Just got my SL back from service in LA, so I thought I would write an update on the work done.
My camera technician Jorge replaced the loose electrical connector inside the side panel and lubricated the pins with a fluid that he says should solve any conductivity issues if the connector gets loose again.
He mentioned that the stainless steel 2.5mm body screws which I replaced the originals with will be more prone to head stripping, which they have already begun to do. He recommended that I switch from a ball-tip hex tool to straight-tip and go back to alloy screws, adding a little dab of oil on the heads to resist corrosion.
All the mag motors were tested for proper tension with a gauge. The 400' mags were perfect. The 1000' mag motors were not up to spec and were re-calibrated. Previously, they would not take up properly when running in reverse - that is fixed now.
The PL mount and ground glass focus were collimated and checked. Due to the SL's pressure plate design, apparently the FFD should be set to 52.00mm, not 51.98mm like most Arri cameras. The ground glass focus was apparently not easy to check as it sits at a slight angle, unlike Arri cameras. Jorge says he used some exotic collimator lenses to do the job.
The movement was not lubricated, as he has not yet found the right documentation for that. 'First, do no harm' being the operating motto. Dom, if you have any info on this it would be much appreciated. We have split a bottle of Arri chronosynth oil for our Arri cameras, doubtful if that can be used on Moviecam cameras.
The viewfinder was disassembled and lubricated to remove a bump in the diopter adjustment ring. Before, turning the diopter resulted in the image moving slightly due to some optics shifting around. It is very smooth now.
Jorge was not able to adjust the viewfinder to see a bit more of the S35 ground glass. Unfortunately, this appears to be a limitation of the SL viewfinding system. The camera left frame line is just visible but there is no look-around. When the PL mount is centered for Academy 35 and a N35 ground glass is used, the frame lines are also centered and look-around is available on both sides.
Power draw was checked with a power supply, 0.8A running 24fps (19.2w @ 24v) without mag or film. The B&W tap added about 0.3A. The camera should pull 2.5A with 400' of film at 24fps, according to the manual. The internal fuse is 6.3A. That leaves 3.8A for accessories, just enough for a Preston MDR3 and a TVLogic 5.6 (or a Teradek Bolt Pro 300). If you use the TVL with it's own batteries, that frees up 1A.
We also discussed the possibility of updating the video tap to HD. I think it is very possible to do for my camera, as the existing B&W tap uses a machine vision board camera. There are several HD-SDI board cameras available which could possibly fit into the existing housing with minimal work - the trick will be to match the sensor size to the existing camera so the lens and field-of-view are not affected.
On the plus side, the board cameras all seem to be fairly standardized in terms of size and connector placement. They would only really need hot and ground wires soldered in, and an ultra-thin jumper SDI cable to move the BNC connector to a convenient place. To have full control over the camera menus, the existing tap housing might need to be milled out and a rubber gasket added to accommodate the small plastic control pad that comes with the camera. But it might also be possible to just set the camera menus once and then hide the control pad inside the housing, avoiding any machining.
There are also new(er) high resolution lenses available in C or CS mount which would offer a better image, but it would be tricky to make them fit into the existing housing and maintain manual iris control through the housing, keep the same field-of-view, stay within minimum focus, and avoid too much distortion.
Ideally, a manual iris, macro prime lens with low distortion would be best. I have a few in mind, but it all depends on whether the original tap camera has a 1/2" or 1/3" sensor. All the modern HD-SDI machine vision cameras are 1/3", most of the old tap cameras were 1/2". Most of the modern C/CS mount lenses cover 1/2" but do not have macro. I've only found one with an MOD of 4" which I'm hoping is close enough.
Anyway, it seems like Jorge will need to acquire more workspace before he can start on a project like this. But I made him aware that there is a potential market for these HD taps, if they can be made affordably. I know that he will be making them first for the medical 2C cameras which do not have optical viewfinders. Probably with a camera that already has a housing, rather than a plain board camera like I am planning on using.
I would recommend emailing him if you are interested in buying one - the more orders he gets, the cheaper they will be: http://cinematechnic...t-cinematechnic