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Boris Belay

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Posts posted by Boris Belay

  1. Hello Marko,  I just saw this thread...  Nice lens indeed ! Funny you should have had it bundled with an Arri camera when a CA lens can't even be adapted to an Arri camera (while the reverse its possible).

    I have an unmarked Kinoptik lens which I believe is similar to yours (it's unmarked) and I was wondering whether you still had yours because I would like to compare the size of the front and back lens.

    Would you have a moment to measure them for me ?

    Thanks !


  2. Hello Amaury,


    I don't have the exact mesurements at hand right now, but the NPR/Coutant is quite a beast, especially with that motor (there is a later Aaton-built motor that is quite a bit shorter). Off the top of my head, I vould say the camera is at least 50 cm tall, maybe 60.


    The next issue is weather that tripod system would hold the weight of the camera properly...


    By the way, I'm in Brussels and I repair Eclair cameras, so don't hesitate to let me know if you'd like to drop in for a chat.





  3. Hi Gregg,


    Sorry for the late answer but the answer is yes, and no ;-)


    Yes, there is, you can see it in your VF if it has a lightmeter built-in : it's the center circle that is slightly yellowish, or at least darker. That is where some of the GG light is diverted to the lightmeter cell.


    So, yes, there is some light loss, as you can see, but only in that center spot.


    Removing the Lightmetering system does not help, since the center spot pellicle is built into the GG and prism optical block. Not sure why sme technicians remove it for S-16 conversion, it's not necessary and it's a pretty useful feature of the camera. Some ACLs never had it, by the way, it was a factory option. I have one of the last ACL II and it didn't have a lightmeter built in (so no center spot either).


    And yes, you are right, the lightmeter is described in detail, with schema, in the mid-70's user manual (the one that most people have).




  4. I just bought a used Eclair NPR, as a B-cam for one I already own, in preparation for a documentary shoot later this year. the b-cam runs a tad noisier, and vibrates slightly, which tells me it may be due for some servicing.


    Being that it's a B-cam, and considering I don't have a ton of money on hand just now to ship it off to a pro, I thought it might be a good opportunity for me to gain a greater understanding of how my camera works, and I'm interested in taking a crack at doing some work on it myself.


    Anyone have experience at this, working on a disassembled NPR? Any recommendations, suggestions or warnings? Are there available servicing manuals that might help educate and guide me in this process?





    Hi Brian,


    I'm pretty sure that there is a NPR Spare Parts manual floating on eBay at the moment. This is just about all you are likely to find as technical documentation on that camera (as far as I know, but I have looked for 7 or 8 years now). I recommend you get this first, study it, and then make up your mind as far as how much you want to get into the internals of the camera.


    Some parts are easily taken off, like the motor assembly (meant to be swappable in the field), so that may be a first step. Obviously, you'd want to be confident about your mechanical skills before anything else.


    In case you do want to get in there, my first recommendation is to get good tools, and in particular a very good set of fine to medium straight screwdrivers. Most Eclair screws have a very narrow head slot, and since the camera is old, it is easy to destroy those heads and leave you with a screw stuck in place if you don't have a screwdriver of the right size and in good shape. Eclair made their own screws, so don't expect to easily find replacements.




  5. Hi Giorgio, Just a few prototypes... They were shown at Photokina 1982. I have actually seen one ;-)


    As for the value of the camera, very hard to tell (too few built, unknown real-world operatability,...), not to mention the upheavals in the 16mm market today !


    Ciao, Boris

  6. The "cat-on-shoulder" marketing claim is really steeped in history, and comes from a time when shoulder designs were still rare as 16mm cameras where mostly handheld in front of the operator, 1950s-style. Think: Arriflex 16 St or 16 BL (Tim is the master of 16 S knowledge B) ).


    The comparisons made by others here with flatbase cameras like the Arriflex 16 SR-series is spot-on in terms of the "comfort" camera operators can now benefit from thanks to "cat-on-shoulder", but actually it's a bit of an anachronistic comparison because the SR was presented in 1975, years after Jean-Pierre Beauviala had presented/launched the Aaton 7 back in 1971/3.


    In fact, André Coutant's Eclair 16 NPR of 1963 was the first shoulder-design camera, and the much-delayed Eclair ACL - already designed by Jean-Pierre Beauviala - developed this form factor further into what Aäton now basically markets as "cat-on-shoulder" ergonomics. The ACL is basically the sketch from which JPB created the Aaton 7 and laid the foundation for his own company.


    In a way, even after "cat-on-shoulder" was established as the preferred form factor for film-based newsgathering cameras by the mid-1970s, ARRI still had the boldness to bring their own very unergonomic design to market that they only ditched with the 416 roughly three decades later :huh: .


    Personally, I think the Aatons are still the best cameras to have on your shoulder for any longer time, and the most ergonomic ones to operate. Better than the ACL or similar cameras like the CP 16, News 16 or even the 416. The only camera coming close to the Aatons is in my view the Bolex 16 Pro, a camera introduced in 1970 ahead of the ACL and Aaton which few people know.


    Sorry for this rant, people, but I can't let so many errors in so few paragraphs go unchecked -- ciinematography.com will only remain a bit authoritative if we don't let 'anything go' with respect to information, albeit historical (but perhaps historically accurate information and the perspective that comes from it is the thing we need most in the face of the ongoing technological upheaval in the field of image production...). So here goes :


    'The cat on the shoulder' marketing claim was actually Aaton's very own, dating to the mid 70's, by which time many camera designs were shoulder-held. I was meant to advertise a better, more ergonomic design, not just any shoulder-holding (and the target was probably more Eclair than Arri in that respect : Eclair does it well, we do it better!)


    The Eclair 16 was by no means the first shoulder-held camera : just think of Eclair's own 1947 design, the Caméflex


    Jean-Pierre Beauviala had nothing to do with the design of the Eclair ACL, which was designed by Coma and Lecœur.


    The ACL was not 'much delayed'. In fact, it's the Aaton 7 that was 'much delayed', and I'm pretty sure (although I'm ready to be corrected on that), date-wise, it was more like 'announce and '73 and produced in '75), making it a contemporary of the Arri SR.


    And to give back Beauviala his due, if the ACL was not his 'sketch' for the Aaton 7, he certainly looked at it closely and had one briliant idea to improved on its ergonomics : to move the viewfinder in front of the camera (rather than on its side as on the ACL and many previous designs), so that the body of the camera could be moved back and better balanced, weight-wise, on the shoulder -- that's the genius behind the cat on the shoulder ergonomics of Aaton cameras. Paradoxically, it's also what nearly brought Aaaton's demise when, after much delay, the Aaton 7 was released in the same time frame as the Arri SR (which also has that forward V-F design)and Arri decided to sue Aaton on patent infringement. Putting its great financial weight behind the legal procedure, Arri did bring Aaton to its knees, but Beauviala is also an astute entrepreneur and managed to get his company back on its feet after only a short while.


    Voilà, end of my rant. But please, Michael, check your facts before posting, next time.






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  7. HI, Yes, that looks like a decent battery. At 12Ah, it should last for quite a while -- more than you're likely to ever use on any single day's shoot.


    Basically, all you need is a Lead Acid 12V. battery of 4Ah or more and a power cord terminated by an XLR-4 female connector (pin 1 is ground, pin 4 is 12V.). Lead acid batteries are cheap and solid, and they come in many sizes (and amperage). THey are the same that are used in cars, but smaller -- often used in R-C model airplanes, cars; etc.


    Best, B.

  8. Ciao Giorgio,


    To me, this camera looks like a 1976/1977 model that had an ACL II base added later. Everything coresponds to the late 70's model : motor, viewfinder, small details on the body... Also, the ergonomic handgrip and its attachment on the body are not standard, so they were also probably added later.


    Look at all the info that I put on eclair16.com to help with the dating of these cameras, and a lot more info too. Regarding the viewfinder, yes it is removable easily. But yes, if you want to trade it for another kind of ACL viewfinder; you have to have the matching mount. If you do, it's easy, as it's only attached with two screws.


    CIao, Boris

  9. After you read the ACL II literature carefully, you get this info:




    The ACL II's patented universal lens mount system consists

    of a threaded "C" mount receptacle (mechanical back focal

    distance of 17.52mm) set flush into the camera body face,

    surrounded by a collar of raised threads of larger diameter.

    Camera mounts with a stainless steel collar can quickly be

    locked into position on the raised threads. You can use any of

    the well-known professional lenses with accessory camera

    mounts that fit the raised threads. Including, of course, the

    heavy-duty Eclair CA-1 bayonet lens mount, (mechanical

    back focal distance of 48mm) which is supplied standard with

    the camera.

    These are no mere adaptors. Lenses are rigidly and precisely

    held against the camera face. So you can use zooms, or

    other long or heavy lenses without any other lens supports.

    A slot for gelatine filters is set into the camera body between

    the lens mount and the reflex mirror. So there is no need for

    separate filters for each lens, and you can see the filter through

    the viewfinder.

    So, I understand from this statement, the support is only needed when the lenses are threaded on the C-mount.


    Hi Erkan,


    That's on principle... Bu the Ange 12-240 is truly a heavy lens. I think I would use a lens support with it myself.


    I have a couple of custom made models I picked up with ACL kits. If interested, send me an email at bobolex@gmail.com


    Best to you in lovely Instanbul ;-)


  10. Is it possible to take a 100' roll of film out of the Eclair NPR magazine? I loaded the film into the mag, found out I could not shoot that night due to a lens issue, and now there is a 100' daylight spool of b&w film in the magazine. How do I take it out?




    Yes, you can... In a black bag, of course.


    Either unthread the begining of the film and spool it back onto its daylight spool, or cut the film where it enters the light chamber on the spooling side (you will lost a couple of feet, but it's simpler -- just don't forget to put scissors into your changing bag !).




  11. The magazine test stock was old Ferania with sound stripe. Replacing that with some 1995 Kodak neg the problem dissapeared. I can't explain that. I have two 400' magazines here that look like they did a lot of work early in life and had frequent service. Maybe the "shoes" to drive sprocket alignment is affected by that. The steps for the screw heads are a bit worn.





    Hi Gregg,


    That Ferania stock was probably too old and became too stiff to move through the mag properly. Not to mention it's Italian mad ;-)


    No seriously, old stock is always more rigid than fresh stock, more noisy, etc. I've never tested any sound-stripped stock, but it may even add to the problem.


    Time to test all of these mags with fresh film ! THe best would be to spool 200 or 400 ft on a large daylight spool (do you have one?) and test all the mags with the same roll (filming a board with the mag serial number at the beg. of each take, to keep track of which is which). You definitely don't need to shoot 100ft per mag to test them.


    But do take them out into the sunlight light (I know it's winter in NZ, but hopefully you still get more sun than we do in dreadful Belgian Summer...) and test for real-world light leaks.


    How are the mag-nose rubber seals, by the way ? I have to look for a good source of them, since these old mags are usually in sore need of new seals.




  12. Hey Daniel,

    My rotation to lock is about from 12 noon 'till 1 oclock if it's lucky. Maybe 20 degrees. I think there may be a bur on the edge of the chanel that the little Arri B wing fits into.





    Hi Gregg,

    These adapters were designed for the NPR and the Caméflex, which didn't have the optional mounts of the ACL. They're not as good, but should be fine nevertheless.


    Check the mating surfaces on the lens seat and on the adapter front : that's what's critical for FFD.


    As for the lens seating, if it's tight, with no play, you're good.


    If you only have one Arri B mount, you could also leave the adapter on the lend (some have set screws in them to fasten them to the Arri B mount) ans treat the lens as a CA mount lens.




  13. Hello to all,


    I am new to this forum and hoping that my question will be considered for reply by those who are much more knowledgeable than I am at this juncture.


    I would like to buy the Kern Macro Switar 26mm f1.1 RX C-mount Lens to use with the Super 16 format.


    I have read so many posts discussing the importance of getting a Switar with "preset" and RX to properly cover the Super 16 format.


    Could someone please take a moment to educate me and those who may also wish to know? I am happy with being pointed to urls for better learning if that is preferred, but would also love to hear experiences in using Switar lenses with the Super 16 format and to address if "preset" lenses are required, etc.


    Again, I value being able to post here and bow profusely to those who are already int he know and would be happy to share their wisdom to a fellow visual storyteller.


    Thank you!




    So much confusing information guys !


    The simple answer is : ALL Macro-Switar 26/1,1 lenses have a preset aperture design AND are RX specified.


    And they are great lenses that do cover the Super 16 frame.


    Voilà !




  14. . . . and yet the 10mm lens focuses properly at infinity when its scale is set to infinity. It's only when the Aspheron is added that there's a problem.


    Because of the large depth of field on a wide angle like the 10mm, it's best to check the focus at closer distances too, like 20 or 30 cm. This will tell you whether your distance scale is accurate.

  15. Hi Richard, The Vario-Switar 100 POE has a constant aperture (max f : 1,9), which means there is no light loss whether zoomed in or out (one of the design features of a lot of cinema zoom lenses over cheaper photo lenses).


    If anything, you may want to expose your film 1/2 of an f stop slower to compensate for light loss of the optical elements (for some reason Kern does not give T stops which account for that) and for the ageing of the lens. Film will be able to handle this very slight over exposure in any case.

  16. Thanks Jean-Louis.

    I should also add that you should be thinking not twice but three times before removing the prism from the mechanism plate, or even just loosening its screws. the ground glass is glued to it, so that is where the viewfinder image is formed. In other words, if it's not placed within extremely stringent measurements, the viewfinder image will be off and most of your shots will be out of focus.

    The idea to mark its position on the mechanism plate before loosening it may seem good, but without a lot of further testing with film afterwards, you're likely to be just off for those difficult low light shots at wide opening (and shallow depth of field), whereas all looked good ad wider opening or with wide angle lenses... Tinkerers, beware !

    The point is not to scare film-makers from touching their gear and to say that only factory-trained technicians should open up a camera (in fact, nobody has been trained by Eclair for at least 25 years, when the company closed), but to realise that if you decide to do any service by yourself, you should be well informed, well equipped, and well endowed (I mean : with a steady hand, a good head, and a lot of patience, of course!), and you should be very critical with your own work and test, test, test before shooting anything important.

    In fact, it's by opening an ACL that you realize the engineering genius that went into designing such a small camera 40 years ago. It's not just that the rotating mirror was replaced with the ACL's swinging arm mechanism (making for a smaller overall size), but also that the whole mechanism of the camera fits on that single mechanism plate : motor shaft, claw mechanism, shutter and drive, spindle mirror, viewing prism and ground glass, magazine drive shaft, and of course, the picture gate -- in other words, the whole heart of the camera (and that's why you need to proceed with more caution than Tony shows in this video when you work on that incredible mechanism plate...).

    An amazing camera indeed -- love it, open it, but don't botch it !

  17. Hey guys, watch this video for your entertainment, but proceed with caution... Tony seems to have started 'servicing' ACLs last year and he hasn't bothered to look around for serious information about the cameras...

    Several things are downright wrong in what he says, like : a) a shorted bloop light would not cause flicker, it would burn out the film continuously ; B) you don't set the timing on the camera from the rear drive axle, because you need to see precisely where the shutter is with respect to both the claw and the mirror, instead, you do so by loosening the shutter (without removing the set screws completely) ; c) you don't need to remove the filter or filter holder to remove the main mechanism plate, and in fact, you don't even need to remove the motor if you're careful and you know what you're doing....

    Also, you can tell he's not serious about servicing cameras just by looking at the workbench and the tools he uses. I'm not being pedantic, it's extremely important since Eclair screws are very special, with a specific pitch, so you don't want to use crappy tools and break the screw head. If you're going to open an Eclair camera, start by going to the tool shop and buying a set of good quality screwdrivers (flat ones, Eclair didn't use Philips screws) in all the sizes beginning with 1.5mm.

    And many things about the explanations are just not clear or downright misleading. The ACL he is opening up is not a regular model. Many things have been modified, including an important fact : once you have removed the two bits of back covering, there is normaly yet one more screw that holds the mechanism plate to the body. This is important, since you should be able to run the camera without its back covers when you service it, so that plate has to be set firmly into the body.

    And what about the claims that 99% of rattling noises on ACLs come from a bent shutter ; that the best motor for the ACL is the CP model ; that an ACL is not made to run over 25 fps -- come on !

    I could go on to mention another number of approximations and confusions, but the point is : before you post a video or some other bit of information about something as specific (and more importantly, as dear to their owners) as a 16mm movie camera, please, please do your homework !

    Some of us spend years just gathering up original technical information to make it available on sites like eclair16.com (I wrote a history of the evolution of the ACL on the site, just to debunk all the wrong information that was floating around the internet thanks to overnight 'specialists'), so it's really annoying to see all that work being undone by another guy's desire to be the next Eclair technician in Hollywood, now that the people with proper training are disappearing.

    And I'm not saying that just because I'm a snotty French ;-)

  18. Hi again Gregg,


    I do have the British maintenance manual ;-)


    PM me and I will see if I have waht you need. But basically, figuring out these mags is straightforward enough if you're mechanically minded.




  19. Hi Evan,


    The HD motor should work on the ACL I, all you need is the large mounting plate. You will not get automatic mirror parking (even if it's an HD motor that has that function) since that's part of the electronics in the base, but the motor should run fine.


    Don't pay an arm and a leg for the large mounting plate, I probably have a couple laying around that I could sell for not much if necessary.


    Enjoy your camera !


  20. Hi again, Gregg,


    I would go with an Aaton or Arri one, because of the optical quality, but above all because these extensions basically all do the same (optically deport a focus point a given distance), so you don't need to reinvent the wheel. The only thing you'd have to worry about is modifying the end of the Kinoptik VF (removing the eyepiece holder, including the iris that closes it) as well as the mounting on whichever extension you opt for.


    Easier said than done, but at least the difficult (optical) part of the job is done for you ;-)


    Cheers, B.

  21. Hi Gregg,


    As far as I know, Clive Tobin did not adapt his Milliframe controler to the ACL II's outboard synch circuit. His short-lived ACL motor does accept the Milliframe, though. But it's a very rare item and not a very ergonomic design.


    So basically, the only accessory that works with an unmodified ACL II (with its MIPIL pilotable motor) is the extremely rare Eclair BOTEX accessory, which synchronizes the phase of a video signal to the motor's electronics to avoid the roll bar effect. (If anyone is interested, I know where to locate one, btw).


    On the other hand, AZ Spectrum does offer a modification of the ACL II (and maybe some earlier versions of the camera) so that it accepts the whole set of Arri outboard control accessories (those made for the 70's and 80's Arri cameras with Fischer 11 pin plug input). I have tried one of these modifications, and I can attest that it's quite functional : the speed variator works even for ramping speed while filming, the 3-digit precision speed controler also works. It's not a cheap modification, but it truly modernizes the camera.


    Cheers, B.

    Does anyone know if any of the Tobin Milliframe Controllers can controlll frame rates on an ACL II with Thomson crystal controlled variable speed motor. The camera base has a six pin socket on the right hand side that is supposed to be for "external control"


    Thanks for any ideas.





  22. Hi Guillaume,


    Indeed, it could be a battery problem, or a film-loading problem, or also a problem with old stock (the film was not stored properly and is sticky, for example)... So test with a fresh battery and with fresh film.


    If the problem continues and you are not confident about opening up the camera, send me a message and we can talk about it. I'm not far from Paris : Bruxelles.




  23. Hi Alain, I don't know who he is either, but I can tell you that that page on eclair16.com was culled from the old Eclair Super-16 website and not checked over. A number of techies on there are now retired or have moved on.


    I've helped with the site before... maybe I should get back to it ! ;-)




    Who is August Loessberg?


    He is listed on the Eclair 16mm Community site - http://eclair16.com/resources/


    Not certain who he is or what services he provides?




  24. Hi Gregg,


    The quick answer to that question is that most adapters to mount Arri Bayo lenses don't accept Arri St lenses, but a few do... Mostly Eclair TS mounts for Arri St lenses that were later adapted to also mount Arri B lenses.


    So, most likely, you will have to get both kinds (Arri St and Arri Bayo), unless a technician like Les Boscher builds one that does both for you.


    The good news is that the ACL's mounting system is so flexible that you have 3 ways to mount Arri (St or Bayo) lenses on your camera :


    1. a C-mount to Arri adapter (cheapest, least sturdy/precise), most likely only made for Arri St


    2. a CA-mount to Arri lens adapter that fits into the ACL's CA adapter (quite sturdy, but multiplying adapters is not the best idea in terms of accurate flange depth), which were made for either Arri St or Arri Bayo. Look for the copper version of these for an ACL. Don't get the black anodized kind : they do not fit into the ACL CA adpater (or check with the seller that it does), as they were designed for the NPR and Cameflex native CA mount, which is deeper than the ACL's. (As a matter of fact, be aware that not all CA lenses fit into the ACL CA adapter for the same reason!)


    3. A proper TS (ACL adapter thread mount) to Arri adapter : the sturdiest and most precise option. Again, most are for either one Arri lens type or the other, but a few are for both.


    As for the mounting principle, as far as I can tell, all Arri Bayo adapters work on the principle of friction... which is the principle behind bayonette mounts, no?





    Do the ACL/Arri B adaptors normally have locks for the bayonet(s) that will also lock a standard mount lens (like the locks on an SR camera) or do you need a separate adaptor for Arri S lenses? If there are no locks (some photos look like that may be the case) how is the lens held in, friction?


    Does anyone have any lens adaptors they want to sell?


    ACL/Arri B

    ACL/Arri S (assuming the Arri B adaptor can't lock a standard mount lens).







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