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Arri 16S, 16:9, & Image Quality


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#1 Tim Carroll

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:35 PM

Finally finished the first round of lens tests with the Arriflex 16S camera.

You can view film clips that were shot with the camera after it was rebuilt and set back to original factory specs. The clips include footage shot with Cooke Kinetal primes, 12.5, 17.5, and 25, as well as a Zeiss Distagon 8mm, and the Angenieux 12-120 T2.2 zoom. In the next month I will be adding clips shot with the Schneider primes, 16, 25 and 50, as well as the Zeiss 10-100 T3 zoom.

Everything was framed and transferred 16:9, although the Arri 16S is not Super 16(well, okay, Andy has a Super 16 Arri S, but this one is Regular 16).

Special thanks go out to Kathy Mazza and the folks at Kodak who contributed to the project, as well as Don Jensen at Alpha Cine Labs in Seattle and Jake and the folks at Downstream here in Portland.

Posted Image

You can view all the clips at the link below:

Arri16S.com Lens Tests

-Tim Carroll
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#2 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:50 PM

okay, Andy has a Super 16 Arri S


Really, that's possible ? (I must confess I never searched any related topic in the forums, as I didn't think it was...) and how much would cost that ?

Nice picture grab, BTW, I love the matter/reflection on the metal bar on the left. (And will be happy to have a look at the clips ASAIC)
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#3 Mike Rizos

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:31 PM

Hi, I must say these are very impressive. I didn't think that was possible with 16. I'm messing around with a CP, and I think I should have went with the Arri 16s.
Personally, I can't tell a difference in quality between the lenses you used. They are all superb. I never thought, in my wildest dreams, the 12-120 can look like that. At 50mm especially.
How much of this is atributable to the camera you think? I know the Arri has some of the best registration, and extra long pressure plate. Also please provide some info on the transfer.
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#4 bry

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:54 PM

Hi,

What a great resource! Thanks so much for doing this. I have the ArriS and was thinking of transferring to 16X9 HD. It's great to see that it has been done and works very well. As for the lenses, I have the Canon 12-120 and cooke 8mm, but I'm sure they would perform similarly. And I will be shooting outdoors with 50asa so the grain should get better too!

thanks again, great job with the ArriS site,

Bryant
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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 11:20 PM

I'm messing around with a CP, and I think I should have went with the Arri 16s.


Well, if you used the same lenses, you should be able to get basically the same results. I think the CP is quieter too.

Great looking frame grab; I wish I could watch the trailers but my internet is ridiculously slow here at school so I'll have to check em out when I'm at home. What's the stock & stop?
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#6 Andy Sparaco SOC

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 04:34 AM

Tim:

What was the film stock? 17?
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#7 Tim Carroll

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 08:49 AM

Andy,
The film stock was indeed 17. Kodak Vision2 200T.


Laurent,
Andy is the guy with the Super 16 Arri S. One of you should start another thread just about Andy's camera, it is a very interesting story.


Mike, Bryant, and David,
Thanks for the kind words. The 12-120 is capable of some very fine images, if it is set up properly. Paul Duclos of Duclos Lenses in LA is the expert on that lens, he did mine and you can see the results. Paul used to be the head lens tech for Angenieux USA back in the day.

To get quality images from these older cameras, two things are necessary. First, the camera needs to be lubed and set up properly. The Flange Focal Distance must be set to the original factory specs, and the ground glass needs to be set to the Flange Focal Distance. Once both of these are set, the second thing is to make sure you have good glass. The reason I think the camera is the most important thing to set first is that once your camera is set up properly, and your ground glass and FFD are exact, (and by exact, I mean the tolerance is less than one tenth the diameter of a human hair, it needs to be very precise), then you will be able to get the best out of whatever glass you put on the camera. Then if you get your glass set up properly, you can get great images.

The issue with all these older cameras is that after decades of use, and unfortunately sometimes abuse, they get out of tolerance. The Arriflex 16S is one camera that a technician can set back to original factory tolerance, it is not easy, it is time consuming, and at times it is a pain in the backside, but it can be done.

The issue with the lenses is not so straight forward, especially the primes. Some can be worked on, some can't really have much done with them. But, when the camera is set properly, ground glass to FFD, you can see through the viewfinder exactly what you are getting from the lens and exactly what the lens is showing the film. Then you can work with any glass you put on the camera and visually tell when you are getting the best out of that glass. Unfortunately on most of the older primes, the focus scales were never that accurate to begin with, and by now they can be pretty much all over the map. So again, it is critical that your FFD and ground glass are set properly, so you can tell exactly what you are getting from the older glass.

This footage was transferred on a Spirit Datacine at Downstream here in Portland, framed 16:9, SD, and put down on DVCAM tape.

All the footage was shot between T4 and T5.6.

-Tim Carroll
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#8 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 12:00 PM

All the footage was shot between T4 and T5.6.

I'd be interested in seeing the difference between T4 and T2.2 on the Angenieux. We've got a few of them at my school, and everyone gets consistently awful results from them. I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that they're almost always used wide open (and also that they're pretty beat up).
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 12:55 PM

Posted Image

You can view all the clips at the link below:

Arri16S.com Lens Tests

-Tim Carroll


---the library still has your site blocked.
One keeps getting the following message:




Netsweeper Deny Page

ACCESS DENIED

The site you have chosen has been categorized as: Pornography
The web page that you are trying to access has been blocked by filtering software installed by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in compliance with the Children?s Internet Protection Action (CIPA). CIPA is a federal law that requires all computers in a public library to be filtered if that library accepts any federal funds for Internet access or computers used for Internet access. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is complying with this law as a participant in the eiNetwork consortium, which receives a significant amount of federal funding to provide Internet access to over 85 library sites in Allegheny County.

For additional information, please read our CIPA FAQ.

To provide feedback on the filtering software or Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh?s compliance with CIPA, please complete our online form.

********************************************************************************
*********

What is on there. I always thought porno was shot with Auricons.

---LV
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#10 Tim Carroll

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 01:15 PM

Leo,
You need to find another way to access the internet. I think your Carnegie Library software is seriously flawed. It seems to be mistaking photography for pornography. Maybe it needs a spell check. There is nothing even remotely sexual in nature on the site anywhere.


Scott,
"I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that they're almost always used wide open (and also that they're pretty beat up)."
I would say it is mostly the latter. I have used the lens wide open and it is fine. Now I have heard that there was some variation in the manufacturing of the lenses, and mine is definitely not one of the HEC lenses, which were considerably higher quality. Mine is just a run of the mill 12-120, made in 1957, the same years as the Arriflex 16S used in these tests. I think the fact that Paul Duclos rebuilt it for me is the biggest reason the image is so good. I would highly recommend him to anyone who owns one of these lenses and wants to get the most from it. He can be reached at the web site below:

DuclosLenses.com

-Tim
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#11 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:17 PM

Leo,
You need to find another way to access the internet. I think your Carnegie Library software is seriously flawed. It seems to be mistaking photography for pornography. Maybe it needs a spell check. There is nothing even remotely sexual in nature on the site anywhere.
Scott,
"I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that they're almost always used wide open (and also that they're pretty beat up)."
I would say it is mostly the latter. I have used the lens wide open and it is fine. Now I have heard that there was some variation in the manufacturing of the lenses, and mine is definitely not one of the HEC lenses, which were considerably higher quality. Mine is just a run of the mill 12-120, made in 1957, the same years as the Arriflex 16S used in these tests. I think the fact that Paul Duclos rebuilt it for me is the biggest reason the image is so good. I would highly recommend him to anyone who owns one of these lenses and wants to get the most from it. He can be reached at the web site below:

DuclosLenses.com

-Tim

Thanks, I'll pass the link on to our camera center. I doubt we've got the budget to send all those old lenses out for repair, but I don't know what he charges so who knows.
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#12 Mike Welle

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 09:13 PM

"The skillful shepherd peeled me certain wands."
"Tremble and start at wagging of a straw."

These lines from Shakespeare remind me of the wands...straws...I mean strands of hair on the woman. There is a certain "I don't know" (sorry I'm not snotty enough to translate that into French) about the Angenieux lens that seems to be slightly diffracted (that might not be a word but in comparison to the President's linguistics...I believe it's passable in the coarse tongue of the modern day). Her lips in the 120mm close up seem to also have a minor chromatic aberration. I sort of like the look and it reminds me very much of the films I shot in Miami back in 2000 with the Angenieux 10-150. Yes, people were right (in my opinion) when they said the Zeiss looked cool and Technical. In comparison to the Cooke--it does indeed look scientific. The Cooke is beautiful and seems to be of a higher resolution than the other two. George and Ira Gershwin might describe it as "That Certain Feeling'". It's definitely warm and beautiful and built in Leicester of which Shakespeare said:

"Near to the town of Leicester as we learn,
From Tamworth thither is but one days march."

I told this line to the Cooke people and (oddly) got no response...Thank you Cooke. This was my charming sales pitch (if you will) to see if they had an 83mm lens cap for my Cooke 10.4-52. They never responded, as I said, so I sent it to skgrimes.com and they made one. They do good work. Thank you Tim for suggesting Duclos lenses. I see they make lens caps also (not that SKGrimes.com) didn't do a fantastic job.

Farewell,
Mike Welle
Charleston, SC
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#13 Tim Carroll

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 11:09 PM

Mike,
Very poetic.

Scott,
Just noticed you are a student at Columbia College in Chicago. Lived in Chicago up until this past summer when my wife and I relocated to Portland. Man I miss it. Used to live a block from Wrigley. Bet that neighborhood is hoppin' this time of year.

See if you can just send the one Angenieux 12-120 lens that appears to be in the best shape to Paul. Then the school can keep that lens and only let it out to seniors or folks working on their thesis. I am not sure the lenses can take a "freshman beating" and keep putting out nice images for long.

-Tim
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#14 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 12:11 AM

Scott,
Just noticed you are a student at Columbia College in Chicago. Lived in Chicago up until this past summer when my wife and I relocated to Portland. Man I miss it. Used to live a block from Wrigley. Bet that neighborhood is hoppin' this time of year.

I live a few miles south and it's hoppin' around here too. If you ever come back to shoot something, let me know. I'd love to help out. ;)

See if you can just send the one Angenieux 12-120 lens that appears to be in the best shape to Paul. Then the school can keep that lens and only let it out to seniors or folks working on their thesis. I am not sure the lenses can take a "freshman beating" and keep putting out nice images for long.

-Tim

Hehe, we've actually got an army of ~60 Bolex H16s (apparently the largest collection of Bolexes in the world, though I don't know who bothers to keep track) that serve as freshman punching bags. For everything else, you need to take Camera Seminar courses and pass tests for each camera. So all of the Angenieux zooms (I think we've got about 4 of them) are actually handled by advanced students. Sometimes they mishandle the equipment, which is kind of embarassing. Most of the advanced equipment is in fairly decent condition and is decently cared for, but yeah, it could probably stand to be rebuilt.

I shot my final film for my Cinematography course this semester on an NPR with an Angenieux and a few primes. I stuck to the primes as much as I could- the few shots from the zoom intercut very poorly. Some other students in my class shot on SRs or SR2s with Zeiss lenses, and their films just look worlds better than mine in terms of image quality.

I'll try and talk to the Advanced Camera person tomorrow and see what she thinks. How much does it cost to have the lenses rebuilt?
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#15 Tim Carroll

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 03:19 PM

I'll try and talk to the Advanced Camera person tomorrow and see what she thinks. How much does it cost to have the lenses rebuilt?


Scott,

I dug up the receipt for the work Paul Duclos did on my Angenieux 12-120. It is serial number 11216XX, so you can compare that to your lenses to see if yours are older or newer versions. Mine was in pretty good shape going in.

Work Performed:
Tested Lens Performance.
Found back focus to be .06mm long--adjusted to 52.00mm.
Noted light scratches on internal optical surfaces, should be cosmetic only.
Noted light haze on front internal optics, should be cosmetic only.
Otherwise, optical and mechanical performance is acceptable.

Total labor: 1 hour
Total cost: $95.00

So for $95 it is producing the images on the clips.

Hope that helps. Go Cubbies!
-Tim
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#16 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:16 PM

So for $95 it is producing the images on the clips.

Wow, that's a fraction of what I expected. I'll definitely pass this on to the people in charge of our cameras.
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#17 K Borowski

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:56 PM

Tim, really nice tests. I appreciate your posting them here. Is the 12-120 you have a newer or older (circa the time of TV news film)? I am going to be using one of the older lenses this summer, and I see none of the telltale softness people speak of with the 12-120. Superb work. While it is good showing each increment of length, I also think a clip showing a continuous zoom from 12-120mm would be a good clip to have, as well as the lens wide open and closed down to f/16. Supposedly, this is where the lens is at its weakest, especially on the ends of its focal lengths. I'd like to see how it performs as it's most non-ideal lengths and stops. Again, my thanks for these tests. Glad also you didn't shoot on 500T. 500T and 16mm don't mix IMO, unless low light levels make using the 500 unavoidable, or one is going for the grainy look.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#18 Tim Carroll

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 10:54 PM

Thanks Karl,

The Angenieux 12-120 I used for the test was purchased in 1957 and I believe it was new at that time, but I have no way of really knowing. As I mentioned, it is serial number 11216XX. So compare that to the serial number of the lens you will be using this summer. There were some 12-120 Angenieux's that were HEC lenses, and these are supposedly the premium versions of the lens. If you can find one of those, in good shape, you should be set up fine.

-Tim
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#19 David Sweetman

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 05:28 PM

Scott,

I dug up the receipt for the work Paul Duclos did on my Angenieux 12-120...



Where is the best place to get this done around Burbank? After seeing these tests, I will definitely get my camera's ffd and my angineux 12-120 calibrated before my shoot this summer.

For the camera, should I go to that red brick Arri building? Will they even do it, and will it be cheaper and just as good somewhere else?

And I definitely want to get the angenieux looked at too.

Thanks, and thanks again Tim for sharing the footage.
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#20 Tim Carroll

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 12:20 AM

David,

Paul Duclos is right there in North Hollywood (I think it is, go to his web site to be sure, I do not know all the neighborhoods that well in LA). I just stopped by his shop and talked to him this afternoon when I was down in there. By the way, the cost to overhaul a 12-120 is totally dependent on the condition of the lens. My was very inexpensive because my lens was in good shape. Depending on the condition of the lens, it could be as inexpensive as mine or could run upwards to $1000 if the whole lens needs to be rebuilt.

Remind me again, what camera are you putting this lens on? Do you have an Arri 16S or are you using the lens with another camera?

-Tim
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