Depth of Field & Film Grain with Any Digital Video Camera


Even those who have never worked with film sometimes long for the shooting techniques & aesthetic effects lost in the transition to digital video. Thankfully, some of that lost magic is being returned to our craft with devices like 35mm adapters, which allow you to marry a 35mm SLR camera lens to a video camera.

This article reviews the full suite of 35mm adapters & accessories available from Letus Corporation. Most videographers will be interested in two primary benefits offered with these products. Firstly, coupling your video camera with a 35mm lens imparts the unique depth-of-field characteristics of your lens to the video camera. Secondly. the ground glass elements found in these adapters provide a traditional film-grain aesthetic.

All of the adapters reviewed below achieve this graininess by vibrating or rotating the glass element to ensure that the resulting effect is indeed graininess and not just a bunch of static dots. Some of the more advanced models even allow you to fine tune the speed of movement, among other parameters, to achieve footage with a custom look. Combine this graininess with 24fps recording and you're about as close to a film aesthetic as digital can offer.

Also worth mentioning is the internal management of image flipping in all of these models. Some other adapters require a separate adapter ring to flip the image, adding bulk and cost to such a setup. The Letus adapters internally flip the image from the 35mm lens right-side up so that your video camera takes in the scene from a traditional perspective. If the image from the 35mm lens were not flipped, the video camera would record upside-down footage.

If you're interested in simplifying your setup and forgoing the management of different lenses & lens adapters, this is also possible. All of these adapters (except the Letus35 Mini) are compatible with two relay lenses (and many to come) manufactured by Letus that can be attached directly to the adapter to totally bypass the expensive camera stock lens.

Choosing the Right Adapter

Every adapter needs to be attached to a camera with a custom filter-thread to ensure a proper fit. Likewise, custom lens adapters are also required to attach different 35mm lens models. Since these components add significant bulk to your video rig, you'll also need a rod support system, which can be customized with rod extensions and support brackets.

While the features offered by most adapters are pretty much similar, some advanced models do allow gains in performance & aesthetic effects. Furthermore, although most adapters are compatible with a wide range of cameras, some are limited to just larger or smaller model cameras.

To choose a setup that is right for you, start by making note of your camera & lens. Then determine which 35mm adapter and lens adapters are compatible with your rig. Next analyze which differences in the features of those compatible adapters are important for your work.

Letus 35mm adapters when used with a Letus Relay lens can totally bypass the expensive camera stock lensThe information that follows is designed to help you navigate this process. The videos provide a demonstration of the products and concepts described in this article. The matrix charts are helpful in comparing the adapters & key components you'll need, both for features and compatibility.

The list that follows the charts offers links to product pages for your convenience. While you can buy all the pieces of a complete system individually, it might be worth considering a kit or bundle.

These special packages have been customized to work with virtually any camera rig, including many industry-standard cameras. Buying a preconfigured package includes everything you need to get started, but without the confusing research and tedious planning.

Letus Elite Ultimate

Letus Elite & Ultimate

Letus Extreme Mini

Letus Extreme & Mini


Letus 35mm Adapters
Model Mini Extreme Elite Ultimate
Camera Compatibility 43mm ring or smaller All cameras All cameras All cameras
F-Stop F/5.6 and faster F/5.6 and faster F/5.6 and faster All F-stops
Shutter Speed 1/100 and slower 1/100 and slower 1/100 and slower 1/500 (1/2000 in certain conditions)
Upright Image Yes Yes Yes Yes
Light Loss 1/2 stop 1/2 stop 1/2 stop 1/2 stop
Achromat For smaller camera EX1/EX3/HVX option available Ready For EX1/EX3/HVX Ready For EX1/EX3/HVX
Custom Condenser Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lens Style Back Focus Ring No No Yes Yes
Ground Glass Technology Vibration Vibration Vibration Smart spinning
Adjust Ground Glass Speed No No No Yes
X/Y Adjustment No No No Yes
Lens Mount Not included Not included Not included Included
Support Bracket Not included Not included Not included Included
Power (# of AA batteries) 2 2 2 2
External Power Option No No No Yes
Relay Lens Compatibility None All Relay Lenses All Relay Lenses All Relay Lenses
Warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year

Letus Relay Lenses
Model B4 Compact B4 Pro
Length 50mm 103mm
Lens Settings 9 12
Compatibility Extreme, Elite, Ultimate Extreme, Elite, Ultimate
Frame Size Academy Academy

Letus Lens Adapters
Model B&H SKU
M42 Screw Mount LTM42SCREW
Zeiss Contax (C/Y) Mount LELTCONTAX

Individual Components
Adapters Camera Ring Adapters 35mm Lens Adapters Relay Lenses Rod Support Systems Cases

Kits Bundles
Elite Elite
Extreme Extreme
Ultimate Ultimate