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cheap npr's?


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#1 kevin jackman

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 03:12 AM

i noticed there has been a flood of cheap npr's all over the place..i mean below 1000 usd. are these cameras just not that great these days? whats the deal? is it worth buying one for tv or feature work?
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#2 Topher Ryan

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 01:43 PM

i noticed there has been a flood of cheap npr's all over the place..i mean below 1000 usd. are these cameras just not that great these days? whats the deal? is it worth buying one for tv or feature work?


They are big and heavy and all new cameramen are wimps.
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:10 PM

They are big and heavy and all new cameramen are wimps.


:lol: Thanks, Topher!
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:36 PM

They are big and heavy and all new cameramen are wimps.


It is not so much that they are big and heavy, but that the motors stick out in the bottom and it is really hard to hand hold them. Oh, and they are a pain in the ass to thread up.
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#5 John Sprung

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:09 PM

is it worth buying one for tv or feature work?


A really clean and complete one would be nice to have as a museum piece. They were *the* camera of the 1960's and 70's, the enabling technology of the new wave.





-- J.S.
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#6 Boris Belay

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:46 PM

A really clean and complete one would be nice to have as a museum piece. They were *the* camera of the 1960's and 70's, the enabling technology of the new wave.





-- J.S.


Are you talking about the French new wave ? the Nouvelle Vague of Godard, Rivette, Truffaut, and so on, beginning in 1959 or so ? All of those films -- the ones that put them on the map, were shot in 35mm. So it's more like the Caméflex that 'enabled' them...

Sorry for jumping on you like this, John, but I can't believe how many times I have seen that same phrase repeated, while it's such an obvious fallacy (temporal and technical). The French New Wave is all about making cinema more freely, outside of studios, in the street, without lighting, and so on, but still professional (ie, 35mm.). Perhaps if it had happened in the mid-70's with Super-16 and good film stock, that might have been possible.

The Eclair NPR is the camera that allowed for the new wave of documentary filming, like that of the Canadian school of Brault and co., as well as the films of Jean Rouch in France (who tested early versions of the ACL, by the way, and switched to Aaton early on).
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#7 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 11:41 PM

i noticed there has been a flood of cheap npr's all over the place..i mean below 1000 usd. are these cameras just not that great these days? whats the deal? is it worth buying one for tv or feature work?


The prices of a lot of film gear is really bottoming out these days. Obviously new technology is taking over, but regardless film still looks just as good as it always has. It's a good time to get a great deal. The only pieces really holding their value are lenses. Of course the whole economy is not exactly great so it could be that people are just unloading old stuff for extra cash too.

Edited by Jason Hinkle, 23 February 2009 - 11:42 PM.

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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 06:21 PM

Are you talking about the French new wave ? the Nouvelle Vague of Godard, Rivette, Truffaut, and so on, beginning in 1959 or so ? All of those films -- the ones that put them on the map, were shot in 35mm. So it's more like the Caméflex that 'enabled' them....


Thanks for the correction, I'm never too old to learn. Since the NPR was introduced in 1959, and the prints I've seen of those films were ... well ... I never really thought about the possibility they were shot on 35. It wasn't what I was thinking about when I saw them. My bad.

A mint condition NPR, though, would still be a very nice addition to a collection.






-- J.S.
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#9 Kevin Powell

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 07:01 PM

They are indeed a bit heavy and awkward to hand hold(but not impossible). However, they are completely capable cameras and can make images that rival more modern rigs. For the money, I can't really say anything bad about my NPR. I paid $900 for mine about 2 years ago. Be careful of Ebay sellers in general and expect to have a qualified person give anything you buy a good once over before you burn through a bunch of film. I actually found mine on Ebay, but the seller happened to be local - so I got to inspect the camera first hand before buying it. After a little TLC and a trip to Bernie O'daugherty for an Ultra16 mod(Yes, it's a real format!), Laserbrighten(Highly recommend this), and a general checkup, I've got a great camera that shoots a widescreen 16mm format, has multiple speeds(all crystal sync), variable shutter, and 400'mags... all for a very affordable price. Just be cautious and ask lots of questions before you buy.

I love mine.



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#10 kevin jackman

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 09:54 PM

so whyis the acl pulling higher prices than the pr if th nprhas better spes?
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#11 Topher Ryan

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 11:20 PM

so whyis the acl pulling higher prices than the pr if th nprhas better spes?


The ACL (with heavy duty motor) can crank up to 70 fps, whereas the NPR maxes out around 40. The ACL is significantly lighter and smaller (option for 200' or 400' mags with some motors) and would feel a little closer to the digital cameras the new generation is used to.

But the ACL doesn't have the variable shutter and generally isn't regarded as being as reliable as the NPR. There are more things to avoid when picking out an ACL versus the NPR.

Really, I just think that people coming from a digital background want something smaller and lighter, which is understandable.
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#12 Topher Ryan

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 11:35 PM

The ACL (with heavy duty motor) can crank up to 70 fps, whereas the NPR maxes out around 40. The ACL is significantly lighter and smaller (option for 200' or 400' mags with some motors) and would feel a little closer to the digital cameras the new generation is used to.

But the ACL doesn't have the variable shutter and generally isn't regarded as being as reliable as the NPR. There are more things to avoid when picking out an ACL versus the NPR.

Really, I just think that people coming from a digital background want something smaller and lighter, which is understandable.



Correction: 75 fps for the HD motor on the ACL.

Thanks again to Jason for getting that website up: http://eclair16.com/eclair-acl/motors/
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#13 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:27 AM

They're quite nice cameras to use, in general. The one thing I hate (hate, HATE) about them is that they sit so high on the head. It makes tilts looks very strange to me.
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#14 Oliver Gläser

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 03:11 PM

i personally don't think that there is ANY better camera for the money! I have an Eclair NPR that I converted (myself) to Ultra16mm, put an AZ spectrum colour video tap on it (I suggest going with the Black and White model), Tobin Crystal sync motor with Multisync crystal controller (allowing me any speed between 1-40FPS in .001 frame increments, Custom 15mm arri rods adapter, 4x4 arri bellows matte box, Arri lightweight follow focus, Wired custom remote focus and zoom (built by a great austrian camera tech and cinematographer Mario Cater). A set of zeiss superspeeds and nikon primes (longer lenses) that I mount on here with the appropriate adapters.

I have shot several feature films with this camera, often intercutting with much newer Aatons, or Arri SR3's. I have always felt the best feature of the camera beyond its amazing modular construction is the Variable angle shutter. it is true that with some motor combination's that the camera does sit a little high on a head, but its a small price to pay for an amazing camera!

As far as loading go... I disagree with the comment that they are hard to load... the path is easy and and fast and mine have never lost a loop, but to each their own... I guess it is what I am used to most. Sound doesn't love it and I am often wrapped in a furnie blanket, but a small price to pay i guess... besides, I am a cinematographer, what do I care about sound! LOL.

I know guys that are picking these cameras up (just the basic package with an old 'coke bottle' angenieux's and a couple mags) for $500 canadian! I would by two at that price just for spare parts! LOL. Obviously I have put a lot of money and work into my camera, and short of an XTR prod or 416, I wouldn't be happy with having to replace it with any other camera!

if you want to see the camera, check out my website:
www.newsreel-productions.com
anyway... my two cents...

Thanks for reading

Oliver Gläser
Director of Photography
IATSE 669

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