Hello, i'm looking for an R16 to shoot a documentary project next year. But i'm wondering if it's better to choose a handheld mecanic one, or an electric one (noise and batery system to buy and fix). (I'm a film camera stranger...)
How many fps can go the mecanic one? Is it the same than an electric? when you crank manually, does it engages the film as regularely than an electric one?
I have an electric R16 that was converted to Ultra 16mm and it is a brilliant little camera. It has a good range of speeds and absolutely purrs when compared to clockwork, wind-up cameras. I also have a crank-based Pathe 16mm newsreel camera and, between the two, I find the Pathe better suited to run-and-gun shooting. Its pellicle viewfinder is more accurate, focus-wise, than the Beaulieu. It doesn't flicker and offers a positive confirmation of focus which the Beaulieu doesn't. R16's have a nice, compact battery design, but you need to make sure that the batteries are reliable (likely recelled) and that the charger hasn't degraded too much. Wind-up cameras like the Pathe or Bolex obviously don't have that particular hurdle.
The spring-driven R 16 runs at any speed between 8 and 64 frames per second. You can even turn through from 64 down to 8 or the opposite. The mechanism must be thoroughly cleaned and lubricated correctly by a technician, if you want to go on a shoot.
I don’t quite agree with Alex what concers the viewfinder. The Beaulieu Reflex 16 has a planoconvex lens with a ground flat on which one can focus accurately. The Pathé WEBO M has a ground glass lens as well, some models with a central matte spot only, some with a full-frame matte. Since I know exactly about both cameras I strongly recommend Beaulieu.
The main problem with the spring R 16 is its small base. Technically, you can wind the spring up during takes due to the going barrel it has but the camera will nod while you turn the crank ruining the scene. The Pathé WEBO M has a large base surface and a very low optical axis but the spring cannot be tensioned while the mechanism is running. Frame rates are from 8 to 80 with a stop on either one.
The Beaulieu shutter opening corresponds to 144 degrees with a disc shutter, the Pathé one equals to 180 degrees. It’s in fact a flutterby* shutter with two blades revolving at half speed.
*Flutterby is the correct term. Somehow it became butterfly, complete bosh.
My principle concern is about "means economy, i don't really know how to say in english, because i shoot all alone and i need to reason conviniently of what cam is more pratical to bring and use. This use is experimental, that's why i asked for the fps, because idlike to do animation and slowmotion as 24fps...I'm thinking about an electric one with a new portable battery... what do you think about "Du-all" ones?
Do you know, Simon, if the R16 viewfinder you described was common across all models? Mine seems to rely on the eyepiece diopter being accurately set on the crosshairs in order to judge focus. Even then, the flicker from the mirror makes it difficult for a single operator to confirm if the subject is sharp. My Pathe, which is a Professional Reflex-16 AT, has a viewing system that bypasses the shutter and offers a focusing screen with a microprism (or something that functions similarly), making it much easier to keep the subject sharp. I'm not familiar with any variations there may have been in each line of cameras and model to model, but between my two cameras, the Pathe has been more reliable for focus.
The flickering in the finder isn't any better or worse than your average Arriflex, but you presumably don't have an AC pulling focus on an R16. Maybe somebody who's more accustomed to focusing by eye on such a viewing system would have sharper footage, but my eye tends to focus past the crosshairs and tricks me into thinking something is crisp.
The optical parts of a Beaulieu R 16 finder stand openly in the mechanism. It is most probable that a ground glass becomes oily and dirty. Then one has a difficulty with focusing. We are talking about amateur consumables, not professional products.
It is a major disassembly job to clean those parts: loosen the right screws that hold the viewfinder tube, withdraw the tube, undo the tiny set screws that hold the distance rings, remove all rings and lenses. The mechanism must be taken out of the housing. The turret front is to be detached for that. It’s ridiculous.
With a Pathé WEBO M you cannot clean the back side of the pellicle without total disassembly of the camera and to clean the front side is very dangerous.
Among the amateur cameras with a reflex finder the Paillard-Bolex H-16 models stand out. Ground glass and prism can be kept clean without complications. The price one pays for this is the optical implication of the prism block. Please read about that under the forum’s Bolex section.
The professional cameras for 16mm film have come down in price so far that any investment in amateur gear is useless. Reparation also gets more and more expensive, especially on Pathé WEBO M, Eumig C 16, Beaulieu R 16, Paillard-Bolex H 16, Meopta Admira 16 C, and others. The only ciné camera I’d like to get in my hands is a Facine. If somebody has such an oldtimer, willing to give it to me for a loving overhaul or to sell it, please contact me.
My Beaulieu R16 is like this. The viewfinder is oily/dirty on the right half, so that focusing is still possible on the left side of the viewfinder, and then I use the whole viewfinder for framing. It's inconvenient, and I'd love to get it cleaned, but it doesn't seem like it's worth disassembling the whole thing.
Ooh, that doesn’t sound so nice. The spring pulls about 480 frames, so 20 seconds at sound speed is correct, but a drop of speed should be attacked. If the bores for the governor shaft or at some other point are worn out, nothing can be done cheaply. Fresh bushings would remedy the affair but that would mean $$$£££€€€. Like with most of the amateur cameras lubrication is neglected, yet, owners expect like-new performance.
I’m not saying that you do, only the majority of humanity does. Things are used and regarded worthless when they don’t function properly any more. Care and maintenance must be learnt.
Loading is quite simple when one knows the trick. Have the mechanism run, not too fast, and push the film down onto the feed sprocket. It will be taken up instantly. Stop mechanism. Swing gate open, insert film, set upper loop so that it bisects the circular button, close gate, set lower loop by pushing film onto second sprocket and run mechanism. You can pull the sprocket guide triangle up and out.
I would go with the spring wound one, yes it can be annoying but the wind up cameras can last longer than the electronics and like it was mentioned before, you can attach a motor to wind up R 16, finding a motor might be hard but if you save up some $ ask a tech to make you one, i don't know who but I am sure someone out there can for the right $$$ but that is not really needed and you can make a doc without sync sound,its been done and will continue to be done with wind up 16mm cameras.
I say go for the wind up, also you can get K3 or H16 as a another wind up.
THE H16 uses c mount so you can use the same lenses and the K3 has a nice sharp zoom lens that it comes with and a M42 or bayonet mount which opens the door for more lens choiceS ( m42 still glass or bayonet mount Russian 16mm glass which is totally underrated and AWESOME )
Edited by Rudy Velez Jr, 11 October 2015 - 08:41 PM.