Kew Gardens

I took my replacement Letus Extreme out on Thursday with my Sony XDCAM EX for another fun afternoon filming.

I needed a few wintry shots for my a series I am making for Channel 5 but I really wanted to spend a few hours in the lovely Kew Gardens near my home in Richmond, Surrey with the two lovely bits of kit and see what I could get.

I was there for about 3 and a half hours and was even given a driver and golf buggy to scoot me around, which was superb. Although I like to take my time on things like this to wait for the right moment. With a minder I felt far more pressured.

The combo performed very well again, but I have noticed a few things that I need to work on.

Edge to edge sharpness…I noticed it was slightly harder to achieve it with the EX1 than the Z1. Not sure why but it you focused too far the centre became in the focus but the edges lost their focus. So I really need to tape down the focus once I get that sharpness and not touch it. Edge to edge is easily attainable, just a little fiddy with the EX1. Also I tended to notice the lens offset was pretty bad, as bad as the HVX200 and I had to zoom in further than I would do with the Z1 ot HD201e. I easily caught a vignette off of the EX1 lens unless I really zoomed in.

I need to find a solution to this, although I make it sound worse than it is. The Letus Extreme is not a 4×4 filter you stick in your matte box to make everything look all shallow and filmic. It’s a precision tool that you MUST set up properly to get the very best results. Once you do you won’t regret it!

I am missing the 1080p overcrank of my XDCAM HD F350. The 720p overcrank is nowhere near as sharp or as good. Oh well, there will always be compromises at this price point!

Anyway here is the short. I will put it on my website properly soon. Also when .mac stop barring my account on Sunday from high traffic the blog will move back to it’s .mac home where you can resume posting comments and subscribe to the RSS feed.

I hope you enjoy it. I spent a fair amount of time making it look as good as possible. It’s very different to “Piccadilly Furs” but it shows the combo off very well.

View it here.


  1. Impressive stuff Phil. The big question is which do you prefer, the Brevis or the Letus? We’ve been struggling with the Brevis on our Z1s for the last few months and no amount of spacers etc have been able to sort out edge softness. That frustration and the wait for the flip unit from Cinevate has got me looking at alternatives.

  2. Ah, so you are one of the lucky few! I would be really interested in hearing your thoughts on the Brevis flip. Or better still seeing it in action. We are based in Lambeth. Maybe we should hire you to come in and have a chat

  3. Hi Philip!
    Noticed you saying about the edge to edge sharpness issue on your EX1.
    I have found this, maybe it will help:

    “To our loyal Sony PMW-EX1 Customers:

    Since the launch in November, the PMW-EX1 has been received extremely well within the
    market with a huge level of order commitments and very positive feedback from customers
    using the product.

    Sony regrets to inform you that there have been a small number of reports of a specific lens issue
    with the camera, which upon further investigation by our engineering team, has been identified
    as ‘unbalanced light falloff’ at the edge of the picture. The cause of this has been identified as
    being a result of a mis-alignment of the center of the lens and the light axis. Sony takes such
    technical matters very seriously and although this issue has only been seen on a very small
    percentage of the units supplied worldwide, Sony has implemented a full review and
    modification of the manufacturing process in order to alleviate any re-occurrence of this issue.
    Sony will re-align any camera exhibiting the symptom described above at no charge to you at
    the highest priority. If your camcorder exhibits the symptom described please call our Product
    Operational Support Center at 1-800-883-6817, option 2-5-2 for advice on how to proceed.
    When calling, please be prepared to supply your camcorder’s serial number, as well as place of

    Sony would like to thank you for your continued trust in our commitment to you as your vendor of
    choice when investing in high quality professional video tools, and for your patience regarding
    this matter.

    Thank you.

    Mel Medina
    Senior Product Marketing Manager
    Professional Video Products
    Broadcast and Production Systems Division”

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