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Alpha 16 enquiry


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#1 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 03:34 AM

I'm very curious about a compact Russian 16mm movie camera called an Alpha 16. There is very little information about this camera on the Internet but from what I can gather, it has a reflex viewfinder, has a few different running speeds including 24fps, and some versions of the camera have an interchangeable C mount. I do know there is a version that has a fixed lens. How reliable is this camera generally - ie is an Alpha 16 in good working order usually free from film jamming and scratching etc? Also, how steady is the footage produced by such a camera? Obviously, it wouldn't have a registration pin but there are many movie cameras lacking a registration pin that have remarkably good registration.

Does the Alpha 16 C mount version have single frame? If so, are single frames exposed with a regular cable release? When doing time lapse with a K3, it is recommended not only to cover the viewfinder but also to cover the lens between exposures if the interval time is considerably long. Is it necessary to cover the lens of the Alpha 16 between exposures when doing single frame shooting?
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#2 Antonio Bunt

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 07:16 PM

I don't know if you checked this site already:
http://www.geocities.../16mm/alpha.htm
But if you have any doubt, e-mail Olex, he's the Guru of Russian equipment.
Hope the info will be helpful.
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#3 Olex Kalynychenko

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 04:42 PM

I'm very curious about a compact Russian 16mm movie camera called an Alpha 16. There is very little information about this camera on the Internet but from what I can gather, it has a reflex viewfinder, has a few different running speeds including 24fps, and some versions of the camera have an interchangeable C mount. I do know there is a version that has a fixed lens. How reliable is this camera generally - ie is an Alpha 16 in good working order usually free from film jamming and scratching etc? Also, how steady is the footage produced by such a camera? Obviously, it wouldn't have a registration pin but there are many movie cameras lacking a registration pin that have remarkably good registration.

I hope, the answer can be interested for other film makers too.

Ukarainian 16 mm amateur cine camera "Alpha-poluavtomat" Kiev-16, semi-automatic device, made of Kiev factory of automatic of Petrovsky.
The camera have mechanical spring motor, 100ft daylight spool film loading system, refelx viewfinder with semi- transparent glass, C-mount, TTL meter.

The camera have very low weight ( 1.6 kg ) because, the outside parts of body made from polycarbone resin Diflon.

Alpha-16 have reflex viewfinder, but, this is not mirror shutter disk.
The camera have one blade, 170 degree, black mirror disk near film gate, at one plane with film gate ( similar of not reflex camera ) and have semi-transparent glass between lens mount and ground glass.

This is glass divide of light on two ways - on film and on ground glass.

The picture on ground glass not blink. But, you lost a some light on film.

The camera have speeds : 12, 16, 24, 32 fps and single frame shooting.

=and some versions of the camera have an interchangeable C mount.

All versions of Alpha-16 cameras had C-mount and interchangeable lens.

The original set of camera have VEGA-7 20 mm F2.0 prime lens, angle of view 35 degree.

About reliable of camera, free from film jamming and scratching.

The camera have very good design of body and mechanism.
From my practical experience, i had more problem with jamming of film inside of K-3 cameras from Alpha.
Alpha have two plane, coaxial type of spools, and film change plane of moving.
That's why, the film contact with more rollers.
But, i don't have problme with scratching.

But, i must underline, this is not professional cine camera with quality of Kinor-16 SX.
Alpha have very good mechanism with precision metal gears ( Kiev factory of automatic make a more high precision devices at mechanics at base production line ).

The one problem ? can be with semi- transparent glass.
The glass can have dust, scrathes, can be broken ( If the anybody set of C-mount lens with big parts after mount ).

The steady is the footage of camera .
I don't have registration tests fo Apha-16 and Bolex , but, I think, Alpha have similar quality of footages of K-3 cameras.
All Alpha cameras have single frame mode with shutter speed 1/40 s.
You can control of single frame shooting by cable release or by start-stop button.

About Time lapse mode.

I think, Alpha will better for time lapse shooting, because, have shutter disk near film gate with one plane with film gate, And will cover of film gate very good.
You can take away of semi-transparent glass.
You lost of reflex function, but, you will have 100% light in film, good shutter and can set of any C-mount lens.

If the camera and lens will have correct flange focal distance, you can focusing of lens by distance ring on lens.


If you will use camera with semi-transparent glass, I think, the viewfinder must be closed, because, any reflection light from viewfinder will bad for final picture.

Alpha have 3/8? screw for connect with tripod.
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#4 Clive Tobin

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 06:55 PM

You can take away of semi-transparent glass.
You lost of reflex function, but, you will have 100% light in film, good shutter and can set of any C-mount lens....

But... the pellicle mirror must be about as thick as a gelatin filter, or perhaps thicker owing to being mounted at 45 degrees? So just removing it will throw off the focus on the film.
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#5 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 03:43 AM

I know that with the prism in a Bolex H16 Reflex, there will be a loss of quality when regular (non RX) wide angle lenses are used, unless they are stopped down considerably. What I'd like to know is if the pelicle mirror in an Alpha 16 would cause any similar optical problems with certain focal lenght lenses - or any C mount lenses that were not specifically designed for that particular camera.
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#6 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 02:13 PM

I know that with the prism in a Bolex H16 Reflex, there will be a loss of quality when regular (non RX) wide angle lenses are used, unless they are stopped down considerably. What I'd like to know is if the pelicle mirror in an Alpha 16 would cause any similar optical problems with certain focal lenght lenses - or any C mount lenses that were not specifically designed for that particular camera.


There's a lot less glass for the light to travel through. CP's SPR BNC conversions used a pellicle, but did not need special lenses.
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#7 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 03:27 PM

"There's a lot less glass for the light to travel through. CP's SPR BNC conversions used a pellicle, but did not need special lenses."

Good to hear! Now my mind is at rest...
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#8 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 03:42 PM

However, something else has come up. I would like to use wide angle lenses with such a camera - for example a 10mm or 12mm. Such short focal length lenses will be a very short distance from the film (in the case of a 10mm lens - 10mm from the film when focused on infinity) I wonder what the chances are of hitting the mirror.
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#9 jacob thomas

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:45 AM

However, something else has come up. I would like to use wide angle lenses with such a camera - for example a 10mm or 12mm. Such short focal length lenses will be a very short distance from the film (in the case of a 10mm lens - 10mm from the film when focused on infinity) I wonder what the chances are of hitting the mirror.


Isn't this the problem that retrofocus lenses were designed to fix? (This isn't a rhetorical question.) Are the common c-mount 10mm (angenieux, switar, schneider...) lenses retrofocus?
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#10 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 07:03 AM

I'm assuming that the Switar wide angle lenses designed for the non reflex Bolex used conventional lens designs. Though I wonder if the wide angle lenses designed for the reflex Bolex are of the reverse telephoto / retrofocus design. When a regular wide angle c mount is used on a non reflex Bolex, the only problems that I have heard are the loss of contrast and definition. Ive never heard of the rear element of those lenses hitting the prism. Then again, the prism in a reflex Bolex could be located at a further distance than the pellicle mirror in an Alpha 16.....maybe...??
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#11 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 08:05 AM

Ive just done a bit of googling and apparently, there's someone who has used a whole range of non-RX C mount lenses such as the 10mm Switar on his Beaulieu R16 and Eclair ACL. So assuming that the pellicle mirror of an Alpha 16 is not any further from the film than the mirror shutter of an R16, there should be no problem with clearance.
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