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Arri-Flex vs. Pana-flex

Guest Nisar Bazmi

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Better in what way? Image-wise, assuming the movement is steady, the quality is the same if the film stock and the lenses are the same.

Also, there's a design difference between the Arriflex BL35's and the later Arricams, so which Arriflex do you mean? A BL4? A 535? Or an Arricam ST or LT?

I've shot features on all of them and don't feel there is a difference that affects the cinematography. However camera assistants will have an opinion and so would operators, who want whichever has the brightest viewfinder or balances in handheld mode the best.

The Arris are faster to load on set because the Panaflexes use a Mitchell type movement with a lot of loops and latches, with even less spacing for your fingertips in a Millennium XL.

To me, it sort of comes down to whether I want to shoot with Master Primes versus Primos.

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I mean, Panavision cameras are a complete system You walk into Panavision to rent them and you get everything you want for the package through them, which is awesome. The last generation XLII's have HD video taps, heck they even have digital viewfinder options. They've still doing some development and they've done a great job putting cameras into the hands of young filmmakers for low-cost. 


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You can't buy a Panavision, and in truth, I don't really see the benefit of owning a film camera. Like any mechanical thing, the up-keep can be problematic.

I used to own film cameras. I miss them, but honestly, much easier to call up a house and get a package you know is in good shape and repair.

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4 hours ago, Nisar Bazmi said:

But I heard that only rent cameras, and not purchasable by current movie makers.

Correct, but renting is very smart, especially through Panavision where they have everything you need. Getting a good, workable used 3 perf or 2 perf Arricam package is becoming impossible. The few people willing to sell them are doing so at a number we haven't seen for nearly a decade. Plus, very few people have all the accessories to make them work properly, so you may be able to get a camera body, but how do you power it? How do you shoulder mount it? How do you protect it from weather? 

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1 hour ago, Mike Krumlauf said:

What about lensing? What are the biggest differences in Arri Primes and Panavision Primes or zooms?

I'm assuming you're asking about the aesthetics of the lenses but there are some big differences technically speaking between Arri and Panavision lenses.

Flange depth and lens compatibility is going to be the biggest one. Panavision is 57.15mm and Arri is 52mm. This is why you can "Panavise" most film and digital cameras from other brands whereas you would not be able to use non Panavision lenses on a Panaflex body. There are exceptions to this with some lenses like the Angeniuex zooms which can be adapted to both.

Panavision also used different gear pitches for iris and zoom up until recently. From an AC perspective this can be a pain since since no other company really does this (Zeiss HS MK1/2's had different iris pitches). This was because the Panavision model was a proprietary one for a long time, they would provide every nut and bolt and had a specific accessory ecosystem designed around their platform.

Arri doesn't actually make their own lenses, Standards, HS, Ultra's, MP's, LWZ etc. etc. are made by companies like Zeiss and Fujinon and cobranded as such. Aside from things like Master Anamorphic flare sets, factory uncoated elements or 3rd party modified lenses like Cam-Tec's uncoated Ultra Primes. "Arri" lenses will come with a set look for each series since they are intended for sale on the open market. Some rental houses will do some of their own modifications but generally "Arri" branded lenses will stay the way they came from the factory. 

Panavision made/makes a lot of their products in house. Even though they may outsource some of their manufacturing it will still be something designed and made under the Panavision brand. This is also the basis of Panavisions "de-tuning", since they make their own lenses they can offer levels of customization lens to lens that other rental houses/vendors cannot. 

Edited by Evan Walsh
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