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SRII 16mm film lens test zoom

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#1 Matthew Kane

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:11 PM

I'm shooting a short film with a friend this weekend, and we'll be shooting regular 16 on an Arri SRII (it's the last hurrah before her school sells off all their 16mm gear).

There's no time or money to shoot/develop/transfer real lens tests, but I want to be sure that we can pull focus off the lens marks accurately.

I'm renting the much lauded Cooke 9-50 zoom from a local rental house, and right now I'm thinking I will go in with our camera body, shoot a few feet off a test chart at various distances, and do a slop develop with some D-76.

Then I'll set it out on a light table and check focus with a jeweler's loupe.

Now, what I'm wondering is--will this actually tell me that the lens and body are all up to spec, or will I just be fooling myself? I was happy enough with this method for picking negatives when I was shooting 35mm stills, but I've never used it for anything that required a high degree of accuracy.

Maybe there are other test methods out there that don't require going through the lab? We'll be going to at least a 1080p transfer, and since we're already cropping out of R16 and shooting on a zoom, I don't want to take any chances, even though the lens and body are both recently serviced and well cared for.
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#2 Mark Baluk

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:15 PM

Why not scan the images on your computer, or try to project the negs on a 16mm projector.... focus will be trivial on a loupe.

All you'll be able to test is focus thru these though.
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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:20 PM

The rental house should be able to check your camera's flange focal depth and ground glass focus (and their lens) to make sure everything is within spec. Takes about 15 minutes on a bench collimator.

At the rental house I work for I usually do that for free for students renting our lenses who bring in a film school camera body.
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#4 Matthew Kane

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:58 PM

Dom--that's a great idea. I'll see if they can do that for me.

The film scanner will be plan B.

I figured I was making things too complicated, thanks for the reality check.
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#5 JB_Letchinger

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:12 PM

shooting a scratch test is the usual thing to do before a shoot. use a dummy load and check it for scratches after you roll it throught the camera! - usually 10 or 15 seconds is plenty...
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:35 PM

Matthew,

I've done something like what you originally described when I used to service 16mm motion picture cameras. After everything was CLA'd and FFD checked, and ground glass checked, I would shoot at 6fps, wide open, a focus chart. About five or six feet of black & white film (the old Kodak Plus X) then process it in a Patterson tank with Rodinal, and scan it with a film scanner or inspect it on a light table with a very powerful loupe. That process works well.

Best,
-Tim
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#7 Alain Lumina

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:02 PM

Any info on their selling those terrible, obsolete, "old school" film cameras? I'm interested
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#8 Matthew Kane

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

Sorry to necropost, but if anyone is looking, I wanted to say thanks for the advice. We got into preproduction and the niceties of replying on the forum went out the window.

 

Just went in to grade the film--despite using some older short ends, we were really pleased with how it came out.


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#9 Will Montgomery

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:33 AM

It amazing how even old stock can look with a talented colorist. I only get nervous with old higher speed (500T) film...although for a paying gig I always stay with a known broker or direct from Kodak.


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