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2002 Eastman Double-X

film stock Super 16mm eastman Kodak Black and white

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#21 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:47 AM

Freya,

 

Yes it's a humble Super 16mm re-centered K-3 with M42 mount. The lenses available for the M42 mount are all for still photography. Because of the crop factor it is impossible to find a real great wide angle lens (that would be something between 10-12mm for the 16mm film format). Got a 16mm Zenitar with moderate (=acceptable) barrel dirstortion, giving me an extra millimeter and a pin sharp, vignetting-free image. The peleng 8mm is unusable for Super 16mm beause the fisheye barrel distortion is very heavy and makes everything look like GoPro footage. The Meteor zoom (quite fast at f/1.9 all through the zoom range) that comes with the camera is just fine. I have no use for, say, 35mm or 50mm prime lenses. Got that covered with the stock zoom. I'm also not too keen on telephoto shots. I like it a little more "cinematic". The camera is way too cheap to invest in an M42 mount prime lens with a focal length I have already covered, only because of certain characteristics (and the faster the lens: the more expensive). The "wide choice" is a bit misleading, since you will have a very hard time finding a wide angle lens. The rare old Takumar 17mm also has barrel distortion and is too expensive when in mint condition. I also heard of an obscure 15mm lens once (probably very expensive if in good condition and fungus free). What makes the "wide choice" not that "wide" is the aforementioned crop factor of the 16mm format. Any old (regular 16mm I should say)16mm camera with a three lens turret had a 10mm or a 12mm wide angle included (often: 10mm - 25mm - 65mm). No such luck with the K-3. Too bad the great classic Arri-S/M/BL cameras can't be easily converted to Super16mm, it needs a very complex rebuilt of many parts (Ultra 16mm is fine, but it has no vertical headroom - you are literally stuck between sprocket holes - and it's not quite the same as Super 16, cropped regular 16mm is too soft and grainy for my humble taste).

 

I won't get into alternatives for the K-3. Been there. Besides: I don't have the money for that anyway. Otherwise I'll probably own a good Eclair NPR, Super 16 converted, with at least a nice Angie zoom that gives me at least 12mm - and of course longer - I obviously don't shoot everything wide angle, but I'm a wide angle lens fan for many reasons (you can shoot from within a conversation, handheld is the easiest, you can include the background in narrower spaces,  etc. etc. - without vignetting. 

 

Christian


Edited by Christian Schonberger, 16 July 2017 - 09:58 AM.

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#22 Freya Black

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 01:51 PM

What makes the "wide choice" not that "wide" is the aforementioned crop factor of the 16mm format. Any old (regular 16mm I should say)16mm camera with a three lens turret had a 10mm or a 12mm wide angle included (often: 10mm - 25mm - 65mm). No such luck with the K-3. Too bad the great classic Arri-S/M/BL cameras can't be easily converted to Super16mm, it needs a very complex rebuilt of many parts (Ultra 16mm is fine, but it has no vertical headroom - you are literally stuck between sprocket holes - and it's not quite the same as Super 16, cropped regular 16mm is too soft and grainy for my humble taste).

 

I won't get into alternatives for the K-3. Been there. Besides: I don't have the money for that anyway. Otherwise I'll probably own a good Eclair NPR, Super 16 converted, with at least a nice Angie zoom that gives me at least 12mm - and of course longer - I obviously don't shoot everything wide angle, but I'm a wide angle lens fan for many reasons (you can shoot from within a conversation, handheld is the easiest, you can include the background in narrower spaces,  etc. etc. - without vignetting. 

 

Christian

 

Most of the three lens turret cameras tended to top out at 25mm to be honest. If you were lucky you might get 20mm lens. Of the Cooke C-Mounts, the widest I ever came across was 16mm and it was very, very rare.

 

It's just that fashion has meant that people now shoot more often with wider focal lengths than before and 25mm 

wasn't that wide back then either but it was uncommon to find even 16mm focal length lenses on a lot of 16mm turret cameras such as the filmo.

 

You can find 20mm lenses in M42 mount but you are right they are expensive and not getting any cheaper to boot.

On the upside M42 lenses are some of the cheapest around so if you wanted to experiment with another kind of lens perhaps for a specific effect, then it would be a good way to go.

 

You are right though, there's not as much wrong with the meteor zoom as people might have you believe. ;)

 

Freya


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#23 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:26 PM

Freya,

 

Didn't know about the 25mm limit on many of the old 16mm turret cameras, especially since 25mm is considered the "normal/medium" focal length (kinda) the equivalent to 50mm on 35mm cameras.

 

No worries, I don't use wide angles because it has become fashionable. I love seeing details in the background in, say, establishing shots. 16mm is the smallest format that can get you that kind of detail (not super crisp, but it's there and easy to watch). I am also fully aware that wide angle lenses are not very flattering to the human face when shot at a close distance. Obviously - I will use a longer focal length if I want to create a certain distance (if the set piece or location allows for that - it should. It's the first thing I look for after the general look and feel: do I have enough space for the camera to choose the focal length freely or am I forced to use wide angle.

 

I live in Europe where many cities are built incredibly narrow and small compared to North America. You want to film part of a block and already bump into the one on the opposite street? You'll need a wide angle. 16mm is barely enough where I live. 

 

Heard in a "making of" feature (I think it was Jurassic Park) that director Steven Spielberg sees the world in 21mm. Not sure if that takes 35mm Panavision style anamorphic into account, but anyway: on 16mm film that would be (around) 10.5mm. 

 

And yes: the meteor zoom has a few slight issues (pincushion distortion at telephoto and barrel distortion on wider angles, starting as soon as 20mm - also a tiny bit of chromatic abberation/color fringing appears on the edges of Super 16mm - but the general quality is very good and I don't mind some lens distortion - this is "the movies" and needs to look and feel right, not be right. They had to keep the zoom range short-ish to avoid the many problems and costs. 17-69mm is O.K. but nothing to write home about. 

It's an old design from the 1960s. I think it's fine and I use it with confidence. 

 

Thanks for sharing your information.

 

Christian


Edited by Christian Schonberger, 16 July 2017 - 02:34 PM.

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#24 Freya Black

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:10 AM

Freya,

 

Didn't know about the 25mm limit on many of the old 16mm turret cameras, especially since 25mm is considered the "normal/medium" focal length (kinda) the equivalent to 50mm on 35mm cameras.

 

No worries, I don't use wide angles because it has become fashionable. I love seeing details in the background in, say, establishing shots. 16mm is the smallest format that can get you that kind of detail (not super crisp, but it's there and easy to watch). I am also fully aware that wide angle lenses are not very flattering to the human face when shot at a close distance. Obviously - I will use a longer focal length if I want to create a certain distance (if the set piece or location allows for that - it should. It's the first thing I look for after the general look and feel: do I have enough space for the camera to choose the focal length freely or am I forced to use wide angle.

 

I live in Europe where many cities are built incredibly narrow and small compared to North America. You want to film part of a block and already bump into the one on the opposite street? You'll need a wide angle. 16mm is barely enough where I live. 

 

Heard in a "making of" feature (I think it was Jurassic Park) that director Steven Spielberg sees the world in 21mm. Not sure if that takes 35mm Panavision style anamorphic into account, but anyway: on 16mm film that would be (around) 10.5mm. 

 

And yes: the meteor zoom has a few slight issues (pincushion distortion at telephoto and barrel distortion on wider angles, starting as soon as 20mm - also a tiny bit of chromatic abberation/color fringing appears on the edges of Super 16mm - but the general quality is very good and I don't mind some lens distortion - this is "the movies" and needs to look and feel right, not be right. They had to keep the zoom range short-ish to avoid the many problems and costs. 17-69mm is O.K. but nothing to write home about. 

It's an old design from the 1960s. I think it's fine and I use it with confidence. 

 

Thanks for sharing your information.

 

Christian

 

 

On the Bolex, people used to get very excited about an expensive wide angle lens that had a 10mm focal length but again it was rare and expensive. I'm guessing it was hard to make the wider focal lengths. You are right thought that 25mm is n't that wide at all but a typical lens set for shooting 35mm movies would start at 18mm and not there are often people shooting wider than that with full frame digital cameras!

 

I think the meteor zoom is kind of cool. There are often compromises made with zoom lenses anyway.

17-69mm seems like a good range. It might be nice to go a little wider but I suspect that would mean a much more complicated and expensive optical design with poorer results.

 

I'm sure you will be able to do some really cool things with your setup there.

 

Freya


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#25 Christian Schonberger

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:47 AM

Freya,

 

Absolutely! 

I'm more than fine with the K-3 and my two lenses: the stock meteor zoom and the Zenitar 16 prime. Not sure if 10mm is free of vignetting on a Super 16mm converted Bolex. Yes: I largely prefer Super 16mm. The 3:4 format (it's a matter of taste only) looks not only odd (by now) pillar boxed inside a 16:9 screen, but I am also used to frame composition for 16:9 (1:1.77...) or 1.1.85 - you can have a group of people naturally without irrelevant image information top and bottom and it's perfect for simply two people talking together in any situation. Did I mention landscapes?

 

Any true step up would mean an external magazine without it being as fiddly as an add-on (Arri-S, Bolex, Beaulieu, 1 and 3 are next to impossible to convert to S 16 anyway) because it's as fiddly to load if not more than internal 100ft spools, a crystal sync motor and not having to live without a true mirror reflex system. That means a LOT of money - if you can find one in top notch condition. If I had the $$$, I wouldn't hesitate a second buying a truly professional S 16mm camera. 

 

As for now, I'm fine with the K-3. I'm willing to make heavy compromises and workarounds just to use real film and have it color graded to look like the film stock I used (unless a project calls for some "creative" grading/compositing). No substitute for that when it comes to telling a great story and make the images endlessly rewatchable. Just my opinion....  i wouldn't even dare dreaming about 35mm, not even 2-perf.

 

Thanks,

Christian


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#26 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:38 PM

 

 

On the Bolex, people used to get very excited about an expensive wide angle lens that had a 10mm focal length but again it was rare and expensive.....

 

Freya

 

Hey Freya,

Down here in Neuvelle Zealandia,  when artists,  experimentals and indies were using old Bolexs in the 80s,  90s, the 10mm Switar was not really so rare or  expensive.  Plenty floating around used and available.  One might buy lenses with a camera,  otherwise just borrow them from friends.  Maybe it was different in the other activity nodes on the planet.  It is a long running social defect on the forum that one assumes the local particulars to be global,  universal.


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#27 Freya Black

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 11:59 AM

 

Hey Freya,

Down here in Neuvelle Zealandia,  when artists,  experimentals and indies were using old Bolexs in the 80s,  90s, the 10mm Switar was not really so rare or  expensive.  Plenty floating around used and available.  One might buy lenses with a camera,  otherwise just borrow them from friends.  Maybe it was different in the other activity nodes on the planet.  It is a long running social defect on the forum that one assumes the local particulars to be global,  universal.

 

 

I took a peek on e-bay and you are right the 10mm isn't that rare at all, although these days it would certainly appear to be quite expensive and back in the day I couldn't even afford a Bolex let alone the lenses but it sounds like there was a great scene in New Zealand with people lending each other lenses and everything! It's nice to hear another perspective on things.

 

My point though was more that while there were some much wider focal lengths available for the Bolex they were rare on other 16mm cameras like the filmo. The side finder on the filmo used to max out at 16mm in fact.

 

I wasn't assuming the particulars to be global so much but I'm in Europe like the orignal poster. 


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