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Looking to spend $1500 for a 16mm camera


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#1 Paulo Arellano

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 02:15 AM

hello, I am looking for a 16mm camera and would like to spend up to 1500 for it. I have been working with dslrs and DV an frankly i feel i cannot call myself a filmmaker unless I have worked with a film camera. As far as film knowledge i mostly shoot with a hasselblad 500cm and have my own darkroom at home so i figure the speed of film is similar with filmmaking as it is with photography. What do you guys recommend ? i was looking at this auction on ebay http://www.ebay.com/...d=p5197.c0.m619 but the lens seems to be not well liked from other sites i found
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#2 Zac Fettig

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:13 AM

hello, I am looking for a 16mm camera and would like to spend up to 1500 for it. I have been working with dslrs and DV an frankly i feel i cannot call myself a filmmaker unless I have worked with a film camera. As far as film knowledge i mostly shoot with a hasselblad 500cm and have my own darkroom at home so i figure the speed of film is similar with filmmaking as it is with photography. What do you guys recommend ? i was looking at this auction on ebay http://www.ebay.com/...d=p5197.c0.m619 but the lens seems to be not well liked from other sites i found


A lot of people are spoiled. It's a fine lens. Go to www.arri16s.com . There are a lot of film clip samples to see up there, including that lens; as well as a lot of other resources. It's not as good as a Zeiss 10-100mm (which people are comparing it to), but it cost a lot less back in the day, and so is a lot more common now. It is not nearly as good as dedicated primes, but still a good way to get experience. I have the same setup, and it's great! Robert Rodriguez used the same setup to shoot El Mariachi (along with a Kinoptik 5.7mm). Watch that, with the commentary turned on and read his book.

An Arri 16S is a great camera. It's a professional piece of gear. It's fantastic in every sense of the word. But it's loud. Sound will be separate.

If you can wait, I would recommend you do, and keep an eye open. I think that would have been a great price 5 years ago. These days, it's too high. I got a similar setup for about $500, about a year ago.

Film speed and aperture control is the same as on a still camera. If you can handle that, you'll do fine. This camera doesn't have a built in light meter. It cannot be converted (at least easily) to super-16. So keep that in mind. If this will be important to you later, buy a Super-16 camera now (like an Arri SRII, and save the aggravation later.

If you're just looking at doing short films, you might also want to look for a Canon Scoopic. Those are great cameras, and as user friendly as 16mm gets. Batteries are easy to find and re-cell, but mags are fairly hard to get for them. Built in light meter. It isn't quite in the Arri's league, but it is a good way to get some experience.

Edited by Zac Fettig, 29 October 2012 - 07:18 AM.

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#3 Paulo Arellano

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:52 AM

thanks for the info. I think super16 is more important to me so ill have to keep saving up a bit more then. As far as the scoopic i found this video shot with it . Is this scoopic camera super16 or just 16mm? i found some on ebay and seem quite affordable.
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#4 Paulo Arellano

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 11:00 AM

A lot of people are spoiled. It's a fine lens. Go to www.arri16s.com . There are a lot of film clip samples to see up there, including that lens; as well as a lot of other resources. It's not as good as a Zeiss 10-100mm (which people are comparing it to), but it cost a lot less back in the day, and so is a lot more common now. It is not nearly as good as dedicated primes, but still a good way to get experience. I have the same setup, and it's great! Robert Rodriguez used the same setup to shoot El Mariachi (along with a Kinoptik 5.7mm). Watch that, with the commentary turned on and read his book.


Hey so i just checked out a clip on arri16s.com with the lens on the auction and it looks pretty good. How come the clips are widescreen? were they cropped or can this camera be modded into a super16?
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#5 Zac Fettig

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 11:32 AM

Hey so i just checked out a clip on arri16s.com with the lens on the auction and it looks pretty good. How come the clips are widescreen? were they cropped or can this camera be modded into a super16?



I believe they were cropped top and bottom to 1.85:1. On his page he talks about taping the ground glass with scotch tape to frame it.

People have modified them to Super 16 in the past, but it's really difficult, and hence, expensive. If I remember right, it cost in the $6000-$10000 range. I believe the shop that used to do it doesn't do it anymore, since a good camera capable of shooting sync sound costs way less than that.
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#6 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:29 PM

hello, I am looking for a 16mm camera and would like to spend up to 1500 for it. I have been working with dslrs and DV .....


Do you have a feeling for the kind of films you want to make? Poetic/experimental/narrative? Does the camera need to be quiet? Do you want a lot of hand held shooting? What lens options would you like? If you ask yourself those kinds of questions then choosing a camera gets easier.

The camera prices don't always allow for the maintenance issue. Some cameras offered will need a routine service to be safe to use. Sometimes cameras pop up on eBay with a cheap price, known service history and recent service. Are you close to any film camera service technicians? Knowing what service expertise is available is another way of refining your choice of camera.

Cheers,
Gregg.
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#7 Will Montgomery

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 04:30 PM

A Super 16 Eclair ACL would be a great camera in that price range. Bernie at Super 16, Inc. knows those cameras very well and can service them at any time.

You might find an Aaton LTR in that range too.

Much depends on your needs as has been said. Something like an Arri SR3 will be much more money but will run practically silent, run flawlessly at 75fps and be easy to maintain and get parts for.
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#8 Matej Pok

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 05:15 PM

Hi,

go for Aaton LTR.
Together with Angenieux 9.5-57mm (especially H.E.C. version, if you can get) it's a really nice package. Ideal for handheld shooting, capable of 54 fps, time-lapse, sync sound filming, virtually silent (much more quiet than Arri SR's).

I own Bolex EL, Eclair NPR, Aaton LTR and Arri SR1, but If I had to choose only one camera (and don't have enough for SR3), I would choose LTR :-)

These days are so many 16mm cameras to sell, just keep searching for the right one, don't be too hasty :rolleyes:
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#9 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 06:07 PM

Hi,

go for Aaton LTR.
Together with Angenieux 9.5-57mm (especially H.E.C. version, if you can get) it's a really nice package. Ideal for handheld shooting, capable of 54 fps, time-lapse, sync sound filming, virtually silent (much more quiet than Arri SR's).

I own Bolex EL, Eclair NPR, Aaton LTR and Arri SR1, but If I had to choose only one camera (and don't have enough for SR3), I would choose LTR :-)

These days are so many 16mm cameras to sell, just keep searching for the right one, don't be too hasty :rolleyes:


I don't know if you're going to find a S16mm sync camera for under $1,500. Maybe 2K..

I think you should drop the S16mm holy grail/at all costs and just look for a very nice 16mm sync studio camera (which will be a lot easier and condition/quality will be much higher in that price range). I recently bought (2) very nice, clean CP-GSMO 16mm cameras, new electronics, Ziess lens, etc.. for $1,000.

That means I can get full converge of a difficult or important shot - that alone makes me a better filmmaker than someone with a half-broken Arri IIC. Having a tiny bit more picture that is quite negligible.
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#10 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:03 AM

I don't know if you're going to find a S16mm sync camera for under $1,500. Maybe 2K..

I think you should drop the S16mm holy grail/at all costs and just look for a very nice 16mm sync studio camera..

That means I can get full converge of a difficult or important shot - that alone makes me a better filmmaker than someone with a half-broken Arri IIC. Having a tiny bit more picture that is quite negligible.


I have seen viable looking S16 cameras on eBay for under $1500. Some people put a low start price and just accept what happens. It can take a few weeks sometimes to find a buyer if the start price is set at the likely sale value. One has to be patient.

I agree that standard 16 is a great opportunity for low budget shooting in film. The cameras are a bit cheaper and the lenses are way cheaper. Cooke Kinetal primes are a lot cheaper than Zeiss super speeds. A Zeiss 10-100 T3 which covers standard 16 often sell really cheap.

I don't understand that last comparison between your multicamera 16mm setup and the 35mm Arri II. Also I don't think having two cameras permanently available makes you a better film maker, or better able to develop your craft. Shooting single camera is good discipline, shooting a lot of multicamera coverage can be bad discipline. But that's just ny feeling about it.

Cheers,
Gregg
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#11 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 02:36 AM

Also I don't think having two cameras permanently available makes you a better film maker, or better able to develop your craft. Shooting single camera is good discipline, shooting a lot of multicamera coverage can be bad discipline. But that's just ny feeling about it.

Cheers,
Gregg


I do understand what you're saying Gregg but equal and capable filmmakers that we are having more cameras gives me more opportunities for filming on a set than someone with a single camera- and more opportunities means a more successful filmmaker (generally). If I can pay for the processing/transfer,etc..

Kinda like winning the 100 million dollar Powerball lottery won't make me a successful filmmaker necessarily but I will be able to afford pricey locations, a dozen Panaflex Millennium xl2's and bus load of A list actors. And lots of B's too..

--

I can afford to run (2) 16mm studio cameras when I see the need- I will probably have better footage than someone who can barely afford to shoot MOS 35mm or someone who record tons of 24P HD.
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#12 Matej Pok

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 03:20 PM

FYI,
here is my comparision of S16 and N16,when zoomed to 1:1.78, footage.
So you can easily judge the difference. Film stock is almost the same 7207 (Vision3 250D) , post-production is same, lenses are a little bit different (but always stopped down to f4 - f5.6) so I think it can be used as a benchmark :rolleyes:


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#13 Will Montgomery

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 04:49 PM

go for Aaton LTR.

Great camera but parts are getting increasingly hard to find. Aaton is no longer supporting it. But then, Arri isn't even supporting the SR3 anymore really.

Aaton does support the Prod however.
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#14 Chris Fernando

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 05:06 PM

Hi,

go for Aaton LTR.
Together with Angenieux 9.5-57mm (especially H.E.C. version, if you can get) it's a really nice package. Ideal for handheld shooting, capable of 54 fps, time-lapse, sync sound filming, virtually silent (much more quiet than Arri SR's).

I own Bolex EL, Eclair NPR, Aaton LTR and Arri SR1, but If I had to choose only one camera (and don't have enough for SR3), I would choose LTR :-)

These days are so many 16mm cameras to sell, just keep searching for the right one, don't be too hasty :rolleyes:



Shameless plug for my CP-16R package along with an Angenieux 9.5-57 for sale here:

http://losangeles.cr...3378596205.html

Willing to ship if necessary. E-mail me at cmfern@homtail.com to discuss.

I'll send something cinematography.com's way if it sells, too :-)
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#15 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 01:20 AM

FYI,
here is my comparision of S16 and N16,when zoomed to 1:1.78, footage.
So you can easily judge the difference. Film stock is almost the same 7207 (Vision3 250D) , post-production is same, lenses are a little bit different (but always stopped down to f4 - f5.6) so I think it can be used as a benchmark :rolleyes:



Hey Matej,
I enjoyed looking at your test. But it doesn't seem very scientific as a comparison, to me. Maybe that's why you had a smile icon after calling it a "benchmarcK". I had these thoughts below.

-You need the same sharp lens for both formats. Preferably a sharp prime, but the Zeiss zoom is probably OK. The notion is to remove the lens from the equation as much as possible. The Angeneiux 9.5-57 looks noticably softer to me. While that can look pretty its not usefull for an initial comparison.

-I would shift the test to a small improvised studio where you can have complete control. Shoot with identical lenses, the same subject matter, the same lighting. Basically try to replicate the shots.

-Initially the things you photograph need to be stationary. The 1st shot in your test of the cyclist is really hard to make use of because of movement and focus.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Can you mount your Zeiss zoom on one of your N16 cameras as well?

Cheers,
Gregg
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#16 Matej Pok

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:00 PM

hi Gregg,
yes, that is not a scientific test :)
But it shouldn't been. Those shots was made as parts of my footage (for use in two documentaries) and I put them online just for member of this forum, so they can see real-life difference between formats :)

I'm really not a fan of studio "controlled" tests of lenses and stocks etc... because on set you're working most of time under preassure and "below the ideal" conditions.
I mean using filters (that lowers contrast), using old stock rather than fresh new, sun shining directly on front element... On equally lit studio you can't see how lens performs in direct contra-light (i.e. huge halation) and how is the overall "feel" of footage (as in advertising for Cooke lenses :D )

From my experience, Angie 9-57mm HEC and Zeiss 10-100 are equal lenses when stop down. You can't judge which one is which regarding sharpness (I speak about 1080p HD scan, not Vimeo stream :) ). You can find it out on color shift (Angie is much warmer, Zeiss has natural colors).

For this comparision I think is much more important that all footage has got same preferences of telecine machine (Spirit Datacine) and same post-production. Quality of scan, used color corrections, used sharpening - BEFORE actual save of files to your HDD and then quality of kodek and bit rate are veeery important, when judging quality of one or other footage.
And many times we are comparing apples with oranges when saying "look at John's footage on S16 and look at my on N16". :rolleyes:

I can mount Zeiss on N16 Aaton, actually I have one footage in post, but that's wide open lens so I would be fair for Angenieux :rolleyes:
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#17 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:12 PM

hi Gregg,
yes, that is not a scientific test :)
But it shouldn't been.


Hey Matej,

What I'm saying may be redundant, but here goes anyway.

As a general philosophy (for any kind of experiment) , if test conditions are controlled, then we have a better chance of answering a particular question. For example if we are interested in N16 vs S16, some question re images with "huge halation" you could include a test for that, both in studio and EXT. One would attempt to replicate the N16 vs S16 shots. One would normally use the same lens and the same fresh film stock. One is trying to eliminate other variables that could affect the answer.

There are more basic questions about N16 vs S16 that pretty well everyone will ask. Will I see more grain, will it look softer. To get anything like a useful answer you can't introduce random variables like different lenses or stock of varying age.

Re the comparison between your Ang and Zeiss zooms, resolution, apparent sharpness and contrast. If you can find a tech with a lens projector you should get some good answers. If you have clear questions on those issues and keep it to a small number of focal lengths it wont take long. Bear in mind that you may have a bad Zeiss and a good Ang so the result is not generically useful. Actually there will be lens techs on the forum like Dom Jaeger who will have had these lenses (Zeiss 10-100 T2 vs Ang 9.5-57) on the projector and will have an opinion about the difference. I think it's been discussed before.

But regardless of the result of the lens comparison you should use the same lens for both parts in a N16 vs S16 test.

Cheers,
Gregg.
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#18 Paulo Arellano

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

damn this thread got big! I just purchased the canon scoopic 16 after checking out lots of samples online
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#19 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:54 PM

Here's some footage from my Ultra-16 modified Scoopic MS.


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#20 Paulo Arellano

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

hey will im pretty sure i almost purchased a scoopic from you a few months ago on ebay.

edit: the music used on your video is the same piece used at the end of Soderbergh's Traffic. Now i want to watch it!

Edited by Paulo Arellano, 20 December 2012 - 03:15 PM.

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