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Arriflex IIA lubrication

Fabian Schreyer

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This is just about a little detail that I cannot figure out myself. All the pictures of Arriflex II cameras (mostly IICs) with the cardioid movement that I have seen have this cap on that says "Fett (grease)". My Arriflex IIA has a cardioid movement as well, but the cap says "Oil". I've attached a picture as well. Does anyone know if there is a meaning to that difference?

(I've read a lot about the lubrication of these cameras on this forum and on other places as well. So I get that the cardioid movement and most moving parts around need to be greased with this Klüber grease and the two holes under the cap need a drop of oil. So I guess "Oil" makes sense as well? But I am mainly curious about the difference in these labels.)


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The cardioid cam is the fastest moving part. It should be so lubricated that the oily part of grease (which is a matrix that holds oil) or oil is drawn in between the surfaces gliding one over the other. A soft grease can work well but it tends to be pushed away from where it ought to be. Oil has the tendency to leave its work place all the time. The slightly porous fibre material can hold some oil, be it only little. If we look at the early Paillard-Bolex H cameras that have a similar cardioid cam made from steel revolving in a steel frame, we understand that something viscous needs to creep over the parts in order to upkeep a film of oil. The lubrication concepts of film motion-picture cameras differ quite among the many makes. The one question you want to answer is simply, how heavy is the duty I demand.

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  • 1 month later...

I found this pic of the cover with 'Oel' on it in an auction on eBay.......


The seller does not include the model 'A' designation for the camera in his description.

Looking at this camera in the auction, it appears this camera was used in a blimp. Arri introduced their 1st blimp with the introduction of the Model IIA camera.

A brief history of Arri's 35mm camera... 


This was written by Kling Photo, Arri's 1st importer of Arri equipment in the USA.

I'm thinking that the 1st IIA's had the cover with 'Oel' printed (the model II did not have a cover over the movement). Then at some point they changed it to the English spelling 'Oil'. But, why did they change it?? You are right about the cover for the IIB. I have a Model IIA that was built in the 2nd half of 1957, it has 'Oil' on the cover.......


My camera built in Germany was sold by Arri to its 1st owner in Sweden. Why would they leave an English word on the cover?  I bought my camera from a private individual, so it did not go through the USA importer when I acquired it.

You are right about switching the labeling on the the cover for the 11B model. A way to quickly identify the IIB??? Also, there weren't  that many changes to the IIB camera. 




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