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ACL / Ultra 16 Conversion


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#1 Scott Bullock

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 12:04 AM

Eclair ACL

I just purchased the camera in the link provided above on ebay. I've purchased stuff from this guy before and it has always been clean and as described, so my concern level isn't too high since A] he's giving me 7 days to inspect it with a money back guarantee if it's not as described, even though the listing says "no returns" and B] it's going to be overhauled and converted to Ultra 16 by our pal Bernie at Super 16 Inc. anyway, so if the movement is dry, etc., all of that will be taken care of during the CLA.

What did strike me as curious, however, was when I was corresponding with the seller prior to the sale. I asked him if the synch speeds were performing properly and he responded by saying it wasn't a synch motor, that it was a variable speed motor. I then asked him if the pictures were of the actual item being sold and he told me that they were. So, in my mind, I simply figured that he isn't all that familiar with ACLs since the pictures clearly show a synch motor. Anyway, in hindsight, these correspondences got me to thinking about whether I was being too confident or not. This motor looks exactly like the one on my ACL 2 but the paranoid side of me started wondering if there was an earlier version of this motor that wasn't crystal controlled and was indeed strictly a variable speed motor.

Can anyone with more ACL knowledge than me shed any light on this situation by looking at the photos in the link I provided? I'm still pretty confident that it's a crystal motor but I'm not the end-all-be-all expert on ACL cameras. Also, with regard to this motor, is it possible for the motor to still operate at all speeds but not at crystal synch? I should be able to tell right away if the synch alarm continues flashing, correct? Is it even possible for this motor (assuming it IS a crystal motor) to run at 24/25 fps if the crystal is somehow damaged?

Sorry for the lengthy post; I'm just trying to be as detailed as possible. Any and all comments are greatly appreciated.

By the way, yes, I do have an ACL 2 which the previous owner had converted to Super 16 by Bernie. It's a great camera! However, I've been interested in dabbling with Ultra 16 and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it since the price was so reasonable and because I've been compiling tons of ACL components in anticipation of eventually buying a second ACL. I'm going to go with the Ultra 16 conversion on this new camera since A] it can always be converted to Super 16 later B] because it's a less expensive conversion and C] because it opens up a ton of new lens options that aren't available for Super 16.

Thanks again. Let's talk ACLs and Ultra 16!
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#2 Jean-Louis Seguin

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 08:06 AM

Hi Scott,

Best way to find out what speed the camera is actually running at is to check it with a crystal speed checker.
Perhaps you can bring it over to one of the rental houses in your area and they should be able to check it for you.

Cheers,
Jean-Louis
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#3 Gregory PAUL

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 06:07 AM

Hello Scott,

As far as I know, the motor pictured is the standard Eclair Heavy Duty Motor which has crystal for every speed. I would be very surprised if your motor would have different electronics.

Greg
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#4 Scott Bullock

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 08:43 PM

Hello Jean-Louis and Gregory,

I thank both of you for the information. Yes, this should definitely be the Heavy Duty motor. We shall see.

Fortunately enough, the seller lives is the same city as Jean-Louis, who has agreed to do some preliminary checks on the camera for me. What a stroke of luck to have someone as nice as Mr. Seguin and a seller that's willing to go through the hassle.

Hopefully everything is working as it should be. If so, this is going to become my Ultra 16 camera. If not, I'll keep looking as I am anxious to start shooting the Ultra 16 format. I'm excited by the possibility of putting my Angenieux 9.5 - 57 lens back to work again. Putting this compact and fast lens on an ACL with a 200' magazine and shooting widescreen 16mm is a wonderful proposition!
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#5 Scott Bullock

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 01:01 AM

Many thanks Jean-Louis for helping facilitate this transaction! I definitely respect your opinion, so hearing that the ACL I purchased on eBay has a pretty clean bill of health is good news indeed.

Okay, I'm going to tinker with it a bit when it arrives and then it is off to Bernie for an Ultra 16 conversion.

Seriously, a synch and silently running camera this small when configured with a 200' magazine and a prime or compact zoom that shoots native widescreen 16mm film is pretty much unheard of in an investment this small. Excluding the lenses, I'll only have about 2K invested into this package. I find that pretty amazing. I love Super 16 but I think Ultra 16 has the potential to make a greater impact on the 16mm film world, especially since it will allow for the dusting off of a lot of good 16mm lenses that wouldn't cover Super 16.
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#6 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:41 PM

Hey Scott, I hope you'll post some ultra-16 footage and also talk about the experience of getting it processed too? I have an ACL i have been thinking about doing that as well.

btw, you probably already have the camera but in case anybody else was reading, i don't think there were any stock motors for the ACL that are non-sync. That motor has a sync light on it too, so that would be a strange thing to put on a non-sync motor!
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#7 Scott Bullock

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 10:27 PM

Hi Jason,

Yes, I'll definitely get some footage up when I have some. I actually just received the camera today and everything seems to be functioning normally. Pretty quiet camera, too, which will only improve once it's had a CLA. I'm going to tinker with it until the end of the week and then it's heading off to Bernie for an Ultra 16 conversion. I'm still really excited about the possibilities that Ultra 16 presents. Worse case scenario - if everyone stops supporting the U16 format, let's say - the camera can still be used for regular 16mm work or upgraded to Super 16. It seems like a win-win proposition to me, especially when you start throwing all those older but good/great 16mm lenses into the equation that were inadequate for Super 16. It'll be interesting to see what happens with my Angenieux lenses in the U16 format, especially my 9.5 - 57 and my 16 - 44. I also have an older Zeiss 10 - 100 that just didn't cut it with Super 16 coverage but should be much more suitable in Ultra 16. What I lose at the wide end of things, if anything, will be gained by using my Kinoptik 9.5mm lens that is already suitable for Super 16. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against using high-end Super 16 lenses but I can't afford to buy them and sometimes even renting them is too much on the pocketbook, so being able to work with the lenses I have is a huge plus to Ultra 16, in my opinion.
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