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Arriflex 16s vs SR1 - In term of pure image quality


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#1 Mendes Nabil

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 02:44 AM

Hello all!

 

I need some help for an upcoming shoot, is there a difference in term of pure image quality between an Arriflex 16s and a SR1 ?

 

I know the 16s is pretty loud and not crystal sync, but for what i'm doing, that's not a problem.

 

Basically, i need a handheld camera (the 16s seems better in that term as we can run it without an external magazine), lightweight, with an optimal image quality.

 

And i don't need high frame rates.

 

 

So, in term of pure image quality, let's say we are using the same lens in both cameras and the same film stock at 24fps, will the image be the same or will the SR1 be above?

 

And last thing, i've read here that we can't have a perfect flange focal distance calibration with the 16s (in the Drawbacks section) : http://cinematechnic...ources/arri_16s

 

I only focus by eye, so that should not be a problem right? Or will i have some softness issues?

 

 

Thank you all!

 

 

 

 


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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 04:18 AM

As long as you shoot handheld, no difference visible

 

When you set up cameras firmly, you can extract a shorter positioning distance (the distance between the optical axis and the perforation hole where a register pin acts) from the ST which is +1. The SR positions +3.

 

I say extract but that implies that a printer with the corresponding geometry is available. Intermittent printers with +3 geometry exist, I have one myself. +1 printers are unheard of. There are +1 projectors, the early Bell & Howell Filmos. You’re touching an old and almost forgotten technical subject. To take us back to the future I should suggest doing research on intermittent scanning equipment’s geometry. I am a film man and not interested in scanning and video and television, so perhaps somebody else might be knowledgeable here.


Edited by Simon Wyss, 04 May 2017 - 04:18 AM.

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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 05:53 AM

Main thing is to make sure the camera (whichever one) is in decent condition and properly callibrated, especially ground glass depth if you're eye focussing. Easy check by a trained technician, or shoot a test.

I think an SR can be more accurately callibrated, but not by much. A well used SR could have more stability issues, but this could be hidden by shaky hand held. Or stabilised in post.

You'll probably find your choice of lens makes more difference, and a B mount SR has more options than an S mount 16S.
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#4 Mendes Nabil

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 08:38 AM

Thank you Simon and Dom for your answers!

 

This  "flange focal distance calibration thing" only appears on the article here : http://cinematechnic...ources/arri_16s

 

But to those who know this camera, is that a real problem? If yes, how does that affect the image?

 

And again, if we use the same lens and film stock in both cameras (Sr1 and 16s), will the image be the same? If not, what will be the differences ?

 

Thank you all!


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#5 Tim Carroll

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 06:44 PM

And last thing, i've read here that we can't have a perfect flange focal distance calibration with the 16s (in the Drawbacks section) : http://cinematechnic...ources/arri_16s

 

That is TOTAL BULLS**T!!!  I serviced those cameras for years, and any trained ARRI technician can set a 16S to factory specs where every socket in the three socket turret is SPOT ON!!!

 

We set those cameras up so we knew exactly where the focus plain was (on each socket) to a spec that was less than one tenth the diameter of a human hair.  We would even set the focus plain to be slightly inside the thin layer of film emulsion on the surface of the film stock when a DP asked for that.  Anyone who says they can't set the perfect flange focal distance for a 16S should never be allowed to take one apart.

 

And to your second point, it is critical, if you "focus by eye" that not only is the flange focal distance spot on, but the setting of the ground glass must also be spot on.  Again, no problem for any trained ARRI service technician.

 

If you have a property serviced Arriflex 16S and a properly serviced Arriflex 16SR, and the same film stock, and the same lens, you will get the exact same image quality from what you shoot.

 

Best,

-Tim

 

PS: The one advantage to shooting with the Arriflex 16S over the 16SR (besides hand held being easier) is that you can get a bit of weave with a 16SR, where as the 16S has a spring running along the film gate to make sure weave doesn't occur.


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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 08:55 AM

I think the issue Jorge is pointing out in that camera profile is not that a 16S can't be accurately set up, but that the rotating turret and aluminium mounts can introduce flange distance or flatness errors through wear or contamination, where the fixed stainless steel mount on an SR won't. Given that many Standard mount lenses often need to rotate within the mount to focus, aluminium wasn't a great choice of material for an active surface that also needs to remain a critical distance setting. And having three such mounts, some maybe more worn than others, on a rotating turret plate, just adds to the potential for error.

 

But generally it's not a problem since that camera is more suited to handheld work using eye-focussing and prime lenses, which just needs the ground glass depth to match the film plane. If the mount shifts, it moves equally with respect to both ground glass and film plane, so the viewfinder image still tells you when the image recorded on the film is at its sharpest. 

 

I've only worked on about a dozen 16S cameras over the years, so I'm sure someone like Tim who specialised in them knows more, but I never came across a huge amount of mount wear even though aluminium is a relatively soft material. All three mounts were always within about 0.02 mm, which is outside the usual 0.01mm Arri FFD tolerance, but not by much. So maybe it's more of a theoretical issue, unless a camera has been really flogged. Or maybe the ones I've encountered hadn't seen much action. 

 

I've come across a lot worse wear in the focus helicals of many Standard mount lenses, so a tiny bit of error in the camera FFD is almost moot. Not to mention the focus scales on those lenses are often cramped, marked without lines and rather hard to see.

 


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#7 Simon Wyss

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 10:33 AM

We can delve deeper in the subject when we look at the mirror shutter.

 

With the Standard Arriflex 16, I rather refer to it simply as Arriflex 16, you have a larger shutter because it deflects over the longer image width in opposition to the Arriflex 16 SR whose shutter deflects over the image height. As a consequence the right-hand image corners as seen from behind the camera towards the scene are somewhat, let me stress this, a little shorter exposed due to the shutter standing deeper under the angle of 45 degrees. So in term of pure image quality, the initial question, the more modern design wins.

 

The Arriflex and the Arriflex 16, I hope everyone recognises the original designations, belong together in that respect. Historically, the Eclair Caméflex or Camerette that appeared in 1946 in France had shown the way for further development but by an unknown reason Arnold & Richter wouldn’t react to it.

 

The latest technical cry with mirror shutters was a steeper angle of inclination. Perfectly even exposure of the film across its surface is achieved with parallel shutter edges such as in the Smith camera of 1897, in the Akeley of 1915, and with small drum shutters. The latter are not very efficient light-wise and block out wide angle lenses. There were a few cameras with conical shutters, the Meredith-Jones and the Debrie Sept. What’s also found are angled edges with disc shutters, I recall the one with the Revere 101/103 or Paillard-Bolex H. I’m a tech, the splitting of hairs belongs to my profession, but there are more serious problems with filmmaking.


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#8 Tim Carroll

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 12:49 PM

Got to disagree with you there Dom.  When an Arriflex 16S is serviced PROPERLY, you make sure all three turrets are set to the proper dimension.  In my years servicing the cameras I've very rarely came across a camera (aside from one that has suffered physical damage) where the lens sockets were not all the same.  In a case where one wasn't, I had a special tool that I could use to remove a fraction of material from any "High" turret so they all matched (you used the lowest turret for the control).

 

And, aside from a camera that has suffered physical damage, in the amount of time someone could "wear down" an Arriflex 16S socket, the camera would be in need of an overhaul anyway, and the sockets would again be set back to factory spec. Also remember that ARRI instructed users to use the ARRI grease (supplied with the original cameras), or a spot of Vaseline to lubricate the lens sockets for use with Cooke Kinetals, Zeiss, and the early Schneider lenses (the one's where the lens barrel rotated in the socket).

 

A properly service Arriflex 16S will produce images of equal quality to a properly serviced Arriflex 16SR, given the same lens and same film stock, and the Arriflex 16S footage will not exhibit image weave (that is possible with the Arriflex 16SR).

 

Best,

-Tim


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#9 Mendes Nabil

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 07:08 PM

Your message is pretty reassuring Tim, i've found a pretty great deal for an Arriflex 16s so i'll go that way! 

 

Thanks all!


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