It’s been a tortuous wait. I have been salivating over this since I first saw it at NAB last April but Hien and the team at Letus have been hard at work perfecting their B4 relays for 2/3″ cameras for the past 9 months and now finally you can order them!
The B4 mount comes in two flavours, the “compact” and “pro”, although neither are cheap there is a reason for that. I spoke to Hien and he told me just how much money goes into the actual glass for these, let alone the R & D. This really is the AAA grade glass, German in fact, not the crappy (sorry Letus!) Minolta based relay that the old relay adaptors they sold had. There is no multiplication factor. This zooms and focuses perfectly into the ground glass making your Ultimate/ Elite/ Extreme better than ever before. No more fiddling with screwing it onto your stock lens, getting focus, not knocking the zoom etc…This is a PRO product for a PRO market and the first time you have really been able to use the Letus line on a 2/3″ camera!
Here is the blurb from the Letus website about “The Pro”:
Pro version of Letus35 Relay Lens Module for B4 mount cameras. 103mm in length from flange. 3/4 stop brighter than the P+S PRO35 relay. This relay lens will allow you to attach a Letus35 Extreme, Elite, or Ultimate adapter directly to the camera body bypassing the stock lens entirely. Precision calibrated to the Letus35 adapters. We cannot guarantee compatibility with other adapters.Academy frame size 12 lens set Razor sharp center and edges Iris ring Back focus ring with lock down Stainless steel flange F/1.5 When coupled with the Letus35 Ultimate, it is the best 35mm DoF adapter solution, period. The Compact as it is called is also an astounding piece of kit. Much shorter, two pounds lighter, these are big plusses, but half a stop slower than the pro, so you need to way up the pros and cons… Here is the Letus blurb for the compact: Compact version of Letus35 Relay Lens Module for B4 mount cameras. 50mm in length from flange. 1/4 stop brighter than the P+S PRO35 relay. This relay lens will allow you to attach a Letus35 Extreme, Elite, or Ultimate adapter directly to the camera body bypassing the stock lens entirely. Precision calibrated to the Letus35 adapters. We cannot guarantee compatibility with other adapters.
Academy frame size 9 lens set Razor sharp center and edges Iris ring Back focus ring with lock down Stainless steel flange F/1.8
Hien has spent a lot of time perfecting these. I have been bugging him incessantly to try them out and it’s always been “not yet Phil!”. He really wants this to hit the market in it’s best possible form, no compromises. I won’t know until I see them in the flesh for sure but they really look like they have gone all out on these. Now here is the downside. First off they are 8-10 weeks away from delivery. Secondly, and in this time of credit crunch and worse for us Britishers with our puny Pound they are costly. The Economy/ Compact is $3500 and the pro $6000. Now that is a lot of money and a big price difference between the two. But you are paying for the highest quality components. This is not an amateur tool. This is a pro product to take on the pro35 at a fraction of the price. Recent shows like “Criminal Justice” and “Dead Set” were shot on the Pro 35 and looked great. If this is as good as it looks more and more stuff will be shot like this I am certain of it! You have a separate iris ring on the relay so you can still keep the 35mm lens wide open if needed and control the light coming onto the sensor via that and the ND filters, so you still have more control over light coming in than a film camera. Very akin to the P & S Technik. I hope to be able to bring you a hands on test in the next few weeks when I get to borrow the prototype units from Hien. I will be testing them out on both the Extreme and the Ultimate, on SD and HD 2/3″ cameras. I may even see if I get them to work with other adaptors for a bit of fun, like the Brevis and maybe even the Blade if it is available! The EX3 relay is also imminent and will be very similar in design. I can’t wait to test this out too. I also think 1/3″ relays are in the works as I have convinced Hien that the Canon and JVC users are crying out for them, especially with the new JVC 700 almost here. 1/3″ cameras are far from dead. There is a huge market there still. I know I sound like a rabid fanboy but I honestly haven’t been this excited about something since “The Phantom Menace” came out and I know this won’t be the crushing disappointment that that was! I will keep you up to date with all developments and as soon as I get my hands on them I will be posting my results. Let’s us hope they are as good as they look! You can pre-order them here Official Letus dealers ZACUTO are also taking order here