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Samcine lenses


Dave Bourbois
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Hello, all. I was checking out the Visual Products site and saw some re-housed nikon and canon priimes with a BNCR mount under the product name Samcine. Are they still around and do they still convert modern sharp still lenses to different mounts? I was thinking of getting a Mitchell BNCR with a spinning mirror but was a little put off because of the lack of modern sharp glass to go with it.

 

Does Samcine have a website?

 

-Many Thanks

Dave Bourbois

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Samcine was David Samuelson's company in England--a real pioneer in the business and a great fellow. He wrote (and still occassionally updates) some of the best references in the industry as well as pioneering many interesting bits of kit. He's also the maker of the Samcine sliderule depth of field calculator that is every AC's best friend, commonly known as the Sammy Wheel. David was the Mitchell and then later the Panavision dealer in England for some time, and he designed and built many specialty items just like these Samcine lenses you saw. They are likely vintage 1970s or 1980s, but possibly into the 1990s. But their age doesn't mean that they aren't excellent glass. I've never used them but I can believe that anything Samuelson is going to be top notch.

 

BTW, are you considering one of the Mitchells from Visual Products? These cameras all came from the Paramount lot where they'd been shooting multi-camera sitcom and some studio-bound dramas for decades. The studio had their own shop where they serviced and fabricated parts since there was no other option for the old beasts. I'm sure that Visual products will give you a perfectly functioning machine, but know that it's had a LOT of film run through it over the years and you should check into service options for these old cameras wherever you live. You can get an Arri SR serviced anywhere but an old Mitchell BNCR is a different story.

 

Also, don't be fooled by the Photoshop-ed image they used to advertise with one of these beast sitting on a Steadicam (backwards no less). It was meant to be a joke. Those cameras weigh something close to 100 pounds.

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Actually I was thinknig of one of the Mitchell BNCRs from Martin Hill, they have some for about 5,000 and a really nice Cinema Products for about 8,000. Called up the guys formerly known as frieseng and by the time I get video tap on there I'd probably be better off with that package at Visual Products.

 

<_<

 

Anyhow, I tried googling Samcine, and his exposure calculator came up quite a bit, but didn't find much about his lenses. I recall a lively discussion on this forum about paying several thousand dollars for a converrted Minolta zoom lens, and I just think it's cool how much effort can go into getting something like that contructed.

 

I guess I'm also a little curious about the image quality of Nikon and Canon FD lenses because I just purchased a Konvas 1-M, and Les Bosher can do a pretty nifty Nikon hardfront conversion for the Konvas.

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I worked for Davids company from 74 - 79, Samuelsons Film Service Limited, he ran it with his three brothers Sydney, Michael and Tony.

 

'Sammys' did indeed offer innovative solutions in the 70's, creating camera systems similar to those we take for granted today. They developed a degree of standardisation that was somewhat lacking before.

 

I'm sorry to say however that the lenses were never up to much, in their day they were ok, but by the time Zeiss got their act together the Samcine name was pretty 2nd division and was never the choice of Cinematographers I worked with. The last lens I remeber being developed under their name was a version of the Canon 150 - 600. Optex had a version, then Century in the US made a better one. As far as I remember the Samcine was pretty much a clone of the Century.

 

Bill Woodhouse was the head of optics from way before I joined until a few years ago, until the company was absorbed by Panavision I believe. If you have questions about specific Samcine lenses, I can try and find details for you.

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David,

 

I believe that SamCine turned into Panavision, UK. I also believe (although I've only read) that the Panavision lens mount is VERY similar to the old BNCR mount. I can't remember where I heard that, I might be imagining it though. Possibly an interesting route to explore.

 

You can also get newer glass fitted with a BNCR mount. I know for a fact that Les Bosher in the UK makes the mounts: http://www.lesbosher.co.uk/. You just need to find a place to fit it.

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  • 5 years later...
I worked for Davids company from 74 - 79, Samuelsons Film Service Limited, he ran it with his three brothers Sydney, Michael and Tony.

 

'Sammys' did indeed offer innovative solutions in the 70's, creating camera systems similar to those we take for granted today. They developed a degree of standardisation that was somewhat lacking before.

 

I'm sorry to say however that the lenses were never up to much, in their day they were ok, but by the time Zeiss got their act together the Samcine name was pretty 2nd division and was never the choice of Cinematographers I worked with. The last lens I remeber being developed under their name was a version of the Canon 150 - 600. Optex had a version, then Century in the US made a better one. As far as I remember the Samcine was pretty much a clone of the Century.

 

Bill Woodhouse was the head of optics from way before I joined until a few years ago, until the company was absorbed by Panavision I believe. If you have questions about specific Samcine lenses, I can try and find details for you.

 

 

Hello Tony! It's been years since you posted this message. Is Bill Woodhouse still around? Do you have his contact information? Thank you very much an kind regards, Sergio sergiodow@gmail.com

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Hello Tony! It's been years since you posted this message. Is Bill Woodhouse still around? Do you have his contact information? Thank you very much an kind regards, Sergio sergiodow@gmail.com

 

Hi Sergio

 

Yes it was a long time ago and my opinion has since changed a little. I find myself these days searching out these lenses, particularly to help offset the abruptness of many HD systems

 

I doubt Bill is still around, not heard his name mentioned for years. There was due to be a reunion of some sort this summer just gone but I dont think it went ahead.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi guys,

My first post here. Wanted to bring this thread up from the past. I am in the process of acquiring some wide-angle Samcine glass in BNCR, which seems to be rebuilt Canon 14mm primes. I don't have much experience with rebuilt glass, let alone Samcine, but I am hoping the image quality organic yet still sharp. I know it probably won't be Master Prime sharp, but was wondering if anyone had experience on this glass - how does it compare/contrast to newer glass like MPs? Conversely, how does it compare to older cine glass like Canon K-35s?

 

Thanks much

Yousuf

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