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How about a Nikon mount hard front for my old Arri 2C...


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#1 ReadyTeddy

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 01:14 PM

I have an old Arri 2C which used to be owned by a guy who smoked too much hemp. It's dirty and in poor condition. I was considering getting it serviced and cleaned up and tuned.

At the same time, I've been supremely unimpressed with the quality of lenses I've run into in Arri Standard Mount. Other than the Zeiss Standard Primes, most of the Schneiders, Cookes and Kinoptiks I've used in ASM are either soft or low in contrast or most often BOTH.

On the other hand, when I shoot production stills with my old Nikon F camera I am amazed at the results. Almost all my 20-30 year old prime lenses for the Nikon totally BLOW AWAY the cine lenses.

I could have the Arri converted to a PL hard front, but then I would have to pay big bucks to rent or else have to beg, borrow or steal primes or a zoom in PL mount. They are not cheap.

I have heard of people putting a Nikon F mount on their Arri 35s. Nikon manual focus primes are great lenses and were produced in the millions over 45 years. Because of digital photography, nobody wants them anymore and they are available all over the place for dirt cheap money.

Anyone know of a tech who can put an F mount on my beat up old Arri? Maybe clean it up while we're at it, too?
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#2 andrewbuchanan

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 02:06 PM

old prime lenses for the Nikon totally BLOW AWAY the cine lenses.



Howdy Ted -

You are correct, but definitely test this before you go too far into the process. The Nikons I use on my Eclair from time to time are there as far as color and contrast goes, and they are very, very sharp, but they aren't cine lenses. They were never built with a focus puller in mind, and they breath like hell. I've gotten some really pretty picures out of mine (particluarly the 85mm f1.4), but when I saw some focus pulling happen and the result the breathing was serious. Also, the labels on the barrels are tiny and they rotate the wrong way, this can cause some hiccups with even the most experienced AC. They are bad for Narrative, and Music Video (IMHO), but might be okay for doc work or an interview secenario.

You should look into the guys on this forum who use the Speed Panchros and see some of their reels. They are soft wide open, but are hellaciously good lenses. Edward Lachman's work with them in the Limey was incredible.
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#3 ReadyTeddy

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 02:29 PM

Hi Drew!

We've had this discussion before... I don't pull as much as I set focus... and since I use 20-30mm as my visual "sweet spot" on 35mm the focus is usually at infinity. The Nikon 20, 24, 28, 35 and 40mm lenses are all hellaciously good.

But I still need to find someone who will do this work for reasonable money.

Please call me back on the Panavision Arri. I've got news for you.

Thanks!

Ted
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 11:00 AM

Denz used to make a Nikon hard front. I'm sure Les Bosher in the UK does as well.
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#5 Thanasis Diamantopoulos

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 05:56 PM

Hi i own an arri iic and i didn't wanted to spend alot of money to convert the mount to pl. I went to a torn mechanick the camera and we have done a patent, we create rings for my nikon primes. We where lucky and the resalts are prety good. I agree that nikon primes are not for focus pulling, but the image is sharper and the colors are deeper than the old schneiders or cooke (but the cooke are preety good for portrets). BTW i am a fun of the image created by zeiss, sonar ,planar, distagon.

SORRY FOR MY ENGLISH :blink:
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#6 Zachary Vex

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 08:55 PM

I realize this is an old topic, but for those of you using Nikkor/Nikon lenses (even the zooms with 77mm filters and about 90mm O.D.) there is an inexpensive approach to setting up a follow-focus system:

http://indifocus.com/indifocus.html

The site isn't very clear about what you get with the indiFOCUSgear system, but I spoke with the owner, Tim, and he said it comes with the friction wheel (if you don't need to mount a gear), a gear with 6 screws (improvement over the 4 set screws shown on the site's version), and the rack-mount focus pull device. Everything he sells is very reasonably priced! You can get every single accessory you'll need plus the focus pull device and gear for under $500. Extra focus gears are only $22, and he'll even bore out larger ones for you if you have some kind of huge lens that needs an opening larger than 90mm! I'm pretty amazed by what he's doing... he's also starting a line of tracks and dollies that use 1-1/2 inch conduit or PVC to make inexpensive dolly moves, where you can package up all of your track hardware for a 10 ft run in a small 10 lb box and discard the pipe if you need to travel light. That will be coming out later this year. One more detail he revealed to me... a very unique jib arm that uses PVC pipe as well. That's also coming out later this year. He has working prototypes of these systems.
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#7 John Golden Britt

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 01:47 AM

Hi Drew!

We've had this discussion before... I don't pull as much as I set focus... and since I use 20-30mm as my visual "sweet spot" on 35mm the focus is usually at infinity. The Nikon 20, 24, 28, 35 and 40mm lenses are all hellaciously good.

But I still need to find someone who will do this work for reasonable money.

Please call me back on the Panavision Arri. I've got news for you.

Thanks!

Ted


So what did you do about the Nikon Mount?. I like you will be mainly settin focus on landscape and geology shots, with my 2C, not riding 40 ft of dolly track holding a closeup. and am disheartned by what's out there in affordable primes to cover 35. When did they starting making them small and then too big again for Arri mounts?
I'm really interested in the Nikon Solution. Any Nikon lens not breath when focusing?
John
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#8 Frank Cook

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 05:45 PM

I far as I know, all Nikon lenses breath. One thing to remember is you will not get the same image quality with a motion picture camera as with a still camera. A Nikon camera produces a much larger image size on the negative than even full-frame super 35. Also, still cameras can use much higher shutter speeds. For example, if a movie camera with a 180 degree shutter is going to shoot with the shutter speed at 1000/sec (easy on almost any still camera) it would need to be shooting at 500 frames per second. In short, don't expect to get the same results on a cine camera with nikon lenses as one gets with a still camera.

So, when ReadyTeddy says, "On the other hand, when I shoot production stills with my old Nikon F camera I am amazed at the results. Almost all my 20-30 year old prime lenses for the Nikon totally BLOW AWAY the cine lenses." He is not comparing apples to apples - unless he is masking the frame and shooting at slow shutter speeds. There is more to image quality than just good glass. I bet Zeiss Super Speeds would be much sharper if used on a Nikon camera than on an Arri IIC, but they might not cover the full frame.

Well, with that said, I'm looking into getting a Nikon to PL mount teledapter. That way I can still use PL mount lenses. This option will allow me to my collection of great Nikon glass on my Arri IIC. Like many small-time film makers, I can't afford 10 - 15 Zeiss lenses. The cost of the teledapter (I think Les makes good ones) is about the same as converting to a nikon hardfront. It sure would be nice to be able to use lenses like my nikon 28mm shift lens.

Has anyone tried using the teledapter?
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#9 nathan snyder

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 08:00 PM

Frank, I could not agree more about the negative size. Still cameras are 8 perf pull, that means they are twice the size of a FULL gate cinema negative. I think it is slightly more than twice the resolution. I realized this after a long time of trying to figure out why my slides looked so much shaper than projected prints.
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