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Aaton LTR 7 Questions


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#1 Ray Noori

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:39 PM

Gents,

And so my search for a suitable sync 16mm camera continues. Having looked at Eclair NPR and ACLs, I have now been offered the opportunity to buy an Aaton LTR7 Super 16mm camera for $3000. The good news is that unlike many eBay auctions, this is a seller near where I live and I can go and see the camera for myself. The following is what he has given me in terms of details of what is included:

- Aaton LTR 7 Super 16mm Film Camera Body s/n C220
- Camera Sync Speeds Switch FPS 24,25
- Camer Off Speed Sync FPS 3,6,12,16,18,20,24,28,32,40
- 2 Aaton Super 16 Magazines with film covers
- 2 Aaton On Board Batteries
- 1 Cine 60 16.8V - 8.4V Battery Belt
- 1 Right Hand Power Grip With on/off Switch
- 1 Set of Rods
- 1 Gate cover
- 1 Power Cable
- 1 Aaton Charger
- 1 G G M 1:85 -1:79 - TV Safe
- 1 Black Pelican Shipping Case
- 1 Case for Batteries & Charger

The problem is, I know next to nothing about Aaton LTR 7s. There is very little information on the web comparing to a camera like Eclair NPR, so I have lots of questions:

1. What lens mount is on this camera? Are adaptors for it readily available?

2. I recall reading on the board arvhices somewhere that Aaton LTR was to be avoided because parts are impossible to find. Is that true?

3. Has this camera been converted to Super-16mm or are Aaton LTRs Super-16 modified off the assembly line?

Other than that any other piece of information that might help would be greatly appreciated, any links to useful articles on the net, anything at all!

Thanks,
Ray
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:14 PM

Ray,

There are others like Mitch Gross and Nathan who know much more about Aaton cameras than I do, but in the meantime I can share with you some information I know.

I looked at the camera package you refer to and saw some things that raised red flags.

The LTR7 cameras were a work in progress. They changed pretty much through the run of cameras. I do not know the starting serial number, but Aaton transitioned to the LTR54 somewhere in the neighborhood of C950, though the LTR I used to own was C962 and it was still an LTR7 with the 32-fps motor but with all the LTR54 electronics. Like I said, they were a work in progress.

The one listed is serial number C220, so it is a very early LTR7. From the information I have, parts for those are pretty tough to come by now. If the pulldown claw is worn, that can be an expensive issue to repair. The camera does appear to have the "black gate" which is nice. Also, looking at the pictures of the mags, they have not been converted to Super 16 like the mags on my LTR were. When the mags get converted, the pass through roller is flipped. The picture with the auction shows the pass through roller in its original position.

An overhaul for my LTR and two mags, like I mentioned it was a later serial number, ran $2200 for Abel to do the work, and this was a few years ago, prices may be higher or lower now.

The lens mount on the camera is an Aaton mount, but from the pictures it does not look like the mount my camera had. Mine could be flipped, one way for regular 16 and the other way for Super 16. The mount in the picture, which is not shown very well, does not look like it is set up to be flipped.

One of the nice things about Aaton mount cameras is that you can get mount adapters to use Arri bayonet mount lenses, Aaton mount lenses, Nikon mount lenses, and others on the camera. That gives you alot of lens choices.

Parts can be hard to find for the older LTR models, and I am afraid C220 would fall into that category.

I do not believe an Aaton as old as serial number C220 would have been Super 16 from the factory. Again, Mitch or Nathan could tell you more about that.

Best,
-Tim
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#3 Alex de Campi

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:44 PM

Just to add (I co-own a late model LTR 54, which I love) - your package is missing FF and video assist, which will cost you another $3,000 at the very cheapest to add on. If you get the camera, get a decent video assist, not the crappy B&W one - unless you want to spend half your day chasing your director away from the eyepiece.

Also the LTR is not completely silent - it's very quiet, but not silent. If you're shooting closeups in an enclosed space, you may need to do some ADR. (Somewhere I saw a dB comparison across the major S16 cameras but now I can't seem to find it.)

Tim is right, aaton to arri bayonet mounts are cheap and plentiful, they cost about $100 give or take.

We went through this saga a year ago. It's a hard situation, because you either get good Aatons sold body-only (a pain in the ass if you're buying for a specific project), or you get full packages which can run to a fair amount of money. We paid about $20k a year ago for the LTR, which included a full set of glass (4 zeiss primes, zeiss and canon zooms, and a shift/tilt we've never used), a gorgeous o'connor fluid head, b&w video assist, and all mags and batteries - was in excellent condition and had been lovingly maintained by Abel in NY for many years. You may want to wait until one comes along with lenses; it generally does seem cheaper to buy a package with glass included.

Edited by Alex de Campi, 15 July 2008 - 01:44 PM.

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#4 Matt Ely

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 10:57 AM

Just to throw more chaos into the mix, I have an Aaton LTR 7 that I am going to sell. Body# 690, Reg 16mm, two reg 16mm mags, Zeiss 10 to 100mm T3, two bats, adapters to Arri and Nikon, cases, matte box etc. Selling as I have an XTR Prod I'm looking to upgrade, and I've only used this body three times in the last year. If interested contact me here, or at elyoneone@yahoo.com, 406.580.3591, Bozeman, MT . Thanks, Matt Ely
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#5 Ray Noori

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:32 PM

Sorry for the late reply guys, I've been away for a few days.

Tim, Alex, thank you so much for your advice. I'm looking at a few options, including the one I listed and the one that Matt was talking about. I'll post here when I make my final decision.
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#6 Matt Ely

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 10:29 PM

Ray, I can't reply - your pm box is full, Matt.
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#7 Alex de Campi

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 12:10 PM

Ray, if you can swing the extra cash, this is a super-sweet deal: http://tinyurl.com/593eud (Arri SR2 superspeed for $8k)

The SRII is a bit of a tank compared with the Aaton or the Eclair (which is only an issue if you're all about the handheld) but there are all the spare parts in the world for it and service is easy.

You'd still need glass, FF, and a video assist plus support etc. But it's got a good variable speed motor, extension viewfinder, mags and batts. The video assist thing, it really depends how you're going to use the camera. If you want to rent it/yourself, you need a video assist. If you're working with a bunch of different directors, you need a video assist. If you mainly work with one director and he or she is cool to just stand next to you, you can probably do without. It's a fairly easy add-on later anyhow.

There's another SRII (not highspeed) up too, with various extras in his other auctions: http://tinyurl.com/6g3a6y . The videotap he's also selling is currently a REALLY good deal.

Good luck. S16 is fun.
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#8 Ray Noori

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 12:50 PM

Thanks Alex. They both seem like excellent options. Although I must confess my ignorance as to what superspeed refers to, I've never heard of the term before.

They are both out of my price range at the moment, but I try to raise the funds by selling my Criterion DVD collection as well as my Bolex and its lenses. We'll see.
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#9 Alex de Campi

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 02:38 PM

Superspeed because that edition of the SRII will go up to 150fps, creating very slow slo-mo. Most standard film cameras will go only to 50fps unmodified.

I do a lot of music videos so I think a superspeed is GREAT!, because we do a lot of overcranking and undercranking on mvs. Again, your style may not require it, but it's certainly a nice to have.
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#10 Tim Carroll

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 03:26 PM

Here in the States we call that a High Speed camera. I saw that auction a while ago. The plus side is that the seller says he has all the service records and that ARRI recently serviced it. If that is the case, and ARRI did a complete overhaul to the camera, that certainly adds to its value.

My concern would be "who did the super 16 conversion"? From the pictures, including the one below, instead of putting in a Super 16 ARRI gate, whoever did the conversion just machined out the regular 16 gate, which can cause some issues.

Posted Image

The other auction, for the Denz camera, I would want to know the service history on that camera, and I would like to look at the gate to see if it is an ARRI Super 16 gate, or a machined out regular 16 gate like the one above.

Best of luck with whatever you end up doing Ray.
-Tim
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#11 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 07:58 PM

My concern would be "who did the super 16 conversion"? From the pictures, including the one below, instead of putting in a Super 16 ARRI gate, whoever did the conversion just machined out the regular 16 gate, which can cause some issues.


I also depends who did the conversion. The great techs who have converted Aaton/ ACL cameras I have used extensively, Les Bosher in the UK and Bernie O'Doherty in NY, make sure that the machined gate works just like the S16 one. I don't know about Arri gates though.

Also, converting LTR mags to S16 is possible without modifiying them like Abel does. Bernie does this service cheaper and with stellar results, as I have shot with such mags and never had a problem with them or the film.
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