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Som Berthiot 17-85mm Super 16?


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#1 Film Runner

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 01:08 AM

I have been hearing that the Som Berthiot 17-85mm f2 (the clunky one with the angle bend in the viewer tube) will fully cover Super 16mm when centered properly.

http://www.6URL.com/10HY

This guy claims it fully covers.

Is this true?

Thanks

F.R.
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#2 Ian Marks

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 10:32 AM

I have the later version of this lens, where the finder tube makes a 90-degree bend. It mates perfectly to my Bolex 16M, a combination Bolex used to tout as the "Coach's Assistant." I believe that aside from the finder configuration the lenses are essentially identical.

I have always understood that this lens will cover Super-16. I've heard it from several sources over the years, and have come to accept it as fact despite not having a Super-16 camera to test it on. One of these days I'll have the Bolex modified to Super-16 and will confirm this once and for all.

Remember that this lens doesn't really go very wide at the wide end (17mm) and coverage generally gets to be an issue as you go wider. Even though it was designed before the invention of Super-16, it is perfectly reasonable to think that at 17mm, it would cover... most lenses of this focal length or longer do. Optical performance is another matter.
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#3 Robert Hughes

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 02:10 PM

I've got a right-angle black Pan Cinor 17-85mm like Ian's. The image is suprisingly clear and sharp for a lens of this vintage. I've heard it can vignette slightly in S16 at the shorter end of the zoom scale, although I haven't noticed it on my R16 Auricon. I used to own an angled-viewfinder version of the lens and it worked OK also, although the lens elements had yellowed over the years (who needs an 85 filter?) and flare was a problem.
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#4 Film Runner

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 03:35 PM

I've got a right-angle black Pan Cinor 17-85mm like Ian's. The image is suprisingly clear and sharp for a lens of this vintage. I've heard it can vignette slightly in S16 at the shorter end of the zoom scale, although I haven't noticed it on my R16 Auricon. I used to own an angled-viewfinder version of the lens and it worked OK also, although the lens elements had yellowed over the years (who needs an 85 filter?) and flare was a problem.


Wow. This a cool forum. Fast info and great people!

People claim it is a pretty sporty lens for vintage equipment.

In everybody's opinion which would give a better film product.

1. Shoot Regular 16mm with a mixed set of c-mount primes.
16mm(older switar), 25 (taylor hobson), 75mm (angenieux)

2. Shoot Super 16mm with the single 17-85 Som Berthiot Zoom.

Film would be some older 320T. Finish on DVD but if it is good (probably not) I'd like to blow it up to 35mm for theatrical release as short film for oscar consideration (i would seek someone out to pay for this as if I had the money for this step, I'd shoot 35mm inthe firts place).

All opinions are welcome.

Thanks.

F.R.
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#5 Ian Marks

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 08:31 PM

IMHO, you're definitely going to be better off shooting Super-16, even if your lens is just okay. The fixed focal-length lenses you mentioned are not exactly state of the art. Of course, you're gong to need a Super-16 camera to put your Pan Cinor zoom on. I seem to recall that there is a little mask in the finder of mine that the user can reposition to provide correct framing when looking through the finder (necessary because the lens can be mounted in various positions - finder on top, to the left or to the right). If your zoom has one of these, it should be a simple matter to file it out to show the Super-16 frame.

HEY! A thought: wouldn't removing the 1:1.33 mask from the finder tell you whether the lens covers Super-16? Maybe one of the smarter people on the board can tell you if this would work, but it seems to make sense to me.

A couple of other thoughts:

1. If possible, shoot with your lens stopped down a couple of stops from maximum aperture to get the best optical performance.

2. Depending upon how you're finishing your film, it may be possible to apply a tiny bit of sharpening in post.

3. Finally, why limit yourself to the Pan Cinor if you shoot Super-16?
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#6 Film Runner

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 09:15 PM

IMHO, you're definitely going to be better off shooting Super-16, even if your lens is just okay. The fixed focal-length lenses you mentioned are not exactly state of the art. Of course, you're gong to need a Super-16 camera to put your Pan Cinor zoom on. I seem to recall that there is a little mask in the finder of mine that the user can reposition to provide correct framing when looking through the finder (necessary because the lens can be mounted in various positions - finder on top, to the left or to the right). If your zoom has one of these, it should be a simple matter to file it out to show the Super-16 frame.

HEY! A thought: wouldn't removing the 1:1.33 mask from the finder tell you whether the lens covers Super-16? Maybe one of the smarter people on the board can tell you if this would work, but it seems to make sense to me.

A couple of other thoughts:

1. If possible, shoot with your lens stopped down a couple of stops from maximum aperture to get the best optical performance.

2. Depending upon how you're finishing your film, it may be possible to apply a tiny bit of sharpening in post.

3. Finally, why limit yourself to the Pan Cinor if you shoot Super-16?


I will check to see about filing that mask out. That is a good idea.

I have a non-relex Bolex that was modified to Super 16mm. I have some 320T short ends. Just gonna made a good script and pay for processing and telecine. That will suck up all my budget.

Thanks for the idea about filing out the viewfinder mask...

I'm heading to Home Depot to buy a small set of files right now...

Will let you know how it goes...

F.R.
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#7 Ian Marks

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 09:57 AM

Gee, I hate to think of anyone taking a file - or any other tool - to a piece of equipment based on something I said. Be careful!

So who modified your Bolex, and are you happy with the workmanship? What was the cost? The lens mount is recentered, right?

I have a Bolex H16 M5, and a Super-16 modification is on my list of things to do "someday." Unfortunately real life keeps getting in the way. I got the camera, and later the zoom, at bargain prices. If I could get the camera modified at a reasonable price, I would have just about the least expensive 400'-capable, sync-capable (with the addition of a Tobin motor) Super-16 camera on the planet (although using a Bolex with a magazine is a PITA, and I don't recommend it).

Best of luck to you - please let us know how your project turns out.
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#8 Film Runner

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:35 AM

Gee, I hate to think of anyone taking a file - or any other tool - to a piece of equipment based on something I said. Be careful!

So who modified your Bolex, and are you happy with the workmanship? What was the cost? The lens mount is recentered, right?

I have a Bolex H16 M5, and a Super-16 modification is on my list of things to do "someday." Unfortunately real life keeps getting in the way. I got the camera, and later the zoom, at bargain prices. If I could get the camera modified at a reasonable price, I would have just about the least expensive 400'-capable, sync-capable (with the addition of a Tobin motor) Super-16 camera on the planet (although using a Bolex with a magazine is a PITA, and I don't recommend it).

Best of luck to you - please let us know how your project turns out.


No, actually it is going very well. I got a set of 5 different types of files in a nice plastic folding case for under $10 and I am using a Dial Caliper I got from a friends Dad. I'm taking thosandths of an inch off at a time. It is rather soft metal and I bet I could go through it in a few minutes and then back off but I want it to be right to exact dimensions. I extrpolaited dimensions of the Super 16mm aperture to where the viewfinder mask would need to be...

I'm just hoping it's existing dimensions are close to the normal Regular 16mm gate.

Ian, I owe you a few beers if.... you're ever in my area look me up. I'm going to end up with a legit Super 16mm camera here thanks to you. No hookey non-modified viewfinder or other B.S. liek the K3 has.

Believe it or not I picked up the Bolex at a kinda parking lot swap meet/garge sale. Seller had no clue what he had and I glady handed over $50 bucks without even winding the camera and got the heck out of there before he changed his mind.

I get home and opened it up and looked at the gate and damned if it isn't Super 16. And the lens port has been shifted over a full 1mm or so. I have no clue who did the mod but the camera also came with the mentioned lenses and the typical regular 16 octafinder (non-modified) don't know if that can actually be modified.

It is the Bolex 16M. Not the M5. So I don't have the 400 foot load capacity but I'm going to be so picky with my shots that it will take forever for me to burn a 100 foot daylight spool.

There's a guy on the internet at http://www.6URL.com/10K7

His discusses modying a Three Turret Bolex.

Looking at the H16M. It will be far easier to shift the singe lens front 1 mm or so. No Turrent issues an grinding the gate is no biggey if you take your time.

Watch the prices for Bolex M's and Som Bertiot zooms on ebay skyrocket!

Ian, you rock dude.

Lots of love your way.

F.R.
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#9 Glenn Brady

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 02:57 PM

I have always understood that this lens will cover Super-16. I've heard it from several sources over the years, and have come to accept it as fact despite not having a Super-16 camera to test it on. One of these days I'll have the Bolex modified to Super-16 and will confirm this once and for all.

Remember that this lens doesn't really go very wide at the wide end (17mm) and coverage generally gets to be an issue as you go wider. Even though it was designed before the invention of Super-16, it is perfectly reasonable to think that at 17mm, it would cover... most lenses of this focal length or longer do. Optical performance is another matter.


I'm an occasional user of large format still photography equipment and have learned that lenses often have a 'circle of illumination' that's significantly larger than their 'circle of definition'. That is, they project an image whose edges cannot be brought into sharp focus. This is more of a concern with view cameras because most permit movement of the lens with respect to the film, but I think the same characteristic must be true of motion picture lenses (at least when they're focused at infinity). This unsharpness can be subtle in a viewfinder, so apparent coverage (seen in the viewfinder) may not be genuine coverage (seen on the projected film).
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#10 Ian Marks

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 04:10 PM

Fifty bucks and it was modified for Super-16? Sheesh! The film gods were smiling on you that day.
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#11 Film Runner

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 06:12 PM

Fifty bucks and it was modified for Super-16? Sheesh! The film gods were smiling on you that day.


Yup, but I have a bunch of other "garage sale cameras" that will work great as row boat anchors!

F.R.
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#12 Mike Rizos

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 09:52 PM

I think the difference between the "circle of good definition" and "circle of illumination" gets progressively smaller as we move down through to smaller formats. By 16mm it becomes nearly none existent. It also depends on indivisual lenses, and how far the aperture is stopped down. The picture was made with an 12-120 Angenieux at 25mm F8, mounted on a still SLR. As you can see the difference is minimal, and just about the whole circle of illumination is usable. Still, the lens doesn't cover super 16 at this length.

PS. The right side crop is curtesy of the lab, were I had these developed and scaned.

[attachment=1585:attachment]
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#13 Ian Marks

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:47 PM

Yeah. In a previous life, I did a fair amount of 4x5 photography, sometimes using extreme movements that brought me right to the edge of the image projected by the lens. I don't think it's a big issue with the much, much smaller 16mm frame. Performance at the extreme corners of the Super-16 frame might not be ideal when using an older lens designed for standard 16, but I think that's okay too... I can't remember the last time I found myself staring at the corners of the frame while watching a film. Remember, too, that we're talking about shooting Super-16 using cameras costing just a few hundred bucks (or less, Film Runner's case), so some compromises must be made.
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#14 Glenn Brady

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 08:13 AM

The picture was made with an 12-120 Angenieux at 25mm F8, mounted on a still SLR. [attachment=1585:attachment]


Maybe this isn't so much of an issue with lenses designed to cover a 16mm frame, as you say. The width of the band of unsharpness of the image projected by a 14-inch Goerz Red Dot Artar on a 8x10-inch Deardorff is measured in inches at the f/9.0 maximum aperture (the lens wasn't advertised as covering 8x10 but does so on axis at infinity if stopped down).

I'm curious about how you fit the 12-120 Angenieux to your 35mm SLR. Is there an off-the-shelf adapter? I would guess you'd have to have the mirror swung out of the way to get the barrel of the lens into the mirror box.
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#15 Mike Rizos

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 08:00 PM

I'm curious about how you fit the 12-120 Angenieux to your 35mm SLR. Is there an off-the-shelf adapter? I would guess you'd have to have the mirror swung out of the way to get the barrel of the lens into the mirror box.


It's a do it yourself job. I took the mount off a junk lens and attached it to the Angenieux. It took some doing to position it. The mirror must be locked up and there is no viewing. It's probably not set perfect, but I was curious about stuff we were talking about.

BTW why are these Goerz lenses in high demand? My understanding is they're pretty old.
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#16 Glenn Brady

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 09:53 PM

BTW why are these Goerz lenses in high demand? My understanding is they're pretty old.


I'm not sure why these lenses are legendary. The Red Dot Artar and Blue Dot Trigor lenses started out as process lenses and were optimized for infinity work. The Gold Dot Dagors are apparently the most desirable of all, having the good qualities of the Artars and Trigors plus really good coverage. Although many of these lenses are old, Schneider took over manufacture from Goerz and made these lenses at least as late as the 80s.

Thanks for your explanation of how you made the SLR-Angenieux combination work.
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