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Oliver Christoph Kochs

A-Minima technical questions

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Hello fellow Filmmakers and A-Minima users,

 

i have a shoot coming where i am going to use the A-Minima.

The camera was sponsored for this shoot. After the shooting is done i will write an article for a german magazine

that will cover the usage of the camera within our production as a part of the sponsoring deal.

This article covers some of the technical aspects of the camera i have a lack of information on, mainly this:

Manual states (citation):

"DistantEye viewfinder “Aaton patent”; the only reflex camera which doesn't fog the film if your eye is not held against the camera rubber eyecup."

How is this done? I assume it`s some kind of a light trap or prism system, just can't find any info about it.

Manual states (citation):

"200' quick change magazines, 'B' wound rolls in Aaton's flexible daylight spools"

I know that the film needs to be A-wind. Is that a typo in the manual?

Why was the standard B-wind changed for the Minima?

 

I also heard the rumour that the gate is virtually scratch-free. How is that done?

If you know, please invest a minute of your precious time and enlighten me.

Thanx and have a beautiful day. Oliver

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The A Minima by design, needs the B winding as mentioned in the magazine on 200' "daylight spools," which are special order. Not all Kodak stocks, I don't think, are offered for the A Minima and I have no idea about Fuji. A call to either will give you more information as to the emulsions you can work with.

The viewfinder system, though i'm not 100% sure on this, requires pressure from your eye to open up and let you see through it. A call to either Aaton or an Aaton dealer/service provider. will answer your questions properly.

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"DistantEye viewfinder “Aaton patent”; the only reflex camera which doesn't fog the film if your eye is not held against the camera rubber eyecup."

How is this done? I assume it`s some kind of a light trap or prism system, just can't find any info about it.

 

 

I'm not sure exactly how the Aaton version works, but both Arri and Bolex (for the Pro) have a mechanism where the eyecup requires pressure to open an aperture in the eyepiece. Once you remove your eye the aperture closes.

 

 

I also heard the rumour that the gate is virtually scratch-free. How is that done?

 

 

Regular cleaning? :)

 

I would hope that every professional film camera gate is "virtually scratch-free"!

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I'm not sure exactly how the Aaton version works, but both Arri and Bolex (for the Pro) have a mechanism where the eyecup requires pressure to open an aperture in the eyepiece. Once you remove your eye the aperture closes.

 

 

 

It's not like that, there is no cover that closes, it just works!

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It's not like that, there is no cover that closes, it just works!

That of course is correct. No pressure necessary, can be viewed from a distance (thats why its called a "Distant VF" but how is it done? Prism, light trap...?

The Wiki Article states that it uses A wound film. The special order rolls are emulsion out but the manual states b-wind which would be emulsion in.

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Kodak is the only one who supplies the proper wound 200 foot loads, http://motion.kodak.com/US/en/motion/Products/Production/Aaton_AMinima_Camera_Films/index.htm

 

However, I have read here on cinematography.com that people have successfully loaded fuji stock into the mags. Also, Kodak now offers more stocks for the A minima, including both black and white stocks.

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If you want to make the rest of your life seem bright and exciting, rewind film onto a-minima daylight spools yourself. To put it simply, it's a miserable job.

 

The eyecup doesn't have a mechanical closure. It's something akin to a lens that portholes very badly. Your eye has to be in just the right place for you to see an image. This means that if a light is in just the right place and your head isn't, it will stills fog film. I would treat it like any other viewfinder.

 

I find it easiest to thread the camera with the aid of an orangewood stick or a chopstick. There are numerous places in the body that my fingers just won't fit and the bit of wood helps out. I still can thread any other camera faster than I can thread an a-minima.

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Wow, lots of mis- and partial information here.

 

The Distant Eye viewing works because the shutter has a unique cup shape, so that light is either travelling directly to the eyepiece with the shutter closed or the film getting light with the cup up right by the eyepiece so that no light can get into the camera there and cause any fogging. It is a unique design unlike any other, and to replicate it on another camera would mean carving out a lot of space within for that cup.

 

The mags load backwards from every other 16mm mag I know, meaning emulsion out. I've forgotten whether that's A or B wind, but I suspect A and will have to check. It's been a while.

 

The gate is another unique A-Minima design. The film is positioned with a naturally occuring urve based on the size of the loop. This spring tensioning gently but very effectively pushes it up against a pair of guide rails on either side of the gate. These two rails are simply for proper positioning and are well outside of image area. The effect is to have the film frame sort of float naturally at the correct position, and it works exceedingly well. Because it is not sitting against a hard gate there is no hard point for a hair to lodge against. Those two rails are held in place magnetically, so one can pop them out every rare once in a while to wipe them down.

 

It's all increadibly cleaver, innovative and totally Aaton.

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I’m copy-pasting from Aaton’s web page:

 

With its "distant-eye viewfinder" A-Minima invites the operator to move the camera from eyebrow to arm's length (and back), without worrying about the light that enters the eyepiece! This distant-eye feature is obtained by means of a cone-shaped shutter attached to the reflex mirror (Aaton patent): it prevents the light that enters the eyepiece from being diffused onto the film by the viewing screen. This feature is especially helpful to camera operators who wear glasses, or who take shots in acrobatic positions (e.g. mountaineering).

 

(Coloured by me)

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The A-Minima in fact uses A-winding, emulsion out. Kodak helped pay for the development of the camera so any other film manufacturer will have to pay part of the development costs is they want to market A-Minima-suitable film spools.

 

Very nice compact S16 camera for low profile shooting, practice magazine loading first, the viewfinder really doesn't fog and you put the camera against the shoulder, not on the shoulder. Blow-ups were indistinguishable from XTR footage.

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Bringing back an old thread here. My film was fogged while shooting outside a while ago and I can see reflections/light in my video monitor coming from the viewfinder. In the photo I've taped the viewfinder because I wasnt sure if it actually was true I didn't have to cover it to not fog....... I aslo have like two shots where I forgot the tape and those are completly **(obscenity removed)**ed but most of the time I wanted to be safe. But maybe this thing only works if its night outside 🙂

 

SO.... Anyone had the same experience with their "DistantEye viewfinder" 

Screenshot 2019-09-09 at 18.05.24.jpg

Screenshot 2019-09-09 at 17.56.18 copy.jpg

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20 hours ago, Olle Knutson said:

those are completly **(obscenity removed)**ed but most of the time I wanted to be safe.

I wrote "fogged" haha..

And also i didnt tape the viewfinder for the top image only the bottom one with the mans head!

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