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#1 Herb Montes

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 09:24 AM

I went to the Houston Highland Games and Celtic Festival this past Saturday and filmed much of the events with my Bolex H16 M4. I used the Pan Cinor zoom with the reflex finder. I shot on Kodak 7245 50D color negative. Got it from Raw Stock in New York for $.016 a foot. I purchased two 400 foot rolls but because of time I had to spool down one roll to daylight spools myself. I shot 400 feet of film that day and got the main shot, the grand parade of the clans with the U.S. Army color guard leading the way. Bagpipe and drum groups creating a din that could awaken D.W. Griffith. Quite an experience.

I did learn some hard lessons that day. Most of my gear is set up for animation. I thought simply putting a pistol grip on my Bolex and shooting 100 foot rolls was good enough. But after holding and carrying around the Bolex my arms were tired. What I really needed was a shoulder supported camera. And having to change out rolls or winding the camera between shots got tedious. I was recording background sounds to add to the final video with a small digital recorder. I had a clip-on mike but would have preferred a shotgun mike. The person who was to assist me came down with a stomach ailment so I was on my own.

I came to the decision if I was going to document more of these local events I would need a camera more suited for this kind of filming: electric powered, 400 foot capacity, shoulder mounted, and silent for sync sound filming. My list of candidates comes down to these models:

CP-16
Eclair NPR
Eclair ACL
Kinor 16SX-2M

So I throw this discussion open to those of you with experience with these cameras as to what would be a good one to invest in. Thank you.
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#2 Ian Marks

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 10:21 AM

Of the cameras you mention, the CP16R and ACL will be the most comfortable to hand-hold. The NPR is loaded with features you don't get on the other cameras (pin registration, lens turret, adjustable shutter) but it's a strange beast - its ergonomics will vary a bit depending upon which motor is attached. The Kinor doesn't really belong with the other cameras on your list, as it doesn't really sit on your shoulder.

With all the cameras you mention save the CP16R you'll have to carry a separate battery - either a belt or slung over your shoulder, so be sure to consider that along with the other criteria. The CP16 alone has an on-board battery (I have seen later ACL's set up this way on occasion). The CP has to be threaded up - not something you want to do in a crowd - but I gather you're planning on getting by with just one 400' magazine, so the speed with which you can change mags might not be important to you. The CP's are quite inexpensive and rugged - there always seems to be someone selling one. However, it's hard to remain inconspicuous with one of these tanks on your shoulder.

The ACL, on the other hand, is lighter, has a lower center of gravity, and is more flexible as far as lens interchangeability.

The CP is good to hand-hold in its normal state, but I found a Peter Lisand shoulder pad with a quick-release mechanism that makes it even better. The seller told me it was made for the CP and that does seem to be the case.

On my ACL, I took a pair of push-on bicycle grips, some plastic pipe, and a Bogen quick-release and put together my own hand-held rig which makes this camera a breeze to hand-hold. It sounds funky, but it looks and works like something you'd expect to pay hundreds of dollars for (total cost to make was about $20). See the picture below for an idea of the position of the grips on my rig. (Note that this is not the rig I made - this picture shows a commercial rig manufactured by Cinetech.)

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#3 Herb Montes

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 12:53 PM

Of the cameras you mention, the CP16R and ACL will be the most comfortable to hand-hold. The NPR is loaded with features you don't get on the other cameras (pin registration, lens turret, adjustable shutter) but it's a strange beast - its ergonomics will vary a bit depending upon which motor is attached. The Kinor doesn't really belong with the other cameras on your list, as it doesn't really sit on your shoulder.

With all the cameras you mention save the CP16R you'll have to carry a separate battery - either a belt or slung over your shoulder, so be sure to consider that along with the other criteria. The CP16 alone has an on-board battery (I have seen later ACL's set up this way on occasion). The CP has to be threaded up - not something you want to do in a crowd - but I gather you're planning on getting by with just one 400' magazine, so the speed with which you can change mags might not be important to you. The CP's are quite inexpensive and rugged - there always seems to be someone selling one. However, it's hard to remain inconspicuous with one of these tanks on your shoulder.

The ACL, on the other hand, is lighter, has a lower center of gravity, and is more flexible as far as lens interchangeability.

The CP is good to hand-hold in its normal state, but I found a Peter Lisand shoulder pad with a quick-release mechanism that makes it even better. The seller told me it was made for the CP and that does seem to be the case.

On my ACL, I took a pair of push-on bicycle grips, some plastic pipe, and a Bogen quick-release and put together my own hand-held rig which makes this camera a breeze to hand-hold. It sounds funky, but it looks and works like something you'd expect to pay hundreds of dollars for (total cost to make was about $20). See the picture below for an idea of the position of the grips on my rig. (Note that this is not the rig I made - this picture shows a commercial rig manufactured by Cinetech.)

Posted Image


Never having seen a picture of anyone actually using a Kinor it looked like a camera that would sit on your shoulder. I like the NPR and the ACL. I have heard the NPR is easy to hold for long periods of time much more so with the ACL. And a quick change mag would have been helpful in this instance. I would like to have done some filming in an indoor pavilion where some of the ceremonies were being held. A second mag with more sensitive film like a 200 asa stock would have been great to use at that point. There was some sunlight coming through skylights so it would not have to be tungsten balanced film.

A CP-16 would be a second choice since it does have a larger profile but I do see them on eBay at times. Though for an investment like that I would rather buy from a reputable dealer/owner rather than that crapshoot that eBay is. I'll keep an eye on the classifieds section here since I have seen some good deals lately. Thanks for the advice.
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#4 Galen Carter-Jeffrey

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 02:10 PM

CP-16s dont have registration pins...
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#5 Ian Marks

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 02:40 PM

CP-16s dont have registration pins...


Neither the CP nor the ACL have registration pins. The Bolex, or for that matter, the Aaton, which is renowned for the steady images it produces, do not have a registration pin. Yet all of these cameras are capable of producing nice, steady images -- which goes to show that you shouldn't get hung up on registration pins.

However, before I walked around a public arena with 16mm camera, a battery pack, and a second, loaded 400' mag, I'd seriously think about investing in a digital video camera. A film camera gets heavy FAST.
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#6 Jan Weis

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 03:32 PM

Neither the CP nor the ACL have registration pins. The Bolex, or for that matter, the Aaton, which is renowned for the steady images it produces, do not have a registration pin. Yet all of these cameras are capable of producing nice, steady images -- which goes to show that you shouldn't get hung up on registration pins.


I agree completely, Infact I would claim that theyre are a just another variable that can destroy a good shoot. I used an Arri 16S and had a registration pin problem, if I shot a roll in one day, i didnt have a problem, however if I didnt finish the roll and left it in the camera for a couple of days, I would have immediate registration problems the next time I shot.

/Jan
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#7 Herb Montes

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 03:43 PM

Neither the CP nor the ACL have registration pins. The Bolex, or for that matter, the Aaton, which is renowned for the steady images it produces, do not have a registration pin. Yet all of these cameras are capable of producing nice, steady images -- which goes to show that you shouldn't get hung up on registration pins.

However, before I walked around a public arena with 16mm camera, a battery pack, and a second, loaded 400' mag, I'd seriously think about investing in a digital video camera. A film camera gets heavy FAST.


Thanks for the advice but I'm stubborn about this. Video no, film yes.
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#8 Ian Marks

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 06:58 PM

I understand completely. I own no video equipment myself, unless you count my VCR.
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#9 Adam Thompson

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 07:13 PM

Thanks for the advice but I'm stubborn about this. Video no, film yes.


Hey the guy I'm sharing an office with has a CP16 that he shot his first two short films on. He might part with it, I don't know. You can send me a private msg. and I'll ask him if I can give you his number. It has an old Ang. 10-1 zoom, I think, and I believe Visual Products in Ohio will convert the cam to Super16 and do a full overhaul for something like $2200 extra. I talked to a guy that had his cam done there and he said he was amazed at how smooth and quiet it was after they serviced it.

I saw one of his shorts (a trailer he made recently) and it was rock steady.
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#10 Herb Montes

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 08:26 PM

I understand completely. I own no video equipment myself, unless you count my VCR.


Thanks for understanding. I know most here do this for a living. I don't. I shoot film because I love it and I just don't feel the same kind of magic with video. I don't know, I'm just that way, an old fart who loves to tinker with obsolete technology.
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#11 Herb Montes

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 08:30 PM

Hey the guy I'm sharing an office with has a CP16 that he shot his first two short films on. He might part with it, I don't know. You can send me a private msg. and I'll ask him if I can give you his number. It has an old Ang. 10-1 zoom, I think, and I believe Visual Products in Ohio will convert the cam to Super16 and do a full overhaul for something like $2200 extra. I talked to a guy that had his cam done there and he said he was amazed at how smooth and quiet it was after they serviced it.

I saw one of his shorts (a trailer he made recently) and it was rock steady.


I sent you a PM.
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#12 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 08:33 PM

Having owned a CP-16R, I can tell you it's a great camera to handhold but gets heavy after a while. You should check out the Arri S cameras. They use both 100' spools and can accomodate 400' mags, so youre set. Also, theyre pin-registered which is great. A member of these forums, Tim Carroll can tell you much more about these cameras as he services them professionally. If you dont need to record sound and are shooting purely for image, you'll be happy with an Arri S because:

- pin-registered

- electric powered

- 400' capable

- super easy to handhold, as they were designed for that

- easy to find service and parts

- rotatable bayonet mount

- http://www.arri16s.com/
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#13 Herb Montes

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 09:34 PM

Having owned a CP-16R, I can tell you it's a great camera to handhold but gets heavy after a while. You should check out the Arri S cameras. They use both 100' spools and can accomodate 400' mags, so youre set. Also, theyre pin-registered which is great. A member of these forums, Tim Carroll can tell you much more about these cameras as he services them professionally. If you dont need to record sound and are shooting purely for image, you'll be happy with an Arri S because:

- pin-registered

- electric powered

- 400' capable

- super easy to handhold, as they were designed for that

- easy to find service and parts

- rotatable bayonet mount

- http://www.arri16s.com/


I do plan on shooting with sound so that's why I'm leaning more toward an Eclair or CP-16. I like what I see with the NPR. If someone has some experiences with it please let me know.
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#14 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 11:32 PM

I've used an NPR a few times, my friend's is in my bedroom right now, I'm shooting a short with it. I think it's a great camera, the swing-turret gives you different lens capabilities and the coaxial mags are the first of their kind. I'll tell you about it piece by piece.

Mags- Very VERY easy to use, and to load. They're pretty quiet and I've never had them scratch any film. Mind you this is one of the first cameras to have a coaxial mag, so there are some flaws too. It's not exactly the Arri SR that was based off it, the mags dont have any bottom support so make sure you always have that safety lock on.

Lenses- I'm not sure of the name of the mount, but Angénieux made lenses for it, most commonly the 12-120 f2.2. I'm not sure if it covers super16. The c-mount is also great because you can put your Bolex lenses on it.

Shutter- The shutter on this is variable, so it's really nice if you want to use it for applications like shooting a tv etc.

Motor- I THINK they all had crystal-sync, I know most of them do. So it would be nice if you wanted to shoot sound.

The only thing is that it's a pain to handhold. The motor is very awkwardly placed on the camera, you can get it in a good position or if you build some sort of shoulder mount. Theres a ton of info on the web, hope that helped.
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#15 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 12:11 AM

I just Bought and NPR and I tell you for the little that I used it I was in love hehehe
Yes is not smooth as other newer cameras but it makes the whole experience much better ( in my opinion)
Also the turret is great and gives you tons of options ( the c mount plus the CA-1 can be converted adapted etc)


Anyhow in the meantime I just lost a kinoptic 5.7 lens on ebay ( I got beat by a margin of 10 fu**ing bucks!!!!!)
So I'm pissed!!!!


Buy an NPR( Period you won't be disapointed)

Edited by Martín Yernazian, 14 May 2007 - 12:11 AM.

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#16 Herb Montes

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 12:55 PM

I've used an NPR a few times, my friend's is in my bedroom right now, I'm shooting a short with it. I think it's a great camera, the swing-turret gives you different lens capabilities and the coaxial mags are the first of their kind. I'll tell you about it piece by piece.

Mags- Very VERY easy to use, and to load. They're pretty quiet and I've never had them scratch any film. Mind you this is one of the first cameras to have a coaxial mag, so there are some flaws too. It's not exactly the Arri SR that was based off it, the mags dont have any bottom support so make sure you always have that safety lock on.

Lenses- I'm not sure of the name of the mount, but Angénieux made lenses for it, most commonly the 12-120 f2.2. I'm not sure if it covers super16. The c-mount is also great because you can put your Bolex lenses on it.

Shutter- The shutter on this is variable, so it's really nice if you want to use it for applications like shooting a tv etc.

Motor- I THINK they all had crystal-sync, I know most of them do. So it would be nice if you wanted to shoot sound.

The only thing is that it's a pain to handhold. The motor is very awkwardly placed on the camera, you can get it in a good position or if you build some sort of shoulder mount. Theres a ton of info on the web, hope that helped.


Thanks for the info. I read where the falling mags were a problem with the ACL. Is it just as problematic with the NPR? I would think a shoulder pad/plate mounted under the camera would help to keep the mag from falling off.
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#17 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 01:39 PM

Thanks for understanding. I know most here do this for a living. I don't. I shoot film because I love it and I just don't feel the same kind of magic with video. I don't know, I'm just that way, an old fart who loves to tinker with obsolete technology.


same buddy, SAM-FRICKIN-E! except, I'm, not, realy an.. old fart hahaha.
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#18 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:21 PM

Anyhow in the meantime I just lost a kinoptic 5.7 lens on ebay ( I got beat by a margin of 10 fu**ing bucks!!!!!)
So I'm pissed!!!!



Martin,

That's the thing about eBay: the second highest bidder always loses out by the minimum bid increment. You always end up with the feeling you could have won if you had just bid a little higher. If it makes you feel any better, the winning bidder's maximum was probably a lot higher than the actual winning bid. Even if you had thrown down another hundred or two, you still may not have won.

-Fran
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#19 Peter Russ

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:44 AM

Hi Herb,

Maybe before you buy another expensive camera try suporting your Bolex pistol grip with an inexpensive monopod. There is a screw hole in the bottom of the pistol grip to take a monopod, and it will give you a steadier shot and allow some paning and other moves. The better ones are the two or three extention monopods like the Bembo or the old Bolex monopods, about $100 on ebay.
cheers
Peter
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#20 Herb Montes

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 07:00 AM

Hi Herb,

Maybe before you buy another expensive camera try suporting your Bolex pistol grip with an inexpensive monopod. There is a screw hole in the bottom of the pistol grip to take a monopod, and it will give you a steadier shot and allow some paning and other moves. The better ones are the two or three extention monopods like the Bembo or the old Bolex monopods, about $100 on ebay.
cheers
Peter
Australia


Thanks for the suggestion. I had considered a monopod but a lot of the shots required moving around with pans. And in one shot I was walking backwards while filming to keep up with a pipe and drum band marching toward me. Even with a shoulder pod the weight of the camera would have been concentrated in front of me instead being more evenly distributed like a shoulder held camera would have been.
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