Jump to content


Photo

A question about lenses...


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Kevin Olmsted

Kevin Olmsted
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 47 posts
  • Producer

Posted 24 October 2007 - 08:59 AM

Hello all... the (old) newbie here again...

I've mentioned before that my Super 8 love is more hobby than anything else. So I confess there is a lot of technical knowledge I lack. I am trying to learn more about film everyday. I have been doing a lot of film photography as well; hoping to learn from that as well and apply what I learn from photography to Super 8 cinematography.

At any rate, I have a Bauer 209XL as well as a 715XL and a C500XL. I acquired the 500 first then I got the 209. I stepped up because now I had 24fps and a wider, larger lens. I have never been one to use the zoom a lot (I prefer to frame my shots wide or get close up) and figured the smaller number on the lens (the 8.5-40 Vs 6-51) meant a wider angle of view. I eventually got the 715 mainly because of its universal praise. Having a 6-90 lens I wondered if I had really gained anything picturewise other than a much nicer zoom which I don't really take advantage of. I've only shot one roll on the 715 in rather poor conditions so I haven't really compared the 209 and 715 well.

Can someone explain some of the fundamentals here? I know the 715 lens is physically larger but also a great deal longer so am I getting more image/light into the lens or less than, say, the 500? I've bought a lot of (film) photography books and researched on wikipedia but a lot of the books assume you know the basics and go right into taking pictures. I know the basics of how a lens works regarding light passes through the elements and the shutter then the film plane but I guess don't understand the light passage or there's something here I don't get or am missing. What makes the 715 6-90 lens better than the 209 6-51 lens other than zoom? Is glass quality different? How can that be measured? Both lenses are crystal clear. And what exactly does the '6mm' represent in both cameras, how does it calculate my field or angle of view? Does the lens' physical determinte how much light is lost getting to the film?

I know this is enough questions to probably fill a college seminar and if no one wants to explain these things here, I understand, but if anything please point me to a resource that will fill in these fundamental blanks for me.

Thanks for any help you can offer, guys.

Edited by Kevin Olmsted, 24 October 2007 - 09:02 AM.

  • 0

#2 Fabrice Ducouret

Fabrice Ducouret

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Other
  • Paris, France

Posted 29 October 2007 - 07:53 AM

Yes, the lens determines a lot of things that are not VERY difficult to understand if you know how to look online.
The is no "better" or "worse" in lenses. They're all different, and they all do different things. Aperture also plays a part.
You just have to ask yourself simple questions, Kevin, and not let the technical side overwhelm you as it seems it's doing.
Ask yourself if you want to have depth of field or not (http://en.wikipedia..../Depth_of_field), ask yourself if you need to film in low-light conditions, ask yourself these kind of questions and then if you're not sure how to do it you will be welcome to ask your questions here and for a specific result that you wish to obtain we will tell you how to do it and if you can do it given the cameras that you have.
Sometimes, I have to use three, five different Super-8 cameras for the same shoot because specifications differ and allow you to do different things. But there is no "better" lens. Sometimes a lens will be said to be "faster" than another, it means more light gets inside the camera than with another lens, for example.
Just ask yourself what you want to shoot, and if you run into a problem come back here for specific help. Keep in mind that Super-8 cameras were initially sold widely with the purpose of letting people shoot home movies, and then it began being used for fiction.
Keep it simple, and good luck.
  • 0

#3 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 29 October 2007 - 11:54 AM

Sometimes the shorter zoom lenses produce better results because the filmmaker can't stay in one spot as long. If they need a closer shot, they won't just zoom in, they'll actually just get closer to the subject (what a concept!).

I used to primarily use only an 8-1 zoom lens for my time-exposure work but every now and then I would use a 3-1 zoom lens. I was always surprised at how that smaller zoom seemed to just be enough for the type of shot I was getting. I liked the 8-1 because I had more choices, but the 3-1 seemed to be fine most of the time.

Telephoto shots can be overly dramatic, sometimes a super telephoto shot can make the super-8 film format emulate a bigger format, but it is a look that you can't keep using over and over, shot after shot. Inevitably, it is where you place yourself that determines how effective your lens is.
  • 0

#4 Michael Lehnert

Michael Lehnert
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1086 posts
  • Other
  • London, UK / Basel, CH

Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:27 PM

Can someone explain some of the fundamentals here?


If you are asking us for the basics of the optical laws of physics, the optomechanical functions of a lens and the changes to imagery that happen in transfocational systems (such as a vario lens), than I must pass, because the necessary space that this forum provides is not adequate enough. I am appaled to read that today's basic photographic literature no longer provides an introduction to the basics of optomechanics and that someone like you, who HAS experience of shooting photographic film, is let to guess that the focal length of 6mm "is probably" more wide-angle than 8.5mm. It seems that the comments from elder generations that things like industry literature gets increasingly wishy-washy and less demanding to the natural-scientific aspects, while favouring aesthetical propositions that people often do not fully comprehend how they come about because they lack the technical fundamentals, seems to come true.
I deplore how people are increasingly working professionally in this industry and have quite obviously no clue how the focal angle and the focal point F (small)h that results in the calculated focal range f changes the visual imagery image-sided and object-sided. Likewise, people "incident-meter" the hell out of their equipment, but wouldn't be able to guess the right f-stop by looking at the light that surrounds them, as Stephen Williams put it here.

I taught myself these things by reading old books, basically dreary old German optical engineering books from my father as well as the books by Ansel Adams, most notably "The Camera", as well as Lenny Lipton's "Independent Filmmaking", and also David Samuelson's "Motion Picture Camera Data". I universally recommend these books which are still available 2nd hand. They give you all info about optics that you are asking for here, and (apart from Adams) all discuss Super 8 extensively.
I made myself a little field manual of 10 folded pages where everything is scribbled down with easy self-made diagrams when I was a teenager. I still have that manual and even still use it as reference. I would love to scan it and put it up as a PDF for you, Kevin, but it's hand-written and in German, so won't be of much help to you, I fear. Anyway, the books above cover it better ;) .

Nevertheless, I will attempt to reply to some very basic questions you raised.

At any rate, I have a Bauer 209XL as well as a 715XL and a C500XL. [...] I eventually got the 715 mainly because of its universal praise. Having a 6-90 lens I wondered if I had really gained anything picturewise other than a much nicer zoom which I don't really take advantage of. I've only shot one roll on the 715 in rather poor conditions so I haven't really compared the 209 and 715 well. [...] I know the 715 lens is physically larger but also a great deal longer so am I getting more image/light into the lens or less than, say, the 500?


You sure have a fine collection of last-generation Bauer cameras, all of which are a very good choice.
The Bauer C 500 XLM features a Macro-Neovaron 1:1,4 / 8,5-40mm.
The Bauer S 209 XL features a Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 6 - 51 mm, the same also found on the Bauer S 709 XL microcomputer.
The Bauer S 715 XL microcomputer has the Angénieux 1:1,4 / 6-90mm

Many elements within the lens define quality: the optical calculations (as marked by the systemic name, such as Variogon, Tessar, Neovaron, Optivaron), the number of lens elements, the mechanical workings and precision of the lens elements, the quality of the optical glass, plus the degree of coating or multi-coating applied to the optical glass. There are of course plenty of other correlatives that parametrically define the potential resolution of Super 8 film material through the optical resolving power of the lens, such as light condition, shutter opening angle, aperture, exposure time, film pressure and flatness, registration and film development.
As most Super 8 cameras have non-interchangeable lenses, there is also the component of the camera-mechanical excellence that comes into all this. The Angénieux 13x6mm on the Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series has better results than on the Bauer S 715 XL microcomputer.

If you want to know a bit about the lenses you have, I shall elaborate on them.

From my experiences plus extensive testing on which I wrote about here (findings will be published here next week, plus in Super 8 Today from the next issue onwards over 4, potentially 9 issues), I would say the best lens at your disposal in theory is the Angénieux 13x6mm. It's componentry is excellent, built-quality as well. However, it's usage on the 715 is not ideal, and downgrades it because of the XL shutter, the optical quality of the prism, plus the fact that the focal range is degrading the optical powers potentially available. It has found a much better home on the Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series due to the shutter angle and mirror reflex system, despite the camera-mechanical gremlins that haunts this last-generation Beaulieu series.
Although the optical glass used by Angénieux is excellent, the sheer number of it used, plus the way they are placed and interact with each other in order to force a wide-aperture of 1:1,2 despite the long focal range (which was an optical engineering achievement during the Super 8 Zoom Wars that put nominal values over quality values) actually degrades optical quality when compared to apparently "lesser" lenses: This is why the Schneider Variogon 1:1,8 / 6-66mm on the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II and Leitz Leicina Special (despite "worse" aperture opening, the complex tele-macro and its older age) is actually optically superior. The same must be said about the lenses used on the Bauer A 512 and Nizo professional. Although most people would immediately point to the Angénieux 13x6mm as the best lens because of its impressive (phallic) aspects and the brand name, actually, the camouflaging multi-coating process that Schott Glass specially used on the Bauer A 512 and Nizo pro lenses leads to much better optical quality in the end. Surprising, and some will dispute it, but nevertheless correct.

So yes, the Angénieux is apparently more light-sensitive and has a "better" (a.k.a. longer) focal range, but the simpler Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 6 - 51 mm on the Bauer S 209 XL will probably lead to better results. Why? It's a much simpler construction, but uses high quality optical glass from Japanese manufacture. It has few elements, a streamlined operation, and an identically good 6mm wide-angle, which is where the most complex optical demands have to be met. And it is often wide-angle which is the end of the focal range which DoPs might need than the tele-side. The same lens can also be found on the Bauer S 709 XL microcomputer. And this is why that model is actually the superior package to the 715. The 7-series was primarly designed as a trick/fx-enabling commag-camera, and the built-in microcomputer (previously found in Agfa Movexoom cameras) is the centre-peice of the design. The Neovaron with its small, efficient and light-weight construction plus the crucial tele-macro that the Angénieux lacks but is all important for fx-work, results in a more complete and adequate packaging for what the camera sets out to be. And our as well as other parties test runs have shown repeatedly that the 709 outperforms the 715 in the realm of optical quality banned on film.
So the S 209 is a very good lens-based camera, while your 715 is a good camera when you need the microcomputer settings, a silent belt-driven camera (the motor system was taken-over from Nizo when these two companies merged their camera production) or a really long telephoto which is the undisputed best-feature of this camera (the unqiue 90mm length)

The Bauer C 500 XLM offers you a small, rugged, hard-in-taking, capabale hand-held gun-&-run packaging. It's size is its primary advantage, as the sound cameras are much more clumsy. The Macro-Neovaron 1:1,4 / 8,5-40mm is a good lens when compared to many other Super 8 cameras of other marques, but its lens, despite the Neovaron construction, is not on a par with the Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 6-51mm used on the S 209 XL or the C 900 XLM (the 500 bigger cousin). It's also not as good as the Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 7-45mm. Why? The 500 XLM was an entry-level model built in order to meet a certain price. Hence construction was compromised under this aspect. Although featuring a simple optical construciton, it's actually cheaper lens elements and an unattractive aperture plus focal range (esp. wide-angle) that make it less resolving than the 6-51 on your S 209.
However, the 500 XLM was not setting out to beat bigger lenses, and wanted to be a simple camera for ruggedly taken shots, so it performs well in what it wants to be.

So you see, that short focal range does not equal better quality, as components were used to meet a price. Likewise, best componentry married to form an ill-conveiced package (715) yet with nominally impressive marketing attributes is also not necessarily the "Rolls-Royce" of them all. Often, the optimum balance leads to maximum results, with the S 209 lens at your hands probably leading to the best optical results. But the cam lacks some features that others of yours have.
All in all, you have an excellent array of high-qualiy lenes and cameras for specific film projects. your combinations is better than the cameras I have seen to be owned by folks who work professionally on SUper 8.


What makes the 715 6-90 lens better than the 209 6-51 lens other than zoom? Is glass quality different?


See above

Is glass quality different? How can that be measured? Both lenses are crystal clear.


Some marques and manufacturers provided data sheets with the lp/mm resolving power of their lenses, but they are rare to come by now, and today, only Zeiss publishes such data anymore (because they lead the pack ? nevertheless, that doesn't mean that everyone likes the atmosphere they provide. I would favour Cooke or Panavision over the Zeiss-look anytime).
In optical institutes and your local camera guy (if he has good collimation and calibration tools at hand) can enlighten you about the optical capabilities. Normally, this is done for S16 and above, never had it done on a Super 8 camera with non-interchangeable lens, so can't comment further on that.

For your further questions, refer to above literature. Lipton and Adams explain the interaction of focal point, focal range, focal length, main plane of lens and film plane and how that determines the various image angles created and projected onto the framed cine-film picture that then gets exposed.


Puh, that was a college lecture. Awfully sorry about that... Hope it wasn't all spam scribble after all, and you took some of it home, Kevin. :unsure: Sorry for some typos, but I don't have the time to proof-read that post. :( Best wishes, -michael
  • 0

#5 Sander Ferdinand

Sander Ferdinand
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 52 posts
  • Other
  • The Netherlands

Posted 29 October 2007 - 02:33 PM

Micheal,

I know that post wasen't ment to be for me, but it sure was helpfull. I always wondered why the 715 was favorite on only the fact that it has the biggest zoom availible while proffesional models like Beaulieu 6/7/8/90 deliver better images.

A month ago i narrowed down my buy choices to 2 camera's. The Bauer 512 and the 715. In the first place i wanted to buy the 512 because of it's 56fps capibility. Then i thoughed; Why would i want to buy the 512 when everywhere i look the 715 gets great reviews about the lens ? I asked myself this question: Do i want a lot of frames per second or do i want a really good lens. I choice the good lens. But i did not look at the information about the lens. I did not know why the lens was better then the 512. Better could mean alot of things. Better in; a faster lens, better glas quality ?

My story equals your statement:

I am appaled to read that today's basic photographic literature no longer provides an introduction to the basics of optomechanics and that someone like you, who HAS experience of shooting photographic film, is let to guess that the focal length of 6mm "is probably" more wide-angle than 8.5mm. It seems that the comments from elder generations that things like industry literature gets increasingly wishy-washy and less demanding to the natural-scientific aspects, while favouring aesthetical propositions that people often do not fully comprehend how they come about because they lack the technical fundamentals, seems to come true.


Your statement equals this saying: people are sheeps

Now, i don't regret buying the 715. I still believe it's a great camera allthough i haven't shot a single roll of film with it.

I appreciate the time you took to type that message/lecture ( :P )

,Sander

Edited by Sander Ferdinand, 29 October 2007 - 02:34 PM.

  • 0

#6 Michael Lehnert

Michael Lehnert
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1086 posts
  • Other
  • London, UK / Basel, CH

Posted 29 October 2007 - 03:59 PM

I always wondered why the 715 was favorite on only the fact that it has the biggest zoom availible while proffesional models like Beaulieu 6/7/8/90 deliver better images.


The problem is that some cameras simply get more attention than others, and some have more history in the US than in Europe and vice-versa. There isn't even a english-language Bauer A 512 maual around, so many people don't know how great its operability is. The camera test screenings mentioned that we did was basically about cutting trough the established "web consensus" that hails the R10 as pin-registered and so on, and establish an as much as possibly controlled rating of the cameras, beyond the camps of "Nizo, Bauer, Beaulieu Bandwagon" vs. "Japanozoom Fighters".

I will publish the Top 15/20 ranking next week, but so far (which is already posted a while ago), the top production cameras with vario lens are the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II with Schneider 11x6mm, the Angénieux f/1,2 | T/1,4-2,1 / 6-80mm (C-Mount) lens, the Leitz Leicina Special with Schneider 11x6mm, the Bauer A 512 with Schneider 12x6mm, the Nizo professional with Schneider 11x7mm, the Canon 814XL-S with 7-56mm, the Canon 1014XL-S with 6.5-65mm, the Beaulieu 9008 S with Angénieux 1:1,4 / 6-90mm (C-Mount) and the Beaulieu 7008 Pro II with the same lens, ... and the rest of the pack follows next week when I have time (don't worry, the Nizo 6080 is there, folks!).

Mind you, really good lens/camera unites that encompass features that other cameras have as well, are often unheard of here and hence totally underrated. I cannot wait to compare the Nikon R10 (which is really is a celebrity) to the totally unknown Agfa Movexoom 10 with the jp-mande Cine-Rokkor 6-60mm, a very promising lens. A cam with a 715 functionality wihtout the obsolete commag clutter but a canon-quality lens that sells for 20 Euros best? Could that be the most underrated cam in S8?


Your statement equals this saying: people are sheeps


Well, that sounds a bit like I was insulting people, which is not the case at all. It's just that things are not always what they seem to be. Actually, :P , as I love sheep and hold warm feelings for the human race, I see your summary as a deeply humanist statement, in a Russell Brand-kind of way... :D

Now, i don't regret buying the 715. I still believe it's a great camera allthough i haven't shot a single roll of film with it.


I just posted a reply to another question of yours here. ;)
  • 0

#7 jacob thomas

jacob thomas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 178 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 October 2007 - 07:58 PM

Did you test the occasionally mentioned Zeiss GS8?

Were there any cameras/lenses left out of the test that you would have liked to include?
  • 0

#8 Michael Lehnert

Michael Lehnert
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1086 posts
  • Other
  • London, UK / Basel, CH

Posted 29 October 2007 - 09:26 PM

Did you test the occasionally mentioned Zeiss GS8?

Were there any cameras/lenses left out of the test that you would have liked to include?


We tested all the cameras we could get hold of to a strict methodology which I elaborated on in the original thread. But we also did have a cut-off line downmarket into the press-button-stupid camera spheres (like my own C camera, a Bauer III XL which I am sure would have beaten all else :D ) as the test was not only about the lens or the camera, but (as both a mostly combined in the S8 format) the best resulting package. This was hence also about functionality, operability, ergonomics, reliability and innovation.

From the cameras what should have been tested but could not get hold of, those most angrily missing are the:

Agfa Movexoom 10 MOS Electronic with Variostar 1:1,8 / 6-60mm
Minolta Autopak-8 D 10 with Zoom Rokkor 1:1,8 / 7-70mm
Minolta Autopak-8 D 12 with Zoom Rokkor 1:1,8 / 6,5-78mm
Elmo 1018R with 1:1,8 / 7-70mm
Elmo 1012 S-XL with Elmo Zoom 1:1,2 / 7,5-75mm
Nalcom FTL 1000
and, alas, your
Zeiss GS8 with Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 1:2,8 / 6-60mm

There was also no Mekel high-speed model-derived camera involved.
We did run DS8 vs S8 informally to get a clearer view on the cartridge vs pressure plate debate, and also the FrameMaster in Super 8 cartridges with some cameras, but to include this into the overall test would just have meant a huge mission creep problem, as we would have had to test every camera twice, with and without the FrameMaster by Gottfried Klose. Also: no Single 8 cameras were tested as film material was too expensive to organise, whereas Kodak kindly sponsored some S8 film material.

However, an Agfa Movexoom 10 has finally been purchased yesterday in what appears to be in mint condition, and we will be running a new test down the line with the top-ranked cameras to see where it might fit in the top listing.
  • 0

#9 Kevin Olmsted

Kevin Olmsted
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 47 posts
  • Producer

Posted 30 October 2007 - 08:26 AM

Many, many thanks to all who had the patience to kindly respond to my obviously involved question. Especially to Michael Lehnert; yes, it was a college lecture but a much needed and much appreciated one! Thank you!

My college involved more graphic design and art so my college photo courses were pretty basic. But speaking with friends, I got the impression that even most current college photography didn't get that deep in to the optomechanics of photo/cine, but I can't personally attest to that.

Sadly, in the digital age, it is mostly megapixels/CCD's and zoom power that is the selling point for digital photo/video equipment. I know younger photographers/videographers that when asked about shutter speed and aperture, couldn't actually give me a physical description of a shutter or aperature on a film still/cine camera. To them they are just numbers on a digital readout; you adjust them up and down to get your desired result...(Kevin steps down from soap box)

Anyway, it was those experiences and a desire to really understand fundamentals that led me on this quest.

I have had my most fulfilling Super 8 experiences with my 209XL. Not one to use the zoom or microcomputer functions much, I found the 715Xl clumsy and awkward for travelling and 'shooting on the fly.' The C500 is nice but as you said the picture is not the same, although it is superior for travel. I have been looking into finding a C900 as it also has a 1.2/6-51 lens, which I suppose would give me the best of both worlds.

Again, thank you very much for the lesson and for the references to the books. I am currently on the hunt for all of them. I am hoping that learning these essentials will lead to better pictures, moving and still.
  • 0

#10 Michael Lehnert

Michael Lehnert
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1086 posts
  • Other
  • London, UK / Basel, CH

Posted 30 October 2007 - 09:10 AM

Gosh, thanks for the update on the practicioner's come-along... hmm, it kind of proves what I feared. If you can track down one or two of the three books I recommended earlier (Lipton, Adams, Samuelson, in this line), then you are well covered to give your photo professors a run for their money.

Please be aware that should you want to replace your C 500 XLM with a C 900 XLM (which is a clever idea) would also mean that your future ownership of the C 900 XLM would acutally make your ownership of the S 209 XL basically obsolete.
Both cameras have the same Macro-Neovaron lens, and as far as features are concerned, both cameras are absolutely identical as well!

The only "more" in features for the S 209 XL relate to the commag sound side, and as direct sound film no longer exists, these features are obsolete. If you don't need the tripod thread on top and the red action light on front, buying a C 900 XLM would mean buying the S 209 XL over again, just in a more compact form without the obsolete commag add-ons.


Hence, if you want to streamline your current 3-piece A B C camera set-up, I would suggest to either

- buy an excellent condition Bauer C 900 XLM as your new camera (combining the size of the C 500 XLM with the features of the S 209 XL) and ditch the 500 and potentially 209 (as I explained above), only potentially keeping the S 715 because you have it, brag about it, plus use its microcomputer if you need it.
There is a mint one for 170 USD total here at: http://www.super8cam...auer_silent.php

- replace all three cameras buy buying the Bauer S 709 XL microcomputer, which combines the size of the S 209 XL with the better lens of that one and the C 900 XLM, plus offers everything the S 715 XL microcomputer has to offer, but in much smaller and light-weight and more silent (belt-driven) package than could be done with the huge Angénieux 15x6mm on the 715.
The S 709 was sold in a nifty Trick/Profi-Set housed in an outstanding Rimowa aeronautic aluminium suitcase with plenty of accessories including a removable matte box. There is one mint on sale for 370 USD at http://www.super8cam...L_PROFI_SET.php

- or try to track down a Bauer A 512 to replace all three as well (was also availble in the Profi-Set case, and although only my B camera after a ZM II system, I am finding myself using it exclusively at the moment, so I don't seem to miss the 4008 too much on set)
  • 0

#11 Kevin Olmsted

Kevin Olmsted
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 47 posts
  • Producer

Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:24 AM

Thanks for the advice. I'm considering the first option. I recently took note of the C900 at Super8 Camera Shop. I'm seriously considering that one. I've purchased three cameras from the Camera Shop and have been pleased every time. I purshased my Bauer 209XL from Mr Uhmeyer as well as a little Nizo 116. Not a top of the line Nizo, but as you might have noticed I like Super 8 cameras with an element of portability and compactness. I actually found the C500 on ebay and got it for $12 including shipping and it is in mint condition! I think my good fortune was due to very poor quality pictures of the camera on the listing and I was the only one wiling to take a chance.

On a side note: I've heard good and bad in the past about Super8 Camera Shop on these forums; my experience on three separate purchases has been nothing but pleasant.

I have to confess my puppy love of Bauer cameras originated in the aesthetics. As I started shopping for a good quality Super 8 camera (I had owned a Zenit Quarz 1x8S-2 for 10 years which for a first-timer was fun to play with but yielded less than spectacular results) I was immediately drawn to the Bauer's look. Being an artist and designer first, the Bauer 107XL (the first Bauer I ever saw) really drew me in. It had a contemporary design that was hard to date. Like most things, cameras look like the time periods they were created in, but the Bauers (in my opinion) still hold up today in their elegant design and thoughtful ergonomics. Too bad modern digital video cameras can't have a better bybrid of features and elegant looks:) So I found the C500 and was pleased with my initial tests and have been a Bauer fan ever since.

I have always wanted to purchase a Beaulieu; seems like almost everyone swears by them. But for now my preference is a decent lens and a well-constructed camera in a portable package.

I've always kept my eye out for an A512, not quite in my price range yet. Maybe if I sell the 715 I can look into that one.

What kind of cameras do you have and what drove you to buy/use them?
  • 0

#12 Michael Lehnert

Michael Lehnert
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1086 posts
  • Other
  • London, UK / Basel, CH

Posted 30 October 2007 - 01:16 PM

I share your notions, ideas and approaches 100%, re. camera design, period pieces, the confluence of design and camera operations.

I just got the green light from Chris Cottrill to print a series of articles in Super 8 Today about the leading Super 8 cameras, and the texts I wrote especially discuss the design philosophy, the historical context and the social background of these cameras, something that is often forgotten in light of simpletonish technical data. Maybe that might interest you, as you think in the same vein as me ? the same for 16mm and 35mm, actually, too. Choosing a camera is not merely a tool in a toolbo. It's a technical decision, alright, but it says also something about the aesthetic understanding one has and what one demands ergonomically and aesthetically from his gear... (hmm, show me your camera, and I tell you what kind of filmmaker you are :D ).

There have been a couple of cameras around in family ownership, in ownership of my brother (who is 50% of our film group :P and brought me to Super 8) and in mine.

That ranged from an undistinct Hanimex from the late 1960s, to a now-stolen Canon 514XL, to a Bauer C 700 XLM (which is my brother's and was the centre piece of filmmaking activities in the 1980s ? my appreciation for Bauer cameras as most robust and yet beautiful stems from that. It's still around and works like new, as my brother's B camera). Gosh, there was a 6008 S which was terrible (AVOID), despite being an early model with the really good combined-aerial/groundglass-viewfinder, a Nizo 2056 sound which is now retired as a mint exhibition design showpiece (it broke down too often ? but what a beautiful design, the masterpiece of the sound-body cameras) Hmm.., there was a 6080 briefly, which left soon... a Sankyo and a Nizo S56 was owned by a former associate - the first one not great, the latter one very nice.... let me think... I remember having seen a Nizo 116 in a photographic shop in a posh suburb of Basel in the mid-1990s. It's a beautiful camera, and I thought about buying it for it's simplicity and yet awesomeness, but the asking price of several hundred Swiss francs was just not right.

After the great camera test screening in which I participated, when the results came in, some personal cameras were sold and new ones acquired, with the rationale to own the leading gear oneself. That lead to the purchase of a Nizo professional to join the flock - it's used as my bro's a camera with his 700. Plus a Canon 814XL-S, which, however, will be sold soonish. I don't like the design language of Canon very much, and I cannot relate at all to the one used by Leitz for the Leicina. It's just too technocratic. The freshly-purchased Agfa Movexoom 10 I mentioned earlier is just to test it, as the pending question of its quality in relation to other top production cameras bugs my brother and me alot. We shall see if it stays. It's design is very close to the big-bodied Nizo silent cameras, and Braun actually successfully sued Agfa for copyright and form factor infringement in the late 1970s.

Anyway, to cut it short, as I moved around alot over the past years professionally, I reduced my studio to something that is not blowing apart the moving truck every time I move. WIth 16 gear and 35 also playing a role, it's easy to be tempted by design and go overboard with great S8 designs :) . I try to resist. I envy you that you don't have to ;) . Hence, to acknowledge simplicity and efficiency, my A cam is a Beaulieu 4008 ZM II full set (two bodies, one with the Schneider 11x6mm, the other for primes), and my B cam is a Bauer A 512 with Profi-Set. I have a C cam, which is the aforementioned Bauer III XL, but it's not working alot, but good to have in case of some really dangerous shot that might kill a camera.

Personally, I would favour a A 512 over the S 715 everytime. If someone asked me to choose my equipment from Bauer only, i would choose the A 512 as A cam, and C 900 XLM as B cam. Nothing else is needed. Nizo-wise: Nizo pro plus either a 116 or Nizo 2056. Beaulieu: only the ZM II, not the IV, not the 5008 (if only for the 6-80 lens), and certainly never again a 6/7/9008-series. I once shot with a 9008 plus SuperDrive, and it was just wrong for the format. Shooting with my donkey-weighting Bolex 16 Pro is more joyous than that. A complete miscalculation about what Super 8 as a format is all about.

A please having this conversation, Kevin!

-Michael
  • 0

#13 Jason Nardella

Jason Nardella

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Other

Posted 17 November 2007 - 10:30 AM

Holy smokes!

Thats A LOT of very useful information. Thank you all so much for this knowledge. I recently bought a 715 and had to return it since it was defective. I asked the store if I could exchange it for a 512. I am expecting it to arrive anyday now. My first camera was a 209xl, and although I was satisfied, I was sure I could get a superior image with a better lens. After research like everyone, the 715 came up as the best..blah blah..When I recieved it, I was impressed with its bulky size and massive lens, so I was dissapointed when I noticed it didn't have the single frame timer option, and even more so when the camera proved to be disfunctional. So I sent it back hoping that I could exchange it for the 512, which after more research, seemed the better camera for me. Limited to only a few sinlge frame options was a huge problem for me. The 512 has no sound option to add unwanted bulk, and it's simple easy to use like the 209. And now, after reading these posts, I am really happy with my decision and can't wait for it to arrive.




I don't mean to be out of place here, and forgive me if I should've put this in another forum topic. I have a question regarding film stock. Out of of types of film stocks availible, which is the best in terms of bright color reproduction and shadow detail, both outdoor and indoor? Living in Montreal, I am limited to Ektachrome 64T, which has been dissapointing when you're used to Kodachrome colors. I am trying to find out my options for purchasing, processing and traansfering other types of super8 stocks.

Thank you all
  • 0

#14 andy oliver

andy oliver
  • Sustaining Members
  • 258 posts
  • Other
  • uk

Posted 17 November 2007 - 11:59 AM

Hi Jay, if you can locate a supplier, try the fuji 50d velvia, it is the sharpest super 8 reversal stock out there, if you really want great looking super 8 try the 50d. Personally i think the 100d sucks, resolving power is poor, ok for big close up work. E64T is a great film for that retro super 8 look, while it projects poorly (imo) transfered it looks great.
  • 0

#15 Jason Nardella

Jason Nardella

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Other

Posted 21 November 2007 - 06:32 AM

Thanx Andy,

I'm still waiting for my Bauer 512 to arrive.
The Velvia sounds exactly like what I'm looking for. I will get on it and try to fing some Fuji In case I don't find this information online, what is the processing method for the 50D? Will any lab process it or does it require special treatment?
The compensation for the Fuji 50D with the 512 (or any Bauer) would be to pull a 1 full stop, a small increase from the 2/3 stop needed with the Ektachrome 64T, which is rated at 40D. Does this sound right? Since the Bauer cameras are annoying and have the "bounce back" type manual adjustment, I just pull the film in processing. Ok, I'm way off topic now so I'll stop right here.

Thank you all.


Jay
  • 0

#16 andy oliver

andy oliver
  • Sustaining Members
  • 258 posts
  • Other
  • uk

Posted 21 November 2007 - 10:04 AM

Jay, i've exposed fuji 50d, which is E6 process succesfully in a couple of canons that dont read 50 asa, they exposed the stock at 40asa, minus the filter. So, intheory if you swing the 85 filter out of the way on your bauer, it should read the stock at 40asa. In fact, i'm on the understanding that most photographers used to shoot fuji 50 slide film at either 32 or 40 asa anyway. Personally i've always exposed fuji 50 as 40asa thru my leicina and beaulieu cameras with great results. I think fuji 50 was put into the super 8 cart, as the stock is compatable with any super 8 camera. Yeh, the bauer manual exp system stinks, great cameras, great reliability, just a shame the camera has two flaws, manual exp and unable to read filmstocks from say 25-400asa..........
  • 0

#17 Jason Nardella

Jason Nardella

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Other

Posted 06 February 2008 - 06:19 PM

Hi Andy,

Thanx for the film stock info. I have been using my recently purchased 512 with some left over Etkachrome. I´ve been spending the winter in Mexico, and shooting random things and freinds while traveling and hanging out on the beach. I have a small fridge in my van where I´ve been keeping the rolls of unexposed film. I put the exposed in the darkness of a small closet in the van. Upon arrival to the staes, I would like toi send the film to be processed and transfered. Any ideas as to the best place to send it? I will be driving through Arizona and then along the west Coast back to Canada. I would ship the film right away when arriving in Arizona, so any lab will do, seeing as I´m getting the developed film sent back to my home in Canada.

Anyway, I´m excited about seeing results ofg the Bauer 512 eventually, and hope the heat will not have messed up the Ektachome too much.

Thanx again for the useful tips.

Jay
  • 0

#18 Jim Carlile

Jim Carlile
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 464 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 07 February 2008 - 01:02 AM

If you're driving through L.A., why not just drop by Spectra on the way out of town in North Hollywood, and have it processed there during the day? You can also visit Yale Labs and Pro 8 in Burbank, only a few miles away.
  • 0


Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

The Slider

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Opal

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Visual Products

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS