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Panavision vs. Arriflex


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#1 Ben Brahem Ziryab

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 02:44 PM

I know it's been discussed several times before, but anyway, here it comes again.


Panavision vs. Arriflex


Which of these two film camera manufacturers do you prefere the most?

and what do you think are the advantage/disadvantage at both camera systems?



It have always been a question to wonder about. Personaly I prefer an setup of Arriflex Cameras with Carl Zeiss Lenses. I don't know anything about Panavision cameras though.
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#2 Hunter Hampton

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 02:53 PM

I like panavision grey more than arri grey...?

But seriously, these are two totally different companies with entirely different business models.
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 04:17 PM

Panavision is rental only, and Arri sell their cameras. I believe that is because Panavision can upgrade their cameras without releasing new models that would appeal to people wishing to buy. I can't say I understand that logic. Most people interested in buying a Panaflex probably won't mind if the design is 30-odd years old, or if the design isn't all that ergonomic. I think it's a rather silly idea not to sell that must eat away at their potential profits, but in the end it's their descision.

Panaflex cameras do look stunning don't they? They're sort of the icon of Hollywood.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 04:51 PM

Biggest difference I can think of between the two is the mount, Arri is generally a PL (though I think Panavision has PV versions) whereas Panavisions are PV. So, some lenses-- e.g. those made by Panavision will only be available on Panavision cameras. I can't recall ever hearing of a Primo in PL mount; though I may be wrong on that.
But since you can't buy a Panavision. . . it's kind-of moot, especially since Panavision also carries Arri cameras.
Now, were it me, I'd go with an Arri, but that's because I own an Arri already so I understand that system more than the Panavision one.
In Film cameras, though, it's more about the stock, used in the camera, because as my Dad used to say "A camera is just a holder for the film."
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:09 PM

A tool for the job. One chooses the best camera for the job at hand. Personally I prefer Aatons myself, especially for handheld, but that is what I own already.

Panavision stays on top of the game by not selling their cameras. They can always upgrade anything on them so that you can always get the best camera possible. If you buy a camera, you have to be taking it back to the shop for upgrades, and at some point you have to buy a new one. Who needs a complete state of the art 35mm camera package sitting at home though? The rental model makes more sense for us who don't wanna have 1/4 million plus US$ worth of gear collecting dust in the shop/ garage. Sure one could rent it, but then the camera rental market is pretty cut throat and the cost of maintaining a single rental camera is prohibitively expensive.

Yes, PV owns and mantains Panavised Arris.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 23 December 2008 - 05:11 PM.

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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 06:51 PM

In the end it comes down to which lenses you like best: Panavision's Primos and their many anamorphic lenses or the Cookes/Zeiss/Hawks/Elites that you can put on an Arri.
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#7 John Brawley

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:30 AM

I know it's been discussed several times before, but anyway, here it comes again.


Panavision vs. Arriflex



Oh no ! Not another film vs film debate !!!

jb
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#8 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 10:20 AM

Both have their pros and cons. Arri cameras use the PL mount (except for those Panavised ones...), which is rock solid. Some of their cameras, such as the 435, are incredibly versatile, in terms of speed capabilities, shutter timing- even motion control capabilities. They can be changed over into a variety of configurations, but mostly use Allen wrenches to do this. They also mostly use different mags for different cameras, at least to a point (a few exceptions being that Arri 2/3 style mags can work on Arri 3, 435, 235, Arri 2 A/B/C, etc; Arricam ST mags can work on Arricam LT, with an adapter). They load for the most part in the 9P style, or have a coaxial design that is used in the BL, 535, and SR mags. And, in terms of mags pre-535, they have a fixed loop length.

Panavision cameras use the PV mount, which, while still a great mount, can sometimes go out in extreme conditions, and should be checked regularly on a feature. When it comes to high speed capabilities, there is the Panastar, but most jobs will rent a Panavised 435 instead of using the Panastar, because, while great for it's time, it is not as user friendly, or as technically capable as a 435. Panavision cameras, too, are very configurable, but instead of using Allens to do the work, mostly rely on locks that ratchet components, saving time on tools. They can take behind the lens filters, which save the operator from staring through heavy ND in bright daylight, which can be a plus. The vast majority of their mags are interchangeable, with very few exceptions (Regular Panavision mags won't work on a Panastar, but Panastar mags will work on most other cameras. Also, if I am remembering correctly, Gold mags won't work on the Millenium), which can make the loader's job much simpler, especially on jobs with multiple stocks/cameras. They also load in the 99 style. Panavision mags don't have sprockets in the throat, just rollers, with the loop size being set when threading. The movement designs are also completely different, but that can become a very involved explanation.

This is just a very, very brief comparison, but it highlights the fact that, aside from a few differences in design, they are both very capable modern camera designs, and what really matters is the what lenses and stock you shoot with. The camera is a box that can make the job easier to shoot, but unless you are doing VFX plates, the registration between a GII and a 435 will not make much of a difference. The choice of glass available in PL versus PV mount is a major factor in which camera system one would pick, but, also, the relationship with the rental house is not to be underestimated, in terms of choice. Many DPs are loyal to a house or company, and that ease of mind is invaluable when going into a job.

Hope this helps!

Edited by Mike Panczenko, 24 December 2008 - 10:21 AM.

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#9 Simon Wyss

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 10:26 AM

We must not forget the past. The Panavision cameras are basically the Mitchell design which themselves go back to the Leonard camera of 1917. When Robert Gottschalk started his business he bore in mind that there are too many Mitchell models and variations around, so he swore to himself to not step into the trap of concurring cameras. They all ought to be up to date. Which he implemented.
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