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Eclair NPR? ACL? or CP-16R?


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#1 Eric Johns

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 05:58 PM

I'm currently looking to get a 16mm crystal-sync camera within the next few months, on a budget of probably $1500 max... Most likely I'll get the NPR, actually I thought I was certain, but now I'm not. One of the sales I've been looking at is this ebay listing, though with only one mag, no handgrip, no eyecup, and having only used Super-8 and a Bolex before, I'm cautious, don't want to get screwed by my naïveté and end up with a camera that needs a thousand-dollar overhaul. Obviously I'm not buying anything without asking some questions (e.g. film test) first.

 

I expect to be doing at least a little bit of run-and-gun shooting, so coaxial magazines would be nice, but being able to afford a tripod that can support my camera is a must. I've heard that the NPR's mags are hard to load, and tend to fall off easily. Of course, I've also heard that the ACL's mags fall off easily, so maybe I should just go with a CP-16. If I go with an ACL, I don't want to have to deal with the problems (weak motor, etc). I can't actually remember what it was I read that made me feel an NPR would be better for me than a good ACL II though.

 

I know the CP-16 has its quirks too, and it seems so far like I might have more trouble finding a CP kit that I won't get frustrated with.

 

So. Thoughts? Offers? Critiques? I've looked at posts like mine and none of the resulting threads had me making a conclusive decision, so here I am.


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#2 Heikki Repo

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 06:22 PM

I myself own an Eclair ACL 1.5, just had it converted to S16 by Les Bosher. Haven't got bad things to say about my ACL, the heavy duty motor and French mags work really well. Also, the option of using almost all lenses available (C-mount adapters / adapter specifically made for Eclair ACL) makes it a good candidate for lower budget work as one isn't tied to PL-mount lenses. As for mags falling off, here are some nice workarounds: http://eclair16.com/...om-falling-off/

 

Anyway, I think your best bet is to get a camera from someone who has taken good care of it. While that ebay listing doesn't tell the time of the latest CLA, the seller has used the camera himself and should be able to answer questions. 


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#3 Eric Johns

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 07:02 PM

Yeah, I haven't had the best luck in finding the less problematic ACLs. Especially with 400' French mags.

 

I was about to ask that ebayer about the service history, until I told my dad about this and he said he knows a guy (ex army technician and filmmaker) who has a bunch of cameras in storage (and they're definitely well cared for), so before I make any final decision, I'm gonna see if he wants to sell or can give me any leads.

 

Given the option, I think I'd choose an ACL II kit over an NPR just because it's so much lighter, but I dunno for sure about anything else.


Edited by Eric Johns, 10 August 2013 - 07:02 PM.

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#4 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 08:43 PM

Hey Erik,
Some of these type questions come up repeatedly. You'll find usefull ideas in the archives.

One of the reasons that ACL are good cameras is that that they are so simple, and they can sit unused for a few years and still be OK. On proviso that they are in good shape and have been serviced. Knowing the service history is key. And having a tech available who knows the cameras. If a tech starts from scratch with a camera the first service will cost more. He wants to check everything.

Some people do lie by omission on eBay. Not many will give a complete lie to an honest question

The NPR I don't know well. I think it has a variable shutter, which may be usefull. The mount system is definately not as stiff or usefull as an ACL.

The small ACL motor had a (English) 400' mag designed for it. I used that configuration a lot and can say that it was without any problems, as long as properly serviced. The pre ACL II mags can fall off. If the spring tension on the mag retainer is too light it happens easier. I remember adjusting that with shims on the magazine. I jumped off a truck holding my camera by the top handle and off it came. Landed on the rear part, no damage. I was lucky. You need to cradle the whole camera with the magazine when jumping off trucks. The ACLII has a better system, at least for the mag retainer lock.

An ACL 1 can be quite light, especially with no on board battery, and really nice hand held. An ACL II with its' bigger base, HD motor, the big Kinoptiktik viewfinder, anatomic handgrip, battery, video tap, is getting heavier.

I may have a spare ACL II for sale. PM me.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 10 August 2013 - 08:46 PM.

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#5 steve waschka

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 02:04 PM

i drove down to miami to look at this camera:

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item3a73b588e5

 

This guy has EVERYTHING! He gave me a tour of his facility. I mean EVERYTHING!!!!! If they dont have it they can make it in their shop. I saw a vistavision projector being built. Stupid amounts of Mitchell cameras and parts. He bought out Fries. They have another facility in Atlanta which he said has over twice the amount of gear. He has maybe .0005% of his stock on ebay. So many lenses and parts. You could ask them for a purple elephant with white dots and he'll send some guy into storage and come back with it. If youve ever gone to get ice cream and they had so many flavors you decide to go get a burger instead. This is the equivalent.


Edited by steve waschka, 11 August 2013 - 02:06 PM.

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