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Enquiry: Aaton LTR54 Les Bosher S16 with BEAUTIFUL Russian lens FS

Chris Ross Leong

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Fist enquiry:

Up for very reluctant sale is my beloved Aaton 7 LTR 54, ex-BBC model and upgraded to S-16 by Les Bosher of the UK.

Also with it is a late-model Russian 10-100mm with a matching 0.75x wide adaptor, also collimated by Les and matched to this camera.

Wooden handle, Les's custom front-end to 15mm rod system, two mags, onboard battery (needs re-celling). No tap but obviously tap capable. Also soft barney, hard shell case, original Aaton soft case.

I'm sure everything is working, just haven't used it lately. Will run it up and take a video if anybody wants to see it.

Best offer over $2300 for everything? Add Paypal fees and let me know your address for shipping estimates, at cost.

I also have a bunch of outdated, frozen 16mm neg (maybe 3,600ft) that a local buyer can have as well.




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Have a couple bites... will be gone pretty soon now... any others on the fence?


Oh, yeah, there has been a bit of a thing about the lens here and its coverage of the S-16 gate on another site where I have the kit up. Seems like the gentleman in question used the "super-16" sensor size in a digital camera equivalent to make his assessment.


And of course the true S16mm gate is around 3mm shorter than that sensor size, so the lens covers just fine, full wide and WFO, and even with the .075x on at 7.5mm and also WFO.


I have photos and videos of the GG and the gate to show anybody who thinks otherwise.


This is a lens hand-picked by Les Bosher with matching serial number 0.75x adaptor, brand new, late year, great performance, and properly collimated to this camera.


As you might know, S16 didn't make it to the starting lineup of telecine to HD because the then available film stock had a grain structure that didn't lend itself well to HD telecine. Well I'm happy to say that there are more modern stocks now available to get around that limitation (see "Black Swan", for one) and even though S16 missed the first boat, there's nothing to say that the film look isn't imminently viable in today's 16:9 production environment. And hey, instant film-look!


Funny thing, my DP who is a young up-and-comer had the camera out this afternoon to verify that there was indeed no vignetting at full wide, full open, and he said "hey, how come the viewfinder image looks so much NOT like life?" I replied that this was the real film look - not the Blackmagic or the Arri or the Red film look. Real images, not news footage.


Still hard to duplicate, even in this day and age, that real film look. Except when you're shooting real film, of course, with the discipline (and lighting) involved.


It's hard for me to resolve that many of today's self-styled "DP"'s don't really know or care much about lighting. I even had a producer who wanted to assemble a crew with a DP and a "Director of Lighting". Guess he was too young to know that the former name for DP was Lighting Cameraman...


But I digress!

Edited by Chris Ross Leong
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I finally actually looked for my mag case, it's an older Anvil one and the foam's shot after all these years, but inside is a) a user manual and b) not one, but two spare 400ft mags, and they look new!


I'm going to pick up a 12v power cable with 4-pin XLR, battery eliminator and car charger soon, and post a video of the camera running.


More as this goes down!




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Finally found the power cable, hooked her up... and ran her!


Here's the test, at 54fps:



password: chris


I'd still say do a quick check-over and CLA before serious use, though, but that's on you, since the camera is now demo'd running.




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And after running, I inspected the camera more closely... and this is a more extensive mod than I thought. That run test was in fact at 70fps, so that makes this camera an LTR70, not a 54.

So, a lot more camera for the money, especially with the three mags, plus it's tested running and good!

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More news:


(sorry for the double post - the previous post didn't appear on my computer until after I posted this one.... don't know why!)



I thought the motor was running a bit on the loud side, as I recalled it before, so I checked closer... and


This is an Aaton LTR70 HS, modified from its original 54fps config. The camera test above was with the camera running at 70fps.


So apart from the crystal sync speeds of 24/25fps, it has 6, 12, 18. 20, sync, 28, 32, 54, and 70fps rates. At sync speed the camera is as quiet as I remembered it to be. Also it's smooth, consistent (several tries now to start/stop), quiet and seems rock solid still.


What a great deal for someone! If you include the 3x400ft mags... pretty cool!


I also have an older O'Connor 30 head and legs, and an older Chroszeil 4x4 matte box with eyebrow that I might be persuaded to part with as well, they were the rest of this original kit, so perhaps they should go together?

Edited by Chris Ross Leong
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In a public reply to a few private inquiries, here's more information about this camera:


This camera started off life as LTR7 #C834, purchased by remote from the UK. It was modified there by Les Bosher the camera tech before it was sent over here to the US, to run at higher speeds than the 7 ran, and to have its lens fitted and collimated. I thought initially it was an LTR54, i.e. the top speed was 54fps, since the top speed wasn't 32fps any more (like the original LTR7's had) but 54fps, or so I thought, since people who know Aatons know about the 7s and the 54s, and that's about it.


I didn't explore the top speed further as I mostly only shoot at 24fps anyway. But since the camera was already at Les's and he offered to do these mods with the lens and everything for a price I could afford, I had them done and the camera was then sent over here for use.


Very light use, it turns out. However, when I last checked the running of the camera a few days ago, I noticed that the top speed on the dial was not 54fps but 70fps. I believe that makes this into what was used to be called an LTR54-HS camera mod. Never having seen a real LTR54 before, I can't tell you, because maybe all 54's went to 70fps. I don't know for sure.


No, 70 fps is not on the Aaton list since it's a modification and wasn't actually offered as a stock item. It's definitely an LTR though, with the mechanical magazine drive and transport, and not the electo-motors or digital displays of the XTR range of cameras.


Note again that this is a modification - i.e. apparently Les took the motor and controls for a 54 HS and put them in my LTR7, and since that is the difference between the LTR7, the 54, and the HS, then you can call that what you want to. I wouldn't call it an Aaton LTR54 or 70HS because it didn't start life that way, but that's me. I don't think this was a rinky-dink DIY mod, since this is Les Bosher we're talking about here, but I do wish I knew more about the various customizations and modifications that were done at the time to be able to enlighten you further.


There are no batteries available for this camera, it's been sitting for quite a while, at least a couple years, without being used. The batteries have long since expired, and I really only used an old 12v camera belt and another 3rd party shoulder-strap type 4-pin XLR battery for it when last I used it. The on-board battery was near the end of its useful life when I bought it, with the intention of re-celling it, but I never got around to it. I didn't even check to see if it would hold a charge, I just pulled the battery belt and other battery from my Eclair setup and used them with the Aaton via the included 4-pin XLR setup.


The last time it was serviced was a few months prior to it being put away, so call that more than three years ago, with zero runs in between then and now, except for a few days ago.


Since scratch tests were done the last time I had it serviced, I can say that unless something drastic happened in storage, the camera or the mags aren't likely to scratch film. There may be light leaks due to mag lining erosion, but it doesn't look that way to me.


Why don't I check it out? Well, if I had the thing CLA'd and ran clip tests, then it would be going for twice the price, like all the other currently running Aatons on eBay and other places. I paid well over $6k, used, back in the day, plus Les's mods, so I figured 50% was fair.


Super16 Inc in NYC and Abel here in Burbank have both quoted just over a thousand dollars to have the camera and the three mags serviced, cleaned and prepped for shooting.

Normally I'd have that done prior to a paid shoot, with the production paying for that service. But since I haven't had calls for that (or my 35mm gear either) then it's not happened recently.


At this moment, the package with the O'Connor legs and matte box is going at around $3k. That's basically $2600 for the camera and three mags (I thought the third mag was worth $300, don't you?) and $400 for the O'Connor 30 and the Chrosziel matte box with gold rods, etc., also a pretty reasonable ask. They're not in the best of conditions by a long shot, but again the price I'm asking has been adjusted to allow for that. They're not pretty, but they get the job done.


There's 17 cans of full or nearly full 400ft neg in my freezer (I'll take an inventory soon and post it here). However, I'd say that the stock was long gone, even if it's been frozen, since it's been there for many years (over 5). I wouldn't count on it being solid at all, without clip testing it first. I didn't put a price on the stock for that reason, just throwing it in there to the person who buys the camera.


Yes, the camera itself should be tested again. Yes, it runs, yes, it's smooth. But I wouldn't put it on a paying job without having it checked out first. That's $1100 at Super 16 in NY plus shipping, and around the same here at Abel. Apparently the camera tech here at Abel, whose name escapes me for the moment, is the best trained Aaton tech in the country.


Hope this answers questions that people might have.

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I have also found an Aaton body to Arri PL lens stainless steel adaptor, and an Aaton to Nikon F lens adaptor, both in exchange/like new condition and both included.


Also a spare mini Amphenol motor power plug that I bought to make up a remote start-stop cable.


My prime buyer looking to fall through so back to reasonable offers for the camera, lens and wide, three mags, cases and accessories, minus matte box and tripod.



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Yes, you know your Russian lenses! The 91 series is the best!

And yes, this particular sample does not vignette, even at 7.5mm and T2.9!

Have gate photos posted to show that.

Yes, it's outstanding, but coupled with the matched serial number wide adaptor and the collination for this camera, whoever ends up with it will surely be as pleased with it as I have been!


All the best


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