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Potential Arriflex SR2 or SR3 purchase


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#1 George Aravanis

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:27 AM

Hello Everyone, 
 
  I haven't posted on the forums for a very long time.  Now, I think I need help....you're all probably the only people that can possibly relate to what I'm going through now. 
 
  For the past year, I've been wanting to experience shooting film and I'm thinking about purchasing one of the Arriflex SR2 or SR3's that have come up on Ebay. Friends have told me I'm crazy for wanting to purchase a camera which shoots on film, especially to spend so much on one.   Granted, the two cameras I have are digital and they've helped quite a bit in allowing me to shoot music videos for my friend's band.  I don't think I would've been able to do that on film in a timely manner as I have with digital.  I bought an old Pentak K1000 last year and I love it for taking photos.  I love being able to click the shutter and an image is imprinted onto a frame of film.  I love loading the film into the camera. I send it in to be processed and I get the roll back so I can scan it and view the pictures.  I can only imagine having this same experience getting back a SPOOL of film and each frame put together creates a moving image.  That's just fascinating to me! Ack! I've talked too much, I'll just get to the point. It's midnight and I have to get to bed.  
 
So!  Some of the SR2's that show up on Ebay say "Super 16" in the subject. I was thinking, all right!  Awesome, I can purchase a Super 16 Arri.  But, in doing research, I find that the SR2's are not originally super 16.  Then I figure out they have been converted.   At first I was hell bent in getting the SR2, but I suppose I'd much rather have one that started out as Super 16 rather than "modified" to be one.  As I've read posts around here, who knows how or who converted them or even if they were converted the right away.  I'm sure it's probably just as easy as asking the seller.  I want to be able to purchase one of these cameras so I can have a hands on experience with them and possibly use them for filming my own shorts in the near future.   What do you think? Is it a good idea to at least get one so I can have experience with it? As I'm researching Arri and other brands, I just think about working with them all the time.  If I ever have a chance of working on a set around them, that'd be just....I can't describe it.  
 
I already know tomorrow, I'm gonna be asking myself, "what the heck were you thinking, typing all that last night?" haha 

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#2 Oron Cohen

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 09:28 AM

Hi George, 

 

I've shot plenty on Arri SR2, SR1, Aaton, Kinor, 16mm and super 16. 

I think it's great to shoot film, even today! it's a very good way to learn about the art of cinematography as you need to observe, to view and to think before you shoot( also because it cost plenty to run film through the camera). 

 

At first, if you never shot film, I'll advise you to rent an Arri super16 camera for the cheapest price you can get it in your area (rent prices now are as low as they can get). so spent about 200£, and rent for a long weekend (Friday to Monday morning), plan something you actually want to shoot, and instead of spending money on a camera use the money for film stock & processing. 

 

Then take the time to carefully review what you shot, and also enjoy the actual process of filming. later on, if you feel you want (and can) shoot on this camera every month or every other week, buy one :-)

 

This my opinion anyway, hope it helps. 

 

P.S - most SR2 super16 conversion are fine, as they were usually done by true pros. 


Edited by Oron Cohen, 07 May 2013 - 09:30 AM.

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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:21 AM

It's not the cost of the camera body, per say, which'll hurt you. Rather the costs of the lenses will very quickly inflate your prices.

Most Sr2s and even Sr1s converted to S16mm should be totally fine.

The main reason I like the SR3 (i own one but I bought this awhile ago) is that you can switch to n16mm if you ever need to. Have I ever needed to? No. But i like having that feature.

 

I really do recommend though the rental route for most kit these days. This way you can get much more bang for your buck and it'll establish relationships with rental houses which come in quite handy later on. As you more on from shooting friends bands, you'll quickly get the notion that you'll need to be going through rental houses for projects as they get bigger and more complicated.


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#4 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:24 PM

SRs that have been modified to S16 usually get the upmost care and treatment in their conversion. Anything converted by Visual Products or Whitehouse will give it their all, recentering the lens mount and changing to PL, updating the ground glass, adapting the shutter to fully cover the S16 area, etc. 

 

If you've never shot on film before, I would highly suggest even starting out with a bolex or other non-sync 16mm camera just to get the feel of film, how it reacts to light, etc. You can find a bunch of 16mm cameras online that are dirt cheap, and may not run at exactly 24fps, or will not be quiet enough for sync sound, but it will give you a great feel of film, and how to shoot with it, before you buy an SR or other 16mm camera. 

 

I felt crazy buying a film camera last week, but I couldn't be happier with my purchase, a 4:3 SR1


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#5 George Aravanis

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 09:02 PM

Hello Oron, Adrian, Cory, 

 

   Thank you so much for your input.  It helped me out today.  It never registered that I should consider renting it first before buying one.  I spoke to a rental place in Burbank today that has a SR3 and I was asked to send them what I need to start and they'll put a package together for me.  Most of the items, next to the body and lens, are things I didn't know I needed such as a video tap. I know what it is now, of course.  For being old cameras, it's the experience that's going to be brand new.  It's very exciting.  I can't wait to start using it. 


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#6 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:36 PM

George-- Good to hear you are getting into film. It's a very beautiful and gratifying medium. Best of luck with the SR3 when the time comes!


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#7 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 11:45 PM

 

Hello Oron, Adrian, Cory, 
 
   Thank you so much for your input.  It helped me out today.  It never registered that I should consider renting it first before buying one.  I spoke to a rental place in Burbank today that has a SR3 and I was asked to send them what I need to start and they'll put a package together for me.  Most of the items, next to the body and lens, are things I didn't know I needed such as a video tap. I know what it is now, of course.  For being old cameras, it's the experience that's going to be brand new.  It's very exciting.  I can't wait to start using it.


They (rental company) may sweetly oversell you on what you need. If you want to save money have a chat with someone experienced. For example, why do you need a video tap right now?

Cheers,
Gregg.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 07 May 2013 - 11:48 PM.

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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:05 AM

Aye.

Really all you need for an SR3 package (i should know since I own one) to shoot is this:

 

onboard Batts/charger

onboard batt adapter

block battery/cable

Dove Plate/ Bridge Plate

Rails

Follow Focus

I like the long view-finder, but you can use just the short,

I like a 4x4 swing away matte box and some filters---depending on what you're shooting

Magazines (2 is ok, 4 is better)

Changing tent (or an AC who has one)

Spare Fuse (just incase)

and obviously, Lenses. I like a nice set of primes. Zeiss Standard Speeds are very good on a budget.


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#9 Oron Cohen

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:08 PM

Aye.

Really all you need for an SR3 package (i should know since I own one) to shoot is this:

 

onboard Batts/charger

onboard batt adapter

block battery/cable

Dove Plate/ Bridge Plate

Rails

Follow Focus

I like the long view-finder, but you can use just the short,

I like a 4x4 swing away matte box and some filters---depending on what you're shooting

Magazines (2 is ok, 4 is better)

Changing tent (or an AC who has one)

Spare Fuse (just incase)

and obviously, Lenses. I like a nice set of primes. Zeiss Standard Speeds are very good on a budget.

Really good and informative list that Adrian has put together for you :-) 

I'll add, that if you see Lenses add to much to the package price, Just go for a good zoom. My favourite is the Canon 8-64 but the Ziess 11-110 is great as well. 


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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:33 PM

The SR3 is a sweet camera, and super quiet. With SR3 prices as low as they are I'd say to any pro with paying gigs go for the SR3.

 

But with Super 16 SR2's out there for half the price, they might be a better investment. Then you'll have some money to pickup a lens.

 

Here's another option, an SR1 or 2 in standard 16 will be half again as much money, and you'll have a much broader array of low cost lenses available. These cameras are so rock solid that I notice a major difference in steadiness between something like a Canon Scoopic (which I also love).

 

Here's a test I shot last at Easter with an SR1 that was reconditioned...

 

 

This is 4:3 but you can zoom in on the frame in telecine for 16:9 with excellent results. 

 

Guess what I'm saying is that if you can get a standard 16 SR1 or 2 for $1000 then have $3500 to spend on great lenses you'd be better off with that vs. just an SR3 with no lenses and have to rent them every time.

 

I just had a standard 16 Zeiss 10-100 T2 converted to Super 16 PL by Serious Gear. Love the lens (even with the serious breathing) and now it will work with a Black Magic Cinema Camera MFT as well (if they're ever available).


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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:14 PM

I would certailny advice picking up 16mm and S16mm lenses ASAP; especially because with the BMD coming out I have the feeling that whole market is going to explode in cost. Great for me, I have my set of Optar Super Speeds which I'll be happy to throw on a D-Camera (they're too soft for my taste generally for film, but I like having them for those spur of the moment shots) but anyone who hasn't got glass in hand will be paying hand over fist for it.


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#12 Marc Roessler

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:24 PM

As for buying S16 glass, prices definately have been falling A LOT for S16 glass during the last 2 years... since I bought my set of S16 super speeds..  :wacko: 

Not sure what the BMD will do for this, maybe prices will rise again...


Edited by Marc Roessler, 08 May 2013 - 04:27 PM.

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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:01 PM

From what I know, their Pocket Cam (cheapest one,) is a S16mm sized sensor. as for the Cinema camera,out right now, some S16mm lenses may cover it, depending on the image circle they produce.


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#14 George Aravanis

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:45 PM

 

They (rental company) may sweetly oversell you on what you need. If you want to save money have a chat with someone experienced. For example, why do you need a video tap right now?

Cheers,
Gregg.

 

Hello Gregg,

 

    Nah, not really, I don't think I need the video tap right now.  I'm perfectly content with viewing the image through the viewfinder for now.  It was just one of those things where a list of items were being presented to me and I was just writing them down. Really quick, off topic, my girlfriend went to New Zealand in December last year with a tour group.  She loved it there.  It was her long time dream to go ever since watching The Piano.  :)


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#15 George Aravanis

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:05 PM

Aye.

Really all you need for an SR3 package (i should know since I own one) to shoot is this:

 

onboard Batts/charger

onboard batt adapter

block battery/cable

Dove Plate/ Bridge Plate

Rails

Follow Focus

I like the long view-finder, but you can use just the short,

I like a 4x4 swing away matte box and some filters---depending on what you're shooting

Magazines (2 is ok, 4 is better)

Changing tent (or an AC who has one)

Spare Fuse (just incase)

and obviously, Lenses. I like a nice set of primes. Zeiss Standard Speeds are very good on a budget.

 

Awesome, thank you very much, Adrian!  There's even a few things listed that I probably won't need right away.  I was reading some articles earlier on how the SR body handles being shoulder mounted.  As I suspected, it's not very comfortable. Surely there are shoulder support systems that can handle these bodies, right?  About the lenses, I'll start looking for some. 


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#16 George Aravanis

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:08 PM

SRs that have been modified to S16 usually get the upmost care and treatment in their conversion. Anything converted by Visual Products or Whitehouse will give it their all, recentering the lens mount and changing to PL, updating the ground glass, adapting the shutter to fully cover the S16 area, etc. 

 

If you've never shot on film before, I would highly suggest even starting out with a bolex or other non-sync 16mm camera just to get the feel of film, how it reacts to light, etc. You can find a bunch of 16mm cameras online that are dirt cheap, and may not run at exactly 24fps, or will not be quiet enough for sync sound, but it will give you a great feel of film, and how to shoot with it, before you buy an SR or other 16mm camera. 

 

I felt crazy buying a film camera last week, but I couldn't be happier with my purchase, a 4:3 SR1

 

I was just looking through your post asking for opinions on whether or not 4:3 is dead.  When I saw the picture of your SR1, my jaw dropped.  It's beautiful! 


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#17 George Aravanis

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:27 PM

The SR3 is a sweet camera, and super quiet. With SR3 prices as low as they are I'd say to any pro with paying gigs go for the SR3.

 

But with Super 16 SR2's out there for half the price, they might be a better investment. Then you'll have some money to pickup a lens.

 

Here's another option, an SR1 or 2 in standard 16 will be half again as much money, and you'll have a much broader array of low cost lenses available. These cameras are so rock solid that I notice a major difference in steadiness between something like a Canon Scoopic (which I also love).

 

Here's a test I shot last at Easter with an SR1 that was reconditioned...

 

 

This is 4:3 but you can zoom in on the frame in telecine for 16:9 with excellent results. 

 

Guess what I'm saying is that if you can get a standard 16 SR1 or 2 for $1000 then have $3500 to spend on great lenses you'd be better off with that vs. just an SR3 with no lenses and have to rent them every time.

 

I just had a standard 16 Zeiss 10-100 T2 converted to Super 16 PL by Serious Gear. Love the lens (even with the serious breathing) and now it will work with a Black Magic Cinema Camera MFT as well (if they're ever available).

 

Hello Will, 

 

  Thank you for your comments.  I'll certainly keep my options open.  If for some reason the SR3 doesn't work out as a purchase, at least I have SR1or SR2 to consider. Those aren't completely out of the question, of course.  I was looking at the SR2 at first, but then found the SR3. :)  I'd like to be able to have money left over to purchase more lenses so I have a selection of them as opposed to being bound to only 1 or 2 in my case.  With the SR1 being a Arri Bayonet mount, that isn't a big issue?

 

 

 

George-- Good to hear you are getting into film. It's a very beautiful and gratifying medium. Best of luck with the SR3 when the time comes!

 

Oh, I almost forgot to ask you, Cory.  Just like I asked Will above, about the SR1 not being a PL mount, that isn't a big deal for you? I just looked it up and there are bayonet to PL adapters, so I guess it's not a problem after all?


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#18 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:39 PM

 

..... With the SR1 being a Arri Bayonet mount, that isn't a big issue?.....
 ... about the SR1 not being a PL mount, that isn't a big deal for you? I just looked it up and there are bayonet to PL adapters, so I guess it's not a problem after all?


If a camera is Arri bayonet mount it can't take PL mount lenses. If the camera is PL mount you can use Arri B mount lenses with an adaptor. Arri B to PL mount adaptors you may see on eBay are for Arri B mount lenses. There are quite a few lenses around with those mounts if you are buying. Most rental lenses are PL mount I think.
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#19 Cory Zapatka

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:55 PM

...Oh, I almost forgot to ask you, Cory.  Just like I asked Will above, about the SR1 not being a PL mount, that isn't a big deal for you? I just looked it up and there are bayonet to PL adapters, so I guess it's not a problem after all?...

 

George-- It's not ideal, but I'm mainly a documentary filmmaker, so having one solid bayonet zoom isn't the biggest problem for me. Ideally, I would like to have a PL mount in order to use my primes for other cameras, but in terms of the run-and-gun style that I use, one zoom is preferred, and a 10-100mm is perfect for me-- and the auto diaphragm is a pretty old but nice feature. 


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#20 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:24 PM

As for shoulder mounts, yes there are some out there. I never really used one. I just throw on light-weight rods, and the hand-grips (with run/stop on one of them) and ball up a towel for my shoulder for the odd shot. Now, were I doing a whole day on the SR3, well I'd probably ask for an Aaton or a 416 ;), but failing that there are myriad mounting options out there and it's really not all that bad. Certainly better than putting a BL on your shoulder, or even some silly dslr out at arms length all day.


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