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Letus Elite Nikon Lenses?

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michael Ruiz
Letus Elite Nikon Lenses?
on Nov 21, 2009 at 10:39:49 pm

I am purchasing a Letus Elite for my EX1. What Nikon Lens series works best and are there any suggestions for a great Nikon lens for interviews.

Thanks !!

m i c h a e l



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George Griswold
Re: Letus Elite Nikon Lenses?
on Nov 23, 2009 at 5:09:12 am

Michael,

Any of the non-auto focus Nikons will work just fine. The AI ones look great. Older ones don't have the best lens coatings, but work fine.

For the real DOF look the manual focus Nikon 50mm f1.2 is incredible...(http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/50mm-f12.htm) they can be found for about $300-$450 used. Amazing but true, they are still in production and are available for $650 (http://www.adorama.com/NK5012.html) I wouldn't fool around with any glass that isn't mint because you will have flare issues and end up trying to sell it to get a clean one.
In real life the 50mm is not quite enough magnification for tight single person interviews... (you cold always zoom in the EX-3 lens a bit more to make it work- I have not tried that, but others have).

Being a Nikon user for stills I have had a chance to use all the lenses in my kit, but ended up adding one that I found remarkable... The 85mm f1.4 is a stunner. In either manual focus (AI era) or the new 85mm f1.4 D AF are amazing. I popped for the D Auto focus so I can use the AF on my still cameras and the manual focus is better than the previous generation of AF lenses-- smoother and more responsive. One of the main factors that determines the bokeh of the lens is the number of aperture blades-- more blades the "rounder" the out of focus points of the picture. The 85 f1.4 (old and new) has 9 iris blades and the smooth bokeh that is one of he best in their lens line-up. If my memory serves me correctly the 50mm f1.2 has nine blades too. Most lenses have between 5 and 7 and it can result in nifty little geometric shapes in out of focus points of light-- not very pleasing.

Those are my two recommendations, there are tons of 105mm f2.5 AI out there, but the image is just not that tactile and is too powerful for interviews in smaller spaces.

Hope this helps,
George


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George Griswold
Re: Letus Elite Nikon Lenses... Part 2
on Nov 23, 2009 at 5:16:18 am


I forgot to mention that there is a 50mm f1.4 that will work fine (I have not used it for Letus, but had one that I loved many years ago). Also the 85mm f1.8 is quite nice. Both are quite a bit less expensive and will get you there.

Another option is to keep an eye on Craigslist and if a nice set of lenses pops up for some other brand, just get the Letus adapter for that. The old Pentaz Super Takumar lenses were very good and would be a steal if you found the right deal. I think the 42mm screw adapter would take those (check first).

George


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michael Ruiz
Re: Letus Elite Nikon Lenses... Part 2
on Nov 23, 2009 at 5:18:41 am

Great Info George!! I'll make the notes and start my online searches.

Much Appreciated,

michael



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Bob Pierce
Re: Letus Elite Nikon Lenses... Part 2
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:26:10 am

The 105 is a classic, and often called a portrait lens for good reason. I've tried all the focal lengths, but keep coming back to the 105. You can get a great interview shot with this lens and the camera about 10 feet away from the subject. The 85 puts you closer and makes a pretty picture also, but I tend to prefer the 105. Man, I do love my letus!
Bob

http://www.lightstreamassociates.com

Mac Pro 2.66 - 8GB memory -
Mac Book Pro 2.33 Duo -
FC Studio 2 - Kona Lhe
Adobe Production Suite CS4 -
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Ikegami HLDV7 - PVW EX-1



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michael Ruiz
Re: Letus Elite Nikon Lenses... Part 2
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:40:36 am

Thanks Bob!

Here's a question. If I'm shooting an interview using the Letus and a 105mm lens, how can I re-frame the shot during the interview. I'll want a couple of different frame sizes to use to give the edit variety.

Typically we use the EX1 and just zoom a bit tighter or wider while I'm asking the question.

Have you ever used a a fast 2.8 zoom like a 70 to 105 on the Letus or do you have any suggestions.

Thanks Again! I appreciate the feedback.

michael


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Bob Pierce
Re: Letus Elite Nikon Lenses... Part 2
on Nov 24, 2009 at 1:38:26 am

You're into prime lenses now my friend, so you may have to adapt to a new way of shooting... however, you can use a zoom nikon, I suppose. Also, you can zoom a bit within the letus itself to give yourself variety. Don't worry, the image holds up fine, if you don't overdo it. Check out Phillip Bloom's website - he's covered all this stuff thoroughly.

I would advise being very careful with your focus. I frequently double check that the ex1 lens is focused on the focusing screen by turning off the letus and zooming in - you can clearly see the texture of the screen. When shooting interviews, I strongly recommend having a good field monitor to see your focus. Shooting wide open with the 105 for example, you have a person's eyes sharp, but their ears, even the tip of their nose is soft! It's a beautiful look but of course if you blow it you can't fix it in post.

Also, allow an extra 20 minutes or so for your interview setups to get the letus up and running.
Have fun,
Bob

http://www.lightstreamassociates.com

Mac Pro 2.66 - 8GB memory -
Mac Book Pro 2.33 Duo -
FC Studio 2 - Kona Lhe
Adobe Production Suite CS4 -
Sony Multiformat 14" - Panasonic 42" Plasma -
Ikegami HLDV7 - PVW EX-1



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michael Ruiz
Re: Letus Elite Nikon Lenses... Part 2
on Nov 24, 2009 at 1:51:13 am

very cool..Thank You and thanks to everyone on creative cow!

I'm sure I'll have other questions when the Letus arrives end of this week and then maybe I could help another newbie with questions.

Best,

michael





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