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new arri 16bl user, need advice choosing a lens


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#1 steve waschka

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 06:31 PM

is there a zoom or varifocal you guys look back on with good memories? i dont zoom while filming so "breathing" is not an issue for me. i just dont have a bunch of primes for the arri. actually dont for the bolexs either. i shoot a lot of outdoor / nature / sports and i just havent got a lens swapping game plan together that works for me.

i have totaly abandoned any ideas of gate grinding and so forth to chase ultra or modified super 16. its a 16bl. its suposed to shoot reg 16. anything else is gonna be a mess. so back to my still roots which say make sure the focal plane is dead nuts on, transports and gate are surgically clean, glass is right, clean, and the vf matches the glass.

im just not sure the glass is right. your thoughts?

(i know its not an sr3. but its an arri. and its design features are damn nice. and its quiet enough not to spook critters. and my bolexs, i can still take off the mags, wind em up, and throw in a back pack. so i wont be ditching them either)
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#2 steve waschka

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 06:51 PM

i dont zoom while filming so "breathing" is not an issue for me.


sorry meant focus. but i dont zoom either so a perfect zoom design is not a must. just bright and sharp.

Edited by steve waschka, 08 October 2011 - 06:53 PM.

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#3 Ari Davidson

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 11:19 PM

I'm fairly certain they're hard to come by without a blimped Angenuix 12-120 or 10-150. Without the lens blimp it's basically an MOS cam from my sparse experience with it.
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#4 steve waschka

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 12:39 AM

ya i dont want it to be mos. i still pull the filter housing and hit the switch for people for a "holy crap that makes a difference!" comment.

now that you mention that, i do remember coming across a list of lenses that fit the housing. ill have to pull the manual and see if its in there. oh and i seem to remember something about some arri lenses having a different... i guess its not the backspacing cause the flange is the same... but the rear element is closer to the film plane on some than others?? and the bl has the mirror tucked up real tight to the flange??? i dont want to hit the mirror!!!!

still id love some "consumer reviews" from you guys before i go blowing money on old lenses and rebuilding them. forbid i find one ready to shoot for less than a whole outfit.

Edited by steve waschka, 09 October 2011 - 12:43 AM.

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#5 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 10:00 PM

As far as I know if you want a blimped zoom for a 16BL you're limited to the original choice of Angenieux 12-120 or Zeiss 12.5-75 or the later additions of Angenieux 10-150 and Zeiss 10-100 (T3 version).

From talking to people who used them back in the day the 12-120 was well regarded if you got a good one - Arri supposedly tested them before supplying a blimped version and only accepted the best ones, so obviously there was quite some variety in quality. They were a hugely successful lens and went through a few upgrades over the many years of their manufacture, so later ones will be better. Unfortunately their popularity, especially as a news gathering lens, means they will often have been worked very hard and quite probably are now out of tolerance or damaged.

The Zeiss T3 10-100 was also good, quite sharp and probably better contrast, but a bit slower and a terrible breather. It also zoomed the wrong direction which annoyed a lot of people.

Of course any zoom this old won't compare well with contemporary primes, let alone modern glass, but stopped down they should be OK. Worth getting them looked at by a lens tech though.

With a Universal blimp you can use primes - most of the 16mm Zeisses, Schneider Cine-Xenons and Cooke Speed Panchros (not Kinetals). The 18 and 100 Schneiders and Panchros and 135 Zeiss can be used but won't fit the blimp.
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#6 Ari Davidson

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 10:07 PM

This seems up your alley, bud.

http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_1030wt_1297
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#7 steve waschka

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 10:33 PM

dom and ari: ive already got a bl with the angenieux 12-120. i swear its a bit soft on the non perf side BUT the projector i used to check the film has a soft pressure plate spring and i havent looked at a scan yet so MAYBE this ones ok. BUT ive also got one on a bolex that i swear does the same. im hoping the common denominator is the projector, not that their both angenieux 12-120s

ya i saw that kit for $6500 while trolling for lenses. thats pretty complete. one bl is enough. next will be and sr3 i suppose. but i think the bl is going to do well for a while. it feels pretty intuitive on the shoulder and balances alright on a monopod. got to keep it simple

i think im going to keep an eye out for the universal blimp and start collecting primes. i dont own zooms for still work. never have. so i guess going arri is just lending itself in the same direction. guess a shoulder bag for a few primes is gonna be an accessory. at least i built an Li pack so thats a little lighter.

shooting wildlife sports etc almost everything for me is f8 or smaller with a polarizer so i guess ill be ok for a while. thanks for the help on the zooms.

any of those listed primes known to be the holy grail? oh yeah... and how hard is it going to be to switch a lens out of a universal blimp in the field?
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 02:46 AM

Changing primes with a universal blimp is fiddly, so not something for fast moving stuff. The Zeiss Mk1 Super Speed Distagons were about the best (you'll need the focus wings to be still fitted), the 10mm Schneider was a lens that one cameraman often used as his standard hand held lens.
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#9 Skip Roessel

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:12 PM

The Zeiss 8mm is a terrific wide lens for the 16BL, if you have the prime lens housing. They're cheap now if you can find one. I think it's f/2.2

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#10 steve waschka

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:29 PM

thanks for all the help guys. after burning a pile of film in the bl for a while, the ange zoom appears to be pretty sharp. and during a cleaning session i was going to pull it out of the housing and give it some love. now, im fairly mechanically inclined and adept at making chicken salad out of chicken @#$* as most of us who mess with cameras are. but that sucks! i developed an attach some swabs to some skewers approach and closed it up. the lens is pretty mint and im just gonna scratch up the barrel monkeying with it. i think i will grab a prime blimp and a couple of pieces of nice glass in the teen or twenties for critical tripod work. thanks again.
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#11 Mark Dunn

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 06:37 AM

The lens list is here
http://cinematechnic.../arri_16bl.html
The Schneider 10mm was pretty teriffic IIRC.
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