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Purchasing a camera


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#1 David Owen James

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:34 PM

So, I'm looking to purchase a regular 16mm camera and would like some advice. I'm thinking of spending around $2,000 - $2,500.

My setup will be as simple as possible but here are some features I would like to have in the camera:

- crystal sync
- reflex viewing system
- 400' reel
- some kind of video out for monitoring
- 4/3 aspect ratio

Any recommendations?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:07 PM

Eclair ACL or NPR
Aaton LTR 7 or 54 (pretty sure they come in N16mm, but not 100%)
Arri SR1 or SR2, both of which originally were 16mm

All of those can be upgraded to S16mm if you'd wish.

Arri BL16 is a great camera, though big and hard to find parts for.
CP16 another great 16mm camera, but again, older, and harder IMHO to get parts for.


Those are all MOS systems. I'm not 100% either on the CP being reflex. I seem to recall them being reflex, or at least some are.

Now, for your price range, chances are you won't get a video tap. The top 3 can get a tap for about what you want to spend on the camera, though. I don't think the BL and CP can get video-taps, at least not easily.
In truth, you'd only monitor on video, for steadycam/jibs. Else you look through the eyepiece and, if you're directing, why would you be buying a camera...

Purchasing rarely makes sense. You'll be spending a lot of money.... aside from just the cost of the camera. Look into rentals.

Any camera is a big investment; once you factor in lenses, support, matte boxes, batteries ect....
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#3 David Owen James

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 12:18 AM

Do you mind explaining what kind of video monitoring is available for 16 mm film cameras? I imagine there are a few different methods.
Are there video monitoring attachments for cameras without them?
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#4 David Owen James

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 01:00 AM

I've spent hours looking at films on youtube shot with various 16 mm and I'm not any closer to figuring out which camera is best for what I need - the looks varies from film to film so greatly. How do the different camera bodies different in terms of the look?

Edited by David Owen James, 14 September 2011 - 01:01 AM.

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#5 David Auner aac

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 01:50 AM

How do the different camera bodies different in terms of the look?


Camera bodies, if well serviced and in good shape, have very little to no effect on the look of a film. Unless you want to use a hand-cranked camera close to 100 years old. THAT would have an impact.

Regards, Dave
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 02:14 AM

CP16 another great 16mm camera, but again, older, and harder IMHO to get parts for.

Those are all MOS systems. I'm not 100% either on the CP being reflex. I seem to recall them being reflex, or at least some are.

Now, for your price range, chances are you won't get a video tap. The top 3 can get a tap for about what you want to spend on the camera, though. I don't think the BL and CP can get video-taps, at least not easily.


The older CP16 uses a dog leg viewfinder on the zoom lens, the CP16R has a mirror shutter and later versions have a top plate that can be removed to allow a video tap to be fitted. How easy it is to get the tap these days for a CP16R is another matter, since I suspect most of the cameras never had one fitted during their working lives.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 08:17 AM

Thanks Brian.
And I just realized I wrote those are all MOS systems, when I ment to say SYNC systems.


Also as mentioned, Camera body doesn't matter at all. It just holds the film. The differences will come in in how they work, what frame rates you can do, what shutter angles, ect. But, assuming you shoot at 24 fps for the most part, any of the camera will look the same. It's more about the film-stock you put in, the lens (and any filters) , and of course what you're shooting.
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#8 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:06 AM

I'd second the Eclair ACL II. As was mentioned though, a video tap is probably out of your budget. Also, I would make sure you service it to make sure it's working as it should. OR, see if what is being sold has documentation on when it was last serviced.
One other think that affects the look is the colorist when being transferred and any post production adjustments one makes on the clips.

Tom
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#9 David Owen James

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 11:14 PM

Thanks guys - this has been very helpful.

Do you know if there are different types of video monitoring systems?
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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:42 AM

Do you know if there are different types of video monitoring systems?

Yes, there are.

I think it might be hard to find a decent camera WITH a decent tap in that price range however.
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#11 Matej Pok

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 03:04 PM

Hi,
Go with either Aaton LTR 54 or Arri SR1/2

LTRs are much quiter, better for hand-holding and also there are plenty of mount adapters (to Nikon, Cameflex, Arri bayonet) so you've got much more possibilities of lenses. But theis support rods and handgrip (and how you can't use BOTH of them in same time) are pain in the ass!

SRs are great cameras, they've got better viewfinder (hot-swapable ground glass, and brighter image) and magazines that are easier to load. Try to find one with PL mount conversion (but that would be hard in N16), so you can use more lenses ;)



Forget about Eclairs although they're great cameras, they're already out-dated now. You'll got problems with service and spare parts.

Buy one good zoom lens, and you don't have to worry any more. My favourite for N16 are:
- Angenieux 9.5-57 HEC version (good close focus for zoom - 0.6m, and virtually no breathing!)
- Zeiss 10-100mm T2 (breathes a lot, and close focus 1.5m but you know, - it's ZEISS :) )
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#12 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 09:53 PM

Hi,
Go with either Aaton LTR 54 or Arri SR1/2..........

Forget about Eclairs although they're great cameras, they're already out-dated now. You'll got problems with service and spare parts.

Buy one good zoom lens, and you don't have to worry any more. My favourite for N16 are:
- Angenieux 9.5-57 HEC version (good close focus for zoom - 0.6m, and virtually no breathing!)
- Zeiss 10-100mm T2 (breathes a lot, and close focus 1.5m but you know, - it's ZEISS :) )


I think with Eclair it depends a bit on location. If you have a service guy not too far away that affects the decision. Parts are a problem, I mean availability of new parts, but is this a problem also for the earlier Aatons?

Cheers
Gregg
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#13 Matej Pok

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:08 AM

I think with Eclair it depends a bit on location. If you have a service guy not too far away that affects the decision. Parts are a problem, I mean availability of new parts, but is this a problem also for the earlier Aatons?

Cheers
Gregg



I know, I know. I just wanted to say, although Eclair's are great cameras, built like a tank and reliable (actually I own one NPR, which has been used a lot during all those years and it's still working great), Aaton are newer, quiter, lighter and so better cameras.

In these days prices of 16mm equipment are so low, you can buy whatever camera you want :) even Super16 camera costs only about €2000 now ;)
So buying one GOOD camera is wiser that buying one CHEAP for a while. It's lifetime investment (because than, no-one would buy it from you any more :D )

it's just mine point of view :)
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#14 Kip Kubin

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:26 PM

I agree wit the last post.

What is the reason for the vid out? That where your going to get hung up.

My vote would be for an Aaton that's switchable from 16 to S16.

You can add a tap later that later...pick and pay wisely and the cam may be the only one you need forever.
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#15 David Owen James

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 09:35 PM

Thanks very much guys. I was thinking lately of spending a bit more and getting one that has been fully serviced with warranty. I do plan on using it for many years to come.
The video tap is important for me because I'm obsessed with image composition. The small viewfinder (I've never looked in a 16mm camera viewfinder before) doesn't give me the perspective I want. From my experience shooting digital with a small LCD and then watching it later on TV, I could see things I would have easily spotted and changed if the image had been larger.

What does it cost to get a video tap? I don't need anything too fancy. Is it easy to install oneself and can almost any 16mm camera support one?
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#16 David Owen James

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 07:59 PM

What do you guys think of the Arri 16BL? And, what makes the Eclair 'out of date'?

Thanks
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#17 Kip Kubin

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 08:30 PM

Thanks very much guys. I was thinking lately of spending a bit more and getting one that has been fully serviced with warranty. I do plan on using it for many years to come.
The video tap is important for me because I'm obsessed with image composition. The small viewfinder (I've never looked in a 16mm camera viewfinder before) doesn't give me the perspective I want. From my experience shooting digital with a small LCD and then watching it later on TV, I could see things I would have easily spotted and changed if the image had been larger.

What does it cost to get a video tap? I don't need anything too fancy. Is it easy to install oneself and can almost any 16mm camera support one?


Taps are 2500-3600 at Visual Products

http://www.visualpro...ore02.asp?ID=11


Optical viewfinders are way better than EVF's....I've never had an issue but I never used LCD's ...I always use the viewfinder for composition...and now that I have an Aaton I couldn't be happier.

That said..an extension viewfinder is a "must have" for ease of shooting...
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#18 David Owen James

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 10:37 PM

What does a viewfinder extension allow you to do?
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#19 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 01:23 AM

Not hunch over the camera like a hunch back and on my Arri it attached so that as I tilt the camera the viewfinder stays stationary. Def a must have anytime you're not hand-held.
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