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Well, no, and not surprisingly. As I pointed to before, the ACL has exactly the same principle, though the design engineering is much less sophisticated than the SR. The end of the "posts" rest on the plane of the gate, so it's visible in profile. I'll see if I can get a pic illustrating that. You can see it if you lay a ruler on thepressure plate assembly.

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Here's a pic from my phone, showing the later ACL presssure plate with the separate "floating" centre pressure plate over the aperture area. A ruler is sitting on top of the assembly. The posts move with the main pressure plate, so deflection has no effect on the gap. The pic makes it look like the gap or clearance for the film is large, but it doesn't look so to me in real life. I may try to approximately measure it.

 

As I have brought up in these type conversations before, often an aparently simple finished object often hides a sophisticated, complex, thinking, design process, even before the finished prototype is built.

 

post-47078-0-64623000-1477983583_thumb.jpg

 

 

Edited by Gregg MacPherson

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HA! The R&D alone would cost upwards of half a million.

 

China is only good at making plastic and electronics. So sure, them making the HD camera, no problem. All the precision metal and glass components, they'd struggle to make. Even Arri sourced from other manufacturers who were MORE specialized then they were at making mechanical bits.

 

Now Japan is a different story, but they're not much cheaper then the US or Europe in todays market. They could easily churn out a brilliant camera, but it would be very expensive.

 

Unfortunately, cameras are expensive to design and manufacture, especially one's that use precision glass optics, which is what Logmar removed from their $5,000 USD camera. If they HAD a real viewfinder, it would cost a lot more money.

 

 

DJI's stuff is designed and manufactured in china. the focus units. tried em? better build quality than cmotion and preston combined. the drones too. so you're wrong about that. R&D is largely a case of carbon copying a 416 and swapping materials out.

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That makes sense, for sure different then the other brands.

 

also as far as i can tell you're wrong about the pressure plates. remjet backing. it prevents scratches to the rear of the film. and before you try bickering over that point too, its quoted from kodak.

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HA! The R&D alone would cost upwards of half a million.

 

China is only good at making plastic and electronics. So sure, them making the HD camera, no problem. All the precision metal and glass components, they'd struggle to make. Even Arri sourced from other manufacturers who were MORE specialized then they were at making mechanical bits.

 

Now Japan is a different story, but they're not much cheaper then the US or Europe in todays market. They could easily churn out a brilliant camera, but it would be very expensive.

 

Unfortunately, cameras are expensive to design and manufacture, especially one's that use precision glass optics, which is what Logmar removed from their $5,000 USD camera. If they HAD a real viewfinder, it would cost a lot more money.

 

AND japan hasnt made a decent camera since the msm9802 while china is home to half the manufacturing facilities of olympus, panasonic, RED, sony, nikon, leica, the kinemax, as well as a huge number of smartphone optic manufactures, which brings me to my next point: plastic elements.

the iphone camera costs 7 dollars and massively outperforms all our cinema glass when you take into account the scale of the thing. consider how easy it is to design a sharp MF lens and how hard it is to design a sharp s16 lens. viewfinder solved.

 

is there anything youve said that i havent utterly junked?

Edited by Isaac

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DJI's stuff is designed and manufactured in china. the focus units. tried em? better build quality than cmotion and preston combined. the drones too. so you're wrong about that. R&D is largely a case of carbon copying a 416 and swapping materials out.

Ohh I wholeheartedly agree some of the DJI stuff is pretty cool. I've used the Chinese follow focus kits and they were garbage compared to the preston. Yes, they were easier to setup, the preston is designed for high-end cameras with external power etc. Still, the accuracy and speed of the Chinese units wasn't nearly up to par of that of the Preston.

 

Also, as I said earlier, electronics are China's specialty. They are not good at high precision mechanical things because they simply don't have the tooling. If they did, all of the Japanese car companies would use them to make engines because it's SO much cheaper then doing it in Japan. China is good at making vacuum formed plastic molds in high volume. They are good at making cast parts in high volume. They are good at making integrated circuits and PCB's. But when it comes time for precision, throw that out the door. Even some Japanese manufacturers have a tough time producing the high tolerance levels of European manufacturers. Now, the big problem comes not from the horrible diluted Chinese metallurgy, but it also comes from precision optics and glasswork. You would need to hire a very high-end lens manufacturing company to make the optical viewfinder path. That would be done in Japan at great cost since there wouldn't be many of these cameras made.

 

Furthermore... I bet if you handed a Chinese manufacturer a 416, they'd hand it back to you and say no way. They have very little interest in making small batches of precision stuff. They only want to make hundreds of thousands of components because thats their strong point. When something goes bad, they simply do a whole-unit swap. That's why you don't see high-end stuff coming from China. They have to be able to produce enough units so the defect rate isn't a problem.

 

It's absolutely possible to make an all-new camera, they're not THAT complicated. However, it would cost a lot of money. The $5000 USD Logmar camera is a perfect example. They knew putting in an optical viewfinder would raise the price too much, so they didn't bother. They only did what they could do in-house with limited outside help, which is why the retail price is so "low" considering it's a one-off design like any new 16 camera would be.

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also as far as i can tell you're wrong about the pressure plates. remjet backing. it prevents scratches to the rear of the film. and before you try bickering over that point too, its quoted from kodak.

Re-read the earlier parts of the thread, where I mentioned straight 16 gates with larger S16 apertures. That's where the discussion came from. My point is that, why would you want a camera that has one side S16, but the other side straight 16? It seems like Arri was just being lazy.

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AND japan hasnt made a decent camera since the msm9802

What? Hmm, IDK about that. I thought the high end cameras were made in Japan. That's why the consumer pays a premium.

 

the iphone camera costs 7 dollars and massively outperforms all our cinema glass when you take into account the scale of the thing. consider how easy it is to design a sharp MF lens and how hard it is to design a sharp s16 lens. viewfinder solved.

Right, but the lens doesn't have external focus and it has a fixed aperture. It also has an imager smaller then a pen cap. So where it's pretty cool and it does work well for some situations, it's still a toy in the grand scheme of things. If your idea is to use plastic for the viewfinder, I think you'd find it to have too many flaws and aberrations when made at the size necessary for a super 16 ground glass. Heck, the whole viewfinder system currently used on film cameras is pretty complex and if one component isn't absolutely flawless, if the surface of the glass isn't at a high polish, there are noticeable issues with the viewing. As the operator, you won't know if the problem is the lens or the viewfinder. This is WHY we use high end optics in the viewfinder and why it's so critical. Unlike digital cameras, the only real way to tell if things are right before shooting is seeing the optical path on a film camera.

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"Isaac", this is a real names forum -- you should contact Tim Tyler (the site administrator) to get your User Name updated to a full first and last name. Thanks.

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Furthermore... I bet if you handed a Chinese manufacturer a 416, they'd hand it back to you and say no way. They have very little interest in making small batches of precision stuff.

 

Wow. That's quite a generalization.

 

One example off the top of my head: a lot of high end bike parts are made there. I'm friends with the director of operations for a US based custom bike manufacturer that outsources some of its precision parts to China. We're talking manufacturing with tolerances within a tenth of a millimeter, that have to fit the rest of the parts when they get shipped back here. They've been using Chinese manufacturers for years for this. I'm not talking about cheap bikes either - these are frames (no wheels, no components) that start at $5000-$8000, and are used by elite racers.

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Wow. That's quite a generalization.

 

One example off the top of my head: a lot of high end bike parts are made there.

Yes, it's absolutely true and again, if you re-read my post, you will see it states "small batches". Also, there isn't a single part on a bicycle that comes near the precision of a spinning mirror shutter, pull down assembly, gate/pressure plate, timing/drive system and viewfinder.

 

Bicycle parts are generally not made in small batches. Plus, that same manufacturer making the bicycle part for one distributor, is making a nearly identical part for a different distributor. So they use and re-use the same drawings, castings and/or milling machines to make millions of parts which are very similar.

 

With a film camera, everything would be new to whoever makes it. Chinese manufacturing is really only interested in long-term mass production on a large scale.

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Yes, it's absolutely true and again, if you re-read my post, you will see it states "small batches".

 

Bicycle parts are generally not made in small batches.

 

These are small batches. I'm not talking about a bike manufacturer that turns out hundreds of units per day. More like hundreds per year.

 

Also, these are custom frames. Each one is a bit different. The geometry of every frame varies according to the needs, body size, shape and weight of the rider.

Edited by Perry Paolantonio

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These are small batches. I'm not talking about a bike manufacturer that turns out hundreds of units per day. More like hundreds per year.

Right, but my point is... a bicycle is a bicycle. All of the dozens of Chinese bicycle makers, make bikes for a wide-range of distributors. This offset's the cost of making a more specialized product in limited numbers.

 

Bicycles to this day are still made by metal specialty companies. They buy tubing in different dimensions, cut them to fit their design and weld them together. They have milling machines to make parts like cranks and sprockets. They have anodizing baths to give the parts color and even an assembly line to put it all together.

 

Sure, carbon fiber layup is another thing, but you can do carbon fiber layup at home, it's not complicated at all because the molds are generally made of wood. It's more labor intensive, but that's why they charge more money for them. Making "custom" carbon fiber bikes is actually pretty easy in the long run. All they do is cut the molds based on the riders data, fold the carbon fiber around them, bake and assemble.

 

So what Chinese manufacturer makes high precision metal components, precision glass components, plastic components and precision electronics/motors under one roof? Nobody does. This is the big problem. You can't pay a Chinese company to make you one single part of a product, it doesn't work. I've tried, it doesn't work. They need to make the ENTIRE product in-house and as I just stated, nobody in China does all of those things in-house. All of the DSLR cameras and stuff, they have multiple factories who specialize in each component. There is zero chance they'd put our one-off product on their assembly line, do all the beta testing and insure it works before delivery. Maybe they'd take our money, spend a year trying to make something that works and deliver complete junk, OR something VERY expensive. Might as well hand make it here in the states.

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I'm not talking about the kind of bike you'd buy at Wal-mart. I'm talking about bikes that are as finely tuned as any high end mechanical film transport would be. Maybe the pieces aren't as small, but it's still a machine that has to perform well under a variety of situations, with high precision, and there's no tolerance for error when you're spending as much on a bike as you would on a small car.

 

I'm not talking about large factories making mass produced parts. I'm talking about small custom manufacturers making small custom quantities for other small custom manufacturers. This exists. My friend goes to China and Hong Kong every few months to meet with these manufacturers. If it wasn't cost effective, do you think they'd keep doing it? It costs a lot of money to send two people from the US to China for a week, several times a year. That means they're saving enough money by doing some of the work there, that it makes economic sense. And they wouldn't do it if the parts they were getting were inferior.

 

So what Chinese manufacturer makes high precision metal components, precision glass components, plastic components and precision electronics/motors under one roof?

 

 

 

 

Sigh, here we go with the argument fallacies again. In this case, an appeal to ignorance. I'm not in the manufacturing business, so I can't say who would be able to do this, if anyone. Could there be one? Maybe. I don't know. And I'm betting you don't either. China is a big place. With a *lot* of people and a lot of manufacturing. You say you've tried to have stuff built there, but I mean - are you coming from a manufacturing background? Did you try a few vendors via email and then give up? From everything I know about doing business in Asia (admittedly not much), it's much more of a face-to-face culture than we have here, even with the internet making it easier to hook up customers to vendors. If you're doing something seriously and demand precision, you'd better be prepared to go there and inspect and meet the people who will be doing the work in person. Is that what you did?

 

Sorry to come across as a troll here, but you're speaking in these broad generalizations ("China is only good at making plastic and electronics") that are not only ludicrous, but they're bordering on racism.

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Sorry to come across as a troll here, but you're speaking in these broad generalizations ("China is only good at making plastic and electronics") that are not only ludicrous, but they're bordering on racism.

It's the truth. I worked in manufacturing and design for mechanical and electronic devices for years. I was an engineer and dealt with Chinese manufacturers on a daily basis. This is how I made a living and I was very good at it, won many awards including best in show at NAB.

 

So yes my broad generalization is how me and my staff talked internally about China's capacity. We tried outsourcing many products to China, including software programming because we couldn't afford to do it in-house. The results were catastrophic on every level and every time I've had to deal with Chinese vendors with one-off custom products, they have failed to achieve any standard I'd consider acceptable.

 

Our product used lasers, mirrors, photosensors, motors, belts, plastic parts and lots of PCB/IC's. The cost savings of making it in China vs the US was negligible for the low quantities. Vendors were simply uninterested in making 10 or 20 items, they were only interested in high volume. Because what we made was so complicated, we couldn't even get a sample without paying full boat for development. We even helped write the machine code for them because they couldn't figure it out.

 

My dad was also in the manufacturing business for decades, visited China on multiple occasions to help negotiate new agreements. His company designed power supplies for high-end integrated systems for HP and Compaq. They could have moved the entire assembly line to China and saved quite a bit of money, but they choose not to. The results he was seeing from Chinese test samples was poor compared to the US made power supplies using Chinese PCB and integrated circuits. He found, even if you specified a certain component, they would find a way to cheat. Either re-labeling physical components, hiding the fact they were a different model number and/or simply using off the counter PCB's and claiming they couldn't make what was required for the price. They cut corners everywhere and refused to burn-in products for more then a few minutes.

 

I've also been in other manufacturing businesses over the years, including the paintball industry where the cost to manufacture in China was more expensive then the states thanks to the low quality. We tried to get someone on board, but nobody was interested with the low quantity order.

 

Those are my personal experiences with precision product manufacturing in China over the last two decades and I'm not in any way claiming to be an expert. Someone else mentioned making a camera in China a few pages ago and I simply said it was impossible and that's based on MY experience. I'm certain the Kodak Super 8 camera will be made in China, but it's nowhere near as complex and I'm sure it will be 90% plastic and electronic, again what China is "good" at. It's not a "racist" comment, the US is not good at mass production of electronics like China is. You wouldn't hire a US firm to make the iPhone 8 for instance, we simply don't do things like that. We're good at making precision components though, made with good clean (non diluted) stock.

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Do we really think the bottleneck to Super 16mm filmmaking is an affordable camera, considering the state of the market right now?

No, I absolutely don't. I also think it's impossible to make a camera anywhere near the price of USED cameras, even the higher-priced 416. A great example of that is the Logmar Super 8 camera, 50 were made and not all 50 were sold. If only 48 people in the entire world could afford a $5,000 Super 8 camera... then even less would pay for a $20,000 super 16 camera because that's about how much it would cost to make a home brew.

 

I do think it would be awesome to have new, all-mechanical Super 16 camera, made with modern technology. But it wouldn't create better images then a 50 year old camera. That's the real trick with film cameras. The technology was perfected long before any of us were born and it's only been refined since. Unlike digital technology which in my opinion is far away from perfected in the same way.

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I'm not talking about the kind of bike you'd buy at Wal-mart. I'm talking about bikes that are as finely tuned as any high end mechanical film transport would be. Maybe the pieces aren't as small, but it's still a machine that has to perform well under a variety of situations, with high precision, and there's no tolerance for error when you're spending as much on a bike as you would on a small car.

 

No bike comes close to a precision of a production camera movement. We are talking millimeters vs microns, and some optics are made to wavelenght tolerances (500 nanometers). Pressure plates, gates et cetera are milled and grinded/superfinished to micron tolerances, mirror shutter are balanced not much worse than aerospace gyros. You need some really special and expensive machinery and rigging (not sure the English term is correct) which you don't use on a bicycle factory.

And a 0,1 mm tolerance is quite typical, pretty much a norm. Actually in Soviet metalworkers' slang everything looser than that was called "kilometeres".

 

You need much more than a couple of CNC mills and lathes to make a camera. Look at MKBK (Moscow cine technology bureau) - they had it all, experience, aerospace grade materials and precision machinery. Their SR2 Hi-speed conversion was best in class - hairless gate, bright viewfinder with glow, 200 fps (!) movement, full remote control and wireless operation before the 416Plus had it. It was almost a new camera inside an SR2 body. Why they didn't make their own camera? Too expensive and not enough sells to justify. Not easy to compete with Arri, you see :)

Edited by Michael Rodin

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The bicycle example is the only one I could draw on from my own experience. I will say (though I can't name the manufacturer) that these really are among the highest end bikes one can buy and the tolerances are down to the .1mm range.

 

I agree with the idea that we don't need a new camera. I never said otherwise - with so many great cameras out there for short money (arri, aaton, eclair), why on earth would one need a new 16mm camera? What I'm taking issue with is Tyler's insistence that it's impossible to do it in China. That is a gross generalization. Clearly the Chinese are not incapable of building precision parts. Are they going to go out on their own and build a 16mm camera? Not likely, because there is no real market for it. But neither is anyone else, of course.

 

My problem is with the insistence that they're not capable of doing the work, which I think is a pretty bold thing to insist is true, when talking about a country of nearly 1.5 billion people. Is there a factory that make all the components needed under one roof? Not likely. (Arri didn't do this either, by Tyler's own admission earlier in this tread) But to say that the only thing China can make is plastic and electronics? I mean, they have satellites, rockets, nuclear reactors and bombs, but are incapable of producing a lowly 16mm camera?

 

My issue is more with the racism than anything else.

Edited by Perry Paolantonio

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My comments fit within the framework of something affordable for general consumer consumption. The high-end Chinese market is rarely tapped outside of China because the prices increase dramatically. Nobody discussing China manufacturing would add those speciality markets to the discussion of mass production. This is why they were ignored in my comments. We are not talking about government funded technology projects, with huge multi-billion dollar contracts. Can you imagine going to one of those firms and asking them to build a film camera? They'd laugh and hang up the phone.

 

China's "manufacturing strengths" -the reason you would use them in the first place- is their low-cost labor force, which leads to high yield, low cost production and free trade agreements. When you pay your employees $5,000 a year (on average), there are very few countries who can compete. When the required labor force needs to be highly skilled, things change dramatically.

 

Again, they have zero interest in low yield, highly technical manufacturing. I know this because I've asked dozens of manufacturers personally over the years.

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More info on the MKBK SR2?? That's awesome. Reminiscent of what P+S Technik was doing with the Evolution upgrades.

 

I'm afraid there's only one working MKBK-SR in the world, owned by a St Petersburg DoP, but Sergey Astakhov (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0039945/) may have a couple more similar cameras - he had a LOT of custom cameras in 2000s.

It's a Frankenstein of a camera - made of different SR parts with a custom gate, movement and electronics. It has an on-board wireless lens/motor control and a built in SD video sender. Gate is hairless with rounded corners, the camera takes regular (non-highspeed) mags and goes to 200 fps. Viewfinder is very bright with a fibre screen, and you can change intensity and color or frameline glow. Shot on it, loved it. The only limitation is a fixed 180 degree shutter, which is because the camera is actually based on an SR1, I think! Otherwise it's as advanced as a 416+, just louder.

 

This particular camera is available for rent. But no more advanced Arriflex conversions: MKBK was made bankrupt and closed thanks to a couple of morons ('efficient manager' type of scum, remains of Yeltsin team) in the local administration.

Edited by Michael Rodin

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Back to the original posting about creating an affordable Super 16 camera. While there are many affordable super 16 cameras from the K3 to used Aaton and Arris, it is only natural for us to ask many questions as to what purpose will a new Super 16 camera will serve and whether in the current climate there’s really a need for such a camera. The thing is the K3, used Aatons or Arris are ‘old’, most were built over ten years ago. I believe a new affordable Super 16 camera will attract today’s generation of filmmakers, many of who are used to ‘new ‘things, new updates and the constant change, for many using technology that is over a year is like working with ‘antiques’, new doesn’t necessarily mean better, but it does make the format more current. A new Super 16 camera will definitely appeal and speak out to the younger generations and will give Super 16 a boost. The kind of camera and how to build one is a complex matter. In 2004 some Swedish filmmakers formed Ikonoskop and built a Super 16 camera, it was a simple machine, it was not better than what was out there and its affordability was always debated, but it produces very steady images. If someone makes a new Super 16 camera today it will create a 'buzz' and evoke ‘new’ interest.

 

Pav

Edited by Pavan Deep

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Ikonoskop a-cam wasn't an affordable "student" camera, rather an expendable camera for regular productions. It was for those who had access to Arris and Aatons but didn't want to risk them. And you couldn't really use it other than as a crash camera - it just didn't last, film channel (not sure about the English term again) wore out very fast. It was cheap for a reason.

 

I think what draws people away from 16mm is not the lack of cameras (416s are cheap to rent and LTRs/SR1s will soon go for free), but expensive scanning and very few labs. And many (even in camera dept.) are just plain afraid to shoot without instant preview on a monitor. Or don't know how to...

Edited by Michael Rodin

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