EX-1 with Letus Adaptor vs Canon 5D. Which is better? at DVinfo.net

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Old September 24th, 2009, 11:26 PM   #1
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EX-1 with Letus Adaptor vs Canon 5D. Which is better?

This question may have already been answered somewhere in these forums, but my cursory search came up empty.

I have just finished editing a long shoot where the camera op shot both EX-1 and 5D. The EX-1 had the standard lens, so the shallow depth of field on the 5D made it's images stand out (not to mention the fact that the camera op had not used the EX-1 to the best of it's ability - I have an EX-1 and know first hand how awesome the images can be from the camera). I have been sorely tempted to get myself a 5D but I don't know whether I should get a Letus DOF Adaptor instead, seeing that I already have an EX-1. From what I saw of the 5D footage, shooting hand-held in nigh on impossible without a shoulder mount/steadicam, and the lack of XLR audio inputs and the 30p frame rate are definite disadvantages. What are your opinions folks?
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Old September 24th, 2009, 11:56 PM   #2
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Depth of field adapters are a pain. Period. There is always something to adjust or something to fix. Phil Bloom was really extolling the adapters with the EX-1 before he got a 5D. He seems to have gone silent since he got the 5D, and now has shot the 7D. I am curious to see if he ever goes back. I have to say there seems to be a more organic feel to the adapters. I have shot adapters with the HVX200 and the FX1 and the HV20. As Trammel Hudson has been improving things with the 5D and perhaps the 7D in the future through Magic Lantern, I cannot see a return to adapters.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 01:30 AM   #3
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In an ideal world you would keep the EX1 and add a 7D camera for limited Depth of Field work and a wide angle lens for those awkward shots. Neither the 5D, 7D can be a replacement for a high quality camcorder, but they are a useful addition. No doubt as they develop, then maybe they will replace the camcorder.

As for the Letus and others, they do seem like a hefty lump added onto a camera. Think of a balerina wearing army boots.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 02:30 AM   #4
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Asking, 'which is better' is leaving it rather open-ended. Which is better at making movies? The EX1 without a shadow of doubt. Which camera makes better images? Well the 5DII has a hugely bigger chip so if limited dof makes it 'better' then it wins that race. You can also fit very expensive lenses to the Canon should you want to - whereas the Sony lens is built down to a price.

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Old September 25th, 2009, 04:47 AM   #5
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Just a couple of thoughts.

The 5D and 7D are not equal. The 5D has a full-frame sensor and the 7D has a much smaller APC-S sized sensor that will not give you the same shallow DOF as the 5D. If DOF is your primary reason for buying an SLR, then the 5D is the only one you want to be looking at.

I have never shot with either of the Canons, but I do have a Nikon D300s, Nikon D90, and Nikon D5000 that all shoot 720P video. Personally, I don't think the picture quality is all that good and the rolling shutter problems are huge.

An EX1, or even a Z1U beats those cameras in every single way you want to compare them exccept for the most extreme shallow DOF shots.

I find the SLR cameras to be a big hassle to shoot with it. Anything that can do with an SLR, I can do faster and better with an EX1 and a DOF adapter. I used a Redrock Micro for a couple of weeks this summer and I thought it looked great . . . if that is the look you want. I did not find the Redrock hard to setup or use. I would definately choose it over an SLR any day!!!

Okay, if you're a non-professional and want to shoot some decent looking video, without spending a lot of money, maybe an SLR will let you have your fun. You can go out and shoot and edit a cool looking video every weekend, but are you going to make any money with it? For anyone who considers themsevles a professional, who's goal is to make a living in this business, I think all of the SLR cameras are nothing more than a gimmick or, at best, a useful tool for certain shooting situations that will compliment your "real" video camera. Phil Bloom is one of the most creative shooters I know, he'll make anything look good. Give him a cellphone camera and he'll get better video that most people would get with a RED. But that doesn't mean the cellphone camera is the right camera to use.

Here's a few of my complaints about the new Nikon D300s and the other Nikons:

1) 720P is not true HD

2) It's impossible to see the LCD in the sunshine unless you want to drape a hood over your head like an old fashioned view-camera.

3) Exposure is extremely difficult and/or impossible to control.

4) Huge rolling shutter problems. Even slight motion looks like jello.

5) Very awkward to get yourself postioned to see the LCD screen when the camera is located anywhere but normal eye-level.

6) No last-clip delete function.

7) 5 minute clip length on HD shooting.

8) Not a full-frame 35mm sensor so there's real no DOF advantage.

9) A single 3.5mm mic input with no professional audio controls.

10) No headphone jack.

11) Auto focus is very slow, and manual focus is very hard to judge -- especially outdoors.

12) No zebras.

13) No peaking.

14) No timecode.

15) High compression codec

16) No steady-shot

17) Only offers 24P and I want 30P



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Old September 25th, 2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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Fair points Doug, but take a look at this. As you say in the right hands any camera will perform well - with the exception of my D90 :-(

Images Of Western Australia's Kimberley on Vimeo
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Old September 25th, 2009, 06:49 AM   #7
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Just a couple of thoughts.

The 5D and 7D are not equal. The 5D has a full-frame sensor and the 7D has a much smaller APC-S sized sensor that will not give you the same shallow DOF as the 5D. If DOF is your primary reason for buying an SLR, then the 5D is the only one you want to be looking at.
While this IS true, Doug, the DOF characteristics of 7D will be nearly identical to that of 35mm motion picture film which, in my opinion, is sort of the ideal look we are after. I for one am happy that the 7D has this size sensor and that is partly why I am buying it over the 5D, because the DOF will be a little less shallow, meaning that it is more practical for filming motion.

But, yes, if you are after the most razor thin DOF (which can be a real pain to work with at times), the 5D is your tool!
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Old September 25th, 2009, 07:42 AM   #8
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I have both EX3's and a 5DmkII.

I love both cameras.

For video I use the EX3 80-90% of the time. It is way easier to use for video, and the picture quality in general is superior.

However, the 5D is great for DOF and the low light capabilities are truly amazing. It is also great because it is tiny and no-one thinks you are shooting professional HD (unless you go the Zacuto route), so you can shoot in places where you normally could not. I use it a lot with a small "steady bean bag". Also the lens choices are endless. I use it a lot for wide shots with my 17-40 L lens.

If I only could have 1 for video I would pick the EX line. But as a second very good tool I love the 5D. If used for what it does best, it is incredible. But it is definitely not a video cam. You also get one of the best still cameras on the planet.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 08:59 AM   #9
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Olof, I think that is exactly the right approach to take.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #10
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I have both the EX3, Letus Elite and the 5DMKII. I like them both for different things. (I actually use my 5D for stills as well!) But overall if I had to choose only one then I would have to go with the EX3/Letus combo. The quality of the images is spectacular and I have to give my clients the best quality I can. The 5D has it's place and is amazing in low light situations but is not up to par when compared with the EX3. But at least I'm glad I have the option to match the job with the right camera!
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Old September 25th, 2009, 06:48 PM   #11
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Thanks guys, especially Doug and Rick. You have brought up some really good points that have I guess cemented in my mind the best way to go, Letus Ultimate here I come!
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Old September 25th, 2009, 09:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
2) It's impossible to see the LCD in the sunshine unless you want to drape a hood over your head like an old fashioned view-camera.
lol...Hey, whats wrong with that?
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Old September 26th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #13
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Nikon D300s test footage

Here's some test footage I shot with my Nikon D300s yesterday and edited this morning.

If you're used to consumer-grade camera equipment then a camera like the D300s might be good enough, but it's certainly no substitute for a pro HD video camera.

The worst thing about shooting with the D300s yesterday is that I blew a chance to shoot it right with the EX3 or EX1 instead. A lost opportunity.

None of the clips have been filtered or graded.

Niikon D300s Movie Mode Test on Vimeo
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Old September 28th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #14
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..I have been sorely tempted to get myself a 5D but I don't know whether I should get a Letus DOF Adaptor instead, seeing that I already have an EX-1.
Shaun, don't waist your money on somewhat homemade devices, especially today, when DOF adapters days are almost over, you've seen 5D footage, but I'd say try it yourself and then you'll see what an incredible camera it is, you can't compare it to any DOF adapter;
no matter what GG you'll use, you'll still be able to see those imperfections and it looks just horrible; with 5D you can go as shallow or as deep as you want, plus you'll have an amazing B cam.
I made the same mistake myself, but I sold the bloody Brevis right after i tried 5D :)
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Old September 28th, 2009, 01:59 PM   #15
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yeah, well, have fun with the rolling shutter.....true all CMOS cameras have this problem, but it's WAY more apparent in these SLR cameras.

Also, have fun recording only 12 minutes or 5 minutes at a time, or whatever it is, it's limited.

I have to agree that a majority of what the others are saying on here. It's a beautiful picture, however, I would never buy one for video....maybe for stills though.

People are so crazy over having shallow DOF. I am not a huge fan of the adapters either. The EX1 is fully capable if you know how to shoot with it. I can get a really impressive DOF shallow enough when needed. You just need a little more room to shoot.

I've heard about people attempting to do weddings with the 5D and D90. Ridiculous!!! Would you trust your wedding and thousands of dollars to someone who brings a SLR to shoot everything with? I can see it now, Just as the bride says, "I do" it stops recording mid sentence and they have to hit the record button again. I'm sorry, but it seems a slew of people think they are professionals because they have "HD Video with Shallow depth of field". In truth, professionals don't bring still cameras to shoot video or films, when they are being paid, because they know better." Get over the SLR gimmicky video.

Right now, I am dealing with a person who is going to shoot a music video and they chose to have an instructor here at my school, DP and CamOp the shoot with a 5D as the primary camera. He asked me, to be second camera with my EX1. I personally feel now, if that is the direction he is going, that while in no offense to him, I don't want my name on such a product. I know as a student, it would seem that I may know less than this instructor, however, he might be superior as knowing lighting, although, I live breathe eat, and sleep lighting and I'm not a typical student, being almost 30 years old with prior experience. I'm just getting the piece of paper for the better. I am surprised at the decision for this instructor to use this as a primary camera especially with the slew of great cameras at this school that are accessible. I personally, have worked my ass off to be a good camera operator and find it insulting for all that i have put in to my equipment and time, that someone with their SLR is going to be primary camera operation. I'd love to see this guy's demo reel and compare it to mine.

Have you ever noticed the shots that show the beauty of this camera? Predominately Nature shots with very little movement. Usually seems that most shots are on sticks.

I don't want to step on too many toes so please realize, I think the 5D has a purpose. Professional Film/Video is not one of them. Photography and capturing some stunning clips here and there, YES! I just can't stand it when people think that these SLR camera's are the be all and end all. I know they have that sense of pride and are blinded by their nice camera to realize that using the right tool for the job is important and maybe there are better tools for the job.

If your serious about film/video and it's your main concern, then either go with the Sony EX 1/3 series which I happen to like, or a Panasonic HPX300/170 cameras. Using the right tool for the job is what's important. Of course that would be my minimum, not saying you can't go higher end.
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