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Help me pic a cam


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#1 stroxell82

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 08:59 PM

Looking to buy a sync sound camera I have 2k to spend.All help would be great.

Arri BL?Good choice?Is it reliable and durable?
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#2 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 09:22 PM

Mr. Sweetman likes the BL. Am I right, David? Maybe he'll add...

Nolan shot THE FOLLOWING with an ARRI 16BL. These things are tanks. There are prime blimps available, too....a little bit harder to come by. About 30dbl...

2K? Save more money...remember, when you buy it you should get it checked out....extra money is always good. Never be in a "hurry" to obtain a camera package. It's like going to the grocery store when you're hungry...

ok, that analogy sucks, but.... :D
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 11:50 PM

I'd get an Eclair NPR over an Arri-16BL mainly for two reasons: (1) the image in the BL eyepiece rotates as you rotate the eyepiece; (2) you need blimped lenses to keep the camera quiet, which are hard to find. But otherwise, the Arr-16BL can take fine pictures.

Downside to the Eclair NPR: (1) awkward for handholding (not that the Arri-16BL is any better in that regard, maybe worse); (2) it has a combo C-mount / Eclair bayonet (CA1 ?) mount, and it isn't easy to find Eclair bayonet mount lenses.
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 12:24 AM

I find the 16bl fine for handheld, as long as you've got a shoulder-mount to keep the eyepiece at the right level. Just make sure you've got an applebox handy too, because it can start to get heavy. The lens blimp is indeed a downside to the camera. But that's a problem that doesn't seem too hard to solve, if you've got the time and money. I find that I'm okay with just the Angineux 12-120 for now, if you can find one with the Zeiss 10-100 that will probably be sharper. The rotating image inside the viewfinder ain't so bad once you get used to it. Maybe I'm just partial to the camera because It's what I've learned on...

You can get everything you "need" for about 2k, but you'll probably be compelled to keep adding on to your camera package. Anyway that's what I do instead of working on my car.
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#5 Chance Shirley

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 12:43 AM

I learned 16mm on a BL, too. I think it's a good camera. My only gripes:

1) Difficult to convert to Super 16.
2) Not the easiest camera to load.
3) A BL is HEAVY. 22 pounds, if I recall.

On the plus side, the BL is built like a tank and pretty quiet. Mine had a Zeiss zoom on it, and I found it to be plenty sharp, at least for telecine.

Edited by Chance Shirley, 19 August 2006 - 12:45 AM.

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#6 stroxell82

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:12 AM

Thanks for all the replies I'm leaning toward the BL.Someone here said it was hard to load.True?False?
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#7 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:23 AM

Thanks for all the replies I'm leaning toward the BL.Someone here said it was hard to load.True?False?


Harder than the SR as you have to set the loop length inside the changing tent. But you'll get used to that. My biggest concern about the BL is that spare parts are very hard to come by.
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#8 stroxell82

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:37 AM

Harder than the SR as you have to set the loop length inside the changing tent. But you'll get used to that. My biggest concern about the BL is that spare parts are very hard to come by.




If something broke I would be out of luck?
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#9 Jordan Brade

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 03:45 AM

If something broke I would be out of luck?


Unfortunately, that would pretty much be the case with any of the cameras in your price range.

I've had my Eclair NPR that I got off of ebay for awhile, and while running a dummy load (this was my first time using the camera) I found out that either the magazines or some part of the camera body scratches the emulsion. I'm going to send it off to Bernie of Super16 Inc. to get an estimate, but he told me over the phone that the cheapest he'd be able to fix the magazines for would be $100-150 a piece. Assuming the problem is with the magazines and it's not the result of a messed up, hard to find part. Keep in mind, I don't know the last time the camera's been serviced, so it probably needs to be serviced really badly.

I agree with Jon-Hebert Barto and save your money. You'll need to get it looked at (since you're probably going to get one from ebay at 2k), you'll need to get filmstock, and you'll need to have access to a plethora of other types of equipment.

I also suggest, as far as the camera goes, getting an Eclair NPR. It'll run a little cheaper than the BL and doesn't need blimped lenses.
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 04:16 AM

You'd want to hear the Arri 16BL running. If the rubber acoustic suspensions have hardened or something is touching the outer casing they can be pretty noisy. I gather it can be difficult to get replacement rubber suspensions.

Although, not up to modern standards, they're a pretty quiet camera when running correctly.

The periscope type viewfinder is much better for hand holding, you can then put the camera on your shoulder. With the straight viewfinder you need a shoulder brace.
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#11 Nate Downes

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 06:46 AM

For 2k I'd lean more to the Eclair or the CP16 cameras, or possibly a Canon Scoopic if you can handle the lack of an interchangeable lens.
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#12 stroxell82

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 10:38 AM

I've been looking at a bolex H16 as well.I know it's not quiet but I can live without sound for now.It seems easy to service since there is no electric parts.I'd pair it with a Tobin crystal motor(for SOME adr and wild tracks)I know lots of you have used the H16.What do you think of it?
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#13 Tim Carroll

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 11:28 AM

I've been looking at a bolex H16 as well.I know it's not quiet but I can live without sound for now.It seems easy to service since there is no electric parts.I'd pair it with a Tobin crystal motor(for SOME adr and wild tracks)I know lots of you have used the H16.What do you think of it?


If you are looking for an extremely reliable 16mm camera and you "can live without sound for now", get yourself an Arriflex 16S/B. It can use professional lenses in either ARRI standard mount or ARRI bayonet mount, and you will not have to buy a separate motor for it. It too has no electric parts except the on/off switch and the motor, which has all of its electrics self contained. And the Arriflex 16S and S/B were professional 16mm cameras, where as the Bolex H16 was more of a hobby or home movie camera.

You should be able to pick one up on eBay for $1200 or less.

-Tim
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#14 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 11:40 AM

Looking to buy a sync sound camera I have 2k to spend.All help would be great.

Arri BL?Good choice?Is it reliable and durable?



Been some time since I've priced them, but I haven't seen an Arri BL or Eclair NPR for less than 4G in a long time.By sync sound do you necessarily need something self blimped or do you plan to record your audio with a noisy camera and re record your dialogue in an ADR session?If you can live without self blimped camera,then your price range could get you a Bolex EBM or Beaulieu R16.I've used both for sync sound and they served me well.If you simply need something capable of sync ,quiet running for run and gun stuff,similar to working with ENG,your 2G could get you a CP16A or Frezzolini LW 16.They're non reflex cameras with a dogleg viewfinder that gives a through the lens view.There are reflex versions of these cameras with orientable viewfinders but they're more expensive,never seen one much under 4G.

You might be better off renting your sync sound cameras for the shoot you really need it.Could give you some versatility with what you end up buying as your primary camera.Often these older sync cameras don't have features like single frame,multiple speeds for over or undercranking without additional motors.
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#15 stroxell82

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 12:57 PM

Thanks for all the replies.I'm leaning toward the bolex h16 it seems very versatile.I seen this auction on ebay for a Bolex H16 Reflex w/18-86mm f/2 Vario Switar Zoom Lens they want 1,029 for it.What do you guys/gals think?
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#16 Robert Glenn

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:14 PM

theres the kinors too.. I've seen them for a little over 1000 on fee-bay. They need some blimping though
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#17 stroxell82

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:19 PM

theres the kinors too.. I've seen them for a little over 1000 on fee-bay. They need some blimping though



I agree with you on fee-bay they charge WAY to much for sellers.
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#18 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 03:40 PM

I wouldn't use a Bolex for shooting sync sound. Check this thread:


http://www.cinematog...n...ic=14893
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#19 stroxell82

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 04:30 PM

I wouldn't use a Bolex for shooting sync sound. Check this thread:
http://www.cinematog...n...ic=14893



Yeah I'm aware of the noise.I can live without sync sound for now.They seem like good versatile cameras.

I would like some more info on the H16.As far as it jamming up does it feed pretty good?
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#20 Borja López

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 06:08 PM

I'd get an Eclair NPR over an Arri-16BL mainly for two reasons: (1) the image in the BL eyepiece rotates as you rotate the eyepiece; (2) you need blimped lenses to keep the camera quiet, which are hard to find. But otherwise, the Arr-16BL can take fine pictures.

Downside to the Eclair NPR: (1) awkward for handholding (not that the Arri-16BL is any better in that regard, maybe worse); (2) it has a combo C-mount / Eclair bayonet (CA1 ?) mount, and it isn't easy to find Eclair bayonet mount lenses.



I can assure that the eyepiece rotation is a little bit unconfortable. But in the other hand I have obtained very good results with this camera. Anyone knows if there's any possibility to eliminate this eyepiece rotation?
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