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A-Minima?


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#1 Brant Collins

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 10:52 PM

How good is this camera? Easy of use?Quality of picture?
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#2 Brian Wells

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 11:03 PM

Hard to load, but fun to use. The only real problem with the A-Minima is the short mags; 200' is only five or so minutes of film. Eclair also made a compact S16 camera about the size of the Minima for a lot less money. Might look for one used and save about 15 Grand.

Nathan Milford is the resident Aaton expert in the US. Might look him up on here for any specific questions.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 06:49 AM

Aaton minima is tricky to load and the 200 ft. lengths ARE an inconvenience.
It's small size makes it good for cramped quarters and certain "run and gun" situations.
The built-in intervalometer is very handy.
Which Eclair are you referring to Brian?
I use the ACL2 with 200ft. mags sometimes with very good results.
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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 08:38 AM

In reference to the picture quality, in a word, fantastic. Given the fact that it is Super 16 and that it can use PL mount lenses, you can get a picture that will rival even 35mm. That is to say, as long as you use really sharp lenses and shoot with any of the fantastic new stocks Kodak has available for it. Sadly no Fuji film comes in the special 200' loads. It is a great B cam, or for getting into really tight spaces.


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#5 Tim Carroll

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 10:11 AM

I am not sure how great of an all around camera it would be, but I find it interesting that it is selling new for about $18,000 to $20,000, and it is a brand new Super 16 motion picture camera. The camera everyone I know is talking about is the new HVX-200 and they are all trying to pull together the money to buy one, and when you put everything together so you can shoot HD with that camera, the P2 cards, card readers, etc., the price is $12,000 to $15,000. For a camera that will be obsolete in six months to a year. I just don't understand it. I'm not in the market for either, but why someone would spend that kind of money for a hyped up consumer camcorder, when they could get a true motion picture camera for not much more, is beyond me. Guess I am just a film lover.

-Tim
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#6 Brant Collins

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 10:37 AM

I am doing my budget to start my own production house. I will be doing mostly commercial work. I will get something like a Sony Z1(for the local Car commercials). I like the Canon H1( but over priced). The Panasonic with the P2 cards is also too pricy. For the price the Sony seems to fit my daily needs. To get any high quality HDV like an F900 is too much for me, if a client request it I will rent one.But for the high end clients and agencies I would like to offer film. We also have a growing film market here in Little Rock but have no local retal houses. So I would like to get a Super 16 to be available in the market. I know I could rent one but I would like to have a film camera for my own needs and maybe rent to local film makers. I see I could get a Eclair modified to S16 for 7k. Compare that to 65,000 for a HDV camera(without lens) Film is starting to look better to me all the time.
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#7 Robert Edge

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 01:08 PM

How good is this camera? Easy of use?Quality of picture?


The picture quality is the same as any super 16 camera that takes PL mount lenses. For a recent example, see The Constant Gardener. Cesar Charlone, who apparently owns an A-Minima, used it and the Aaton XTRProd to shoot the 16mm footage for the film. He used a Fuji 10-40mm zoom and a Canon 8-64mm zoom. The Fuji lens, which is said to have been designed with the A-Minima in mind (it is relatively light and attractively priced), is sometimes dissed because it is not a fast lens, but apparently it's fast enough for Charlone. There is a photo of him using the A-Minima, showing how he had it rigged for The Constant Gardener, in the October issue of American Cinematographer, p. 26.

Realize that the price of an A-Minima does not include a magazine. These sell for about US$1500 each. I like using 200 foot magazines, but I have four of them. Depending on how you are using the camera, you may want additional magazines yourself.

There are suggestions in the above posts that the magazines are hard to load. Well, one of the nice things about the A-Minima is that it can be loaded in daylight, and beyond that, either you know how to load the magazine or you don't. It isn't rocket science. If you know how to do it, loading a magazine isn't hard at all.

Fuji film can be used by loading the film manually in a darkroom on A-Minima cores and reversing the wind. Some people argue that the film should then be left for a day to adjust to the change in wind.

One of the interesting things about the A-Minima is that it will generate, as well as record, Aaton time code. This means that it can be used to synchronize other time code devices. Depending on what you are doing with sound recording, that may be attractive.

I think that it is a terrific camera if you care about bulk and weight (which has domino benefits, in terms of bulk and weight, when it comes to camera support) and rig it in a way that does not compromise its size/weight advantages. Note also that it is designed, when used without camera support, to be held in the hands, against the upper chest/ shoulder if desired, rather than supported on the shoulder, which is a question of personal preference.

Note that the camera is rated at 29dB (plus or minus one), which is higher than the XTRProd, and that the shutter angle is fixed. I once read a post complaining that the viewfinder doesn't swivel, but I am personally very happy with the viewfinder.

One thing that I really like about the camera is that I can travel with it, by air for example, carrying it in a shoulder-bag.
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