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Arri BL and Kinetal Lens Question


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#1 Robert Borowski

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:39 PM

Question about the Arri BL and a 12.5 Kinetal lens. I noticed that the metal on my 12.5 Kinetal lens's bottom is shaved on both sides, as if someone filed it down to get the lens to fit into a camera of some kind. As an experiment, I rotated the mirrors on the BL to one side and slowly pushed the Kinetal into the camera, where it fits perfectly. I gently rotated the mirrors and there was no resistance.

My question is this: is the Kinetal lens unusable on a BL because it's too short in comparison to other lenses and won't focus properly, or is the Kinetal lens unusable because the bottom of the lens is too wide and will hit the mirrors when the power is turned on? Granted, this lens may have been shaved to fit a different camera. My hunch is that no Kinetal lens is usable on the BL despite modifications, but I'm just curious if anyone knows why.

Thanks,

Robert
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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 08:20 PM

The Kinetals won't fit anything but the 16S because they protrude too far behind the mount and on other cameras (like the 16BL) they hit either the ground glass or the baffles. I don't think they hit the mirror, but it's possible - different focal lengths protrude further or wider than others. I've never tested them with a spinning mirror!

Because of their design they will fit when set to close focus, but foul as they approach infinity.

It's a shame really, because they're such lovely lenses.
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:24 PM

Robert,

I wouldn't use any Kinetal, save the 50mm and 75mm lens with an Arriflex 16BL. Biggest issue is hitting the spinning mirror. The lenses were designed to be used with the Arriflex 16S and 16M cameras, which had the mirror placed further from the lens mount. I've also had good luck using them on Aaton's, especially Aaton LTR and XTR cameras with a PL mount. With the PL mount Aaton you use one of Les Bosher's Cooke to PL mount adapters and you're off to the races.

From my experience with a PL Mount Super 16 Aaton XTR, the following Kinetal lenses cover Super 16, 12.5mm, 17.5mm, 25mm, 37.5mm, 50mm, 75mm.

Best,
-Tim
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#4 Robert Borowski

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:58 PM

Okay, thanks Dom and Tim. I suspected it wouldn't work, and was surprised when the lens fit perfectly into the slot, snapped in place and focused, and didn't seem to interfere with the mirror when I gently turned the blades. But as you said, Tim, the whole mirror issue stopped me from turning on the camera. I was just curious, especially with the odd-looking filing job someone did to the end of the lens. It looks like they narrowed it down by hand with a file to make it fit a camera.

Tim, I've been reading through your old posts and came upon your favorable comments about the Aaton, so I'll look into that camera as well.

Thanks again.

Robert
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#5 Robert Borowski

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:42 PM

Here's what the wee beastie looks like, for anyone else who comes across one.

Attached Images

  • kinetal1.jpg

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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 01:40 AM

Yikes! It looks like they filed it down to the glass! :o

@Tim:
Great info Tim. I thought you'd have the definitive answer.

I wasn't aware that they worked with Aatons - that's good news.
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#7 Robert Borowski

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 09:07 AM

Yeah, I recently picked this up from a guy in England. All I can figure is, years ago, before these lenses sold for high prices, a madman came home late from the pub one night determined to get the lens to fit into a camera and set to work with a file. How he missed hitting the glass is a mystery, because as Dom points out, the metal is shaved right up to the edge.
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#8 Tim Carroll

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 09:30 AM

I've run across Kinetal's done like that before. That back ring unscrews, and usually the filing is done with that back ring off the lens. Then the back element is fit back into that ring and it is reattached to the camera. Seen them with the back element actually sticking out past the filed down sides of the ring.

Those lenses are fifty or so years old at this time. Many cameramen were of the school of "do whatever it takes" to make it work and to get the shot. Some of the other Kinetal's hit on the sides of the barrel when used with 16BL and 16SR cameras. Got to be really careful with those.

Best,
-Tim
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#9 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 02:09 PM


I wouldn't use any Kinetal, save the 50mm and 75mm lens with an Arriflex 16BL. Biggest issue is hitting the spinning mirror. The lenses were designed to be used with the Arriflex 16S and 16M cameras, which had the mirror placed further from the lens mount.


Old Arri literature says Kinetals from 17.5mm up can be used on the 16BL.
I think the same goes for the SR.
The Zeiss 8mm Distagon will work.

At Sawyer, we had two 10mm Schneider Cinegons. One would go on the BL, the other wouldn't.
The difference between the two was the older one had a bit of a black flange around the back element, the newer one didn't.
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#10 Tim Carroll

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 05:17 PM

Old Arri literature says Kinetals from 17.5mm up can be used on the 16BL.
I think the same goes for the SR.
The Zeiss 8mm Distagon will work.


Leo,

Not sure where you're getting that from.

I've got a stack of Arriflex 16BL literature from the 1960's and when looking through the Instruction Manual for the camera, Kinetal's aren't listed at all. Cooke Speed Panchros are listed, but nothing on Kinetals. Looking at the Arriflex 16BL Universal Lens Blimp TI sheet, again, Cooke Speed Panchros are listed, but nothing about the Kinetals. And finally, looking at the Arriflex 16BL sales brochure, nothing is listed for Cooke Kinetal lenses. Where you might be confused is in the sales brochure, it does not spell out Cooke Speed Panchro on one line, it just says Cooke lenses in 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm and 75mm, but if you know the Cooke line of lenses, those are Speed Panchro focal lengths, not Kinetal focal lengths. (The Kinetal focal lengths being 9mm, 12.5mm, 17.5mm, 25mm, 37.5mm, 50mm and 75mm).

From personal experience, none of the Kinetal lenses, except the 50mm and 75mm, will work with an Arriflex 16SR. I have tried them and they hit the mirror. I have also had issues with the Zeiss 8mm Distagon and the 16SR. The one that I have (that does work) has had the rear flange shaved down for mirror clearance. The Zeiss 8mm Distagon is listed in the Arriflex 16BL literature as working with the 16BL.

Best,
-Tim
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#11 Robert Borowski

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:59 PM

Just curious...would the 50mm and 75mm Speed Panchro lenses produce a sharper image on the Arri 16BL than the Kinetals, or would it be a wash?

Robert

Leo,

Not sure where you're getting that from.

I've got a stack of Arriflex 16BL literature from the 1960's and when looking through the Instruction Manual for the camera, Kinetal's aren't listed at all. Cooke Speed Panchros are listed, but nothing on Kinetals. Looking at the Arriflex 16BL Universal Lens Blimp TI sheet, again, Cooke Speed Panchros are listed, but nothing about the Kinetals. And finally, looking at the Arriflex 16BL sales brochure, nothing is listed for Cooke Kinetal lenses. Where you might be confused is in the sales brochure, it does not spell out Cooke Speed Panchro on one line, it just says Cooke lenses in 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm and 75mm, but if you know the Cooke line of lenses, those are Speed Panchro focal lengths, not Kinetal focal lengths. (The Kinetal focal lengths being 9mm, 12.5mm, 17.5mm, 25mm, 37.5mm, 50mm and 75mm).

From personal experience, none of the Kinetal lenses, except the 50mm and 75mm, will work with an Arriflex 16SR. I have tried them and they hit the mirror. I have also had issues with the Zeiss 8mm Distagon and the 16SR. The one that I have (that does work) has had the rear flange shaved down for mirror clearance. The Zeiss 8mm Distagon is listed in the Arriflex 16BL literature as working with the 16BL.

Best,
-Tim


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#12 Tim Carroll

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:49 AM

Just curious...would the 50mm and 75mm Speed Panchro lenses produce a sharper image on the Arri 16BL than the Kinetals, or would it be a wash?

Robert


Robert,

Having owned both, I found that the Kinetals, because they were designed for 16mm, were higher contrast and gave a sharper perceived image than the Cooke Speed Panchro lenses. I think the Cooke design philosophy was that since 16mm needed to be enlarged so much more than 35mm, the image needed to start out sharper and higher contrast.

I've always loved the look of the Cooke Speed Panchro lenses, when used with 35mm. The only Speed Panchro lens that I also thought looked good in 16mm was the 40mm Series II lens. The other Speed Panchro lenses remind me more of the look of the Zeiss Super Speed Mark I lenses, which are lower contrast and don't have the perceived sharpness of the Kinetal lenses.

Best,
-Tim

PS: You may also have an issue with the 75mm Cooke Speed Panchro fitting into the universal prime lens blimp on the 16BL. It may be too long.
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#13 Robert Borowski

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:18 PM

Thanks for the info about the Panchros, Tim. I'll stick with the Kinetals for the BL. I picked up a 50mm, which works great. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a 25mm with the shaved metal sides.

Robert
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