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Are regular 16mm cameras worth investing in?


Brett Allbritton
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Also be very careful about frame aspect terminalogy.  For film cameras its 1:33, 1:66, 1:85, 2:39

The formats 16:9, and 4:3 are television formats. You can crop cinema formats to tv. But cant do vis versa.

Widely used aspect ratios include 1.85:1 and 2.39:1 in film photography, 4:3 and 16:9 in television 

This will come to bite you when you try to sell the movie and its not properly formatted

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12 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

If you pay from 4 to 5k for a used arri or aaton + x amount of money for servicing it  and THEN if develops electronic issues you are totally screwed budget wise compared to the cp16r which can be got for less than 1k with a zoom lens and then maybe 500 ?? for mechanical overhaul and 1k for crystal update . 

Ohh agreed, the CP has huge advantages in over-all pricing. The Arri boards are easy to repair, its usually caps and transistors. I'm glad you have an option for the CP, it's a great option for sure. I sold mine because I have too many cameras lol. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Ohh agreed, the CP has huge advantages in over-all pricing. The Arri boards are easy to repair, its usually caps and transistors. I'm glad you have an option for the CP, it's a great option for sure. I sold mine because I have too many cameras lol. 

the main issue with old boards is that many of the components are obsolete and replacements are not easy to come by. the most difficult ones are the hybrid IC's like the later Cinema Products models have, they are custom made and there is no standard parts existing which could replace them which is why it was easier to design a completely new system than try to make up a replacement solution for every custom component in the original system.

I could make a very simple user installable crystal sync system for the CP16 which would cost maybe 1/3 of the price of my current design but user installable systems will always need lots of simplification and they need to fit as many cameras as possible (the original CP cameras are often customised in the factory and they can have all kinds of add-ons and additional features which complicate their updating) . One has to leave lots of features out then to make the installation easy and for this type of camera one does not want to cheap on features even if it costs more to update the body. Like with all cameras, about 90% of the modification cost is the actual labour costs and the boards and components are relatively affordable (if one does not count the time needed for designing the boards and writing and testing the software which will be maybe about 5000 usd or more starting cost)

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2 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

the main issue with old boards is that many of the components are obsolete and replacements are not easy to come by. the most difficult ones are the hybrid IC's like the later Cinema Products models have, they are custom made and there is no standard parts existing which could replace them which is why it was easier to design a completely new system than try to make up a replacement solution for every custom component in the original system.

The SR's also use hybrid IC's? 

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if the camera can be loud then you can always purchase a Kinor and have Olex convert it to crystal sync. The original motors have bad control electronics so you can't use the camera without the crystal conversion update ( I have never seen a working original motor, they always have faulty original control board. but the motor itself is usually OK and can be converted to crystal relatively easily).  The 16CX-2M camera itself is fine once it is CLA:d correctly. Olex can arrange that too 🙂

I'd expect this package go for something like 550 to 800 USD because it has the full prime set included.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/144041443852?hash=item21898a020c:g:tyEAAOSw1JNgnRmd

Another Kinor package, probably will go for something around 600 USD or so: https://www.ebay.com/itm/144037985247?hash=item2189553bdf:g:y7wAAOSwQshgnQ-c

 

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I recently bought a recent Kinor sx-2m for US$300, complete set, just without power lead.

I expect it may a couple of issues, and thankfully Olex has lots of spare parts and advice...

A few years back I tried to start up a project regarding the CP-16 I have. I wanted to program a raspberry computer, then be able to connect it via numerous splices to the CP wiring loom, effectively replacing the faulty boards with a simple and highly effective mini computer.  But the computer programmer I was using backed out. Writing the progtam was too big, taken too long. Having to write code to recognise shutter angles for instance.

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On 5/14/2021 at 11:14 AM, CJ Wallace said:

Also be very careful about frame aspect terminalogy.  For film cameras its 1:33, 1:66, 1:85, 2:39

The formats 16:9, and 4:3 are television formats. You can crop cinema formats to tv. But cant do vis versa.

Widely used aspect ratios include 1.85:1 and 2.39:1 in film photography, 4:3 and 16:9 in television 

This will come to bite you when you try to sell the movie and its not properly formatted

Really? I know 16:9 is a TV format, but I've always thought that "4:3" and "1.33:1" were interchangeable terms since 4/3=1.33. I guess now that you mention it though if someone says 4:3 I do tend to think SD video.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are quite a few out there it seems, each camera suitability  depends on the buyers needs: some need magazines, some power cables, all will need a service...

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/184827742039

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/254870347721

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/203399555769

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/254767878364

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  • 3 months later...
On 5/24/2021 at 12:44 AM, Brett Allbritton said:

Really? I know 16:9 is a TV format, but I've always thought that "4:3" and "1.33:1" were interchangeable terms since 4/3=1.33. I guess now that you mention it though if someone says 4:3 I do tend to think SD video.

I think the most used aspect ratios in the film world are 1.37 , 1.66, 1.85, and 2.39 . sometimes one can have 2.35 too though it is relatively rare and most of the shows marked as "2.35" are 2.39 in the real world. This is because the normal cinema screens are 2.39 aspect ratio and it does not make much sense to intentionally shoot pillar boxed 2.35 material for cinema screen when you can just use the whole 2.39 screen area instead. in the film projection times the normal prints were anamorphic intended for 2.39 screens and you would project them with the 2x anamorphic adapter on the projector and the image would be from the full film frame area without cropping. this way you would get maximum image quality out of the print and projector.  If you would use any other aspect ratio (1.37,  1.66 , 1.85,  2.35) you would project it spherical and use a gate mask on the projector to crop the correct aspect ratio from the film frame (some prints were letterboxed in the lab, others not. If it was not letterboxed you had to figure out the correct mask to use. Once I projected the Lost in translation movie with incorrect mask due to wrong info on the print and there was mic boom visible in almost every shot 😄  )

I think some film cameras do have closer to 1.33 gates but the normal aspect ratio for film closest to the 4:3 is 1.37 and NOT the 1.33

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The normal image aspect ratio of regular film is three to four. The cinema screen has been three to four for more than a century now and the home movie screen, too. The wide screen era began with a multi-strip process, which was followed by an optically complicated process. Then the film was exposed horizontally. Next wide film came back into use. Crop formats are younger.

1:1.375 is the camera aperture ratio of the so-called Academy sound format. Projection is 1:1.333.

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Standard 16 camera apertures are 1:1.37. This is true for an Arriflex, a Bolex, even a 1930 Cine Nizo 16 I happen to have just measured.

Prints and projector masks and early TV frames may have been 1:1.33,  but the exposed area on the film is 1:1.37.  It was codified in SMPTE 7 at some point, but that aspect ratio is pretty much what you get in the space between double perfs. This Arri ground glass guide shows a typical Standard 16 screen with the 1.37 camera aperture within the greyed out area. 10.3mm x 7.5mm.

EAF97F5F-8CD1-401C-9BDF-D46512F390FF.jpeg.f1ab5b26d2ffddc3d22270606c69cad6.jpeg

So for modern users of Standard 16 cameras who scan their film, the native image area is 1:1.37.

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  • 6 months later...

I thought I'd revisit this because I've noticed that sync sound 16mm cameras seem to be becoming rarer on eBay these days. (Now I'm kicking myself for not taking the chance to snag the camera package that inspired me to start this topic!) 

Given the massive renewed interest in 16mm, I'd imagine that camera prices will be going up altogether. Does anybody have a feel for the going rates on regular 16mm SRs, Eclairs, Aatons, and CP-16s lately?

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41 minutes ago, Brett Allbritton said:

I thought I'd revisit this because I've noticed that sync sound 16mm cameras seem to be becoming rarer on eBay these days. (Now I'm kicking myself for not taking the chance to snag the camera package that inspired me to start this topic!) 

Given the massive renewed interest in 16mm, I'd imagine that camera prices will be going up altogether. Does anybody have a feel for the going rates on regular 16mm SRs, Eclairs, Aatons, and CP-16s lately?

I think the prices of the SRs and Aatons will continue to rise whereas the prices of the Eclairs will remain approximately the same (they are already close to their max value at the moment I believe) .  

The prices of the CP16s will probably be really case by case because the supply of working cameras will diminish very soon and after that the only option to obtain a working CP16 would to purchase a non working one, get it CLAd , possibly PL modified and after that replacing all the original electronics with my crystal sync update making the camera working again that way. Because of the replacement process the use of CP16s would need additional steps compared to other cameras which most of the customers are not ready for (most of the people want a fully working camera out of the box with original electronics and without any cla or conversion needs) . I would expect the prices of the CP6Rs in working condition with basic cla, without lens to remain at about 2000 to 3000usd range (either with the working original electronics making the initial camera body more pricey, OR with broken original electronics and thus cheaper camera body but needing to order the new electronics for it from me and install them which causes lots of costs and thus negates the price difference between working and non working original electronics)

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