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Will Barber

A-Cam SP16 Rental

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I'm looking into options for a film I'm shooting soon, and I can get pretty steeply discounted Tri-X daylight spools. I'm finding it nearly impossible to find 400' rolls to use with the SR3, so I'm starting to look at cameras that can take the daylight spools. Does anyone know where I could possibly find the A-Cam to rent? The only one I can seem to find is for sale on ebay. If I had $6k, I'd snatch it up, but sadly that's not an option. Locations near rochester ny would be preferable if there's even any out there.

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The SR3 takes daylight spools-- you just remove the core adapters.

Also you could probably have the lab spool the daylight onto cores for you if you really wanted.

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Really? So the little lever wheel in the mag isn't going to have difficulty with the spool? I'm assuming you'd just thread it onto a core and can it back out into the box when it's done then? Thanks man, you're a lifesaver, this may make my life a whole lot easier, not having to hunt down the last 400' roll in the world or drop a ton extra on Vision 3 just to convert it to B&W.

I knew film was dying, but I didn't think it'd happen so soon.

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You'd leave the leaver's locked back. Obviously you wouldn't know footage remaining too easily-- but you can leave the camera powered up and it'll count the footage. You could also (and i''d recommend) loading the take up with a daylight spool which is really no different than if you were on a bolex.

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Eclair ACLs have both 400' and 200' mags that take spools, you just lift out the platter with bobbin. There are plenty of these cameras around, you just need to avoid ones that are not maintained. Some of the micro budget film makers that own them will not be maintaining them. late model ACL (ACLII) with good motor, big, bright Kinoptik VF image, a lens mount system that will let you use almost anything, video assist if you want it, is a great camera.

 

On the issue of image stability, reg pin vs none (SR vs ACL and Aaton), people often bring it up as a notion, but I'm not sure anyone on the forum has ever seen this (potential) quality difference observable on screen.

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I've never noticed a stability issue in casual viewing with any well maintained motor driven camera-- though I could imagine the minor differences may be important if there's any FX work. I do miss the days when we'd argue over stability of XTRs and SR3s!

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I was just handed a Kodak catalogue, which I think solves my problems with finding 400' cans...but I still would like to know where to find an Ikonoskop since now I'm just curious as to why they're so hard to find.

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They were an odd little camera which came out at an odd little time right on the cusp of digital taking off and cannibalizing film shooting-- especially 16mm. Also, since you could pick up a 16mm or S16mm package for the price of one, like an old Aaton LTR or the myriad Eclairs, it didn't really make much financial sense to buy what was a rather limited camera. Plus, the small form factor was kind of taken over by the A-Minima (even though it had some issues with film stocks needing special cores and windings and was a pain to load) it really filled up the niche the A-Cam could've filled. I think when they came out there were a few thousand euros-- 6 or maybe more?-- which would've gotten you at least an NPR with an old zoom, and some 400' mags.

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...I do miss the days when we'd argue over stability of XTRs and SR3s!

 

Me too. We can pretend that's just to do with nostalgia, and we can pretend that nostalgia is a superficial thing, rather than a yearning for something valuable that has been lost. Better to experience that rather than the blank non-cognisance pervading such as the "will digital ever be better than film" type threads we see on the forum. The world is changing. Not all change is good. What loon could think otherwise. Most are forced to adapt to survive. But one has to ask, what are the limits to which one would go, are we really surviving if the most valuable things are lost. And if our ability to see what is valuable is compromised, do we have any idea at all as to which direction we are actually evolving? I believe not. I suppose I could have done that brain fart in that actual thread, but the superficiality there was not very inviting.

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Surviving? Sure; but the question is whether or not we're living. Of course I am tempted (by this nice lowland scotch) to further derail-- but I will say, I am hopeful for a future where we discuss the nuances of digital systems much in the same way as we discussed the nuances of eterna or vision. Who knows-- I think if folks of good intellect, strong understanding, and more importantly patience, continue to exist and enter this industry we will get over the newness of all of this-- perhaps loosing the old which is very sad to me-- but beyond the newness enough so that we get back to the fundamentals of picking the proper tools to get the shots the director wants and the script deserves.

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Luckily I'm shooting my entire film MOS, it's for an experimental workshop and I'm just going to score the entire thing. Our school gets a deal on film because we're in Rochester, I can actually get 100' rolls for about $12 and 400' for hopefully less than $50. We usually only get daylight spools, so I was having difficulty finding out if we could get other film besides that with the discount.

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I know a few places here in the UK that rent these cameras. This really is a lonely forum; I agree the Super 16 [sP-16] is an odd camera that came out at an odd time, the camera looks good as it’s very stylish. On the plus side; it’s light, easy to hold and has a range of filming speeds controlled by its 'microprocessor-synchronized', the camera gives very steady images too and it comes with a 9mm Kinoptik c-mount lens which is very sharp.

 

On the downside; this camera doesn’t really have a viewfinder, making it difficult to frame and it’s impossible to use other lenses, especially zooms. The camera is also very tricky to load, which takes a lot of practice and patience. I know from my own experience and others that these cameras’s can suffer from light leaks from the door, my solution to this has been to wrap the camera in a black bag.

 

I bought an Angenieux zoom lens which has its own viewfinder, it is a great lens, it covers the Super 16 frame at all focal lengths and allows me to properly frame and focus. I have also converted mine to have a reflex viewfinder so I can use other lenses with ease.

 

Pav

Edited by Pav Deep

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There's some info on my website and I'll be adding more in depth description soon. As you've probably guessed it's a pretty complicated modifification, first I had a front plate made which has c mount thread machined into it, I then placed a beam-splitter which diverts 25% above to the viewfinder, I have placed a focusing screen on the beam-splitter I magnify the image just before it is sent to the viewfinder. The viewfinder tube is consists of three mirrors which relay the image across to the eye. Now that I'm almost done I can do another.

 

Pav

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