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Another Arri ST question


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#1 Oliver Smith

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 02:45 PM

On the door (beveled), just below viewfinder, there is a number: No 0358.

On the other side of the camera, just below the grip, there is a nother number: No 12699.

Are they meant to match up? 0358, seems pretty low.
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#2 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 02:59 PM

On the door (beveled), just below viewfinder, there is a number: No 0358.

On the other side of the camera, just below the grip, there is a nother number: No 12699.

Are they meant to match up? 0358, seems pretty low.


Probably a replacement door salvaged from an older camera.
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#3 Eric Dinger

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 04:53 PM

I think that that may be a problem accoding to arri16s.com

The most important question I always ask is for the serial number off the front door of the camera, right below the viewfinder tube, and the serial number off the back of the camera. These have to match. Let me say that again. THESE HAVE TO MATCH. ARRI used a number of different viewfinder assemblies over the many years of 16S production, and the viewfinder in the camera door, and the viewfinder prism in the camera body, were matched sets. You do not want to buy a camera that has a body and prism off of one camera and a viewfinder and door off of another.


You'd want to check with someone who knows more though.
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#4 Tim Carroll

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 08:21 PM

On the door (beveled), just below viewfinder, there is a number: No 0358.

On the other side of the camera, just below the grip, there is a nother number: No 12699.

Are they meant to match up? 0358, seems pretty low.


Yes, they are definitely supposed to match. The reason for this is that ARRI changed the viewfinder optics as the production run went along. And each door is optically matched to each body (as some of the viewfinder optics are in the body and some in the door). So it is very important to make sure the serial number on the body matches the serial number on the door as they are matched sets.

Your camera is obviously not matched. Depending on what camera the door is from and what camera the body is from, the optics may be able to be matched and aligned. Unfortunately, cameras from the early production run and cameras from the late production run can be so different as there is no way to match an early door and a late body, or vise versa.

The number 0358 could be 10358 with the #1 obscured by paint or other debris. Or it could be a factory replacement door though I do not know how those were numbered. There were no production cameras with serial numbers that low.

The best thing to do is have a qualified ARRI service technician look at the camera. They will be able to tell if the optics from that door can be matched with the optics from that body, and if so, they can set the optics for you. That is a service we can provide at Arri16S.com, or ARRI INC in New York, or ARRI INC in Los Angeles, or Axel Broda could do that for you.

Hope that helps,
-Tim
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#5 Oliver Smith

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 02:27 AM

The number 0358 could be 10358 with the #1 obscured by paint or other debris. Or it could be a factory replacement door though I do not know how those were numbered. There were no production cameras with serial numbers that low.

The best thing to do is have a qualified ARRI service technician look at the camera.



The number is definitely 0358. What are the consequences of the door and prism being optically mismatched?

I plan to send the camera to a technician ASAP, as soon as I find one in the UK.

Another thing, the door seems a little shakey when locked to the camera. Is that common?
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 08:25 AM

Go to the web site and click on the link titled "Getting the most out of your Arriflex". It explains the importance of the different aspects of camera service. The ground glass is what you focus the image on when you are sighting through the viewfinder and must be set very accurately to the camera's gate and FFD. Otherwise the image on the film will not be in the same focus as the image on the ground glass, and the image on the film will not be framed the same as the image on the ground glass.

Arri16S.com

As far as the camera door being loose, that can be caused by a number of issues with the three latches in the door. I have repaired a number of cameras with this problem and usually the latch bars are bent and a careful technician can fix this. Occasionally I will see a camera where one of the latch bars are broken, and then it needs to be replaced. The door should be nice and snug on the camera body when you turn the latch. A loose door will allow light to leak into the camera and will also effect your ground glass accuracy.

-Tim
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#7 Mark Williams

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 10:49 AM

Go to the web site and click on the link titled "Getting the most out of your Arriflex". It explains the importance of the different aspects of camera service. The ground glass is what you focus the image on when you are sighting through the viewfinder and must be set very accurately to the camera's gate and FFD. Otherwise the image on the film will not be in the same focus as the image on the ground glass, and the image on the film will not be framed the same as the image on the ground glass.

Arri16S.com

As far as the camera door being loose, that can be caused by a number of issues with the three latches in the door. I have repaired a number of cameras with this problem and usually the latch bars are bent and a careful technician can fix this. Occasionally I will see a camera where one of the latch bars are broken, and then it needs to be replaced. The door should be nice and snug on the camera body when you turn the latch. A loose door will allow light to leak into the camera and will also effect your ground glass accuracy.

-Tim


Tim with my camera the focus on the eyepiece is adjustable and is set by measuring an exact distance to a target on the wall from the film plane and focusing it by hand? I know your going to tell me the 16S doesn't have such luxuries I was just curious?
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#8 Tim Carroll

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 11:25 AM

Tim with my camera the focus on the eyepiece is adjustable and is set by measuring an exact distance to a target on the wall from the film plane and focusing it by hand? I know your going to tell me the 16S doesn't have such luxuries I was just curious?


Mark,

The eyepiece is adjustable for your vision, it is a diopter adjustment. That has nothing to do with the setting of the ground glass.

If you read the web page I directed you towards, you will see that the Flange Focal Distance (FFD) is the first thing that needs to be set. It has to be accurate within 5 thousandths of a millimeter, about one tenth the diameter of a human hair (we set this with very precision instruments). Then the ground glass has to be set to the FFD, so they both match. This also has to be accurate to within the same tolerances or else something that is sharp on the ground glass (in the viewfinder) will not be sharp at the film plane, and vice versa. We set this with a specially calibrated lens.

Once both of these are set, the camera will create crisp, sharp images, and what you see in the viewfinder is what you will get on the film. This is really critical in 16mm film work because the negative is so small. Even the slightest variation on such a small negative will be magnified multiple times when blown up to a size needed for viewing.

You can't set either of these using a tape measure and measuring to the film plane mark on the camera.

Hope that makes it more clear,
-Tim

PS: Alot of folks will get one of these old cameras and shoot some film through them and look at the results, which (if the camera has not been serviced and set back to factory specs) may be soft and slightly out of focus, and they will think, well, it's an old camera, I guess this is the best that can be expected. And they would be wrong. The Arriflex 16S was a professional production motion picture camera. If you are not getting images from it that are as sharp and crisp as the still capture pictured below, your camera and lens needs to be serviced. These cameras make excellent images, as long as they are cared for properly.

Posted Image

You can see the whole clip at this link:
Clip showing the image quality from Arriflex 16S
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#9 Mark Williams

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 11:58 AM

Mark,

The eyepiece is adjustable for your vision, it is a diopter adjustment. That has nothing to do with the setting of the ground glass.

If you read the web page I directed you towards, you will see that the Flange Focal Distance (FFD) is the first thing that needs to be set. It has to be accurate within 5 thousandths of a millimeter, about one tenth the diameter of a human hair (we set this with very precision instruments). Then the ground glass has to be set to the FFD, so they both match. This also has to be accurate to within the same tolerances or else something that is sharp on the ground glass (in the viewfinder) will not be sharp at the film plane, and vice versa. We set this with a specially calibrated lens.

Once both of these are set, the camera will create crisp, sharp images, and what you see in the viewfinder is what you will get on the film. This is really critical in 16mm film work because the negative is so small. Even the slightest variation on such a small negative will be magnified multiple times when blown up to a size needed for viewing.

You can't set either of these using a tape measure and measuring to the film plane mark on the camera.

Hope that makes it more clear,
-Tim

PS: Alot of folks will get one of these old cameras and shoot some film through them and look at the results, which (if the camera has not been serviced and set back to factory specs) may be soft and slightly out of focus, and they will think, well, it's an old camera, I guess this is the best that can be expected. And they would be wrong. The Arriflex 16S was a professional production motion picture camera. If you are not getting images from it that are as sharp and crisp as the still capture pictured below, your camera and lens needs to be serviced. These cameras make excellent images, as long as they are cared for properly.

Posted Image

You can see the whole clip at this link:
Clip showing the image quality from Arriflex 16S


Hi Tim

A few more questions.

Assuming the Camera hasn't had any knocks and the flange distance is correct Would you be able to focus by eye through the viewfinder exactly? Would you trust it? Or would it be better using a tape measure? Perhaps a combination of the two focus by eye if your aperture stop allows for this and finish off with the tape?.

Personally I have focused using the viewfinder and then measured it and its usually correct. Although whether to the exact Millimetre I dont know. However This level of focusing is surely not that important and is taken care of by the CoC you choose Unless your using a zeiss 25mm lens at five foot set at t1.3 really for the most part you should have more than a few inches for your talent to work in? Getting them to hit their mark should leave room for small error?

Although of course I want my Camera to be as precise as possible I would want my camera serviced by professionals as the best option but then after having seen the way delivery vans throw around parcels I could end up with a bigger problem.

I think a tape measure for 16mm lenses and over is essential when working in lower light levels anyway. However would you need to worry with a 9.5 mm lens and lighting set to f4 or more and focused for five foot? If you want to run and gun?

Edited by Mark Williams, 20 July 2007 - 12:01 PM.

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#10 Tim Carroll

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 12:36 PM

Mark,

It's your camera, do what you want with it. If you are looking for me to tell you it will be fine, that's not going to happen. The distance scales on the older Zeiss, Schneider, Cooke, etc. lenses are a rough ballpark. They are not accurate like the scales on Zeiss Super Speeds or the newer Cookes.

So having a camera where the ground glass is exactly calibrated to the FFD, and the FFD is set to factory spec, is the only way you will be assured that what you see in the viewfinder is what you get on the film.

But again, it's your camera, do with it what you will.

And a properly packed Arriflex 16S camera, once overhauled and set back to factory spec, can withstand the drop off the back of a UPS truck with no problem. They are built like tanks. But with time and use, they get out of adjustment and have to be overhauled, not only for the FFD and ground glass, but for the fact that the Arriflex 16S cameras run wet, unlike the later 16SR series cameras which run dry.

So it's your choice. Use it as it is and get maybe acceptable results with it, or have it properly serviced by someone trained to service those cameras and get spectacular results from it.

It really is that simple.

Have a good one,
-Tim
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#11 Mark Williams

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 12:57 PM

I want the best picture and yes I agree with what your saying. I want my camera to perform at its optimum. And your advocating best practice which is entirely proper.

My questions are not in opposition to your advice. Far from it. My questions are to gain a better fuller understanding of what is happening. And even if I disagree with you I would not be so rude as to say your wrong especially when you have such a great history and knowledge. I believe your right.

This is my understanding so far

The Ground glass is important for focussing and seeing the viewable area. For it to be accurate it needs proper servicing. and the flange has to be checked first otherwise both would be out.

So the flange is very important and is checked using a test roll and charts to find out its accuracy. If it needs a service it must go to someone qualified and the correct tools.

The area I'm asking questions about is must the ground glass be 100% accurate. And what is its likely performance? judging focusing by eye.

Because we are talkng about a small piece of glass the film image may be 40' across so my question is can this accuracy from focusing with this small glass be accurate enough to be the best way OR is the best way using a tape measure?

Sorry if I offended!
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#12 Tim Carroll

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 01:14 PM

So the flange is very important and is checked using a test roll and charts to find out its accuracy. If it needs a service it must go to someone qualified and the correct tools.

The area I'm asking questions about is must the ground glass be 100% accurate. And what is its likely performance? judging focusing by eye.

Because we are talkng about a small piece of glass the film image may be 40' across so my question is can this accuracy from focusing with this small glass be accurate enough to be the best way OR is the best way using a tape measure?

Sorry if I offended!


It is best to look at the images on the web page I directed you to, the ones that show the FFD and Ground Glass.

The Flange Focal distance is not set by shooting test rolls, that is far to inaccurate. A special gauge is used that is calibrated down to one thousandths of a millimeter. To give you an idea of how fine that is, a human hair is approximately fifty thousandths of a millimeter, so the gauge can measure down to one fiftieth of the diameter of a human hair. We use that gauge to set the Flange Focal Distance. Then after the Flange Focal Distance is set, we use a specially calibrated lens to set the ground glass. Basically, this specially calibrated lens is put on the camera and the camera is pointed to an infinity object, and the ground glass is set to that object so that at infinity it creates a precisely sharp image. This lens, besides being precisely calibrated, also focuses past infinity, which allows the technician to very precisely set the ground glass so that the infinity image is exactly sharp at infinity (with the calibrated lens) and not a little before infinity or a little after infinity.

Once this is done, you then know that what appears on the ground glass (as far as sharpness and softness) is exactly what is being projected on the camera film plane.

As far as using a tape measure, if you are working with calibrated Zeiss Super Speed lenses (ones that have been set and collimated by a lens tech so you know the scales are accurate) or the newer Cookes, etc. and you know your FFD is set exactly, then using a tape measure to focus is a good thing.

But the lenses that are commonly available for the Arriflex 16S do not have accurate distance scales, so using a tape measure with an Arriflex 16S and the old lenses is a bad way to focus. A properly set ground glass will tell you more.

-Tim
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#13 Mark Williams

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 01:22 PM

It is best to look at the images on the web page I directed you to, the ones that show the FFD and Ground Glass.

The Flange Focal distance is not set by shooting test rolls, that is far to inaccurate. A special gauge is used that is calibrated down to one thousandths of a millimeter. To give you an idea of how fine that is, a human hair is approximately fifty thousandths of a millimeter, so the gauge can measure down to one fiftieth of the diameter of a human hair. We use that gauge to set the Flange Focal Distance. Then after the Flange Focal Distance is set, we use a specially calibrated lens to set the ground glass. Basically, this specially calibrated lens is put on the camera and the camera is pointed to an infinity object, and the ground glass is set to that object so that at infinity it creates a precisely sharp image. This lens, besides being precisely calibrated, also focuses past infinity, which allows the technician to very precisely set the ground glass so that the infinity image is exactly sharp at infinity (with the calibrated lens) and not a little before infinity or a little after infinity.

Once this is done, you then know that what appears on the ground glass (as far as sharpness and softness) is exactly what is being projected on the camera film plane.

As far as using a tape measure, if you are working with calibrated Zeiss Super Speed lenses (ones that have been set and collimated by a lens tech so you know the scales are accurate) or the newer Cookes, etc. and you know your FFD is set exactly, then using a tape measure to focus is a good thing.

But the lenses that are commonly available for the Arriflex 16S do not have accurate distance scales, so using a tape measure with an Arriflex 16S and the old lenses is a bad way to focus. A properly set ground glass will tell you more.

-Tim

OK thanks Tim That helps Using a properly set up Camera the ground glass is the best way to go! One more question when this is done how long before it would need another service? And what kind of price would this be?
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#14 Tim Carroll

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 02:40 PM

OK thanks Tim That helps Using a properly set up Camera the ground glass is the best way to go! One more question when this is done how long before it would need another service? And what kind of price would this be?


Mark,

After a camera has been serviced by a trained technician and set back to factory specs and if the camera is taken care of well, and lubricated at the two lubricating points, the camera would need a lubrication maintenance about once every four years.

For a complete overhaul, disassembling the whole camera, ultrasonically cleaning everything, and reassembling everything with ARRI factory lubricants and setting the camera back to ARRI factory specs, we charge $575 for labor and $25 for parts. We will also collimate up to three prime lenses for the camera at the same time and it is included in that price.

Unless the camera is severely jarred, dropped or one of the lenses is hit by an object, the FFD and ground glass should stay in calibration. Every time the camera is overhauled, the FFD and ground glass are reset to factory specs.

Hope that answers your question,
-Tim
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#15 Mark Williams

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 03:47 PM

Mark,

After a camera has been serviced by a trained technician and set back to factory specs and if the camera is taken care of well, and lubricated at the two lubricating points, the camera would need a lubrication maintenance about once every four years.

For a complete overhaul, disassembling the whole camera, ultrasonically cleaning everything, and reassembling everything with ARRI factory lubricants and setting the camera back to ARRI factory specs, we charge $575 for labor and $25 for parts. We will also collimate up to three prime lenses for the camera at the same time and it is included in that price.

Unless the camera is severely jarred, dropped or one of the lenses is hit by an object, the FFD and ground glass should stay in calibration. Every time the camera is overhauled, the FFD and ground glass are reset to factory specs.

Hope that answers your question,
-Tim


Yes and thank you. This is going to be filed in my film folder along with everything I consider essential.
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