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ACL "floating pressure plate" magazines


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#1 alan smith

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 04:18 PM

Just closed on feeBay, an ACL magazine touted as latest & greatest design with a floating pressure pad (in gate area), also in the pics I noted an extra 4 fingers (2 top/2 bottom - on sides) which would appear to assist with weaving control?

I was outbid of course, but I'm asking the ACL experts if this is a significant improvement over the old design? - worth searching for upgrade components? - available? - should I just kick my old 200' mags. in the water tank?

I lost can you understand? :unsure: -- I feel so inadequate, so dirty. :(

alan :P
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#2 Scott Bullock

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 11:39 PM

Just closed on feeBay, an ACL magazine touted as latest & greatest design with a floating pressure pad (in gate area), also in the pics I noted an extra 4 fingers (2 top/2 bottom - on sides) which would appear to assist with weaving control?

I was outbid of course, but I'm asking the ACL experts if this is a significant improvement over the old design? - worth searching for upgrade components? - available? - should I just kick my old 200' mags. in the water tank?

I lost can you understand? :unsure: -- I feel so inadequate, so dirty. :(

alan :P


I'm fairly certain that all late generation, French made magazines have "floating pressure pad(s)." The seller's description probably should have read "last and good design" by Eclair instead of "latest and greatest design." I could be wrong though, especially considering that I haven't seen the ad.
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#3 alan smith

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 08:06 PM

I'm fairly certain that all late generation, French made magazines have "floating pressure pad(s)." The seller's description probably should have read "last and good design" by Eclair instead of "latest and greatest design." I could be wrong though, especially considering that I haven't seen the ad.


Thanks for the response, a photo with the add shows a "secondary" pressure pad in the gate area, seperately sprung from the main pressure pad that my older mags have. There is a larger raised section to support the film at the gate.

Also, there were two film guides impinging on the sides of the film (2 top, 2 bottom) which apparently assist with weave control.

Seems to be a considerable modification (improvement?).

Anyone familiar with this one?
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#4 Bert Smith

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:15 PM

Hello there,
might have been me who won them. Was it an auction for more then one (they had three, actually), out of Canada? (they were called ChristianCinefilms).

If so, consider yourself lucky you didnt win. I won two of them (the most-recent 400' French ACL mags) which were listed as "good" condition. Well, the nice Canadian Christians lied through thier teeth, these mags are beat up to the point of near non-operation. I bought them at the request of Bernie O'Doherty who explained to me that the English mags were highly unreliable, and put fear into my heart. So I jumped on the French mags when they were up for auction. So now I have two nice 400' French mags, that are very good at chewing up film. I hope Bernie can get them up to spec, and they are not too badly damaged. Funny enough, the two English mags that came with my ACL....(which I was in fear of using)....look great, and perform like new. So what's worse....a mint English mag (which might fail at any time), or a beaten-down and unloved barely-working superior French mag?

Incidentally, they (the wonderfull and highly unethical ChristianCinefilms) never wrote back to me, other then the email thanking me for winning the auction and asking for their money. Many emails later, no response. A-holes to the extreme. Avoid them at all costs.
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#5 rob spence

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 05:05 AM

HI,
The debate whether English or French made ACLs and mags are better than each other is pointless.
I've shot for years with both and they both perform exactly alike. I think some myth must have grown.
Give Les Bosher a call if you like and ask him,,,he will tell you the same.

best

rob spence
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#6 Bert Smith

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 07:35 PM

HI,
The debate whether English or French made ACLs and mags are better than each other is pointless.
I've shot for years with both and they both perform exactly alike. I think some myth must have grown.
Give Les Bosher a call if you like and ask him,,,he will tell you the same.

best

rob spence



Really????
Bernie....without actually coming out and saying it.....pretty much implied that I should throw my English mags into the garbage. I just cant do it. They are running perfectly, and he is relentless in his statements that the English mags are risky. Since those idiots on Ebay took the last of my "magazine fund", I now only have the two English mags on one of my two ACL systems (thankfully, there are two good French mags on my other system).

Nothing is more of a pain and headache then fears about your gear. It has now been so drilled into my head that my English mags are DEFINITELY going to fail, that I'll never be able to shoot anything of importance with them, since I'll be terrified of failure, scratches, or deadly poisonous gasses and radiation leaking out and killing the actors and crew.

Say it isnt so!
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#7 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 08:27 PM

Really????
Bernie....without actually coming out and saying it.....pretty much implied that I should throw my English mags into the garbage. I just cant do it. They are running perfectly, and he is relentless in his statements that the English mags are risky. Since those idiots on Ebay took the last of my "magazine fund", I now only have the two English mags on one of my two ACL systems (thankfully, there are two good French mags on my other system).

Nothing is more of a pain and headache then fears about your gear. It has now been so drilled into my head that my English mags are DEFINITELY going to fail, that I'll never be able to shoot anything of importance with them, since I'll be terrified of failure, scratches, or deadly poisonous gasses and radiation leaking out and killing the actors and crew.

Say it isnt so!


I own good English ACL "French Style" mags (without the pulleys) that are second to none.

In the case of magazines, it all depends how the mags interface with the particular camera you have and the physical state they are in.

One shouldn't believe from anyone who says that certain piece of equipment "just won't work" for "x" or "y" reasons. I have had reputed ACL techs to tell me my camera/ mags this or that without them ever laying eyes on them, let alone checking them out. Most of those generalizations were wrong, of course. Whatever works for you and your project/ camera/ etc. is KING.

If there is one, the lesson to be learned here is that no one, not even camera techs with all the expertise in the world, can make broad generalizations and not have some of those come back and bite them in the behind. Particularly sad is when someone else is paying for their (broad- generalization) sins.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 12 June 2008 - 08:29 PM.

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#8 Boris Belay

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 04:32 AM

Really????
Bernie....without actually coming out and saying it.....pretty much implied that I should throw my English mags into the garbage. I just cant do it. They are running perfectly, and he is relentless in his statements that the English mags are risky. Since those idiots on Ebay took the last of my "magazine fund", I now only have the two English mags on one of my two ACL systems (thankfully, there are two good French mags on my other system).

Nothing is more of a pain and headache then fears about your gear. It has now been so drilled into my head that my English mags are DEFINITELY going to fail, that I'll never be able to shoot anything of importance with them, since I'll be terrified of failure, scratches, or deadly poisonous gasses and radiation leaking out and killing the actors and crew.

Say it isnt so!


Trying to stay away from broad generalization -- even those about broad generalization ;) --, I would take Bernie at his word, as I trust he has a lot more experience with these cameras than most of us here. If you say that he says they are 'risky', but not that they should be put in the bin, perhaps they are indeed of a less reliable design than the French mags in the long run... I don't mind British magazines myself, but I service all of my mags, and of course, they work when they are serviced (Eclair-Debrie UK would not have released mags that simply don't function).
This reminds me of people who keep harping on the 'falling magazines issue' of ACLs. Anyone who has spent two seconds thinking about the physics of how ACL mags are attached to ACL bodies will understand that 30 years down the line you can't mix and match any mag to any body without some kind of adjustment. This is not even related to the question of where they were built, but simply of considering that the ACL was produced over a 15 year period and any one camera and magazine will have had a very different life since 1971 (or any year until 1986) than the next.
So, get those mags matched to your camera, or sell those that are a few microns too used for your body back on eBay, where somebody with a differently adjusted camera will pick it up ans use it happily. And get your mags (Brit or French) serviced first, try them out on your camera with spent films 10 times over, and either calm your fears down or get the best and latest.
But don't question a recognized tech with several decades of experience on a statement he did not make. Brit mags have a very different design to the French ones. In fact, Brit mags were designed first, and when the French decided it was a good idea to expand the ACL to 1o min. of shooting, they began by copying the Brit design : the prototypes shown in early announcements of the French 120m. mag show a very similar design to the Brit mags (and tout their low torque winding arm). Yet, by the time they went into production, the French mags were completely redesigned to what we know them to be. So perhaps there is a worthwhile reason to the French redesign, and still no reason to throw away Brit mags altogether... I'd take Bernie at his word here, and perhaps even ask for more details on his position straight from him.
And to add a bit to the original question, yes, there was a complete redesign of the pressure plate late in the production of French mags. The plates have four small guiding posts on the sides, but more importantly, the pressure plate is in two parts : the bit just behind the film gate is independant and has a spring with a lower pressure than the rest of the plate (on which it is mounted). Here is a picture :

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#9 Bert Smith

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 09:42 PM

...but what about the "deadly poisonous gasses and radiation leaking out and killing the actors and crew"?





And gosh no, I certainly did not take Bernie's opinion lightly, he has oodles of Eclair experience. That is exactly why I am so afraid to use those mags. He obviously has a good reason for warning me away from the English mags. Hope I didn't give the wrong impression.

I was hoping to hear from others who might (or might not) have had experience with the English mags. Mine, are in really great shape. I couldnt call them "Mint", but very good condition. And I know full well that I will probably be in a situation at some point where I will be forced to use them. So I was hoping to learn what the common problems might be.

But as far as camera Techs, I doubt there is anyone alive who is more familiar with the Eclairs then Bernie. Jesus maybe. But he now only works on the RED.
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#10 Boris Belay

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 04:44 AM

...but what about the "deadly poisonous gasses and radiation leaking out and killing the actors and crew"?





And gosh no, I certainly did not take Bernie's opinion lightly, he has oodles of Eclair experience. That is exactly why I am so afraid to use those mags. He obviously has a good reason for warning me away from the English mags. Hope I didn't give the wrong impression.

I was hoping to hear from others who might (or might not) have had experience with the English mags. Mine, are in really great shape. I couldnt call them "Mint", but very good condition. And I know full well that I will probably be in a situation at some point where I will be forced to use them. So I was hoping to learn what the common problems might be.

But as far as camera Techs, I doubt there is anyone alive who is more familiar with the Eclairs then Bernie. Jesus maybe. But he now only works on the RED.


Test your magazines over and over with spent film, then shoot a roll or two with fresh film, until you're more confident about them. I for one have had no problem so far with my Brit mags, that's what I was trying to convey. As for what will make you feel secure when that important shoot comes, I can't tell...
But why don't you get back to Bernie and ask him to elaborate, then post his detailed answer here so we have an opinion based on his long experience ? That would take one step further in that old vexing debate, no ? Then we could ask Les Bosher, and get a British opinion too !

By the way, here is a picture of the prototype French mags as announced in the 1973 French ACL manual. You can clearly see that it's the principle of the British design, but modified probably to incorporate the French style footage counter. I don't believe these ever went into production, as the brochure announcing the "Type 1974" ACL with its new 120m. mag shows the final design of the French mag (and does not tout the benefits of the Brit design anymore...).

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