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Converted Arriflex ST Super 16mm by ARRI - they exist!


Uli Meyer
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A few weeks ago I got in touch with an 88 year old German cinematographer who ran a one man laboratory for 16mm film. He told me he had and Arriflex BL Super 16 which is not a third party conversion but was produced by Arri in the late sixties. The format wasn't very popular at that time and Arri only made about 25 of them. The BL cameras are heavy beasts and since I've been looking for a Super 16 camera that you can carry around with you on walks, I figured that maybe Arri also made an Arriflex ST Super 16 version. And guess what, they did. Again, only about 25 were made. I contacted one of the old Arri technicians and he confirmed the location of one of those cameras. It is on its way to me and as soon as it arrives I will update this post for anyone who is interested. Below a photo of the old beauty, you can see the serial number 25.

Arri ST.jpg

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4 hours ago, Uli Meyer said:

I've been looking for a Super 16 camera that you can carry around with you on walks

So Arriflex ST with a 400ft mag it is? 😅 Phew, even a later model (1.5) Eclair ACL with 400ft mag feels a bit too big for me to carry around on walks! - but then again, I have always neglected doing muscle training! 😁

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4 minutes ago, Heikki Repo said:

So Arriflex ST with a 400ft mag it is? 😅 Phew, even a later model (1.5) Eclair ACL with 400ft mag feels a bit too big for me to carry around on walks! - but then again, I have always neglected doing muscle training! 😁

Not with the 400ft mag, no way. Just a 100ft daylight spool and a few spares in the bag. 

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1 hour ago, Duncan Brown said:

Fascinating!  Where have these been hiding all this time?!  But they must have been made in the70s?

https://www.fdtimes.com/2009/08/20/the-early-years-of-super-16-and-how-it-all-started/

Duncan

Thank you for the link, Duncan. You're probably right, I'm curious about the timeline. Arri built the first SR cameras in 1975 so I would think that those BL and ST Super 16 versions must have been made early 70s. I can't find anything online, except there was a thread on this forum about the existence of Super 16 BLs straight from Arri:

 

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7 minutes ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Nice find, Uli! Enjoy your new "beast".

I passed on the "beast", the BL is just too heavy to carry around. I bought the Super 16 ST instead. Anyone interested in the Super 16 BL, I can put you in touch with the man who is selling his. It is in incredible condition and looks almost new.

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7 hours ago, Uli Meyer said:

Thank you for the link, Duncan. You're probably right, I'm curious about the timeline. Arri built the first SR cameras in 1975 so I would think that those BL and ST Super 16 versions must have been made early 70s. I can't find anything online, except there was a thread on this forum about the existence of Super 16 BLs straight from Arri:

 

Too bad he never posted a picture!  I look forward to more pictures of yours once you get it in your hands.  I assume it's a single fixed lens mount, not a turret?  Which mount it has might be another clue to the date it was made.

Duncan

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3 minutes ago, Duncan Brown said:

Too bad he never posted a picture!  I look forward to more pictures of yours once you get it in your hands.  I assume it's a single fixed lens mount, not a turret?  Which mount it has might be another clue to the date it was made.

Duncan

It's a turret with a bayonet mount and 2 Standard mounts.

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9 minutes ago, Uli Meyer said:

It's a turret with a bayonet mount and 2 Standard mounts.

Oh!  Then just the standard setup for that era.  Everyone always (rightly, I think) says how hard that would be to recenter that setup for Super 16.  Though I guess if you're Arri maybe you just re-engineer it for the new center position and crank out 25 of them?

Duncan

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25 minutes ago, Duncan Brown said:

Oh!  Then just the standard setup for that era.  Everyone always (rightly, I think) says how hard that would be to recenter that setup for Super 16.  Though I guess if you're Arri maybe you just re-engineer it for the new center position and crank out 25 of them?

Duncan

That's what I think they must have done. I'm also curious to see what they did with the mirror.

 

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2 hours ago, Ezra Bassin-Hill said:

Highly fascinating. 

 

i found someone to do this work now as custom  but I believe he is not in good enough health to accomplish  it now.

Hi Ezra, this is an ARRI made Super 16 ST. I'm not sure to what length they went to achieve this but I presume it must have been more than a conversion since they have their own serial numbers.

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We had a couple of ST cameras in the early 1980's at my University.  Of course they were standard gauge, but were the go-to camera when you wanted great images in the field!

Dragging the Mitchell 16 out of the studio was not only forbidden, but highly discouraged!  😉

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Update: The camera still hasn't arrived, it is stuck in Germany. Since the UK left the EU, sending goods can become problematic in certain cases. As agreed with the seller, I organized the pick up via a UK courier provider from a EU country to be sent to the UK. The paperwork the courier company supplied from the UK does not suffice since customs rules changed. Certain new mandatory papers are missing but nobody can tell me who is supposed to supply them, only that I can't. I'm curious to see how much worse the red tape will get once the new customs rules come into full force come January 2022. Only a year ago the camera would have been here the next day.

I am hopeful that this can be resolved soon and when the "alte Mühle" (old mill) finally arrives, I will post more photos and info.

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It is now eight days later and the camera has finally made it to the UK. It is has been sitting in customs for the past two days and according to the tracking info is awaiting further information from the recipient (me). Problem is, nobody has yet contacted me. I went to the distribution center and they couldn't help me but offered to send an email to wherever the camera is right now. I am hopeful that I can get it by the end of the week. Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving.

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6 hours ago, Duncan Brown said:

I'm guessing there's already a queue forming...

Duncan

I haven't received it yet! The cameras is still sitting in UK customs. I received a four page customs form to fill out to explain what it is. Since it is a vintage item, they don't know what fees to charge. I told them that I'm happy to pay full customs fees and VAT but please deliver the camera, but no, it is still sitting on a shelf somewhere. So much for less red tape after exiting the EU, hahaha.

I am hoping that the camera will get to me this week. I have no plans of selling it on, btw.

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19 hours ago, Duncan Brown said:

I'm guessing there's already a queue forming...

Duncan

hehehe

 

13 hours ago, Uli Meyer said:

I haven't received it yet! The cameras is still sitting in UK customs. I received a four page customs form to fill out to explain what it is. Since it is a vintage item, they don't know what fees to charge. I told them that I'm happy to pay full customs fees and VAT but please deliver the camera, but no, it is still sitting on a shelf somewhere. So much for less red tape after exiting the EU, hahaha.

I am hoping that the camera will get to me this week. I have no plans of selling it on, btw.

well that sucks! nah... enjoy it. I want a S16 cam again. I regret selling my Les Boscher converted Eclair NPR. That thing was a tank. 

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