at all. It made great images but at the cost of long setup times and a lot of fiddling around, not to mention it was as big as a bazooka.
The 5D is not a video camera, but it does allow you to create some amazing video, and frees up your creativity in surprising ways.
It might be like comparing a VW bus (the Letus) to a Mazda Miata (the 5D), they'll both get you around but neither will work when what you really need is a moving van.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #7
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As long as you keep the EX1, I would sell the Letus in a heartbeat. I never put much stock into those.

But, as others have said, I think you'll find the EX1 helpful (depending on what you shoot) in the future.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 05:05 PM   #8
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Thanks Everyone

I agree with all you have written here. I paid like $5k for the Letus package and it is only 3 months old. I understand the Canon is not a replacement, but I figure if I used it for interviews and SDOF projects and kept the EX-1 doing what it does, I would have a nice array of tools to work with. I would like to ask where the Letus was sold, i.e. eBay, one of the forums?

Thanks,

Phil
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Old February 20th, 2010, 11:25 PM   #9
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Phil,

It would help if you told us what you are shooting, like others I have both the EX-1 and Canon DSLR cameras. The choice depends on the subject and the output.

Dan
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:17 AM   #10
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Echo what Chris Barcellos says

Just my two cents.
Our company owns an EX3, we also own other cameras around the world. I have shot extensively on the the EX3, the Z1 and the 5DMKII all over the world in the last few years and have now reached the conclusion that the 5DMKII delivers images which are very cinematic and which for some reason appeal visually to viewers whenever and wherever I have a screening.

I have virtually stopped shooting on the EX3, because just like a lot of other documentary makers I find that for bog standard documentary work actually the MKII is just great.
In my opinion, aliasing is the only problem it faces, and if that is worked around then all the other stuff falls into place.
The other thing to look out for is dust on the sensor which can be an issue.
The 30p is a non issue, I just use MPEG stereamclip, the audio is a non issue, for interviews I record sound separately, and form factor wise, this camera is just great as it fatigues me far less than an EX3 or a Z1. I tend to shoot paid work with a crew of two people, one on an additional 5/7D and the other doing sound where needed.
One of the main things which I can do with this camera is shoot into the night maybe uptil 11pm and use a f1.8/ or 1.2L lens. (In India, everything is open in major cities till very late).
I do not shoot sport or fast action, guess that is the only thing I would use the Ex3/Ex1 style of camera for any more.

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Old February 21st, 2010, 07:32 AM   #11
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Hi Phil.

I wouldn't rush in if I were you. Rent or borrow a 5D and try it out, you'll find that in certain situations the images are stunning, but there are a lot of situations where it just can't cope.

Big wide landscapes with lots of detail can look rubbish, in fact anything with lots of detail in focus looks rubbish due to the terrible aliasing on anything with a sharp edge.

Close up's of faces or anything with lots of softness and the camera works wonders. I've found that I also have to lock the camera down or use it on a big rig to get anything close to the stability I can get with my ex1. The rolling shutter in the 5D is a lot worse than the EX1 and it highlights any shake badly.

I spent the day shooting with a 5D and a 7D yesterday and 80% of my shots are unusable. I was shooting in sand dunes and the grasses that grow on the dunes look terrible, neither the 5d or the 7d could handle that detail very well.

The 5D is a great tool, but you need to be aware of these issues before chopping your letus rig.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 10:24 AM   #12
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As mentioned in many of the posts above there is room for both cameras in any serious practitioners kit, but I think Paul's assessment above is harsh. If I had a day where 80% of my work was rubbish I'd have to seriously reconsider my judgment regarding tools and subject matter.
Wide shots, long shots with lots of detail, stuff where shallow depth of field and a gorgeous sense of light wrapping around a subject don't come into play are perfect for the EX3 without the adapter. If you have both cameras, use the right one for the shot.
But your initial query was about the Letus versus the Canon 5 D mk II, and in that comparison the Canon wins hands down.
I was lucky when I sold mine, I found someone who really wanted the Letus. My suspicion is it will be more difficult to sell the Ultimate now than it was months ago and will become harder still as time goes on. I loved what the Letus did for me and don't want to disparage the product in any way but technology is always moving forward and some stuff always gets left behind.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 06:22 PM   #13
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The 5D is capable of absolutely beautiful results, it also adds some limitations. Some of those limits won't apply to Phil's current rig so they are worth mentioning IMO.

I'm not sure where your judgment on tools and subject matter comes from Denis but for me it's trial and error. Yesterday a lot of my trial shots were ruined by the 5D's line twitter issue in the fine detail of dune grass, this wasn't apparent until watching the footage on a monitor.

I'm sure the EX1 wouldn't have suffered the same problem, but then I also wanted a shallower depth of field than the EX1 would have produced so in that instance a 35mm adapter would have been a better tool for the job.

I just wanted to make Phil aware of the fact that there are some drawbacks as well as advantages.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 06:47 PM   #14
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I agree with Paul here.

As I shoot more and more with my Canon XL H1S and the Canon 7D together, I am observing the same thing.

The DSLR just doesn't resolve nearly as much detail as the XL. Full wide shots with both of them show show a major noticeable difference. Same with closeups, the XL just looks very noticeably sharper and cleaner. The 7D creates a much more softer, yet "dreamier" feel.

I am using this combination for a new series of segments I'm producing/shooting for my show at NBC. I ended up using the majority of my XL H1S footage, while using the 7D for very select, stylized shots. What I find of particular interest, is that these SLRs produce fairly noisy footage as well as you raise ISO, particularly heavier chroma noise.

These VDSLRs can compliment a dedicated HD video camera very well for certain shots, but I definitely wouldn't replace my Canon XL with the 7D.
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 11:12 AM   #15
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I'm with you on the trial and error Paul, just saying that at 80% unusable I'm shelving the product, sending it back or reevaluating how I'm using it.
The Canon 5D I must do something extraordinarily well or we wouldn't have this thread or this forum. That said, it is just another hammer in the toolbox.
We all know but may lose sight of the fact that video cameras have smaller chips, some very much smaller - that is why they are sharper in terms of depth of field and have detail settings to dial down the edges (so the video doesn't look so much like video).
But back to the 35mm lens adapters; they all sacrifice sharpness and a bit of light for a more shallow depth of field. A field of finely detailed grass that will show fine details on the EX camera ( or the Canon) will look softer, "rounder" and more filmic on the EX with a letus because of the ground glass in the adapter.
Often, but not always, I'll happily give up the sharp edges for the "prettier" picture from the Canon 5D mkII.
Dropping the sharpness and contrast in camera, then grading it in Magic Bullet gives me a lot of control as to how the image looks. I have noticed that when there are a lot of fine details the images will look worse on my macbook pro than on the apple cinema display so I try to grade with a true HD monitor attached.
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