I feel awfully sorry about my repetitiveness. The 16mm format technology was developed to semi-pro and professional levels, we have a consciousness of how it looks and what’s possible with it. I have a hard time with each such discussion from which it is obvious that somebody wants to save on the food money. Filmo 70s can be found for less than $100 today, sure, not necessarily in good shape, but the differences in design and construction to a Soviet made camera are deafening.
Over the years I could accumulate detailed knowledge of and gain experience in the performance of varied cameras. I’m even of the opinion that all the amateur ciné cameras manufactured behind the Iron Curtain are West designs, pure transfer of technology. Responsibles in the Soviet union didn’t have the deep and broad understanding of fine mechanics the specialists had in Chicago. Only as an illustration, Kodak is struggling to bring a camera to the market right because they’re as innocent as Breshnev was what regards motion-picture machinery. The Kiev 16 Alpha has quite a flubbed film trajectory, not seldomly the film jumps out of place. The Krasnogorsk offer similar unnecessary insufficiencies.
If you want a certain degree of product reliability, you better invest in proven and well repairable products. Price differences aren’t that big but the after market life is. I must complete the picture by saying that there are rather bad European and American cameras. The Pathé WEBO M is one of them.
Why do Ciné-Kodak Specials in decent shape still cost several hundreds? They are well made. Technicians can bring them back to perfect functioning. CKS means big flat base, 1600 frames continuous run on a wind, finely adjustable speeds down to 8 fps (also to double or triple the amount of light reaching the film), quick-change magazines, a reflex finder usable prior to shooting, and oilers for fast moving parts.
The Revere 101/103 have a first class film canal and automatic threading. Paillard-Bolex H are good entry-level products. No plastic. By the way, there’s a reason for metal film spools: less static charge. Film acts as an electric capacitor when rolled.