Shoot35 SGBlade. Sexy, non?
I love 35mm adaptors. This may have escaped most people’s notice! I own A LOT OF THEM! At the last count I have about 10 of them. Now I have 11!
My first was the awful Letus 35 Flip Enhanced. At first I loved it, I first used it in Florida with my Sony A1e and the results can be seen here it’s the last clip called Sony A1e Demo. Sorry about aspect ratio. Must fix that one day! When I say awful I mean for a first adaptor it was fine but the quality wasn’t great. Patterning of ground glass, lots of light loss and ropey build quality. But the biggest problem was when I got home and tried to use it outside in the grey English weather I couldn’t get exposure! It lost way too much light!
I sold it on ebay just after I bought a Redrock M2 to go with my Z1. Now I like my M2, it gave a great image, no GG patterning, less light loss and superior build quality. It was a bitch to get sharp edge to edge though. I used it for a number of jobs but eventually had to stop using it for some of my jobs as I still needed too much light for most of my filming which was really fast paced. I shot some great stuff with it and it will always be my first proper 35mm adaptor. I still have two of them in my office on the shelf!
Then I went all Canadian and got the Brevis. Now this changed everything for me. The adaptor was way more sensitive meaning I could get away with much less light. It was with the Brevis and the CF1 that I shot my first 35mm short that I was really proud of, “Homeless Portraits” which you can see here. Shot on the Panasonic HVX200.
I used the Brevis a lot, shot most of my Anorexia series with it coupled with one of my favourite ever cameras, the JVC HD201. A lovely HDV 720p camera that shoots just gorgeous pics. Shame I always had problems capturing stuff with it into FCP. Am hoping the replacement 700 that is coming out soon will be a worthy replacement. The JVC had a built in digital flip so no longer did I have to put up with having to use stupid magnet tricks on the LCD and flip everything in post. The Brevis was the first adaptor to have interchangeable diffusers. The CF3 was an insane diffuser. It gave ridiculous shallow DOF but at the cost of only being able to use it with REALLY fast lenses like my Zeiss f1.4 50 and 85mm lenses. If you stopped down even a little you saw the ground glass.
Ok what next? Oh yeah, something called the Letus Extreme. Now I was dubious about the Letus after my problems with the Flip Enhanced, but this looked awesome. Solid milled aluminum, build in flip, half a stop of light loss. Was this for real?
Well yes it was! It was terrific, although the Nikon mount was better than the awful one with the FE, the new one still wasn’t great, about on a par with Brevis one, nowhere near as good as the Redrock one. I shot my first ever Letus short in my home town of Richmond, which you can see here which oddly has recently been selected to be shown in a Hungarian film festival. Don’t know why!! Shot on the Z1.
I shot the last 3 parts of Anorexia with the Z1 and the Letus, but it was when I got my Sony EX1 that everything changed. I shot this little short, posted it, started a blog which amazingly really took off!
I then got a Letus mini to go with my Canon HV20, which to be honest I have barely used, but I did a nice little test with it and found it very impressive.
By this time I had started shooting A LOT of little shorts, every spare moment I got I was out fiming, I loved it. You can see most of my shorts here
Then I went to NAB, met Hien of Letus for the first time and he let me borrow the prototype of the Ultimate. I made two shorts out there with it. Deer Vegas and Red Red Rocks. It was amazing. The image was so sharp and I could finally stop down past f5.6 on the adaptor and not see any patterning. I stopped all the way down and was able to get really deep DOF shots for the first time. I was finally able to shoot like it was a proper camera.
Backing up about 18 months or so before NAB 2008, Just after I got my Brevis I met Wayne Kinney for the first time. He came up to Richmond and we did a shootout of the Brevis, M2 and his SGPro. This is now offline as it is now way out of date. But the SgPro came out on top for edge sharpness, the Brevis for light loss and M2 for build quality.
I never bought an SGpro as I was happy with my Brevis, and to be honest I didn’t like the design much. I felt it didn’t look pro enough, having the battery leads coming out of the case to the outside battery pack and I hated the long tube which I didn’t need for my Brevis. But I was really impressed with the picture quality, it was lovely and many people swear by it today as the best one out there. People like Timur Civan have shot lovely stuff with it…
Now this brings me to the Shoot 35 Blade (finally you all say!), now when I first saw a mock up of this I thought wow, this looks great!! The specs were impressive too, 1/2 stop of light loss, spinning GG like the Ultimate, a flip module with next to no light loss, this is just what Wayne needed to do, take the picture quality of the SGpro and make it more professional, sexier and better!…now that was some time ago.
Like many people I put my order in when they were first announced. Being an adaptor junkie I wanted one. I didn’t need one as I have my two M2s, 3 Brevis, 2 Extemes, 1 mini and 2 Ultimates. Now the Ultimates go everywhere with me and I am exceedingly happy with them. At the moment I am particularly excited as Hien has sent me the B4 and EX3 relay to test out this week, which I will be doing with my friend Dennis Lennie of CVP/ Mitcop. The official European distributors for Letus.
Today I was finishing off an edit for some films I have made for Microsoft, I was hilariously editing them on my brand new Macbook Pro in the middle of their HQ. But I knew that my Blade was going to be delivered by UPS today to my home. Damn. I would have to pick it up tomorrow from the depot, but thankfully my cleaner was in when UPS arrived so when I got home this was waiting for me! Awesome!
Bloody exciting and the box is massive!!! Why? Well I found out when I opened it…
Now like the Brevis, this adaptor has interchangeable elements. The Roto Razor 1 and 2, I thoroughly recommend 2 for a nice close shave!
Razor 1 is a half a stop of light loss and Razor 2 loses around 1 stop but has a more accurate film Bokeh. The blade itself came installed with Razor 1.
The Blade has a built in rechargeable battery. Honestly am not a fan of these. Too many times I have been caught out with my Brevis not being charged or dying on me mid shoot. But like the Brevis you can use a AA adaptor which nicely comes in the box! Just don’t lose it. One of my favourite things about the new Letus line is the battery compartment and use of AA battery. You can never go wrong with AA batteries!
Well first impressions are REALLY good. Beautiful packaging. Gorgeous product. Feels really solid, great attention to detail. Is it possible that a Britisher has made a world beating 35mm adaptor? Only time will tell. Tomorrow I take it out onto the mean streets of Richmond to see what the picture quality is really like. I probably won’t be bringing Razor 2 with me, that will be for a later test. Tomorrow it’s the standard element, my ex1, maybe ex3 haven’t decided and my bag of lenses. Let’s see just what this image out of this great looking adaptor really is like as there has been so little footage posted so far…Wish me luck!
In the meantime tonight it all goes back in it’s box, it’s gin and tonic time…flop out on sofa, XBox 360 and Left 4 Dead. If anyone is online my tag is Captain Percy. See you in Zombie hell!!