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.
The 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 35mm Adapters|
|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)|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Compatibility||Extreme, Elite, Ultimate||Extreme, Elite, Ultimate|
|Letus Lens Adapters|
|M42 Screw Mount||LTM42SCREW|
|Canon EF / EOS Mount||LELTCANONEOS|
|Canon FD Mount||LELTCANONFD|
|Leica R Mount||LELTLEICAR|
|Minolta MD Mount||LELTMINOLTAM|
|Nikon AI Mount||LELTNIKON|
|Olympus OM Mount||LELTOLYMPUSO|
|Pentax K Mount||LELTPENTAXK|
|Zeiss Contax (C/Y) Mount||LELTCONTAX|
|Adapters||Camera Ring Adapters||35mm Lens Adapters||Relay Lenses||Rod Support Systems||Cases|