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Any Redlake Hycam users around?

Davo McConville

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Hi all,


I'm thinking of buying an old Hycam 16mm for high speed filming, but I know very little about them.


It's here:




I'm fully prepared for this to be a big project – does anyone have any tips?


Do the cameras take C Mount lenses?


Many thanks for any information.



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Looks like a C-mount under that cap, but that camera doesn't have a speed controller- it's a separate unit.

As it is the motor would just accelerate until the film ran out. It is possible to use it in this mode- we used to do it for a different purpose with a non-framing camera- but it's not straightforward to calculate a speed curve and work out exposure (we used flash).

You'd also need dedicated mains- it would blow a 13A domestic socket.

It's not plug-and -play as it is. It's also missing the viewfinder optics.

There are a few posts about it on the forum.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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Edit- there's another Hycam for sale at £100- it has the speed curve on a plate inside the door, which makes me think that's how it was originally intended to be used, although I'm sure that it would have been used with a controller latterly.

Typically the camera triggered the event to be filmed itself when the correct speed was reached, either but outputting a signal, or by precise timing. Without a controller it's not very practical for ordinary photography. In any case, it's usually one shot per roll, because at the higher speeds it can't stop without shredding the film.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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The eBay examples you have posted are difficult to work with. The second example in fact utilizes a prism to generate low resolution images with a technique called frame blending.

If quality images are your project goals then take note of this UK based seller whose has been trying to his sell his complete Photo-Sonics 16mm kit for some time. I suspect he would accept an offer. I have the reflex version of this and have spent considerable monies bringing up to speck. This example is one of the best and cleanest kits I have seen. Battery, charger and even the specialized lubricants. Photo-sonics are the definitive reference for pin registered high speed intermittent transport. This eBay example utilizes twin pulldowns. Two perf 16mm stock is still available from Kodak. NFL Films was at one time the largest user of these cameras and their imagery is fantastic.

Photo-Sonics pushed high speed intermittent transports as far one can go culimiating in a very special special 16mm beast with 4 claw pulldown and 8 pin registration that maxed out at 1000 fps. Check out the photos on my public UltraPan8 Facebook page of this special pulldown, i.e.

"rare 16mm Photo-Sonics W-1 instrumentation capable of a maximum 1000 FPS. Four (4) registration pins total. This is is the fastest precision intermittent film transport ever devised. It uses standard 2 perf 16mm film stock (2R-3000).

Pics by Philip Kiel, the current president of Photo-Sonics, Inc. As per our previous Facebook conversation, i.e.

Photo-Sonics, Inc: "No, the 1W was a completely new camera. Millican had a 400 FPS camera, we built a 500, they built a 600 and our chief engineer, Roy Edwards, decided to put a stop to all that nonsense and he designed and built the 1W. It was not a commericial success. It was too expensive to produce and maintain."

November 30, 2012 at 11:31pm · Like

Photo-Sonics, Inc: "Nick, I posted a couple of pictures of 1W movement parts on the Photo-Sonics page. The register pins went through the pulldown pins and entered all four prefs above and below the frame being exposed. The film movement rotated at 60,000 RPM. It is a work or art...."

November 30, 2012 at 11:39pm · Like

Photo A = "One set of 16mm-1W pulldown pins and register pins."

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They're both rotating-prism types but they produce distinct frames- I've never heard of 'frame blending' and I used this sort of kit professionally for 5 years.

I was answering the question the OP asked, not the ones he didn't. True, intermittent-movement cameras produce a much sharper image but they only go up to 500pps. We used to call that medium-, not high-speed.

We don't want to confuse the OP.

Our medium-speed camera of choice was the Locam. I believe some other makes, mentioning no names, were considered rather delicate for range use.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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All three of those shot on a Hycam-2 the camera gets more steady the faster it goes, I worked on some Jet Engine tests for Pratt&Whitney which were shot between 9000fps and 12,500fps that look quite spectacular, wish i could show them without getting arrested...;-)


One think to consider when using the Hycam is that the optical prism system has a minimum f-stop of about a 4 so if you open your lens up more than that you tend to get allot of flare in the optical system, I usually have the lens at a 5.6 to an 8 depending on how much light is available. Speaking of the Jet Engine tests had 460 1K Lowel Omni lights for illumination....lots of light and heat.


The big issue these days with the Hycam is finding Double Perf stock to run in it, the sprocket that is attached to the rotary prism is titanium so it would be difficult to modify for single perf and I suspect the camera would lose allot of it's ability to hit high framerates if it were modded for single perf.


Milliken DBMs are also interesting for speeds up to about 500fps with no prism and they can be modded for single perf and Super-16 or Ultra-16 fairly easily.

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