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#1 Zachary Vex

Zachary Vex
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Posted 20 May 2007 - 12:18 PM

On Thursday I had a chance to look at the present lineup of Arri cameras and lenses and spoke at length with two representatives at an open house at Cinequipt, Minneapolis. Cinequipt/Lighthouse is the main resource filmmakers use in this area... They provided an enormous roasted pig (with an apple in its mouth) and everybody and their mother's uncle from the film business were at this get-together.

What I found most remarkable was the Super 35mm Ultraprime 8mm rectilinear lens, which is damned straight at the edges of the frame. They presented one with a viewer that was pretty dang amazing, but obviously with such a wide lens on such a large format one has to compose carefully to avoid the grotesque stretching of faces and other body parts at the edges of the frame.

The 416 Plus has a spectacular viewfinder (I'm so jealous... I have to press my eye very hard into my LTR-7's eyepiece to see the whole super 16mm frame). The amount of view around the actual framed area is enormous, like a sport finder. As a result, it has the appearance of being much brighter than any viewfinder I've ever looked through.

That camera comes with dedicated sockets coming from a radio receiver for the motorized focus-pull gear drives (as well as aperture and zoom) and I had a blast playing with the modular remote control, which is very ergonomic and easy to program... they taught me in less than one minute how to use almost every feature. It comes in two configurations, one with just two controllers (focus being the main knob with white flange) at around $16K (he was guessing) and also as a $24K three-control device (the third control is added by disassembling the sandwitch of control modules that are clicked together in a very simple fashion and snapping in the third.) The controls are ergonomic in two ways... there's only one knob (for focus) which you turn with your right hand, your left hand being slipped through a handle much like that of a camcorder with your left thumb on top of the control pack, which has a pressure-sensitive knob for one gear motor that's like a single-axis joystick, and a mixing-console style fader that your left thumb can also slide up and down, or you can use your right hand very easily to slide this as well. with this configuration you don't have to look at the thing at all to control different rings on the lenses... every single control interface feels and operates very differently from the others. There are a couple of buttons to establish limits and rate of turn as well. It's absolutely genius with its little 3 inch rubber antenna. It seems pretty hard (no rubberized edges or corners that I recall) so dropping it on concrete is probably a very bad idea.
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