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Bealieu 4000ZMII or Leicina Special?


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#1 Dan Paola

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:36 AM

I am looking to buy a super 8 camera that permits up to 400 asa shooting and am stuck choosing between a Leicina Special or a Beaulieu 4000ZMII, both in immaculate condition (including batteries & accesories etc)and both with the Optivaron F1.8 6-66mm Zoom lens.

I was wondering if anyone could offer any opinions about the best camera to go for because they both appear to be much the same in terms of the functionality offered.

Any advice would be gratefully received, as I want to purchase the camera within the next week or so if possible.

Kind regards

Dan
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#2 santo

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 08:04 AM

Porsche...Ferrari...Porsche...Ferrari...Porsche...Ferrari...

Leicina...Beaulieu...Leicina...Beaulieu...Leicina...Beaulieu...


First off, if the Beaulieu has been serviced and has a new battery, it will be good for years to come, so reliability is not an issue. Leicina is nearly invincible, so reliability is not an issue there if it's in good working order and oiled up.

A plus and a negative for the Beaulieu 4008 is the shutter speed which is something like 1/87 of a second. A little crisper motion capture at the expense of a slight stacato look so it isn't as fluid as a regular sort of 1/55 cine speed like the Special has. A plus and a minus for the Beaulieu.

Beaulieu has ground glass for focusing through the lens. A nice system, like larger format cine cameras. Leicina has both a very ground glass like micro-prism focus screen and a switchable split-image system like an SLR. I prefer split image for focus myself. Matter of personal preference.

If you're doing time-lapse, the Leicina has the superior option of the ST-1 controller you can buy and plug into the top. Most versatile time-lapse device in the format. Don't know if that matters to you, it doesn't to me but I bought one anyways because it's pretty cool.

Beaulieu has slower slow motion at a 70 fps while Leicina is 54 fps.

Beaulieu has variable shutter which is cool thing to have, though I've found no need for one in my narrative filmmaking. Be really good for strobe-like action sequences, I guess.

Thing to remember with in camera effects though is that nearly all of them can be recreated with a decent NLE and an effects programme.

Beaulieu wins and loses in styling. Great looking camera in a cool retro Captain Nemo on the Nautilus kind of way. Put it out as a piece of sculpture and never stop admiring its style. But it's got that dumb handle as part of the styling which means it can't sit level on a tripod and is kind of goofy to hold. Leicina Special is a thick metal no-nonsense box. I love it, some don't. Its handle is remarkably comfortable compared to what you'd think looking at one without using it and folds up into the body. The forehead rest makes for a true three point handheld position resulting in stability you'd only get otherwise from a super 8 camera if you could rest it on your shoulder like an Aaton. In fact ergonomically, the Special is the best designed super 8 camera by a large margin.

The Beaulieu can use any lens the Leicina can with a mount adapter, while the Special can't use C-mount lenses which are plentiful and fairly cheap most of the time. For primes, the Special has the legendary Cinegon 10mm you can buy. The sharpest native lens for super 8 because, well, its a prime. However there are no doubt just as sharp 10mm you can buy for the Beaulieu. But on the otherhand, you must get c-mounts on the Beaulieu adjusted to focus to infinity by somebody with proper equipment if you use anything other than the factory original. If something happens to your lens you can't just buy another and screw it on. With the Special, it has a Leica M bayonet mount. I've mixed and matched three Optivarons and three Cinegons over three different Specials and there is absolutely no issue with lens adjustment. Likely it is possible for a Leica M mount to go out of adjustment, but I've never heard of it.

Leicina has really stable images thanks to the unique Teflon coated narrow film gate. However I've seen damn good Beaulieu footage from rebuilt 4008's which was extremely steady.

Honestly you can't go wrong in either case if the cameras are really tip-top. Matter of taste.

Porsche...Ferrari...Porsche...Ferrari...

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#3 A.Oliver

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 02:30 PM

Hi, Santo has really said it all. Just to add my findings. First the 4008, did not like the handgrip, fine for handheld shots, rubbish for tripod work. 4008 1/87th shutter was to stroby for my liking. Images were stunning via the 6-66 lens. Found that using the 66 end of the lens when tripod mounted, pulling focus was difficult without wobble, due to the small c-mount and poor handgrip, no such trouble with the special. Leicina is the more advanced camera, finding one in mint/hardly used condition may prove difficult. Special viewfinder is good, but the beaulieu is better. Leicina auto exposure is a lot more accurate than the 4008. Unsurpassed super 8 images via the special with 10mm cinegon. Given the choice, has to be the special. Have now sold the 4008 in favour of a 7008 and leicina special.
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