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Which Camera to buy


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#1 CristiaanC

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 08:43 PM

I'm a student film maker and I'm looking to buy a 16mm camera. I have a budget of about 5K. Does anyone have any recommendations? I've been looking at the Arriflex SR2 and the Aaton XTR. The Aaton XTR is a bit more expensive, but anything in that vicinity would suffice for me. Thanks all for any suggestions or information.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 09:32 PM

Aaton LTRs are more comperable to the SR2. SR2 is a damned nice camera, not as nice for hand held, LTR much better for hand held. Given the choice between the 2... well it depends on how much hand held you do. If you do a lot, Aaton, if not so much, Arri (as I own)
Other options are Eclair ACL and NPRs, both of which can be S16mm'd.
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#3 ramesh bhatnagar

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 10:13 AM

hi from india i have one arri 2c running condition.
16mm BL running condition.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 10:16 AM

Also make sure any Camera you get has a PL mount so you can get to all the new optics out there and have it CLA'd unless you can verify from the seller a recent servicing. Depending on where you are, there are some nice places to buy/service both Aatons and Arris.
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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 01:35 PM

Looks like people are dumping their Arri SR's now.

Try to look for a Super 16, PL Mount SR 2 or 3 with at least two magazines. Aaton is a great camera but I think there are more Arri's out there so parts & magazines may be easier and less expensive to come by.
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 01:58 PM

People are dumping everything 16mm now.

Cristiaan, you mention 16mm. Just for the sake of discussion, I'm going to assume you mean Super 16, as 16mm is sort of a dead format these days with everything widescreen.

I've owned an Arriflex 16SR, an Aaton LTR, and an Aaton XTR over the years. I agree with everything Adrian said. If you are shooting alot of hand held, run and gun style footage, the XTR is really built for that. On a tripod, either will do, but for me, I love the Arriflex 16SRII with the Wide Angle eyepiece. Very bright, full screen view.

A BIG issue to consider when purchasing a motion picture camera is "when was it serviced last, and by whom". Motion picture cameras are like Swiss watches, very mechanically complex with a need for very high precision. But unlike Swiss watches, motion picture cameras need regular service, and service is expensive.

In my experience, the Aaton LTR and XTR are a bit more expensive for a complete CLA, compared to an Arriflex 16SR or 16SRII. But either, when done by a reputable house, will run you in the neighborhood of $2000, for body and two mags. And regular service should be performed at least every four years, (more often, depending on use).

So, all things to keep in mind. If you buy the camera from a house like Visual Products, or Abel Cine Tech, or ARRI in New York or LA, the camera should be completely serviced, so you won't need to have it serviced again for a few years. If you buy from a private owner, and he/she doesn't have receipts for service in the last few years, you may have to add that $2000 CLA right up front.

Not trying to scare you off, just want you to know what you are getting into.

Best,
-Tim
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#7 CristiaanC

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 09:21 PM

Yes Tim, I meant super 16mm; I should have specified that. In terms of the ability to view picture via a monitor, since it did come out in the early 80's I was wondering about the quality of the image when viewing through a monitor. I tried to find images to no avail. I was definitely thinking of buying from a reputable house to ensure proper care and maintenance of the camera. I'm wondering about the noise of the camera, and the video assist that is required for it. I know it's a fairly old camera, and so I do not expect superb quality on that front, but I am curious to see some examples.

Thanks for the comments guys, I sincerely appreciate it.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 09:28 PM

noise? it's a film camera... so "noise," which would be called properly grain would be dependent on what film stock you chose to shoot and how you exposed the image.

As for the tap; they are only for reference and feeding to the director. Both the Aaton and the Arri can be outfitted with taps. I prefer B/W ones, honestly, though I have a color tap on my SR3, and I'll add that I love that that arriglow comes through it. That's something missing, if memory serves, from the SR2 and Aatons pre XTR. You could get HD Taps, but it would cost substantially more than the camera itself, and I'm not even sure if it'd interface with the older ones. Vid assists are also not required for operation of any film camera, and I leave mine off as often as possible; save for steadycam/crane/other odd locations.
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#9 CristiaanC

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 09:32 PM

noise? it's a film camera... so "noise," which would be called properly grain would be dependent on what film stock you chose to shoot and how you exposed the image.

As for the tap; they are only for reference and feeding to the director. Both the Aaton and the Arri can be outfitted with taps. I prefer B/W ones, honestly, though I have a color tap on my SR3, and I'll add that I love that that arriglow comes through it. That's something missing, if memory serves, from the SR2 and Aatons pre XTR. You could get HD Taps, but it would cost substantially more than the camera itself, and I'm not even sure if it'd interface with the older ones. Vid assists are also not required for operation of any film camera, and I leave mine off as often as possible; save for steadycam/crane/other odd locations.


I meant the noise as in, decibel level while running. I heard they were noisy cameras, that's why I asked. I'm aware of the grain regarding different film stocks. Sorry if I alluded to something else.
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 09:51 PM

Ahh, gotcha; just confusing with the whole video-tap talk, got my noises confused. A well serviced SR2 or LTR54 or 7 will be quite quiet. SR is around 25 db, for a II if memory serves. Aatons are about the same. All of them will be fine for shooting unless you have the mic right up next to them.
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#11 CristiaanC

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 10:24 PM

Ahh, gotcha; just confusing with the whole video-tap talk, got my noises confused. A well serviced SR2 or LTR54 or 7 will be quite quiet. SR is around 25 db, for a II if memory serves. Aatons are about the same. All of them will be fine for shooting unless you have the mic right up next to them.


Thanks so much Adrian.
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#12 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 02:48 AM

If you are in a quiet room and within 7 feet or so of the actor and want clean audio, especially a small room with hard surface; bathrooms, dorm, etc., you will need to put a barney on any of those models. Outside you are fine without one. I agree with what was said and will add that you may want to try having a DP/owner look at what you are investing in, if you aren't going to a known dealer.
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