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Silent? Mirrored reflex? 400ft loads? Super small and light?

 

There are many affordable super 16 cameras from the K3 to used Aaton and Arris. I got my LTR for 1500 USD and it's super 16. I personally don't thing you can make a camera and sell it for anything near the price of a used camera.

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I started shooting film back when 16mm and 35mm cameras were too expensive to own. My first camera was super 8 and I've owned 5 of them over the years. I also had a B&H Filmo and Kodak Model C 16mm cameras, both of which I've used to shoot stuff over the years for fun.

 

My Super 16 Aaton LTR is the first "real" film camera I've owned. Prior, I always rented/borrowed equipment. Since I run a film school AND teach filmmaking on motion picture film to high school students, I needed some equipment. So I bought the Aaton, Moviecam Super America and Bolex EBM.

 

I've done quite a bit of market research here in California on shooting film. There is a camera for every market right now. The Super 16 K3's, when modified properly, work fine for the low-end sup $300 market. The straight 16 single perf Bolex models aren't much more money. My EBM was $400 bux with a brand new battery and lots of accessories including lens and case. That's a pretty fair market price, even on ebay they aren't worth much more.

 

For sync sound cameras, there are plenty of Eclair's, CP16's, Aaton LTR's, Arri BL's and SRI/II's on the market. All of which can take B mount lenses, which are very inexpensive to purchase today, especially if you only need straight 16 coverage. Sure, all of those cameras will need a tune-up and new batteries. Yet, they're very inexpensive for what they are. You CAN NOT make a better camera then an SR with a $1500 price tag. Just look at the Logmar Super 8 camera, $5000 for a non-sync sound camera without a viewfinder. It was a complete failure in my mind as I was told they only made 50 units.

 

The great new is, with the dropping of prices on these cameras, you can buy a camera, make your movie and resell it, without loosing too much money. People don't want to own gear if they aren't using it all the time. Since film is extremely cost prohibitive to use compared to digital, having that camera body sitting around isn't smart. This new mentality has really helped young filmmakers experiment with film in a way that hasn't happened in years.

 

So personally, I don't see any reason for a low-cost Super 16 camera. There are literally thousands of cameras circulating around the world every year, being bought and sold on a regular basis. The idea that a "new" camera would somehow draw attention, even at a price point LESS then the average $1500 price tag, is kinda silly. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to make a camera today for the low pricing of those used cameras I listed above. The only way to make a "new" super 16 camera is to compete with the 416 and make something better. Good luck with that!

 

Honestly, having studied this market, the only thing really missing is a 2 perf 35mm camera. Aaton only made two dozen Penelope's and they're no longer for rent in the US, thanks to Abel cine selling their inventory recently. To me, building a camera like the Penelope that's 3 perf, 2 perf, super lightweight, super quiet 400ft or 1000ft magazines and high definition video tap that doesn't use a ground glass, those are the features people want and I think one could sell some if the design was right. Yet, the amount of research and development required to make two cameras in one like that, is astronomical. Aaton spent decades developing their 35mm cameras to eventually wind up with the Penelope, but it was a long road. I also think 35mm has more money associated to it, unlike S16 which is very quickly turning into a consumer/play format, 35mm is still strong in cinema and even some tv shows. I'd say there is a need for an inexpensive but very modern film camera that can do most of what a digital cinema camera can do. Loose your shirt on development and help save film? Maybe? ;)

 

Finally, low cost NEW cameras, don't help anyone with anything. People buy cameras all the time and forget how expensive it is to use them. That paradigm doesn't change with lower cost cameras. People will still buy equipment and let it sit in a box until they can raise the money to make a movie and eventually sell everything on craigslist when their project fails to come to fruition. I then buy everything up and put it in my freezer, like I've done a dozen times this year alone. People have grand ideas, even if they have the equipment and film stock, they generally forget about processing and transfer expenses which lead them to give up. It's a real shame, but it's the truth. When you have the money to really make a film, the last thing you want is cheap equipment. So you'll pay for good stuff, bypassing the low-cost option all together. So there are two filmmakers, the low-end which has dozens of good cameras available and the high end, which also has dozens of cameras available. Super 16 in my opinion, is a pretty packed market with excellent pricing vs performance, that doesn't need any intrusion from another manufacturer who will eventually find out how difficult it is to design, sell and SUPPORT equipment that's already outdated before it hits the market.

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Thank you Tyler,

 

what a wonderful story... My First camera was a Brownie 8mm in 1968... it had frame by frame capability so i shot everything in stop action... ( i have the patience of Jobe) and that landed me a job in an animation studio. The animation studio supported the larger larger commercial film production facility. So I got to enjoy Arri's and and Michell 35mm and from there went to Hanna-Barbara. Hated that and move to CGI... which in the the 1970's was still in it infancy. if you wanted to do anything you need to write the code or get it from the government or NASA. There we spent over a year trying to understand the differences between film and video. That in itself is another story... But that was when I got my first Bolex.

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An Aaton XTR owner - great camera but I love Beaulieu MCR8 (so small and bright with Pan-Cinor). Problem is with expensive processing and telecine. Here in Poland dev+clean+telecine (Shadow HD) 130 EUR not bad. In Ukraine Arri scanner 1$ per meter (HD). So I'm planning build rack processor because tired with Lomo tank. Today received Vision2 50D push2 - such a lovely film.

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Just look at the Logmar Super 8 camera, $5000 for a non-sync sound camera without a viewfinder. It was a complete failure in my mind as I was told they only made 50 units.

 

I don't see how you can call that a failure.

 

1) It produces some pretty stunning Super 8 footage

2) It generated a lot of excitement about Super 8 that led to...

3) Logmar designed the guts of Kodak's new camera, for which I would imagine they did pretty well for themselves.

 

I'd say they played that pretty masterfully, actually.

 

-perry

Edited by Perry Paolantonio

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I don't see how you can call that a failure.

Have you ever used one? It's a real hunk of junk. Yes, the image is stable, but as I said earlier, it's loud so forget sync sound work, it's expensive (far more then a used S16 package) and worst off, the only way to see the image is through a video feed or the crappy internal monitor. Forget about the stupid menu system and audio recorder, what were they thinking!

 

What the super 8 market needs, isn't a $5000 camera without a viewfinder. They need a sub $500 camera WITH the same stable mechanics and without all the digital gadgets. Unfortunately the Kodak camera is nothing to write home about and it will not be the re-birth of Super 8. What Kodak is doing with the mail in service, THAT will be the big savior for super 8 in the long term.

 

In terms of "excitement", the only people who knew the Logmar existed are those who are heavily involved in the super 8 industry and spend time on internet forums like this... so basically .01% of filmmakers. I also wouldn't call the new Kodak a "logmar" camera, as it shares none of the very important, mechanically critical components with their previous camera. Without those components, it's just an over-priced toy that will draw some attention like the Digital Bolex did. I also think it will go away just like the digital bolex did, due to non-interest. You can't enter a market that's already saturated with products which are WAY less then yours, unless you offer something critical that nobody else offers. I can get a mirrored reflex Beaulieu for $200 on ebay, that's half the size of a Logmar and can be held up to my face for hand-held shots. I don't really think people who shoot Super 8 really care about stability. In fact, I've been working on two features that are incorporating super 8 right now and they wanted the most out of calibration camera possible, to get that "look" because unfortunately, that's what people use super 8 for today.

 

To me, a "success" would be making more then 50 examples of a product. They never really ramped up manufacturing, all of them were hand-made. I mean, from what I've been told, they didn't make any profit off them. So how is that "success" in any way?

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But non of these 16mm cameras you mention are super16 right... ?

 

is anyone doing any time lapse on 16mm?

 

Has any of you guys shot without a reflex viewfinder?

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I have used the a-cam it doesn't have a reflex viewfinder, I am currently using an Eclair ACL that has been modified to Super 16 and it's great.

 

Pav

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My first 16mm camera was a B&H Filmo (50.00 on ebay), my first sound sync camera was a CP16 (Model A with the dogleg lens) for 500.00 and I spent probably another 1-200.00 on a new battery and belt, my Super16mm camera is a converted GSMO for 1500.00.

 

Actually, my first super16 camera was also a filmo. I bought a converted plate on ebay and I was surprised that it worked just fine, it never actually vignetted. The Filmo doesn't have any through the lens focusing at all, looking back, I'm kind of bummed I probably no longer have the skill to judge focusing distance based from experience.

 

My CP16 camera since it was converted to Ultra 16 vignettes sometimes depending on the available light and the focal length of the zoom lens. My GSMO has a slight vignette on my 9mm Ultra T that is barely visible in one corner. The Zeiss Zoom lens I have has a pretty bad vignette that wobbles in and out to 50mm. However it's fine after that so I use the lens as a telephoto prime lens.

 

Other then that, I love my GSMO. I have 2 mags (which i'm assuming also had to be modified) and even a video tap for it. The only thing that's kind of crummy about it, is that I'm limited to CP and b mount lenses whose choices actually aren't that vast. There's a Nikon mount that's impossible to find. If I had the money to burn, I would get it modified to have a PL mount. But the lenses I have are actually very good- it's just a small restriction that sticks to the back of my mind.

 

I've never done a time lapse in 16mm, I don't have the motorized unit to allow me to do so. Stop motion- yes, plenty of times. Come to think of it, I also have a Beaulieu R16 (The early wind up model) modified in Ultra 16. It has a single frame option and it would be fantastic for stop motion.

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But non of these 16mm cameras you mention are super16 right... ?

All of them "could" be super 16. Remember, Super 16 has been around since the 80's. So a majority of cameras made in the later part of the 80's were converted. Once the 90's hit, manufacturers simply made Super 16 the mainstay and had ways to re-center the lens/ground glass for standard 16 for those who wanted accurate standard 16 shooting.

 

Arri SR3 and 416, Aaton XTR and Xtera, are the top Super 16 cameras, made in the 90's and 2000's, after the switch to Super 16. Older cameras were simply modified.

 

is anyone doing any time lapse on 16mm?

Bolex offers a fantastic time lapse box that allows any wind up camera to be time lapse. I'm sure the newer cameras also have a time lapse feature, I've just never used it and I think it's a waste to put a $3000 sync sound camera on a time lapse shot.

 

Has any of you guys shot without a reflex viewfinder?

My filmo and Kodak Model C were both non-reflex. However, they had fixed focus lenses. I mean lets face it, nobody is going to buy a non-reflex camera today, it's just not going to happen. No matter how "cool" and inexpensive it is, that market has been tapped several times over the years and the result has always been the same; manufacturers having to scramble and make reflex versions. We don't live in 1954, filmmakers today want bright reflex viewfinders and high quality video taps.

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Has anyone had any experience with a camera that have been converted to Super16?

 

What are their short comings if any???

The big problem with converted cameras comes from the gate, pressure plate, sprockets and guides. A lot of cameras have film holders where the soundtrack goes, not on the far edge. This is a real problem because the now exposed side of the film, will be rubbing on the movement in a way that COULD damage it. I recently worked on a friends SR that only had the gate widened and ground glass replaced. I was horrified to see the pressure plate was standard 16 and it was squeezing the film where the soundtrack was, that's now picture.

 

Eclair and Aaton were the early adopters to Super 16 and both their cameras are easier to convert because they thought about it. My LTR was converted by a local shop here in California by using XTR parts and they did a great job, the camera is pretty much an XTR. You can do similar tricks to the Arri's as well, but parts for Arri are harder to get, so a lot of people simply machine the stock gate and leave the rest alone. I wouldn't trust shooting super 16 with a standard camera and only an enlarged gate.

 

The Bolex cameras are easier to convert because it's such a simple camera.

 

I haven't yet experienced any vingetting issue with super 16 glass. With standard 16 glass, you'll get a tiny bit of it on wider lenses.

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To me, a "success" would be making more then 50 examples of a product. They never really ramped up manufacturing, all of them were hand-made. I mean, from what I've been told, they didn't make any profit off them. So how is that "success" in any way?

 

Please re-read my post. If that's too much effort, here's the recap:

 

They made a capable camera that produces really nice images. They got people excited. They parlayed that into a deal with kodak where they designed the guts of a camera that Kodak is likely to sell a lot of. = Success

 

Oh, wait. That's exactly what I wrote the first time.

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I dunno, if someone made a simple to use 16mm (super 16) that had easy to load daylight spools, inbuilt light / exposure meter etc I can't see any reason it wouldn't sell.

 

Sure, I don't know about the financial viability but there would definitely be interest.

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Pressure plate??? How is it different on a Super 16 camera vs Standard 16?

The area where the soundtrack usually goes, is squeezed between the pressure plate and the gate on a standard 16 camera. On a super 16 camera, just the edge of the film is squeezed between the pressure plate and the gate.

 

Also, the sprockets have two little groves where the soundtrack goes on standard 16, but on super 16 it's on the very edge of the film.

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They made a capable camera that produces really nice images. They got people excited. They parlayed that into a deal with kodak where they designed the guts of a camera that Kodak is likely to sell a lot of. = Success

From what I've been told, they didn't make any money off the Logmar Super 8 camera. So how is not making any money a success?

 

The mere definition of "business" is financial.

 

Now I'm sure Kodak paid them to help develop their new camera, but I can't imagine it was very much.

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