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Arri IIa


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#1 Bert Smith

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 04:30 AM

Hello all,
can someone please tell me the differences between the IIa, and the much more common IIb/c cameras? I am trying to find a good reason NOT to get the IIa. I believe it's a much older camera, but what are the other differences? I can only assume there must be come very good reasons you rarely hear about anyone using these cameras. Or....no?

Thanks.
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:23 AM

Can someone please tell me the differences between the IIa, and the much more common IIb/c cameras?

For the 2C there was a major upgrade to the pulldown mechanism, one of the three turret sockets was changed to Arri bayonet, and the 2C got the new viewfinder system with the ground glass that can be user changed and improved optics. But many 2A's and 2B's have been upgraded over the years, my camera is a 2A that Doggiecam upgraded to a 2C internal mechanism and changed the ground glass for one marked for the 1.85 aspect ratio. I still have the turret with 3 Arri standard spigots but I'm planning on putting the later turret on one of these days so I can use some of the newer lenses that are available in rental, with standard only I'm pretty much limited to 1960 era lenses. Not that Zeiss and Cooke were making bad glass then - just not glass as good as what's come out since. One always has the option of having the camera converted to PL by one of the camera engineers who do that conversion.

Having said all that - early Arri 2's are like used cars, find one that's been well maintained and it will give you good service regardless of age.
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#3 Christian Appelt

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 12:46 PM

For the 2C there was a major upgrade to the pulldown mechanism


Hal, what difference is there between the IIA/B and IIC movements? I remember reading in an old German cinematography that the pulldown mechanism did not change between 1953 when the Arriflex II was replaced by model IIA (with a 180-degree-shutter and a new excenter-driven movement which prolonged horizontal claw retraction phase for better steadiness).

The only thing to make sure is that you don't buy an Arriflex II (without letter designation) because the older movement gives no good registration and it has only 150 degrees opening IIRC - but they seem to be quite rare anyway.
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#4 Dan Goulder

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 01:13 PM

Hal, what difference is there between the IIA/B and IIC movements?

The 2B and 2C have identical movements. They are improved over that of the 2A.
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 03:27 PM

Hal, what difference is there between the IIA/B and IIC movements?

My understanding is that the cardiod cam with all the drilled holes came out with the 2C. That's what's in my camera.
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#6 Christian Appelt

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 10:35 AM

My IIA has that movement. - I will look up some vintag Arri ads that describe the altrations. For now, here's a list of models from

CinemaTecnic.com on Arriflex 35

The description of models is what I remember, except for the IIA - the alteration of 180 degree shutter and movement was done at the same time.

Arriflex 35: Original version, 1937, used in WWII
Arriflex 35 II: Manufactured in new ARRI factory starting in 1946
Arriflex 35 IIA: 1953. 180º shutter
Arriflex 35 IIB: 1960. New transport claw design, fixed 180º shutter
Arriflex 35 II BV: 1960. Introduced variable shutter 0º-165º
Arriflex 35 II HS: 1960 high speed version (to 80fps)
Arriflex 35 II C: 1964. Improved viewing system with larger viewfinder optics which allow veiwing of the full anamophic format. Introduction of interchangeable ground glass system. Viewfinder door with de-anamorphoser available. Interchangeable eyepiece.
Arriflex 35 II C/B: Equipped with a single stainless steel Bayonet lens mount on turret, the other two mounts are ARRI Standard.
Arriflex 35 II CGS/B: Equipped with Pilotone output and start marking system (obsolete system for sync sound).
Arriflex 35 II CHS/B: High speed model, 80fps maximum, with specially prepared movement and 80fps tachometer. Used 32VDC motor.
Arriflex 35 II CT/B: Techniscope? format model. Uses 2-perf pulldown and half-height gate to give Anamorphic aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with normal lenses, and reduces film use by half. Used to shoot THX-1138, American Grafitti, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and many other features during the late 60?s and early 70?s.
Arriflex 35 III C: 1982. Final refinement of the 35 II design. Featured PL mount (no turret). Hinged film door with new optics, three viewfinders available: Straight Door, Pivoting Door, and Hand-Held Door. Crystal sync handgrip motor of new design, 12VDC, forward-reverse 5-50fps. Very few were made.
ARRI 35IIC Medical Camera: 1964. Designed for use as a Cineradiology camera, the medical version of the 35-II was mounted to an X-Ray console and used to shoot Black & White 35mm film records of moving X-Ray images (used to diagnose heart problems, for example). These cameras are usually either gray-beige or light green in color and have no lens turret and no viewfinder system at all. They are sometimes equipped with ARRI standard lens mounts. This model was supeceeded by the ARRITECHNO in 1970. These cameras cannot be used for cinematography in their original state. CinemaTechnic provides conversions to these cameras so that they can be used for cinematography.


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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 11:39 AM

My IIA has that movement. - I will look up some vintag Arri ads that describe the altrations.

I wonder what's going on with the cardiod cam? I've seen a couple of 2B's with the solid cam, your 2A has the drilled cam, and my 2A has the drilled cam but I was told that was because Doggiecam updated the innards to 2C, which Doggiecam confirmed.

I think I'll email Aranda and see what they think, does anyone out there know Alex Broda well enough to call him and ask about the movements?
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 02:04 PM

My IIA has that movement. - I will look up some vintag Arri ads that describe the altrations. For now, here's a list of models from

CinemaTecnic.com on Arriflex 35

The description of models is what I remember, except for the IIA - the alteration of 180 degree shutter and movement was done at the same time.


As I recall from old ads and literature the main differences between IIA and IIB is that the motor was upgraded and the 400' mags were improved. Which should make the IIA upgradable to a IIB.
Any other differences would be very minor.

I used to have access to a II. The movement, instead of a cam, has a circular disc which carries the claw.
The Cameraflex/Cineflex has the same movement. The IIA also has a 120 degree shutter.

People would constantly call the II a IIA. Very annoying.
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#9 Hal Smith

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 08:20 AM

Here's some tidbits from Bruce at Aranda Films concerning the Arri II series

>>I'm afraid that I cannot add too much to the discussion. The list of
>>models/manufacturing date is probably as close as you are going to
>>get to an answer unless Arri itself has better information. I have
>>found Arri to be most unhelpful over the years and may of my requests
>>have never been answered.
>>
>>It is true that the body of the camera was pretty much standard until
>>the 2C version. You could interchange most parts until then. The
>>movement can be swapped almost across all models as your own camera
>>proves. The 2C door is a different shape and will not fit any
>>earlier model. Likewise with the ground glass holder (although it
>>can be made to do so.)
>>
>>Regards
>>
>>Bruce McNaughtn
>>www. arandafilm.com.au
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#10 Clive Alex

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 02:50 PM

I'm glad I came across this info regarding the Arri II's. I bought a Arri IIa and the seller didn't know much about it but hinted at it might have been up graded at some point. Mine has the later perforated or vented disc on the cam. I find the camera so maneuverable and easy to use. I recently considered selling it, but now I have some lenses and accessories for it I'm going to keep it.
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 04:04 PM

Serial numbers help a little bit. If you find one with a number under 2000, it's a Model I, made between 1937 and July 13, 1944. I've been collecting Model I stuff, so far I have three of them, and a Cineflex.




-- J.S.
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