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Light, Small 16mm camera for traveling ->?


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#1 Nealesk

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:19 AM

Hi all,

 

I don't frequent these parts that often so please excuse me if I offend any with a simple question. I am a filmmaker that likes to travel and shoot on the go. My last film American Watercolors () is like a big gif film in a way and that's the way I plan on shooting my next film this summer in kenya and cambodia. I used a belle and howell 240 and as you can see I had terrible registration issues. 

 

I need to buy a new 16mm and of course plenty of film. I have an H4 zoom for recording sound. I'm pretty confident with the film stock stuff. My question is then what can I find in the 250-500 dollar range that is light, small and reliable. My approach is fluid so I'm not too worried about perfection, I'm happy for the camera and the film to have it's imperfections and flaws. I do not need a tripod.

 

I know this is a noobish question but any suggestions would be really helpful!

 

best

S


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:45 AM

Maybe an old Bolex or if you're lucky maybe you can find a NPR for that price, but anything used would need a good CLA before you can really run it.


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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:48 AM

Also maybe consider a good old 35mm camera package?

http://www.ebay.com/...=item4d1824a99a

 

pricier-- but then again it's 35.


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#4 Phillip Mosness

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:01 PM

Are you hoping for a quiet camera for sync sound? If not, I'd lean toward the Bolex, but I'd expect you to be in the $500 plus range for one that's ready to go. Otherwise almost any camera would need the once over before you carry it across the globe.


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#5 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:48 PM

My last film American Watercolors (https://vimeo.com/84056928).................

....... what can I find in the 250-500 dollar range that is light, small and reliable.

 

I enjoyed your film.  Was it mostly shot at very slow frame rates and single frame?  As an experience,  I am mentally extracting sequences of frames and somehow slowing them down and melting them together in my head.  Perhaps doing that digitally or with a DIY optical printer would be fun.  A Bolex aimed at an old projector head that you manipulate manually works.  You have to bolt everything down and use a geared movement to get your macro focus good (an old bellows with a rack,  or a cross slide for a drill press,  or invent something if you are handy)

 

Sounds like you need something small for your filming while traveling.  Bolex are fantastic technically for the things you are doing (and within budget),  and you can make DIY optical printer when you get back (smiling).  I don't know what they are like with the dust.  Another option might be a Bealieu R16 with just c mount primes (not with the zoom and zoom motor gizmos).  I can't remember if they single frame.  Quite cheap to buy.  You may want to get it lubed or serviced before you go.  The only bad thing from experience with these cameras is that the gate is hard to access to clean.  Takes longer and more care.   A bolex on the other hand you can lift out the pressure plate.  


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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:43 PM

Wind-ups are pretty good for travelling light if you don't need sync speed or shots longer than 30 seconds. A Bolex would probably be the most reliable and easily serviced option, though they're not the smallest or lightest if you're carrying them around all day. But then any 100 ft load 16mm wind-up camera will be about the same size and weight - Filmos, Beaulieus, Reveres, Eumigs, Cine-Kodak K100s etc.

 

Magazine load cameras are often smaller but re-loading the defunct magazine cartridges can be a pain.

 

If you can find one on ebay a GIC 16 is a very compact French wind-up that takes 50 ft daylight spools and C mount lenses, and works with single perf film. It only shoots at one speed (16fps) but I've modified them to shoot closer to 24. Try ebay France.

 

Another very compact 16mm wind-up camera would be the Siemens range, which take their own 50 ft cartridges but these are quite simple to load. 

 

Here's a pic of some compact 16mm cameras I own next to a Bolex for scale. From left to right - Zeiss Ikon Kinamo S10, GIC 16, Siemens model F, Agfa Movex 16 12B, Cine-Kodak K100, Bolex RX4.

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  • Snapshot 2014-02-06 12-56-38.jpg

Edited by Dom Jaeger, 05 February 2014 - 10:44 PM.

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#7 Simon Wyss

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 12:34 AM

I’d suggest a Revere spool camera, there are the models 101, one C thread, and 103, three-port turret.

Viewfinder is rather simple but the camera has a first-class film gate and runs about 50 seconds at speed 24.

 

The spring wind Beaulieu R 16 is the traveller’s cam. Three compact lenses, you have not more than 2 (two) kilograms. What’s that, 4.4 lbs?

 

Why not have the 240 repaired?


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#8 Stefan Arend

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:31 AM

Hi,

I´d suggest a Aaton A-Minima camera. It is a modern design it´s small and quiet.


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:02 AM

I was going to suggest the A-minima, but the truth is that it's positively lumpen compared to some of the tiny older cameras.

 

Better, though, of course.

 

P


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#10 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:03 AM

The spring wind Beaulieu R 16 is the traveller’s cam. Three compact lenses, you have not more than 2 (two) kilograms.

 

I didn't know that these existed.  I owned a battery powered one.


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#11 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:18 AM

From seeing American Watercolors,  and given that he wants to continue in the same vein,  I assume formally speaking,  I don't think an A Minima is really useful.  Even a Bolex with old Switars will produce images that are sharper than he really needs.  And he may miss the flash frames or light leaks and instability that he might get with some really old windup cameras.  And no,  why would you add those in post when you can have them for real!


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#12 Pavan Deep

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 05:41 AM

The Kiev Alpha could be ideal here, it's cheap, small, very light and easy to use.

 

Pav


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#13 Doug Palmer

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 06:57 AM

I too enjoyed watching these effects even if as you say the bad registration was unintended ?

Perhaps the gate of the B & H 240 was not closed properly ?   I seems to me as if the film is maybe losing its bottom loop. Or perhaps there is some other reason.

I have always found this camera reliable re registration. And it has the advantage of a long duration spring wind, as well as single frame which I presume you used somewhat in American Watercolors ?  Come to think of it, I wonder if this is causing the problem in some way.  ?

Anyway, hope you don't mind if I insert this commercial ad :rolleyes:  for another 240 camera if you want one:

 

http://filmisfine.co/16mm-cameras/

It's regular-16 of course.

 

DOM JAEGER wrote

If you can find one on ebay a GIC 16 is a very compact French wind-up that takes 50 ft daylight spools and C mount lenses, and works with single perf film. It only shoots at one speed (16fps) but I've modified them to shoot closer to 24.

 

How did you do this, Dom ?  I have one of these and would love to be able to use it at 24.

 

 


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#14 Nealesk

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:41 AM

WOW!  A TROVE of information. Just what I was hoping for! Thank you all for your comments I already feel much more confident in thinking about this.

 

I was thinking wind up probably makes most sense, I'd prefer not to work with batteries. From what I'm gathering I'm probably best off grabbing a Bolex. I can spend upwards of 1000 on a camera so I will probably just go that route, shoot a bit of test in March and get it transfered at colorlab in DC before I head out in MAY.

 

As to my film American Watercolors, yes I shot the whole film using mostly single frame pulls. Then I broke down the footage in post to super slow motion. The registration problems definitely worked in my favor but I want more control for this film because I plan on doing site specific sound and voice over something more akin to Sans Soleil (just as a reference point!)

 

Thanks again everyone for the help, all of your expertise on this subject is greatly appreciated!!

 

Best

S


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#15 Nealesk

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:48 AM

I’d suggest a Revere spool camera, there are the models 101, one C thread, and 103, three-port turret.

Viewfinder is rather simple but the camera has a first-class film gate and runs about 50 seconds at speed 24.

 

The spring wind Beaulieu R 16 is the traveller’s cam. Three compact lenses, you have not more than 2 (two) kilograms. What’s that, 4.4 lbs?

 

Why not have the 240 repaired?

Honestly about the 240, i'm just nervous with it. I'd feel more comfortable buying something a bit more professional, with greater lens options (50 & 35 or 16 would be great) so I can zoom in and out if I wish. I like your idea of the Beaulieu R 16, i'll be looking into it. Thank you

 

 

I too enjoyed watching these effects even if as you say the bad registration was unintended ?

Perhaps the gate of the B & H 240 was not closed properly ?   I seems to me as if the film is maybe losing its bottom loop. Or perhaps there is some other reason.

I have always found this camera reliable re registration. And it has the advantage of a long duration spring wind, as well as single frame which I presume you used somewhat in American Watercolors ?  Come to think of it, I wonder if this is causing the problem in some way.  ?

Anyway, hope you don't mind if I insert this commercial ad :rolleyes:  for another 240 camera if you want one:

 

http://filmisfine.co/16mm-cameras/

It's regular-16 of course.

 

 

 

It was suggested that perhaps I loaded the film incorrectly causing the registration problem. I shot 700 ft on 100ft rolls however so I had a hard time believing that I made the same mistake every single time. ++ I got one of the hitch hikers I picked up outside Flagstaff AZ to load the last roll of film as we entered California. I suppose I was telling him how to do it though so maybe I screwed up the whole scenario.

 

The good news is that my best friend who is a 16mm wiz is moving back from San Fran on Saturday to live with me as a I prepare for my next film so I plan on utilizing his knowledge so I"m 100% ready for this film.

 

Lastly, is that your website? You sell cameras through?


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#16 Zac Fettig

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:37 AM

There is one other option. A Bell & Howell Filmo 70 DR or DL (the late model ones; the early ones only take double perf). It's better built than the 240; It's built like a tank, and many of them were used to record combat footage in WW2/Korea/Vietnam. It's bigger brother, the 35mm Eyemo, was popular as a crash cam for years. It's also spring wound, with an option to motor drive it. The lenses are c-mount, although it is not a reflex camera.

 

And they go cheap these days. But you will need a separate light meter.


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#17 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:41 PM

I've got a Revere wind-up magazine camera that could pretty much fit in a coat pocket. I can't imagine it getting much more portable than that! But like someone mentioned before, you have to reload the magazines if you want to use it (a project I've been meaning to get around to myself, actually). Other than that, I'd say go Bolex or Beaulieu. Personally, I love the Beaulieu form factor, especially over a Bolex, so that'd be my camera of choice. Bolexs are known for their reliability and ruggedness though, so that's worth taking into consideration.

 

Edit: Here's a video on how to reload 16mm magazines, if you decide to go that direction: 


Edited by Josh Gladstone, 06 February 2014 - 11:43 PM.

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#18 Pavan Deep

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:42 PM

Great video. Do you have to do this in the dark? If so it doesn't look easy and I think you waste a lot of film, though magazine cameras are tiny and light. I'll still go with the Kiev as it's the lightest 16mm camera I've ever seen.

 

Pav


Edited by Pav Deep, 07 February 2014 - 02:44 PM.

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#19 Nealesk

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 09:33 PM

I am bumping this because I've been doing quite a bit more research into this matter. It was suggested by a mentor of mine that I might use an Eclair NPR or ACL. It's obviously more expensive and bigger but it also looks small enough to work with feasibly on the run. Paired with a decent lens I feel like this set up could give me everything I am looking for. I am wondering what you might realistically pay for with these types of set up. For example an Eclair NPR body, Mags + Angeneioux 12-120 zoom? Are we talking 1200, 1500, 2000?? more? appreciate any insight & best
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#20 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 10:13 PM

 

...It was suggested by a mentor of mine that I might use an Eclair NPR or ACL.


Hey Nealesk,
For the kind of film like Watercolors a bolex may be the ideal camera. Maybe make a list of all the things or functional features you need and the decision may be logically made. I don't know if NPR can single frame with the normal motors. ACL can't. I like ACL because I knew them well and they were useful. The common later model motor does 8, 12, 24, 25, 50, 75 fps and the 200' mags that take also 100' and 200' daylight spools are plentiful. The lens mount system can mount almost anything. Though the common mounts (mount adapters that fit ACL's native TS flange) you find on eBay are Arri-B, Arri-S, Cameflex (CA-1), and very rarely Nikon. Also you have a sort of native C mount in the centre of the TS flange that all the ACLs have, so you can put a cheapy C mount to almost anything adapter on if you want.

But unless you are making a notable shift in the kind of film you are making and the production modality (what else to call it?) I think you are best with the bolex.

Hypothetical usefulness of the ACL might be......
- The slow or high speed fps...(note that early Aatons can't do much high speed)
- Quiet running at 24/25 fps sync speed.
- The 5min or 10min running time from the magazines.
- The quick snap on mag changes.
- Lens mount options.
- Accurate, very sharp and bright viewfinder options.
- Small bulk with the 200' mags.

I can't think of any of these things being essential for Watercolors. If in fact that is the style of film you are about to make.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 15 February 2014 - 10:15 PM.

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