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Would You Buy an Arri Ex-Rental Previously Owned by Panavision?


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#1 David Fitch

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:06 AM

I've been in the market for a S16 camera package, and one of the options I'm seriously considering is a pre-owned Arri SR3 package.  It's being sold by a reputable motion picture equipment service and resale company, and judging from photos it's cosmetically in excellent shape, however my only reservation is that it's an ex-rental.

 

When I started looking into cameras, I was hoping to purchase from a private owner and was very leery of considering an ex-rental.  Maybe it's an unfair perception, but I just envision some ex-rentals, after having passed through so many hands, as being in questionable condition and chock-full of unpleasant surprises that will surface down the road.  That said, this particular camera is an ex-rental from Panavision.  Given Panavision's overall positive reputation, should this ease my concerns somewhat?  Would it be safe to assume that their rental and service department did a decent job of maintaining the camera and accessories while it was under their ownership, even if it wasn't Panavision-manufactured equipment?  Also, seeing as how Panavision is usually associated with its own brand of equipment, I'm curious about how often they would have actually rented out an Arri S16 camera package.  There's certainly no way to know for sure, but I'm curious if they rented these cameras frequently, or if it's something that was available to their clients but spent most of its time on the shelf.

 

Bottom line, if you were considering a camera purchase and leery of ex-rentals, would you feel a little more comfortable buying an ex-rental knowing that it was owned and maintained by Panavision, or would you have more of a "once a rental, always a rental" mindset regardless of who owned and rented the camera?  If nothing else, the reseller would also perform a tune-up and detailed check of the camera prior to sale, so that's a positive point as well.

 

Thanks to anyone who can weigh in on my questions!  


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:40 AM

Panavision is Arri's biggest competitor, and one of their biggest customers. Their cameras would go out a lot, especially since the Panavision camera for S16mm isn't really all that great. Or so is my opinon. And personally, while I love Panavision lenses, I'm not crazy about any of their cameras-- I much prefer the simplicity of an Arri.  However, I would be much more worried as I am unaware of Panavision ever selling off any of their ex-rental kit. I would certainly get a serial number for the camera, and call up Panavision and see if it actually has provenance.

It doesn't matter if it was an ex rental or not. It's like a car-- how well maintained was it? I got my SR3 from a private party, and it's been 100% perfect, but I have also never had a problem with a rental (film) camera-- since they are properly maintained-- for the most part. Also any camera you get will need to go to get serviced/looked over, just like a car. It makes no difference if it was rented out once or a billion times, if it was "kept up."

 

In any case, I would never buy a camera sight unseen. When I got my own SR3 it entailed a trip and a few camera tests. Of course in those days the packages cost a lot more than they do now.
 


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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:23 AM

When you talk about an ex camera rental, I think of three separate issues  (of course they are other issues as well),

 

1. How well the power / motor works (no micro breaks along the boards or wires that could cause intermittency issues)

2. The movement itself, is there any sideways weave.

3. The actual structural integrity of the camera body and how well accessories attach to it.

 

I would like to know the last 3 or 4 projects the camera was used on before being retired or put up for sale, see an actual film test from the past week or two, and who would actually be the person servicing the camera whenever it needs maintenance.

 

If you find out who would be servicing the camera when it needs maintenance, i wonder if they might have insight into that particular camera, allowing you to start at the end and work yourselves backwards.


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#4 Bruce Greene

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:21 PM

Well someone needs to say this....

 

Keep in mind that film may not be with us much longer as a practical medium.  Didn't Deluxe labs just announce their closure of the film processing plant?

 

When you consider your decision, just keep in mind that you might only be able to use your new camera for a year or two.


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:22 PM

Deluxe closed down LA, but they still have NY, if memory serves. Also the Deluxe closure makes Fotokem the largest lab in LA (perhaps the world?). I would still be more leery about it being an "ex panavision." camera.


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#6 David Fitch

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:45 PM

Thanks for all of the replies so far.  As for whether or not the camera in question is actually a Panavision ex-rental, I'm pretty sure it's legit, and judging from the seller's reputation, I have no reason to believe that they would intentionally lead me astray.  In the photos I've seen, the camera body actually has a small Panavision logo and serial number neatly engraved on the camera body.  This isn't just a rental sticker or barcode - it's an actual engraving.  So, if it isn't legit, someone sure went to a lot of trouble!

 

Can anyone verify that Panavision does, in fact, engrave their name on non-Panavision rental equipment?


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 06:46 PM

As far as I know Panavision engraves everything.


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#8 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 06:56 PM

Is the camera stolen?
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:01 PM

Wouldn't surprise me if it was.


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#10 Mark Dunn

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 02:27 PM

Check the serial number with PV if you can read it. If not, ask for it. If you don't get it, you'll know why and you'll have a moral dilemma.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 10 March 2014 - 02:28 PM.

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#11 Daniel Mimura

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:06 PM

Also, is it a PV mount? That wouldn't do you any good unless you wanted to always rent Panavision glass. Unless it's a quick conversion back to a PL mount...
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