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Buying an Aaton LTR 7 Super16


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#1 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 02:27 AM

Hello,
I have never used an Aaton LTR 7 super16 before but have found one for sale for $4,500.
This seems like a good price to me, the camera comes with 2mags, and 2 batteries, no video tap, matt box or any other accesories, it also comes with no lense.
A do you think this is a decent deal and B has anyone used/owned this camera and is there anything to be aware of (the mags with the camera are the super16 type, I know that the standard 16 type mags cause scratches when shooting super16).
Any input would be much appreciated,
Cheers.
Tomas.
www.fnvfilms.com
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#2 Dominik Muench

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 02:40 AM

id be interested in that too, since im planing on buying a ltr myself.
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#3 Nathan Milford

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:09 AM

There are a few things you should do and know when buying an LTR.

Firstly and most importantly get the serial number and then give me a call. If it has lived in the US then it has probably been through my shop. I can look at it's service history and tell you if it has ever been dropped or abused etc... I can also tell you the last time it got serviced and give you a rough idea what you will need to do to it to get it ship shape.

The factory paradigm for all Aaton cameras is: 'Get your camera overhauled every four years, regardless of use.' Not everyone does this, however, and many a camera's mechanism have suffered premature aging. The reason for the 4-year interval is this: the Aaton uses sinterd (pourus) aluminum bearings. Essentially a fine aluminum powder is pressure-fitted into the shape of a bearing and it has many miniscule holes in it, like a sponge. When we overhaul the camera we put those bearings in a vacuum with oil. The bearings get packed like a sponge with oil. This is a much better solution than simply using pits or wells that externally lubricate the bearings. The problem is that over four years or 2000 rolls the oil will slowly leave the bearing.

But the camera still runs? Well yeah... it may not seize on you on day 1457, but the bearings will slowly start eating themselves and lead to registration problems when play develops in the crankshaft (we allow only up to 5 microns of play). Eventually the bearings will heat up from friction, swell and the camera will simply stop... you just won't be able to move the mirror. I really don't like installing new bearings. It is possibly the most expensive and labor intensive service we could offer. You should not look at the overhaul last ditch repair, but as preventative maintenance.

So why am I telling you all this? Because most people buy cameras off of eBay and find out that the camera needs an overhaul afterwards. This is really true of any camera you buy, I just happen to specialize in Aatons. If you get an LTR for 6 grand, and it needs an overhaul, expect to pay another $1500 or more. I just hate seeing some college kid spending his loans on a camera to find out it needs a service he cannot afford but shoots with it anyways... *cringe*

I've written on this forum concerning the magazines here.

I should probably write an Aaton buyer's guide one day. If you give me a call or shoot me an e-mail I can answer more specific questions... I just wanted to prepare you for the eventuality of an overhaul. They don't always need it, but factor that $1500 in the back of your head before you buy... and by all means get me the serial number.

I should probaby get back to work *grumble*
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#4 chooser

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:29 AM

I used a bunch of misc 16mm cameras when I first started shooting film. Then cut a deal to use an XTR Prod with a canon 8-64mm zoom with video tap. What a great set up. Light, portable and great images. Of course when I looked to buy a camera the XTR was a little of of my range. So purchased a very nice LTR S16mm. Has an Aaton mount as opposed to a PL. Ended up with a Canon 7-56mm zoom non S16, and a Zeiss 10-100 S16. Great for music video, short films. Never pushed it to a feature but think would do nicely. But no video tap is a negative.

Really depends what you want to do. There is a certain freedom with your own camera, but you must use it to justify buying one. I have a BL series 35mm which I use mostly and to be honest for all but non budget work, I went back to renting an XTR. So have a really great LTR, lenses, legs, FF, MB. customer pelican cased blah blah, that only does one to four jobs a year, if that.

Great to cut youor teeth. Depends, if you are creating your own work as a director, then yes freedom. Gun for hire DOP / Camera OP. Then people will want you for your skills not your camera. Rent the best if the budget allows. If it does not, and the project grabs you or its your own project then the LTR comes in very handy.

Sorry for the rant .... all the best
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#5 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 06:20 PM

Hello Nathan,
Wow , I would REALLY apreciate it if you would check out the serial numbers for me!!!!
I have just contacted the seller and asked for the serial numbers so as soon as he gives them to me I will pass them on to you.
again I really appreciate the offer, knowing what kind of history this camera has had would really help me in making an informed decision as a buyer, and it goes to show that this forum can be a very important resource for us all, if we all pool our knowledge we can all benefit so much.
I also think the Aaton's buyer's guide is a great idea (I could definately use one)
Thank you very much.
Tomas.

Edited by Tomas Haas, 26 July 2005 - 06:22 PM.

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#6 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 03:36 AM

Hello Nathan,
I was unable to get the serial numbers of the camera but it is, as I said, An LTR 7 S16 which the seller says "Everything was serviced by a New York camera shop a couple of years ago" I thought that may have been your place, as I said I don't have the serial numbers but I do have the guy's name; Joshua Reis, I thought you might be able to locate the camera/work done through his name.
You can contact me at tomaskoolhaas@hotmail.com if you want.
Thanks a lot Nathan.
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#7 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 08:23 PM

Hi Nathan,
Here are the serial numbers:Body C751, Mags: M1178, M1176.
Any info. is much appreciated.
Thanks a lot nathan,
Tomas.
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#8 Brian Wells

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 10:43 PM

I almost bought that camera seven weeks ago and consulted with Nathan before hand.
Here is what he had to say on June 8, 2005:

The Abel Database shows #751 was last in here in 1998... so expect the camera to need a major servicing, like an overhaul (factory says they need them every 4 years and that one is due). The overhaul can run between $1440 to $2500 depending on parts and camera condition ($1440 for a brand new XTRprod with no broken parts that gives me, or another technician, no pain to disassemble and reassemble... an LTR with a low serial number that hasn't been in a shop for 7 years... *cringe*).

http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=7125

Also, here was a former auction for #751, the one I was considering:
http://cgi.ebay.com/...item=7521673851

Buyer beware.
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#9 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 02:43 AM

Hi Nathan,
Here are the serial numbers:Body C751, Mags: M1178, M1176.
Any info. is much appreciated.
Thanks a lot nathan,
Tomas.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

I would contct DuAll in New York where he bought it from. I remember they were selling some ex rental equipment 2 years ago. They may have some more recent service history!

http://www.duallcamera.com

Stephen
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#10 Nathan Milford

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 08:20 AM

Hi,

I would contct DuAll in New York where he bought it from. I remember they were selling some ex rental equipment 2 years ago. They may have some more recent service history!

http://www.duallcamera.com

Stephen

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Yeah, they could have serviced it since 1998 and it would be very wise to talk with them.

- nathan
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#11 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 01:07 AM

Hello everyone,
It seems this camera has been around the block a bit, everyone in the world seems to have considered buying it at some point, I spoke to Du-all and indeed they sold it to the present owner two years ago and did a full service on it before they sold it to him (this was the last time the camera has been serviced), however they obviously cannot know how the camera has been treated since then and what damage/wear the camera has picked up in the interim (one thing that concerns me is how many people seemed to have backed out of buying the camera at the last minute-what did they discover?). It's been a bit of a detective job tracking down the history of the camera, but thanks to all you guys I feel I know enough to make an informed decision on the camera now, I am still gonna have it checked-out before I buy it (I will use an escrow and have a few days to get the camera checked before I decide to release the funds or send back the camera) I wanted to have it done at Abel cine in Burbank ( I am located in LA) but they are backed up for weeks so I am considering having it sent over to NY to get checked-out, How's your schedule nathan? I will probably be calling Abel NY tomorow to get a quote on an evaluation (Du-all said they would give the cam. a thorough eval. for $150).

Also, Du-all also told me that a video-tap would cost around $5,000 for the LTR, I understand that the process costs more (about $200/300 extra) if the camera needs a pellicle installed, but surely there are cheaper options than 5 grand that would still yield good results???, I actually just found an internal one from visual products for $2,600: www.visualproducts.com/storeProductDetail01.asp?productID=741&Cat=11.

Thanks again to everyone for the info on the camera it's much appreciated.
Cheers.
Tomas.

Edited by Tomas Haas, 04 August 2005 - 01:10 AM.

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#12 Brian Wells

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 02:22 AM

(one thing that concerns me is how many people seemed to have backed out of buying the camera at the last minute-what did they discover?).


I fell in love with a blonde! :P

BW
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#13 Nathan Milford

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 12:45 PM

I am backed up about 4-6 weeks right now. But, for just evaluating the camera I can do it same day. It's an hour of labor at $120/hr and I give it an all points check. If the camera needs any sort of significant service you'll end up at the back of the queue. It could be quicker than 4 weeks, but I'm just telling people that so they don't get miffed when it turns into 4 weeks while I wait for a part or something.

As far as video taps go you'll get a taphandle tap (6K for NTSC color) of the visual products tap (2K for B&W). For the VP tap you'll need relay optics (sometimes known as an Option R) nd a pellicule. The relay optics aren't made anymore, but we might have some used and I don;t know for how much and the pellicule is like 500.

Eitherway just call Kathy at the number in my signature and I'll look at it when it comes in and call you back.
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