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Leicina Special and Kodak negative film


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#1 Paul Ash

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 12:11 PM

Hi,

I'm new to this forum as of ten minutes ago. I have a lead on an excellent Leicina Special. The price is high, though, and before I part with the very many Euros the owner wants for it, I wanted to find out if the Leicina will cope with the heavier Kodak negative filmstock which, I understand, is thicker than the old Kodachrome 40 stock?

I see Pro8 offer a rehabilitated Canon 814 with modifications to cope with the heavier film. This is tempting (it is significantly cheaper than the Leicina) but I live and work in South Africa where PAL is king, and hence I want to shoot at 25fps. I also like the option of being able to use alternative lenses, but this is not critical.

Thanks in advance for any advice or help. BTW, I am a journalist, living in Jo'burg, and trying to finish a decade-old documentary on landmine clearing in Mozambique.

Cheers

PKA
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#2 andy oliver

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 05:48 PM

Hi, i've exposed fuji 50 cinevia, k40, 64t, kodak b/w stocks plus 5 roll of kodak 200t thru my special, no problem at all. Optically, it will easily out perform the pro-8 814. The leicina is a superb camera, possibly one of the finest ever made. So the answer is, yes, certainly my special had no problems exposing neg stock.
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#3 Paul Ash

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:40 AM

Hi, i've exposed fuji 50 cinevia, k40, 64t, kodak b/w stocks plus 5 roll of kodak 200t thru my special, no problem at all. Optically, it will easily out perform the pro-8 814. The leicina is a superb camera, possibly one of the finest ever made. So the answer is, yes, certainly my special had no problems exposing neg stock.


Andy,

Thanks for the upbeat reply, that's excellent news. It's gonna be the Leicina, then. Whoo-hoo, my banak manager's going to have a hissyfit, but so it goes.


cheers for now

Paul
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#4 Jim Carlile

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 03:46 AM

WAIT A MINUTE!

Don't pay too much for that Leicina-- it's worth about $250, max. When you say the Pro8 814 is less money, that scares me.... the Leicina should have no problem with negative stocks. But don't use it-- or any other older camera not rebuilt- in cold weather. The lubricants will seize up.
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#5 andy oliver

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 03:59 AM

Say, how much are you shelling out for that leicina, i paid £400.00 ( $800 ) for mine, which was mint, full working order etc, plus it came with a couple of adapters and timer unit, from a dealer too. I think Jims advice is very good, though the price he is saying, is probably a little on the low side for a leicina special. If your planning to spend a lot for that leicina, have you considered say a beaulieu 4008 or 5008ms, then have the camera serviced?
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#6 Paul Ash

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 06:22 AM

WAIT A MINUTE!

Don't pay too much for that Leicina-- it's worth about $250, max. When you say the Pro8 814 is less money, that scares me.... the Leicina should have no problem with negative stocks. But don't use it-- or any other older camera not rebuilt- in cold weather. The lubricants will seize up.


Hi Jim, Andy,

Well, this does put a new spin on it. I'm paying over the odds - $1347.05 - for a Special with the (standard?) Schneider-Kreuznach OPTIVARON 1.8/6-66 mm lens. Maybe, over the odds in Europe of the US. It's hard to gauge things out here in SA because there is no market in Super 8 at all. Nothing, nada. That also means getting, say, a 4008, serviced here is impossible, so it would have to be done at arm's length, adding time and complexity to the issue.

The link to the dealer in Germany (if you guys have heard of them them) is www.super8camera-shop.com/shop). They've got a couple of Specials on offer, but I'm prepared to pay top whack for an excellent camera. The film's budget allows for it, thankfully.

Anyway, the camera is being sold as Mint, with a 90-day warranty.

What I want is the best camera I can buy, both optically and ruggedness. My budget is $1500, so the Pro8 Beaulieu "copy" is a no-go at $2500.

If not the Leica, which other cameras should I look at? The Beaulieus, I guess. What about the later Canons (814XLS and 1014XLS?).

Sorry to bother you with a newbie's flounderings, but I want to get this right.

Cheers and thanks

Paul
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#7 andy oliver

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 09:31 AM

Hi, well $1300 on a special is on the high side, however with a 90 warranty, you've got some kind of insurance. ok so its possible to buy specials on ebay, my experiance with 2 leicina specials i purchased on ebay have been poor, they were really worn, well used. My current specials have all been from dealers. You mentioned canon 814/1014xls, imo, best run and gun cameras on the market, great auto exposure. lens is sharp, BUT, is not as sharp, especially wide open, when compared to the 6-66. Also, i've noticed the canons are creeping up in value too. Depending on time etc, another option is going for a beaulieu 6008s then having the camera serviced, you dont really wanna be messing with 4008s and 5008s due to the rechargeable batt situation. Then again, the standard lens on the 6008s is the 6-70, which is not as sharp as the 6-66. So really everything points to a leicina special, with warranty or a 814/1014xls......

Edited by andy oliver, 15 January 2008 - 09:33 AM.

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#8 Emil Soderman

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 10:32 AM

Well you could build your own Battery pack for the 4008 and the 5008, It not really that hard and there are a few good websites whit instructions on how to do it.
I built my own for the 4008 out of 6 AA batteris and they lasted around 1 week whitout the need to recharge. It was then easily adapted to the 5008.

So dont rule these cameras out!
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#9 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 01:06 PM

Hello Paul,

and welcome to Cinematography.com. Your film project's topic sounds very interesting indeed and I would absolutely love to be kept informed about its progress.

Based on my experiences I posted here re. the establishment of an informed camera guide , the Leitz Leicina Special is only second to the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II, despite both having variants of the Schneider 11x6mm lens, without a doubt the top lens for the Super 8 format.

The only things I disliked about the Leicina Special were the user ergonomics, some unnecessary complexity due to its ARRI-like modular system approach, but especially its lack of a mirror reflex system which I think should have been included in such a sophisticated,professionally-targeted and expensive model.
You can read an extensive test of the Leitz Leicina Special in an article I wrote for the upcoming issue of Super 8 Today). It's the second part of a 4-part series article about the top cameras of the above hyperlinked list.

Alternatively, go for Beaulieu 4008 ZM II (alas, no 24 fps! ? the ZM IV has that, but it comes with the visibly inferior Schneider 6-70mm which you should avoid) but make sure that it is has received CLA jobs and bears a warranty if possible. The battery problems associated with Beaulieu are correct, as old batteries are troublesome and loose the will to life, but you can get a new one or refurbished one either from Bjorn Anderson (Beaulieu Sweden) or Wittner Cinetec (now the new Beaulieu Germany) and those will run like beauties.
Out of personal experience with the Beaulieu 6008 and in fact the entire 6/7/9008-series, I would like to discourage you from buying into that experience!

I have never heard of any problems with the Super 8 Camera Shop. In fact, that one plus Super 8 Arena are ? based on what is written in this forum ? the most reliable source to get readily CLA'd and warranted Super 8 gear. The cameras are all as described condition-wise, and should I come into the situation of having to buy a top notch camera for a serious film project with your budget, I would definitely shop only there. I can also recommend the eBay store wish-4-leica, which has a 100% satisfaction rating.
Otherwise, I would be careful with eBay sellers, especially if you want a camera that runs without the need for CLA out of the box. I have never encountered anyone buying from eBay and not having to do a CLA job in order to get the quality out of the camera for which it and the Super 8 format was originally designed (which is far better than most people believe... including myself on occasion :D ) Obviously, I disclaim that I have no affiliation whatsoever with these stores and I just summarise what has been written here over the years! Search the archives for details.

I have never heard either of any problematic issues re. different film stocks used in those cameras. I also warn people increasingly about Pro8mm's marketing communications, as the more I delve into these, the more I feel frighteningly reminded of the benignly misleading marketing scribble from their former Beaulieu Distributor colleagues in Germany, namely Ritter Film + Videotechnik (they went bust after literally pushing their gambling to far B) ...)

As long as you use one of the cameras featured in the Top 30 guide, you should not encounter any problems with film stocks originally supplied by Kodak (!!) , i.e. the discontinued K-40, E-160, E-125 and X-series (Plus-X 7276 and Tri-X 7278) and the current E-64, V2-200, V2-500 plus the current X-series (Plus-X 7265 and Tri-X 7266). I am sure the new V3-500 7219 will not cause any problems either!

However, there are indeed problems with some film stocks from other suppliers such as Pro8mm and GK-Film's Cinevia, but these are due to specifics of the film emulsions stuffed into cartridges which are not specifically designed for these stocks. V-50 is particularly interesting in that respect, as those sold by GK-Film (ironically the original packager) caused running problems and many disgruntled customers (which is why it was retired last year and a new cartridge design is currently under construction there), whereas V-50 packaged by Spectra in the US and Wittner Cinetec in DE receive an added special coating to ensure that the film runs smoothly through the cartridge path.

Finally, as far as Jim's comments about...

But don't use [...] any other older camera not rebuilt- in cold weather. The lubricants will seize up.

...are concerned, please read it carefully: Jim explicitly refers to OLD and NON-CLA'd cameras which frankly will deliver sub-par results anyhow. I discourage people to shoot film in that style because its somewhat pointless (would anyone buy an old dilapidated Mitchell Speedster and start shooting a remake of "2001"?) if they want some sort of decent quality, and I start to dislike people who nevertheless do shoot Super 8 that way, but than ? after getting the exposed/telecine'd rushes back ? start complaining about how bad Super 8 is, how inferior the cameras are and that it's all the fault of that stupid cartridge design blablabla... Your experience can be totally different if you accept that Super 8 as just the smallest of a family of cine-film formats that should all be treated in a professional manner.

If you have any further questions, Paul, please don't hesitate to post them. Otherwise, good luck with your Leicina Special and again, welcome to this great place here in the "cloud" (i am off to Macworld SF now, though... ;) )
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#10 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 01:08 PM

I built my own for the 4008 out of 6 AA batteris and they lasted around 1 week whitout the need to recharge. It was then easily adapted to the 5008.


Emil, you wouldn't by any chance have some pictures of your battery construction that you would want to post either here or in a dedicated thread in this forum here?

I would really love to see the containers and how it looks and integrates with the 4008 camera body.

Your efforts are much appreciated, however, if you don't find the time to do the above, then I can fully understand that.

Best wishes, -Michael
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#11 Glenn Brady

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 01:18 PM

Alternatively, go for Beaulieu 4008 ZM II (alas, no 24 fps! ? the ZM IV has that, but it comes with the visibly inferior Schneider 6-70mm which you should avoid) but make sure that it is has received CLA jobs and bears a warranty if possible. The battery problems associated with Beaulieu are correct, as old batteries are troublesome and loose the will to life, but you can get a new one or refurbished one either from Bjorn Anderson (Beaulieu Sweden) or Wittner Cinetec (now the new Beaulieu Germany) and those will run like beauties.


Beaulieu 4008 ZM II cameras were offered in 24 fps and 25 fps variants. I've owned both and currently use a 4008 ZM II with a 24 fps detent. Problems with screw-in batteries for the camera can be remedied also by fitting a dummy socket and powering the camera by cable from a high-capacity rechargeable battery.
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#12 andy oliver

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:21 PM

only thing i dislike about the 4008s series, is dire auto exposure, but, hey your a pro, you'll be using manual exposure, sometimes a really good auto can come in handy, other 4008s dislike is the 1/87th shutter speed at 24fps, images tend to looka bit strobey to me. Also i can highly recomend Bjorn from Sweden mentioned in an earlier post.
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#13 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 07:32 PM

Beaulieu 4008 ZM II cameras were offered in 24 fps and 25 fps variants.


That was dependent on the distribution market which was extensively controlled by the local distributory agent (that is also the reason why so many distributors, especially in strong markets such as the US and DE outlived and outbargained the Beaulieu company itself) and how the the default version for those markets was configured.

In the DACHI market, the ZM II was delivered by default with a dot marking at 18 fps and a click stop at 24 fps. The click stop at 25 fps and corresponding 25 fps numbering (plus the common dot marking at 18 fps) was only available upon request, despite DACHI being a PAL 625 @ 25/50 area.
The crystal-syn'd version of the ZM II controlled the filming speed irrespective of the filming speed selected on the camera, which means that once the crystal-sync modules (such as the QM 101 for 18, 24 or 25 fps) were plugged in, they overuled the selected filming speed on the camera body.

The ZM IV was more explicily trying to cater for the broadcast market, something that became en vogue in the mid to late 1970s when the Leitz Leicina Special came to market, the rivalling Nizo professional and even Bauer A 512 attempting to get a slice of that top-level market, too.
The ZM IV was hence delivered by default with a click stop at 25 fps, and an optional 24 fps version. Both obviously had the dot marking at 18 fps.
The crystal-sync modules operated as on the ZM II.

I have personally never come across a ZM II with a click stop at 25 fps, but many ZM IVs I encountered indeed had 25 fps, as well as 24 fps. There were even two bespoke versions made that had a click stop at 18 fps which two Beaulieu customers of the German distribution area had the Ritter Film agent built for them. One of the two was lost while the two were on an filming expedition in the Yukon. Maybe a bear ate it, I don't know... :)

EDIT: one of the cameras was lost, not one of the two filmmakers... just to clarify that! The bear joke was potentially misleading :D .
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#14 Emil Soderman

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 10:02 PM

Sure i can post a few pics of it, although it was never really used on the 4008 ZM since that one was in need of service (Something we only noticed when we tryed to run film through it, the motor didint really have the power to pull the film which a talk whit Bjorn confirmed, to bad we didint have time to service it then)

So the batterypack was used along whit the 5008 MS insted, which we wore pleased to see already was modified to take an XLR connector whit power for it. Which looked lika alot simpler modification then to the 4008!

So the pics of the 4008 is a crued prototype to test it out.
Soldering directly to the pins doesnt work though unless you maybe grind them down to expose some roughed up metal.
Insted we used clamps under the tests of the camera. If thats the right word for it.

But we might buy this 4008 anyway and get it serviced and then build a new and improved Batterypack for it.
I say we because i can't take the full credit, or rather blame for this mod :lol:

The XLR connector is taped together due to a solder breaking during a shoot so we had to resolder it on location.
(Dont wire it so the solders can brake against the plastic XLR protectiv cover!)

Hope this can help atleast someone in designing ther own betterypack!
Pic1_2.jpg
pic2_2.jpg
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#15 Emil Soderman

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 10:53 PM

Come to think of it, it might not be the best thing too post this batterypack talk here, Dont want to cludder a perfectly fine thread.
So i made a new topic insted if anyone feel like replaying to it.
Here it is:
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=28415

Sorry for the mess! :unsure:
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#16 Paul Ash

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:54 AM

Hello Paul,

and welcome to Cinematography.com. Your film project's topic sounds very interesting indeed and I would absolutely love to be kept informed about its progress.

Based on my experiences I posted here re. the establishment of an informed camera guide , the Leitz Leicina Special is only second to the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II, despite both having variants of the Schneider 11x6mm lens, without a doubt the top lens for the Super 8 format.


Hi Michael (and Andy, Jim and everyone),

Thanks for the kind welcome and the useful words. This has all been excellent advice. I have cooled my boots on the Leicina for now while I explore the other options. Not many 4008s for sale (super8ireland has one -- with a new battery to boot -- but they never, and I mean never, answer my e-mails).

Actully the 4008 was one of the first cameras I looked at when I first started the landmine doccie in Mozambique but my budget in 1995 didn't stretch far at all. We spent most of our money on K40 and a Nizo 4080. In the following weeks, I plenty of time to indulge in full and complete regret for selling my mint 1014XLS just three years before for GBP100 to a dealer in Tottenham Court Road just because I was desperate for an air-ticket :angry:

I have been in touch with Chris at Super 8 Today about writing a feature on my experiences in Mozambique and hopefully I'll finish writing it this week. In a couple of months I'm heading back there on a recce to see if we can pick-up where we left off. So I need a tough camera that'll not mind the humidity and 40degC temps too much. At least, it must mind them less than I do. :rolleyes:

Thanks again for all the advice - it means a lot. I'll let you all know how the camera quest goes.

cheers for now

Paul
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#17 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 02:02 PM

Hi Michael (and Andy, Jim and everyone),

Thanks for the kind welcome and the useful words. This has all been excellent advice. I have cooled my boots on the Leicina for now while I explore the other options. Not many 4008s for sale (super8ireland has one -- with a new battery to boot -- but they never, and I mean never, answer my e-mails).


Then, by all gods, don't buy a camera from that Irish seller! If s/he is lame at communicating, imagine how it will go if you have a problem! Focus on reputable dealers!


Actully the 4008 was one of the first cameras I looked at when I first started the landmine doccie in Mozambique but my budget in 1995 didn't stretch far at all. We spent most of our money on K40 and a Nizo 4080. In the following weeks, I plenty of time to indulge in full and complete regret for selling my mint 1014XLS just three years before for GBP100 to a dealer in Tottenham Court Road just because I was desperate for an air-ticket :angry:


Mabye some super model is now owning it, as much as Super 8 is en vogue here in "Cool Britannia"'s celeb scene...

I have been in touch with Chris at Super 8 Today about writing a feature on my experiences in Mozambique and hopefully I'll finish writing it this week. In a couple of months I'm heading back there on a recce to see if we can pick-up where we left off.


Oh, that is excellent news. I think S8T is exactly the mag for that kind of story, and Chris is very professional to work with. I am looking forward to reading it. I guess if it gets published in the next issue, it will be published next to my article about the Bauer A 512...

So I need a tough camera that'll not mind the humidity and 40degC temps too much. At least, it must mind them less than I do. :rolleyes:


...which would be exaclty the camera I wold hence recommend to you.
The Beaulieu 4008 is stury and reliable, put it needs to be CLA's regularly because of the mirror reflex shutter system. Also, the Schneider 11x6mm lens is mecahnically quite exposed, so you might need a barney for the lens and the camera.
I am not a fan of the Leicina as ai think it actually offers less then many think. If you don't require the interchangeable lens option, you might as well go for the Canon 1014XL-S again, as both are similar in design, ergnomics and features (commag aside, of course).
Next on my recommendation list, especially when it comes to "expeditionary shooting cirumstances" would be the Bauer A 512. Formidable lens, every feature you require built-in, fully manual and motorised variable shutter, no mirror reflex but the Leicina is missing that as well. Above all, manual aperture control and what you miught need: a very roughed up body and ragged attitude. Bauer's are classically associated with geo-based filming, at least in Germany, so it was widely adopted for filming conditions in the great outdoors. The A 512 has all the major filming speeds, a timer plus time lapse. I use one amongst other cameras for years, and prefer to use if for Royal Geographical Society-style filming over the 4008 ZM II and indeed the Nizo pro.

Check out the Bauer A 512.

The only obvious problem it has is that it only reads either ISO 40 or ISO 160. But actuallly, with the latitude of the film stock today, that doesn't truly really matter anymore. My brother just shot a test reel with a newly-acquired and similarly-constructed Bauer S 715 on E-64 (i.e. reversal and narrower latitude) and just e-mailed me that the uncompensated E-64 came out beautifully.
I suggest you read up a bit more about the issues involving Bauer exposure index notch coding and exposure compensation in this thread I hyperlink for you here!


Thanks again for all the advice - it means a lot. I'll let you all know how the camera quest goes.


No problemo, and please do so!
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