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Best use for a camera no one wants?


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#1 Jay Young

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 05:14 AM

I've tried to sell it multiple times, but no one wants it.

 

My venerable CP-16r still works.  Bernie wants me to sell it, but would likely modify it if I sent it to him.  Visual Products wants me to sell it but they don't want to buy it (I asked!).

 

I used it on a project this past weekend because it was a no-budget shoot, and I've relegated the camera to the no-budget pile.

 

However I feel like it could be very useful.  I see them on ebay all the time for way more money than they are worth, but what I don't see is the much needed accessories.

 

What are some recommendations that you might do to make a camera no one wants more usable??

 

Thoughts:

  1. It needs a better mount.  If I'm suppose to pay almost $400 for a PL adapter, I'll pay $600 and have it permanently changed.
  2. I built a 24v lead acid battery for it, that should power it for the rest of time.
  3. Its quiet enough so long as everything is working, and its crystal controlled.
  4. I really need to figure out how to get the top plate off for video tap but I can't seem to figure that out
  5. I don't know if it is worth having it meticulously modified by professionals
  6. Regular 16 is fine.  Widening the gate wouldn't hurt.
  7. That handle is in the way most of the time.
  8. I could really use a video tap option; I want to keep the optical viewfinder.

I would really like the ability to use a modern lens mount system... any of them, as CP-mount lenses have either all been changed or are so rare to find I just don't bother.  I would be happy to use Nikon lenses.  I would be happy with a hard Micro 4/3s mount, or PL - at least then I could use modern adapters.

 

It seems most people worry about the electronics going at some point.  The old battery and trouble spots have been removed and replaced by Paul at Visual Products, and the camera works fine as is now.  I mostly permanently attached a full cheese plate to the bottom which helped a lot as the lens mount does not line up with the tripod head mount hole.  

 

I can now attached rails!  And other accessories! I realize there are cameras out there very much better than the old CP, but there is still life left in this camera, and I would bet the electronics could be replaced by an arduino or rasPi with digital stepper motor control if they do ever fail.  I really want to use this camera more, rather than see it sit on a shelf - or at least let some of the film students in the area use it.

 

Thoughts?


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#2 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 05:21 AM

Donate it to a local film museum or film school perhaps? If no one wants it, it can only do the thing that all unwanted technology does -gather dust/rust or be thrown out.
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#3 Heikki Repo

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 07:44 AM

I think the main question is, do you like it so much that you'd like to use it more? If yes, then the further modifications can be a good idea.

I myself have been building an Eclair ACL set. I have had it modified to S16, bought PL adapter and rods for it. All of this while I know that I could rent an Arri 416 with all bells and whistles.

However, my rationale behind this decision has been that with my Eclair I can use cheaper lenses and skip the rental house if I'm doing something low budget / solo (our closest camera rental that has 16mm cameras and lenses is a few hundred km from where I live).

Now that I have a PL-adapter as well, I try to use this camera for all film based projects I'm dping myself.

If I were to choose, I'd have your camera modified to micro 4/3 mount. That way your camera would have a feature not available in higher end cameras. S16 could be done at the same time.

But all of this depends on the question: Do you want to use it so much that it is worth the money to modify it?

If not, sell it for a small price to someone and give them hints what modifications they could do to it. Don't modify it just to sell it, you won't get your money back.
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#4 Jay Young

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 07:59 AM

I like it just as well as any other camera I own. 

 

I would rather have it as a b-cam if nothing else.  I would love to use it more, or to be able to run multiple camera 16mm shoots on low budget projects.

For the gate I will stay 1.33 as I enjoy shooting anamorphic and 2x lenses are easier to come by - those Hawk 16mm 1.5x lenses are in high demand and rent for a high price.

 

I just shot a test on it framed for 1.85, I'm sure it will be fine.

 

Micro 4/3 mount sounds very interesting, I just wonder if that's going to be prohibitively expensive.

m42 screw mount is also an option, then I could assemble a set of Russian primes and maybe rent it out to local filmmakers for cheap!


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#5 Heikki Repo

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 08:09 AM

Are there wider Russian m42 primes available? The reason why micro 4/3 would be such a hot choice is that it's almost the modern c-mount of our time: there are wide lenses available for it and with suitable adapters almost every lens can be used with it.

 

You could ask Bernie about the lens mount.

 

And you are correct about just framing for 1.85, modern film stocks are so fine grained that it'll work even if it's not S16.


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#6 Jay Young

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 08:51 AM

There is a MIR 20mm, as well as several zoom lenses.

I have the Meteor 5-1 which is very cool, as well as the 16OPF 12-120 with Micro 4/3 adapter.

 

Lomo makes a bunch in OCT mount.


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#7 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:43 AM

Sorry but how much exactly were you looking to get for the camera, and what would it come with as of right now?


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#8 Heikki Repo

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:46 AM

Unfortunately I forgot about the flange focal length issue. CP-mount is apparently very similar to Aaton mount. Apparently "with slight modification any CP camera can accept Aaton mount lenses". Thus its ffd is 40mm. C-mount is 17.526 mm and Micro 4/3 is 19.25 mm. M42 would work, but the choice of wide lenses is rather slim. I couldn't find any OCT19 to M42 adapters and Meteor 5-1 is only 17mm in its widest end.

 

Modifying the lens mount to OCT19 would seem a bit funny, even if it allows one to use cheap Russian cine lenses. Maybe in the end PL-mount is the only real option, were you to modify the mount.


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#9 Wiliam Cardoza

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 12:05 PM

I think i saw one in a Clint Eastwood film last night "Magnum Force" --- weren't they used by news reporters right before video cameras became portable etc?


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#10 Jay Young

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 04:54 PM

They were very popular ENG cameras in the 60's and 70's, right up until I guess the SONY Betacam came out.


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 06:38 PM

It's funny because I own a pretty good film camera and I rent it all the time. However, I do find it strange when people want a newer camera. Sometimes I have to talk them into using mine because frankly, outside of the latest generation of film cameras, there were many years where things were pretty similar across the board.

The CP16R is a perfectly capable camera, yet it has some negative stigma. I for one don't like the threading aspect of it. I also don't much care for the viewfinder which can't be oriented like other newer cameras. I also have issues with the magazine design and belt drive which is not only a wear item, but archaic. The battery system is also attrocious. You can forget about all the other issues like lens mount capabilities, lack of easy s16 conversion (most guys do ultra 16 since you don't need to re-center the lens) and weight; the CP16R is heavy, not very balanced on the shoulder (front heavy). Also, I had the worst experience with the CP16R, ruining one of my movies due to the backplate roller ball, not being centered on the spring, scraping the backcoating off the film for an entire roll.

With all that said, it's not a bad camera. If I showed you stuff shot with it and a good piece of glass, you couldn't tell the difference between it and my LTR. Yet when using the camera, the LTR is a better camera to use. It's less cumbersome, it's quieter and pretty much all of the issues above have been remedied. Yes the CP16R is an older camera, yes it was designed for news photography, especially with mag striped film... but it Aaton and Arri's whole purpose for introducing the LTR and SR models, was to capitalize on that market. Unfortunately, they came in a bit later and were a lot more money. By the time they were popular, TV had already switched to video. Once 3/4" hit the market in the late 70s, the writing was on the wall for film. Sony charged to much for the barely portable system at the time, so many facilities kept shooting film into the early 80s, but the change over happened overnight with the first betacam all in one camera. That was the final nail in the coffin for 16mm and broadcast news. Of course 16mm was still the go to format for long form pieces, but that died off in the 90s when digibeta and eventually HDCAM, really took it over. Had Kodak made vision 3 stock in the early 90s, I think people would have shot more 16, but the older stocks were so grainy... It was a harder sell compared to the very clean digital.

But yea... I feel your pain. I honestly would only own a CP16R for historic value. I think it would be great for my students to see and understand where all the modern designs came from.
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#12 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 07:14 PM

For goodnes sake Tyler, will you ever stop talking out of your ass...All the "modern" designs, those that passed it in sophistication or chronology, simply side stepped the CP. They did not follow it. They did not come from it.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 08:28 PM

The CP-16 was essentially built from Auricon parts in a lighter housing, so the design dates back to the 1940's.  It was really the Eclair NPR (self-blipped / reflexed viewfinder / co-axial magazines) and then the ACL, followed by the Arri-SR and Aaton, that ushered in the modern 16mm camera system for sound shooting.  Cinema Products made their own version of the co-axial magazine design in the mid-1970's called the GSMO -- we had one in film school, along with the Eclair NPR's, but it was a bit temperamental and plasticky.

 

I think the only modern 16mm sync-sound camera that didn't use a co-axial magazine design was the Panaflex Elaine.


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#14 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 08:57 PM

For goodnes sake Tyler, will you ever stop talking out of your ass...All the "modern" designs, those that passed it in sophistication or chronology, simply side stepped the CP. They did not follow it. They did not come from it.


Why did you make this statement? When did I ever say the Arri and Aaton's came from the CP16 design? Please quote me.
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#15 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:02 PM

TYLER: "...I honestly would only own a CP16R for historic value. I think it would be great for my students to see and understand where all the modern designs came from...."


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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:19 PM

I guess you just don't understand the historical ramifications of that camera, more specifically, the cut-down Auricon it was based on.
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#17 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:40 PM

I was interested in the issue of the moment..whether the CP-16 cameras were significant preceptors of the "modern" 16mm cameras.  You'd like to confuse this (issue) now?


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#18 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:54 PM

There's a great doco on the birth of Cinema Verite and how important the development of quiet, sync-sound, handholdable cameras was to that style, and to modern filmmaking in general:



It was the Eclair NPR and modified Auricons, together with the Nagra recorder, that started that ball rolling in the early 60s. Of course you could go back earlier, to the 30s, and cite the Cine Kodak Special for introducing quick change magazines, Askania for developing the first truly shoulder-mounted reportage camera, and Arriflex for inventing the spinning reflex mirror. And Debrie even earlier for co-axial magazines. But Eclair were the ones to bring it all together.

The CP16 was really just an Auricon copy, incorporating some of the modifications that those early documentary makers in the US had done themselves. So in a sense it's historically interesting as a copy of an innovative step in filmmaking history, but nothing really sprang from the CP16 itself. It was actually a bit of a dead-end.
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#19 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 09:56 PM

I was interested in the issue of the moment..whether the CP-16 cameras were significant preceptors of the "modern" 16mm cameras.  You'd like to confuse this (issue) now?


You misinterpreted what I meant by my comment.

The history of the cut down Auricon, Robert Drew of Life magazine and Don Pennebaker, is the critical thing. What they developed wound up being re-packaged by the fledgling Cinema Products.

The key here and why it's so critical, is because the other manufacturers learned from the "Americans" mistakes. They saw still images of the cut down Auricon and realized what they could do better.

Remember, not very much later, Arri released the BL, which didn't use a coaxial magazine and like the cut down Auricon and CP16, wasn't a great hand-held camera. It took them 10 years to release their first coaxial design, whilst Eclair and eventually Aaton, already had one.

So in one part you're accurate, the French and German (modern) cameras followed a different path to the American design. However, had those manufacturers not seen the hobbled together American design, they may have gone a similar direction. Their designs were absolutely influenced by cameras like the cut down Auricon, of which the only example today is the CP16. So in my opinion, the CP16 design is an influential part of the modern designs. It's the "what not to do" syndrome.
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#20 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 11:19 PM

. the other manufacturers learned from the "Americans" mistakes.. had those manufacturers not seen the hobbled together American design, they may have gone a similar direction.

By 1960 when Drew and Leacock et al were beginning to modify an Auricon, Eclair had already designed the prototype that led to the NPR and it was an evolution of their pre-existing Cameflex. Arri more or less just blimped their already acclaimed 16St to make the 16BL. I don't think the American experiments had anything to do with the directions those companies were heading in.
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