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Old January 31st, 2011, 05:37 PM   #1
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DSLR or Letus adapter?

Ok, so my video production professor showed us how to use the Letus 35mm Adapter with the HVX 200 in class today. One student brought up shooting on a DSLR, and my teacher seemed convinced that the HVX with an adapter was the best option. He said he hadnt shot on a DSLR and basically shrugged it off.

The Letus adapter just seems like its such a hassle to set up. Do you think DSLRs produce better results or a digital camera with a Letus adapter?
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Old January 31st, 2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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I 've shot the DVX 200 with a Letus Adapters, and I have two Canon DSLRs (5D and T2i). Hands down, the Canon DSLRs out shoot, out maneuver, and out image the HVX200 with an adaper. They are also, mostly, easier to shoot and set up. Your school instructor needs to update his curriculum. These DSLRs become even more agile and more video camera like with the use of Magic Lantern, an open source software that runs on the cameras to make them more film camera like.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:21 PM   #3
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I honestly dont know why they keep the Letus adapters. They seem like more trouble then theyre worth especially with only being able to use prime lenses.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:39 PM   #4
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Probably because they laid a lot of money out for the stuff, and don't have more to put out for new cameras. But at least they should keep up with things.

There are a few who might otherwise argue my position, but after fighting for anough light in open shade on a sunny day.... It just didn't seem a good way to go for the future.,
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Old January 31st, 2011, 08:45 PM   #5
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Alas. The old adage, "those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach.

That is probably a little unfair for me to say here and perhaps should be edited out. Maybe in the light of later contemplation, I will do so.

However, it is incumbent on those who teach, to stay abreast of current developments in order to comment and mentor validly. To lecture from a familiar comfort zone rote invites disrespect if caught out of date.

With the internet and sites like this one, maintaining recency is not so difficult with a high-profile product having been around for as long as HD video-capable DSLRs. It does not have to be validated doctrine to be introduced as a topic of discussion.

As for dwelling in the past, I should put my hand up for that one. I still have a Letus/EX1 and use them. I am also still playing with Dennis Wood's prototype varifocal relay lens with the Brevis35 and Letus Extreme adaptors on a SI2K camera.

Two recent movies, "Merantau" and "Kandahar Break" do not draw attention to themselves as 2/3" video/groundglass based adaptor origination. They both stand up well.

The P+S Technik PRO35 is believed by me to have been used on both productions.

I am impressed with what the new DSLRs can do, not what they can't.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 31st, 2011 at 08:46 PM. Reason: error
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Old February 1st, 2011, 02:01 AM   #6
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DSLR's are hands down the better option.

Faster to set up, smaller, lighter and more versatile, and that's before you get into the problems with the adaptors such as light loss, softness, flipped image, vignetting, etc etc.

Yes, there are some great quality adaptors out there which have minimal light loss and inbuilt image-flipping etc but they still cannot touch DSLR's in terms of ease of use - not to mention the massive low light boost which no doubt would make things easier for students who only have minimal lighting equipment available.

Then of course there is the cost factor - with an adaptor you need the the camera + adaptor + lenses + rails + support. With DSLR's you can have a bare bones set-up with just the camera body, lenses and a loupe for the same price as the adaptor & lenses alone. Although with so many people dumping their adaptors there are plenty of them around on ebay for crazy low prices - because nobody wants them!
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Old February 1st, 2011, 03:38 AM   #7
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Looks to me like the passing of an era, an era designed to get away from the infinite dof that comes free with tiny chips. First off there was the grainy and soft (though not unattractive) Letus adapter. Yes, hassle and bulk, but we all said the on-screen look's the thing.

Then vDSLRs showed that you could swap the grain and softness for artifacts and moiré, in a far more convenient package. Of course this got bulked up with finders and audio boxes, paving the way for the big-chipped camcorders to come in and clean up.

It's been a rapidly changing scene these last three years, but we're getting there.

tom.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 01:16 PM   #8
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At the beginning of last year I came very close to buying a Jag or a Letus, and then over last summer I discovered the Canon 7D. I am so glad I didnt waste money and frustration on a 35mm adapter.

And from seeing it in action yesterday, the fact alone that you can only use prime lenses on the Letus made me so glad I didnt buy one. Im not a zoom lens only person, but I love having the option
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Old February 1st, 2011, 04:36 PM   #9
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It's tough to be a teacher... unless you're teaching "the basics", or woodshop, the likelyhood that a large portion of your subject matter is changing even as you lecture is rather great.

Same goes for many "avocations" nowadays - with the increased speed of communication, the faster flow of ideas and collaborations, and the onslaught of technical change, you're either (almost) current, or you're roadkill.

Go find a typesetter... or a developer for Kodachrome (recently RIP), someone to fix a carbureted vehicle (OK, there are more or those still around <wink>), Someone who knows how to design and maintain tube based equipment (oh wait, I do...).

I haven't shot either a 35mm adapter (looked like too much trouble), and only briefly a HDSLR, but that will be my next purchase - why not when it's a great still camera too, and I've got a bunch of decent lenses? I've seen what they can do, and I have my intentions of what to use it for, time for an upgrade anyway!

The "budgetary considerations" are very likely to be part of the equation - if the school spent thousands of $ (likely after numerous proposals, class outlines, and teaching plans), they aren't going to go for a curriculum change just because there's something "new". That's why one needs to "keep up with" what's going on in the real world where whatever choices are made have to pay for themselves fairly quickly, and "last years" top of the heap is now "so last year".
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Old February 1st, 2011, 04:51 PM   #10
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You can use zoom lenses on a letus, or any lens adaptor for that matter. I used the short optimo zoom on a Pro35 a while back. I use a stills zoom on my letus on occassion and treat it as a variable prime.

Using Prime lenses is a choice.

Lens adaptors and DSLRs both have their place. I use them together frequently on jobs, changing between the two often for specific shots.

They are both just tools, tools to be worked with for the result that you require. Same reason as I still own a PDW-700, a Bolex and Super 8. All different tools to work with.

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Old February 2nd, 2011, 11:11 AM   #11
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Really? My instructor said you can only use prime lenses. I think we were working with film camera lenses and Nikon lenses. And we treated the HVX200 like a film camera.

The teacher I have mostly teaches film classes, so I think his focus is film. He may be mis informed.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 03:09 PM   #12
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If you adjust the backfocus correctly on your lens adaptor there is no reason why the focus will not hold.

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