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Quietest 16mm Cameras


Owen A. Davies
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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Most people with not much money to spend, aren't buying PL lenses FYI.

It's stupid easy to put a PL mount on an Aaton camera. The problem is finding them. 

I know all about PL lenses thanks, I just have someone who wants to PL mount their LTR and you suggested it was simple.

But if you can’t source a PL mount to hard front an LTR then it actually isn’t simple at all. I mean,  you need one with the right screw hole spacing (that also accurately centres the mount to the gate) and a spacer flat within a hundredth of a mm to bridge the 12mm difference in flange depth, right?

Do you know if you can use a PL mount from an Arriflex? Or from an Eclair adapter? Where have you sourced PL mounts to do this conversion?

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5 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

It's very easy to damage film, which is the last thing a low budget filmmaker really wants sadly. 

I got my CP on May 15, 2021 and ran many many rolls through it since then, a lot hand processed film too -  and the camera never scratched film.

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1 hour ago, Robino Jones said:

I got my CP on May 15, 2021 and ran many many rolls through it since then, a lot hand processed film too -  and the camera never scratched film.

Hand processing scratches film in most cases anyway. 

I'm just saying, the likelihood is greater, that's all. 

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9 hours ago, Owen A. Davies said:

While I'm going to be looking in the under $10k price range, I'm absolutely aiming for cheaper. This isn't gonna be a professionally funded production by any stretch of the imagination, and my entire aim is to find quality for cheaper. I'm more than happy to use old tech that meets my requirements if it's a few thousand less expensive. Right now the three cameras that seem like my most probable options are the Eclair, CP16, or the Kinor. What are your issues with these cameras?

Quality varies unfortunately. Every camera can have a bad example, which leads you down a path of spending thousands to get running. The trick and this is something I talked about in my last video, is to buy from a user. Don't buy from someone who sells cameras, but someone who shoots with their cameras. The likelihood you have bad cap's, dry movement and screwed up optics, is much less if you focus buying from someone who has used it recently and kept it serviced. 

Honestly the ACL is a cool camera (if ya get one free)  but you need a later generation ACLII with the angenieux viewfinder, French mags and later gen motor, to even have a chance at owning something worth while. I've serviced A LOT of ACL's, they seem to grow on tree's here in So Cal for some reason. I like working on them because they're very simple and the direct drive mechanism, does lead to less maintenance needed. However, the viewfinder flicker, the attention to detail needed to get the mags perfectly loaded, the lack of high speed operation, the odd way it hand holds, how loud it is and of course, the fact people charge an arm and a leg for them with no modern battery solution or video tap, it kinda ruins the entire idea. They also have very little support state side, with little to no parts. Again, for free? Not a bad starter camera. For several thousand dollars? Expect to spend 2x that to get a working camera. I'd say $1000-1500 for a working ACLII, is worth it. 

The CP16R has a host of other issues. You'd need to find a very last generation camera with the folding door mag's. Those are nearly impossible to find. The electronics also suck horribly and sure, there is a full replacement kit coming soon, it still requires a tech to install properly and cost money to buy. The fact you have to thread the damn thing also sucks. You can't just quickly change mags to change stocks. You're stuck on that mag for the duration of your shoot. The viewfinder, battery system and weight, are all problems. There is also little to no support anymore, so finding lenses for their proprietary mount? Good luck. I'd say for a $1000 USD, a later gen CP16R is worth it.  

Stay away from the Russian cameras unless they're free. 

You can take my "opinion" with a grain of salt, but I'm not going to recommend any of these cameras. I've seen the heartache other people go through when they buy them and how they NEVER get used. My best CP16 client, who has 3 actually, he never uses his because they were such a pain to use. He eventually just bought an older LTR when they showed up. The majority of ACL's I service are from people who never use their cameras either. So would you spend more money for a camera that is a more modern system so you don't have to buy another camera 6 months later? 

 

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

The CP16R has a host of other issues. You'd need to find a very last generation camera with the folding door mag's. Those are nearly impossible to find. The electronics also suck horribly and sure, there is a full replacement kit coming soon, it still requires a tech to install properly and cost money to buy. The fact you have to thread the damn thing also sucks. You can't just quickly change mags to change stocks. You're stuck on that mag for the duration of your shoot. The viewfinder, battery system and weight, are all problems. There is also little to no support anymore, so finding lenses for their proprietary mount? Good luck. I'd say for a $1000 USD, a later gen CP16R is worth it.  

yes you can install it without being a technician. I have spent lots of time in the design process to ensure that the replacement system is easy enough to understand for a "normal person" to be able to install it easily. 

The drawback of making updates like this user installable is that it is more time consuming to design and manufacture them and one needs to have better manuals to explain in greater detail how they work. This makes them a bit more expensive than a "expert installed" system would be. I calculated that in the case of the CP16R 1-speed system (priced 400usd + shipping for single kit) one would save about 100usd if the system would be difficult-to-understand less-documented "expert installed" version. So the expert installed kit would have costed about 300usd + shipping per kit and the user installed version is 400usd+shipping per kit. 

That is not a large price difference and considering that shipping camera bodies tends to be expensive the user installed system is much cheaper in the end. 

The big idea when designing the system was that the camera body would be much cheaper if the original electronics would be broken and thus one would have lots of available resources to spend on replacement electronics and accessories and CLA. It would still be cheaper than purchasing a camera body with working original electronics and it would be more advanced than the original camera in some ways, like having the possibility to use dual power source and possibility to use external controller which has variable speed and tons of different crystal speeds (both not available in the original CP16 cameras). The modular design of the new electronics allows some user customisation and adding only the features you need to keep perfect price-performance ratio at all times. 

Lens mount is not an issue if you have adapters for it. For example the Arri bayonet zooms can be used with an adapter. I would not bother with finding the original mount lenses unless one already camera with the camera body because they tend to be rare and overpriced and if wanting to use a zoom one would get a similar arri mounted zoom more easily.

Changing the mags is more of a matter of how one uses the mechanical footage counter and how careful one is marking down the footage manually on the mags during the switches. 

I could relatively easily make a "moviecam-style" footage counter which is attached to the magazine itself and has a display which shows the available footage on the magazine. The electrical connection between the camera and mag would be most useful to make with a separate cable and connector because electrical connectors on the magazine mount would be a potential failure point and more difficult to repair than a cable.

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1 hour ago, Simon Wyss said:

Maybe too generalised a remark

I would love to see perfect hand processed film, without any damage, dirt, scratches of any kind. I understand the "aesthetic" of hand processing if you're going for that look, but I've scanned plenty of hand processed film and it's always damaged. Some of it, even our wet gate struggles to recover. 

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27 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

Changing the mags is more of a matter of how one uses the mechanical footage counter and how careful one is marking down the footage manually on the mags during the switches. 

It's still nothing like a magazine camera. 

When I had a CP16R and that was my only camera, I'd shoot daylight spools because we were always changing stocks too much. Unthreading and re-threading is a huge problem for town time. Plus for documentary work, it's a deal killer. You need to change stocks fast. 

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1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

It's still nothing like a magazine camera. 

When I had a CP16R and that was my only camera, I'd shoot daylight spools because we were always changing stocks too much. Unthreading and re-threading is a huge problem for town time. Plus for documentary work, it's a deal killer. You need to change stocks fast. 

the cp16r magazines are cheaper and lighter than quick-change mags which allows purchasing and carrying more of them on sets where they are needed (for example shooting lots of footage in short time studio-style).

for documentary stuff I can often manage with just 250d unless there is tons of tungsten light indoors and the colour cast would be an issue. switching from 250d to 500t on outdoor shoot is often not practical because the in-camera or post filtration eats up all the sensitivity difference between the stocks and the end result would be more grain with less than half stop of actual sensitivity benefit which could be better arranged using faster lenses in most situations. If two stocks can be used for documentary, I would use 50d and 250d or 50d and 500t depending on the actual colour balance on sets. This is so big of a difference that one can predict it beforehand and no need to switch stocks in the middle of the shoot. Just change it at the start of the day when knowing if you are going to have tons of sunlight or dim dusk or indoor shots and you will be fine

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7 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

the cp16r magazines are cheaper and lighter than quick-change mags which allows purchasing and carrying more of them on sets where they are needed (for example shooting lots of footage in short time studio-style).

But this isn't 1986, ya can't just buy a mag for any of these cameras very easily, especially the CP16R with the flappy doors. They are super rare. May take years to find one on eBay. 

Also, it's way faster to load an Aaton mag, than thread a CP16R. Once you get good, you can do the entire mag in the changing bag in 40 seconds or so. Most cameras come with more than 2 mags as well. With the older style gear drive, those mags are cheap to buy and are available on eBay almost all the time for the LTR. I could say the same thing for SR's, seemingly mags on eBay all the time and not very expensive either. 

Also in terms of film and switching mags, it's not even about the stock type, it can also be about having 100ft left, for a shot that maybe longer. On our last shoot in Colorado for instance, I had three mags loaded at all time. All the same stock, but we'd constantly hit situations where we'd have something longer to shoot, but only had a little bit of film left. There is no reason to cut the film and burn that SE later. You just quickly change mags, get the longer shot done and then put the mag with the SE back. It takes 5 seconds and honestly it's a deal killer for me, even on narrative. It's why I invested in a Aaton 35III, the ability to swap mags quickly to get a longer roll for that one long take and then put back the shorter roll immediately, is outstanding. 

- Ease of changing stock ISO 
- Ease of immediately adding more film without re-threading the camera. 
- Saving SE in the magazine, not having to unload. 
- Built-in counter system, no reason to find a sharpie and tape. 
- Way easier to thread, less dirt, less finger prints, etc. 
- The Coax quick change is also quieter on the Aaton and SR's. 

 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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18 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

I know all about PL lenses thanks, I just have someone who wants to PL mount their LTR and you suggested it was simple.

But if you can’t source a PL mount to hard front an LTR then it actually isn’t simple at all. I mean,  you need one with the right screw hole spacing (that also accurately centres the mount to the gate) and a spacer flat within a hundredth of a mm to bridge the 12mm difference in flange depth, right?

Do you know if you can use a PL mount from an Arriflex? Or from an Eclair adapter? Where have you sourced PL mounts to do this conversion?

Not entirely sure if your question was rhetorical, to make a point, that such a PL mount is indeed hard to source, but if you'd like to have a few manufactured at a local machine shop, I can measure the Aaton LTR hard front on our CMM and draw up a matching PL mount for it and send you the files in October.

aa.JPG.7a20545035e04dce369ddec7f959f96f.JPG

Edited by David Sekanina
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6 hours ago, David Sekanina said:

Not entirely sure if your question was rhetorical, to make a point, that such a PL mount is indeed hard to source, but if you'd like to have a few manufactured at a local machine shop, I can measure the Aaton LTR hard front on our CMM and draw up a matching PL mount for it and send you the files in October.

aa.JPG.7a20545035e04dce369ddec7f959f96f.JPG

Hi David,

Not a rhetorical question at all, I had a client ask about replacing their Aaton mount to PL recently. I don't work on too many Aatons, so I don't have much in the way of service literature or parts. 

I would be very grateful for that information, thanks. 

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On 8/25/2022 at 4:24 AM, Tyler Purcell said:

But this isn't 1986, ya can't just buy a mag for any of these cameras very easily, especially the CP16R with the flappy doors. They are super rare. May take years to find one on eBay. .....

You are so full of s..t Tyler.  

It took me 2 minutes to find a CP-16 mag on eBay, flap doors, USD70 buy now, San Diego CA, slightly spotty seller (98.4% positive)

The same chap is selling a CP-16 camera USD1000 buy now.

The links were pasting in full, so just search "Cinema Products".

My instincts would be to buy that one and have it CLAd/ overhauled.

Adding later...I'm not that familiar with the CP lens port, and I don't know if I recognise the one in the pics on eBay. Maybe Robino or Dom will know.

Gregg.

 

Edited by Gregg MacPherson
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1 hour ago, Gregg MacPherson said:

Adding later...I'm not that familiar with the CP lens port, and I don't know if I recognise the one in the pics on eBay. Maybe Robino or Dom will know.

 

the one on ebay is the CP16 model which is non reflex. It seems to have the back part ("intermediate mount") of the zoom lens still attached and thus it looks so weird. Angenieux dogleg lenses use those silver coloured intermediate parts though in this case the intermediate adapter is drilled to mount it better to the cp16. Someone seemingly has sold the lens but forgot to take the back part off of the camera and it is still attached to it 😄

the lens itself is attached to that intermediate mount part by using the large outer thread on the front end of the mount. The mount is attached to the camera by fastening the small slotted screw-on holder (the small-ish slotted hollow metal part at the center of the intermediate mount through which you can see the insides of the camera) to the actual lens mount of the camera and in this case with some additional screws to prevent the intermediate mount from rotating when attached to the camera.

but yes that silver part is usually meant to be the back part of the lens and those often sold together. Someone has a unusable Angenieux zoom now they don't know how to get working unless of course having a cp16 camera which already has that mount part in place or a different similar back part available with another camera mount 😄

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15 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

the one on ebay is the CP16 model which is non reflex. It seems to have the back part ("intermediate mount") of the zoom lens still attached and thus it looks so weird. Angenieux dogleg lenses use those silver coloured intermediate parts though in this case the intermediate adapter is drilled to mount it better to the cp16. Someone seemingly has sold the lens but forgot to take the back part off of the camera and it is still attached to it 😄

the lens itself is attached to that intermediate mount part by using the large outer thread on the front end of the mount. The mount is attached to the camera by fastening the small slotted screw-on holder (the small-ish slotted hollow metal part at the center of the intermediate mount through which you can see the insides of the camera) to the actual lens mount of the camera and in this case with some additional screws to prevent the intermediate mount from rotating when attached to the camera.

but yes that silver part is usually meant to be the back part of the lens and those often sold together. Someone has a unusable Angenieux zoom now they don't know how to get working unless of course having a cp16 camera which already has that mount part in place or a different similar back part available with another camera mount 😄

this Angenieux dogleg zoom lens (which does not have the silver intermediate mount) would most likely fit to that cp16 camera's mount

https://www.ebay.com/itm/334459869575?hash=item4ddf5c9987:g:TbcAAOSwt6tilmFf&amdata=enc%3AAQAHAAAAsHPKmQfhmI73Vu7Dp9DKzCk3xVRlbVj3z8f3tAYR9GRFs8Jk2ymPN2uFOJBDUAu4wKaRSfxw%2Bev2goFn2IyT27M3ZuiCFI9BejZSud1guJ32k3NE5BVPq%2BR78lAuW%2Bsex9%2BXMRStn9fLG9io9xty28W%2FuGJhRJjX6XeewkIlkR3W98%2F3dAXVPhj%2FAsT422%2FsZ%2F1%2BoBLTifLWUGh45EIXGsnz6JVagInpTMugsPc3ykc8|tkp%3ABk9SR4z8yfbaYA

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I would avoid the non-reflex model too... unless it is very cheap like way under 400usd, works and has a free zoom lens on it 😄 

In most cases people would only use one zoom anyway with these CP16 / R cameras unless changing the lens mount on the camera or adapting a lens kit to cp mount. The original CP mount prime lenses were sold out many years ago and would be ridiculously expensive even if managing to find one. So generally speaking, only zoom lenses are possible with these cameras unless the lens mount is changed to a different one.

Personally I would just get the reflex model (CP16R) if wanting to use a CP camera and then use a Arri Bayonet or Arri Standard adapter to mount the more common Arri mounted lenses on it. That combo would have the best price-performance ratio and it would not take years to find a suitable lens for it 🙂

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4 hours ago, Gregg MacPherson said:

You are so full of s..t Tyler.

I'm sorry, but I never even thought someone would advertise the model number of a magazine and not the camera it goes to. So please there is no reason to be a dick because I didn't even contemplate searching for "cinema products" on eBay. I don't want a cinema products, I want a CP16 magazine. No wonder the ones he did sell went for peanuts, nobody knew how to find them. 

Also that camera is a train wreck. 

4 hours ago, Gregg MacPherson said:

Adding later...I'm not that familiar with the CP lens port, and I don't know if I recognise the one in the pics on eBay. Maybe Robino or Dom will know.

The American Cinematographer manual calls it a "C" mount. 

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

I think Aapo has it sussed. That lens port is not a C mount. It may be fitted into the C mount.  It's designed to receive a dog leg zoom with a special mount. Aapo linked to one on eBay. 

It's a non-threaded C mount. 

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6 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

It's a non-threaded C mount. 

Heh, that would just be a hole! 

No, I’m pretty sure Aapo has it right, that type of dog leg zoom uses a C mount cup adapter that screws into the camera mount, and then the zoom locks in to that with a secondary lock ring. 

1EA775BF-468D-4768-845F-F815D4B8D69B.jpeg.f6482adf1d5dc7989c28126dd1c2a882.jpeg

A lot of dog leg zooms on eBay are missing that bit.

 

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1 hour ago, Dom Jaeger said:

Heh, that would just be a hole! 

No, I’m pretty sure Aapo has it right, that type of dog leg zoom uses a C mount cup adapter that screws into the camera mount, and then the zoom locks in to that with a secondary lock ring. 

1EA775BF-468D-4768-845F-F815D4B8D69B.jpeg.f6482adf1d5dc7989c28126dd1c2a882.jpeg

A lot of dog leg zooms on eBay are missing that bit.

 

So what you see on the listing are the slots for screwing the C-mount male thread unit into the cup?

Edited by Mark Dunn
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56 minutes ago, Mark Dunn said:

So what you see on the listing are the slots for screwing the C-mount male thread unit into the cup?

Yes. 

There are some terrific threads on cinematography.com about using non-reflex CP-16s and their dog leg zooms:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/forums/topic/87065-what-the-heck-is-this-angenieux-zoom-mount/

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/forums/topic/86206-reflections-on-shooting-on-16mm-with-the-cp-16a-for-the-first-time/

Here’s a CP brochure describing the CP-16 and CP16A, including the C mount cup adapter for reflex zooms:

https://www.pacificrimcamera.com/rl/00925/00925.pdf

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