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Eclair ACL help!


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#1 Ray Noori

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 05:49 PM

Hello all,

I've written a few times on the Eclair forums here trying to gather enough information on ACLs and NPRs in my quest to find an affordable sync camera to move to from my Bolex. Well, the search is almost over and I've narrowed it down on an Eclair ACL that I saw today. The following is included:
- Eclair ACL body (made in England)
- A 24fps crystal sync motor
- Orientable viewfinder
- 2 400' magazines (made in England)
- A 15-150mm Angenuix Zoom lens (made in France)
- One rechargable Sony battery and wall-charger.

The package is being sold for $1300 Canadian. I have one more chance to look at it tomorrow and then have to give my final answer as to whether I want it or not.

I looked at the lens in the light, it seemed clear. I ran the motor and it seemed to run fine and quietly. I looked through the viewfinder, it was clear and bright. Now my questions:

- Is there anything specific I should look for when checking out the package tomorrow? Anything that I've missed?
- Is $1300 a good price for the package?
- The body is made in England, which I think means this is ACL 1, not 1.5. Do ACL 1s have trouble pulling 400' magazines? I wish I knew more specifics about the motor.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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#2 Ray Noori

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:21 AM

Nothing gents? I've bought myself until Wednesday morning, but I'll have to give him an answer by then. I know there are some ACL experts on these boards! :)
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 01:27 AM

You are right to doubt that motor and the 400' loads. Those motors were designed to be used with 200' mags, and when used with 400' loads they tend to overheat and lose sync. I would not buy an ACL with that motor and the 400' mags. That is a decision you have to make, if you are willing to deal with that or not. You can always try to find a heavy duty motor later, but be prepared to spend good money on it, if you find it.

Also, I would check to see if the mags are capstan based, which are reputedly terrible to work with. If you open the take up side, you can't miss it if it's present.

I would say if the camera runs and the lens is in good shape, finding 200' mags would be the way to go. It can be up to $300 per mag -if you can find them- so act accordingly.

The price is not bad for an entry level camera, but again, I wouldn't buy it as it is, unless you are willing to work on it or spend more money upgrading it. If you want a camera that you know is reliable from the get go, you will have to pay a lot more. But you may be lucky and it works great as is. With these 30 year old cameras you never know . . .

Also, if you buy it, you will very likely have to spend some $400 getting the camera up to speed unless it has been recently been serviced and it can be proven, so factor that in to your budget. Unless you take the camera to a tech, you can't be sure that it is running properly, unless it has obvious issues. If the camera runs, that is a good sign, but not necessarily that it is up to spec for a project -again, be cautious.

Good luck

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 02 September 2008 - 01:31 AM.

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#4 Ray Noori

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 06:33 PM

Thanks for the reply Saul. Yeah, I figured that I would have to at least spend some money on 200' magazines. The guy says the camera was revamped and maintained by someone in Toronto last year and has given me the guy's name and number so I'm going to try and verify that.
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#5 Boris Belay

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 05:44 AM

Hi Ray,

Sorry if I'm responding too late... Did you buy the camera in the end ? I don't think CA$1300 is a bad price for an entry level ACL kit in good running order. If the camera was indeed serviced recently and you get to look at it hands on, you're probably getting a better deal than you would on eBay, where these kits may be cheaper (sometimes), but without the convenience of meeting the seller and so on.
As for the camera itself, it is an early model with the original motor. The 400 ft mags have proven troubelsome for these motors sometimes, but in my opinion, if they are properly maintained and loaded (which was not necessarily the case with the news crews of the 70's), they should function well. The seller should be able to tell you anyways how much he's shot with that combination of camera and mags, and all may be fine as it is.
As for 200 ft mags, they're great because they make the camera so small, so they're definitely worth you're looking into them. I wouldn't expect to pay more than US$200 for one on eBay -- sometimes quite a bit less.

Best, B.

Hello all,

I've written a few times on the Eclair forums here trying to gather enough information on ACLs and NPRs in my quest to find an affordable sync camera to move to from my Bolex. Well, the search is almost over and I've narrowed it down on an Eclair ACL that I saw today. The following is included:
- Eclair ACL body (made in England)
- A 24fps crystal sync motor
- Orientable viewfinder
- 2 400' magazines (made in England)
- A 15-150mm Angenuix Zoom lens (made in France)
- One rechargable Sony battery and wall-charger.

The package is being sold for $1300 Canadian. I have one more chance to look at it tomorrow and then have to give my final answer as to whether I want it or not.

I looked at the lens in the light, it seemed clear. I ran the motor and it seemed to run fine and quietly. I looked through the viewfinder, it was clear and bright. Now my questions:

- Is there anything specific I should look for when checking out the package tomorrow? Anything that I've missed?
- Is $1300 a good price for the package?
- The body is made in England, which I think means this is ACL 1, not 1.5. Do ACL 1s have trouble pulling 400' magazines? I wish I knew more specifics about the motor.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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#6 Ray Noori

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 09:02 PM

Hi Boris,

Thanks for the response! I didn't end up buying that camera. Instead I bought another Eclair ACL I package for CAD$1500 off of an eBay seller in Culver City. It's a very similar package but has a much better hand grip and two 200' magazines on top of the 400' magazine. There's also a CA to Nikon mount adaptor. The motor and the glass are the same as the other package.

I recieved the package yesterday so I haven't had a chance to play around with it much. Especially since the seller didn't sell the battery charger along with the battery. But there is a service record dating all the way back to 2001 when the camera last had a full overhaul. I'm hoping that I don't get burned, but I guess only time will tell! :)

If you have any tips for using an ACL or any things that you know of which I should be aware of before my test shoot I would really appreciate it if you could let me know.

Thanks again for the post man!
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#7 Nick Norton

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:04 PM

Congrats on getting the ACL Ray!

I only received mine a few weeks ago, but am really excited about the camera.

I'd love to give you some tips from what i have experienced with the ACL, but i'm not sure how familiar you are with 16mm. Have you shot 16mm film before on a different set-up?


-nicholas
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#8 Ray Noori

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 09:17 AM

Hi Nick,

Thanks for writing. Yes, I have shot 16mm before on a Bolex Rex-4. I shot several test reels and made 2 5 minute shorts with it (one of those shorts called Parallels is playing this coming weekend at the Continental Drift International Short Film Festival: http://cdrift.bside.com/2008). So I'm not entirely new to shooting 16mm, although I have a miniscule amount of experience comparing to most people on these boards.

What I wouldn't know about are things that are specific to the ACL. Like, I have never loaded film into the ACL type of mags that open on both sides. Another problem that I have at the moment is that I don't have a charger for the battery. The seller kept the charger to use with other cameras and said I can use a universal charger with 4-pin Jaeger connector. I'm not quite sure where to acquire one from.

How's your ACL treating you so far?

Cheers,
Ray
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#9 Ray Noori

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 01:21 PM

Quick addition to my last post. This is a better link to the short film page that I had talked about above: http://cdrift.bside....9F45D3222813C76

Ray
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