Letus Extreme vs. Letus Ultimate for EX3 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 17th, 2008, 12:29 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Grass Valley, California
Posts: 348
Letus Extreme vs. Letus Ultimate for EX3

I have 2 EX3's and an EX1 and I'm headed overseas for a month and a half documenting musicians and landscapes in Africa. Right now my budget can afford the Letus 35 Extreme kit from B&H which includes the Zeiss lenses:
Letus35 | LELTEXSCKEX Extreme Starter Cine Bundle for Sony | B&H

I also see this package that is considerably more money and includes the Nikon lenses:
Letus35 | LELT35UCEX1 Ultimate Cine Kit for Sony PMW-EX1/EX3

Can I affectively achieve good results with the first package, the Letus Extreme? I know the limitations with shutter speed and and loosing a 1/2 stop with the Extreme vs. the Ultimate. Any experiences, feedback is welcome. I'm just wondering if the extra $3,400 US is worth it getting the "Ultimate" package.
Larry Huntington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 17th, 2008, 08:43 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 229
I have the Extreme, and have been very happy with it. However, they seem to be not very consistent. I have a colleague who's on his third and it's still not as sharp as mine.

From what I've read, the Ultimate is indeed a step up (spinning ground glass rather than vibrating). If I were in your situation, I would buy only the 25 and 50 lens and use the savings to buy the Ultimate. When you need longer focal length, you can just take off the Letus--you'll get some DOF by zooming the naked lens.

Of course, I don't know what you're filming. Good luck though, sounds fun!
Rob Collins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 17th, 2008, 10:09 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Grass Valley, California
Posts: 348
Thanks Rob,
I just got through removing the Extreme Kit from my shopping cart and adding the Ultimate Kit at B&H. I do want the 80-200AF lens in that kit for longer focal lengths. I will be shooting African landscapes, sunsets and people- musicians, playing fast pace drumming and dancing. I may want to increase my shutter speeds, and I will be in a very bright environment, and with the f5.6 limitation of the Extreme, I will need to add ND filters to compensate. I am weeding through the shopping cart to afford the Letus 35 Ultimate package. I prefer not to work with the limitations of the Extreme due to my shooting conditions.

Rob, can you explain "vibrating" glass vs. "spinning" ground glass?
Larry Huntington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2008, 12:30 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,356
Larry.


My first more extensive reply got exterminated on its way up the pipe so here's a second shot, not quite as extensive as the first.

My comments below are valid for homebuilt AGUS35, not Letus Ultimate and should not be considered authoritative for the Le Brothers' product.

1. Do not shoot higher than 1/50th sec just because it says you can. Your outdoors lighting environments are going to be quite hostile for any groundglass work with any adaptor.

2. Your outdoors environments may include very bright, high contrast, red soil, background cumulus clouds. Sun high and slightly forward of camera position may give you an artifact in clouds or on red soil and be impossible to eliminate on both with iris settings.

3. A polariser may help but may also introduce a flickering pure colour artifact in some conditions.

4. I prefer to add ND in front of the groundglass before using camera ND after the groundglass to minimise flare.

If you are cheap like me, a few circles of 2-stop ND gel or even lighting gel if it is scratch-free, shoved in behind the Nikon lens inside the mount is helpful for keeping the camera iris and Nikon iris on their respective sweet spots in combination with camera ND. Even better practice is ND before the lens.

Be mindfull to keep the ND gel from becoming really curved to avoid added internal reflections but slightly curved and slightly tilted is also better than dead flat for the same reason.

5. Adding ND gels may cause a red or ochre colour caste in highlights of textured black objects like wrinkled black cloth. It is an infrared artifact which has been noted with some CMOS imaging systems.

This may be more evident with black stretch selected or later in post when extension of blacks are being attempted. So you may need to stick with camera ND only where there are deep textured black areas in the image.

6. With dark complexioned interviewees, for most faithful rendition of facial exprsssion, try to avoid placing them in direct sunlight, but position them if possible in near to edge of shade and light them with dull reflectors if backgrounds which are themselves photogenic burn out and you need to balance the exposure.

Old white car hoods with light dust thrown on them or opened out cardbox boxes are a good substitute. Our familiar foldable disk reflectors can be a bit savage on the eyes and are just one more thing to cart around.

7. Open areas of fine red textured sandy or red clay soils and bright green leafy nearby vegetation singly or worse in combination can introduce colour casts which might be difficult to grade out.

Reds in dark complexions can be quite artful in a kicklighting sort of a way.

A magenta cast introduced on medium to fair complexions by locally white-balancing in, then later colour correcting for green spill can look positively sickly, especially if this light is mixed with purer light from a reflector. If green spill cannot be avoided, then you just have to suck it up, live within the available means and the reflection of pure light not be used.

Try to use building shade in preference to tree shade unless the tree shade is solid and there is not another green tree or green grass casting a green spill back onto the subject.

If you travel by light air charter, a cool shot is the zoomed-in close-up on the aircraft passing through front-on, swinging through the shot in a taxi-turn off the runway, from 45 degrees through to at least about 45 degress in a following pan. I call these crossovers.

On the Ultimate, with about 50 metres from camera position on a 60 degree line to taxiway/runway junction, zoom position 105mm should be just about right for a Cessna four seat cabin plane or Gipps GA8 Airvan, 85mm for a larger charter or regional commuter like a Cessna Caravan or Twin Otter.

If you want to be on your front seat passenger, remember the pilot sits on left and will come into your shot as the aircraft swings right and obscures your passenger. By this time however the best part of the shot will have already been captured.

If the turn off a narrow runway is going to be sharp, pre-focus on a spot about five feet your side of the main runway centerline in centre of the corners of the intersection and you should be close to sharp. For a wider runway, make that spot about ten feet your side of the main runway centreline. It is a bit of a lottery because of different pilot habits.

Pan to lead the aircraft into the turn with noseroom, at the junction, allow the windscreen of the aircraft to pass into centre of your frame and allow the pan movement to die so that the frame holds steady on your passenger as the aircraft swings. Your pre-focus should be good at this point. As the aircraft swings, reverse your pan and lead slightly ahead for noseroom again then at 180 degrees side-on, allow the aircraft to escape from the frame.

This shot works best if you fill the frame with the aircraft cabin, polarise past the windscreen reflection onto the subject and limit the available background which will be moving through the frame. Polarising without rehearsal can be a pig in a poke, however if you adjust the polariser for darkest runway surface or eliminated highlights on your side of any cone shaped runway markers or corners of rectangular ones, your should be close.

Best settings for this will be shutter "off" to avoid rolling shutter artifacts from the propellor disk as it passes across the subject through the frame as the aircraft turns. Sony's flavour of CMOS performs really well and I think the artifact which can occur is as much related to long GOP compression as it is to rolling shutter.

Using the long end of the zoom on the Ultimate to soften the background will help in reducing the load on the long GOP codec with this shot.

Allow some time in your schedule for at least one time-lapse shot. Because of battery endurance issues, you might be best to shoot this direct-to-camera without the adaptor.

Phil Bloom is a far better source of knowledge on this. He has shot timelapse with adaptors with these cameras and will be able to advise you much more competently on all matters relating to your project than I.

Visit his blog and forum at Philip Bloom Home if you still have time and ask him for some suggestions. They may well conflict with mine in which case, run with his.

In between the Ultimate and Extreme, there is a package from Zacuto which is called the Elite which blends the backfcous facility of the Ultimate with the Extreme.

Whichever package you choose, it is vital you get in lots of practice with the assembled camera/adaptor combination. You must become adjusted and react intuitively to the overall system and do no silly things like trying to use the camcorder zoom and focus instead of the lens on front or lose concentration on framing and composition because you are trying to think it all out on your feet. On the Africa assignment, if you can shoot safety coverage with a bare camera, do so.

However, two cameras on the job and something as attention-getting as the UItimate or Extreme may result in a lot of distraction of your efforts by people gathering around to have a look. Obstructive officialdom may also intervene to frustrate you. Allow yourself time in your schedule for these inconveniences.

If you have not had firmware update v1-11 done on your EX1, it would be prudent to get this fixed as you will eliminate some battery life hassles where facilities for rechargng may not always be conveniently to hand.

Enjoy. If I was younger and fitter and uncommitted, I would want to be along.

Last edited by Bob Hart; December 18th, 2008 at 01:24 AM. Reason: errors
Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2008, 02:28 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Austria
Posts: 122
My Ultimate does not work with shutter speeds higher than 1/125. It is advertised to work with speeds up to 1/2000th. I had mine sent back for repairs two times which cost me a fortune and it still does not work as advertised. Build quality is horrible.
I feel totally ripped off.
Gerald Loidl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: York, UK.
Posts: 224
Hmmmm....

Larry, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you take a good, long *hard* look at some of the feedback on the Ultimate and Extreme and the general mood re. these items right now.

Really.

Jus.
Justin Benn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Grass Valley, California
Posts: 348
Bob,
Thank you for your detailed reply. I am currently re-reading and examining your words and will reply back soon.

Justin,
Where do I go to find feedback on the Letus? Are people having major issues with this setup?
Larry Huntington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2008, 09:40 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 376
Larry, also note you should price out that Nikon Kit and Letus on there own. I found it to be cheaper buying the nikon glass seperatley... Also the kit comes with the 80-200mm which is an older lens and I think the 70-200mm is better at least on my D3 it is I do not know what if any advantage it has over the 80-200mm when using with a LETUS besides the obvious 10mm but the 70-200mm glass has been said to be one of the best produced by Nikon.
Jason Bodnar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2008, 02:28 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: York, UK.
Posts: 224
Larry.

Larry,

I sent you a private message. I would strongly consider the Zacuto/Letus package if you choose to go the Letus route for reasons I outlined in my email.

Jus.
Justin Benn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2008, 06:37 AM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dakar, Sénégal, West Africa
Posts: 30
Hi From Dakar

Hi,

If u coming to Dakar. Send me a message. I'll be happy to met U. And If u need a camera operator in Bamako, I am not so far.... I'v done some shootings a few years ago in Bamako (one with Toumani Diabate), Segou and Kayes.

Bruno Deme
__________________
Dakar - Sénégal - EX1- Nikon D7000 - HVRA1 - H4 - FCP 6.0.6 / http://brunodemeocq.viewbook.com/ bdeme@mac.com
Bruno Demeocq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2008, 12:27 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Benn View Post
I sent you a private message. I would strongly consider the Zacuto/Letus package if you choose to go the Letus route for reasons I outlined in my email.
I don't know your reasons, but I got mine through Zacuto and it works great. Do they test them?
Rob Collins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2008, 12:34 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 131
Does anyone know when they are going to have their relay/direct to EX-3 mount ready!!!!
Jason Davenport is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2008, 01:38 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Grass Valley, California
Posts: 348
Thanks Justin for the PM. I have to scramble here to get a package soon- I leave for Africa in 3 weeks and I want a few days to spend with the adapter to get used to it. I will have two camera assistants to help me, so it might be easier to get a quick handle on the 35mm option.

I'm beginning to wonder about the quality/ reliability of the Letus based on my reads.

Where is a good link to the P+S adapter? Is the Redrock Micro a quality product?
Larry Huntington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dakar, Sénégal, West Africa
Posts: 30
RedMicro

RedMicro will soon have a special adaptor for EX Camera.
__________________
Dakar - Sénégal - EX1- Nikon D7000 - HVRA1 - H4 - FCP 6.0.6 / http://brunodemeocq.viewbook.com/ bdeme@mac.com
Bruno Demeocq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 229
As much as I love my Letus, I'm curious as to why you want to shoot this with a 35mm adapter at all. They're very limiting and not at all good (in my opinion) for anything run and gun. Focus is difficult (though should be less so with the Ultimate since you can stop down), you have more opportunities to make a mistake (forgetting to turn it on or the adapter's batteries run out), and more opportunities to get dust on your image--plus of course you can't zoom on a prime, and it greatly increases your bulk. Not to mention they degrade your image (or make it soft and cinematic as the case may be).

The EX image is so nice without an adapter--I would look to getting a longer lens to go directly on one of your EX3's (though I'm not sure what those go for) and a wide adapter. Magic Bullet Looks is great at giving a faux blurring of the background if you need that.

Just a thought.
Rob Collins 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 > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:15 PM.


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