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Hey all! Shooting a small music video on S16 soon, and wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the Aaton XTR vs. SR3 vs. 416. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each when compared against eachother?

 

I'm seeing XTR packages are almost half the price of the SR3, and our budget is tiny so I'm trying to see what I'm giving up for the cheaper price.

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You know; in truth; for 99% of your shooting; the camera just holds the film. What'll matter is the stock, the lens, and the post. So long as they all offer you the frame-rates you need, You'll be golden.

I'm personally an Arri-Person, but that's 100% just because I can load them with one hand tied behind my back upsidedown in the dark. quickly, but there's nothing wrong with an XTR. Just make sure they've been taken care of and you'll be golden.

 

The only caviate I can think of is the XT and the 416 are much friendlier for hand-held than the SR3 is but I much prefer the SR on a tripod/dolly/etc.

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Yeah the arri mags are an absolute breeze! Also is the intermittent mechanism on the XTR different? I heard somewhere that it doesn't have a registration pin like the SR.

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I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a Reg pin; though I'm not 100% on that anymore, but I also recall it not actually needing one and, I think, being slightly steadier than an SR3; though the difference, again, was negligible.

I will say the 24V system of an SR was kind of a pain; but that comes from having owned one and not having many options when it came to batteries when mine eventually crapped.

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The SR3 is heavy and not great for hand held

The 416 is expensive to rent because rental houses get a premium

The XTR is the lightest of the bunch, works fantastic hand held and usually just as inexpensive as the SR3 to rent

 

The XTR doesn't have a pin registered movement. This is because it holds the film in the gate with a spring loaded side plate keeping it from moving horizontally. The result is a very stable camera, some consider it MORE stable then the Arri's with registration pins. Having owned and shot with both systems, I don't see any difference between the SR3 and XTR in terms of registration. A well serviced camera will be perfect on the registration.

 

Since you're on a budget, just get the XTR you'd be fine with it.

 

Not to promote myself, but I rent a complete XTR package with glass here in Los Angeles for pretty cheap! It's my personal camera that I use all the time, so it's in great shape and used enough so there aren't any issues.

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Do not deny yourself the pleasure of operating the superlative Aaton XTR designed by JP. Outstanding. Sooooo quiet and intuitive. Rock solid image. My neg was held very flat at the gate absent any perf light leaks.

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You wrote it is a also a money question, so it is a very easy decision: Aation XTR!

 

I own a Arriflex SR 3 Advanced (Gecko) and I would not say it is heavy and I would not say it is not great for handheld. It is a question of accessories and usage!

 

A Arriflex 416 is not so heavy and it is more comfortable then a SR 3, but if you do not need the special features, then it does not worth it`s price!

 

And if you are not familiar with any of this cameras, then you should not prefer any of them because of usage.

 

So the Aaton XTR is not so heavy then the others and it is easier for handheld.

I remember a nice picture of the older Aaton models with the inventor Jean-Pierre Beauviala with a cat on his shoulder and he said he wanted to invent a camera like a cat on a shoulder and he was successful with it!!!

 

So maybe download a manuel of all three and compare it yourself...

 

...but I would recommand you to contact Tyler and I am sure you will get a free short introduction for the camera!

 

And maybe he has some short ends or recans for a non commercial student project as a bragain!

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Just read the new comments: all of the three models have the same noise level...

...if they are well maintaind...

...so that is not the question...

 

In your case the question is money...

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The SR3 is heavy and not great for hand held

The 416 is expensive to rent because rental houses get a premium

The XTR is the lightest of the bunch, works fantastic hand held and usually just as inexpensive as the SR3 to rent

 

The XTR doesn't have a pin registered movement. This is because it holds the film in the gate with a spring loaded side plate keeping it from moving horizontally. The result is a very stable camera, some consider it MORE stable then the Arri's with registration pins. Having owned and shot with both systems, I don't see any difference between the SR3 and XTR in terms of registration. A well serviced camera will be perfect on the registration.

 

Since you're on a budget, just get the XTR you'd be fine with it.

 

Not to promote myself, but I rent a complete XTR package with glass here in Los Angeles for pretty cheap!

 

 

An SR3 is 7kg with loaded 400ft mag and on-board battery, an XTR is rated at 6kg with same. Let's try not to over-egg the pudding, eh?

 

SR3s also use side rail pressure to keep lateral registration steady, as do almost all 16mm cameras. Aatons are steady despite no registration pin due to the whole gate/pressure plate/pulldown design.

 

All three cameras are perfectly useable, the only downsides to XTRs are they are not as durable as Arris and there are less repair facilities familiar with them, but if budget is a major consideration the XTR may be your best bet.

 

Camera condition is probably the most important factor, so as long as whichever camera you choose has been well stored and maintained, you should be OK. A 416 will probably work without a hitch for the next 10 years because it's so new, whereas a 25 year old XTR probably won't.

 

Check out this thread for a good check-list when considering an XTR purchase:

http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=11713

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Dom ..I think its only for rental on a music video ..I guess one to two days max.. to buy .. yes condition is a huge factor..and it would no doubt be better to pay a bit more and get a 416..

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I really don't see the justification for a 416 over anything else coming from a reputable rental house; they'll all have been well serviced and you can save a few bucks for wrap beer.

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I'd take an Arri over an Aaton any day, purely for the flexibility with the viewfinder. Don't get the complaints about weight. An SR weighs nothing compared to a 35mm camera.

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Dom ..I think its only for rental on a music video ..I guess one to two days max.. to buy .. yes condition is a huge factor..and it would no doubt be better to pay a bit more and get a 416..

 

Ah yes, right, rental! How refreshing! I just assume everyone is asking about buying these days. Here at Panavision Melbourne we rented a 416 last year for the first time in yonks, nobody rents film cameras in this country anymore it seems. That camera is a pure delight to use, the best of Arri and Aaton rolled into one.

 

But sure, a rental camera should be fine, go with an XTR if that's what the budget suggests.

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Ah yes, right, rental! How refreshing! I just assume everyone is asking about buying these days. Here at Panavision Melbourne we rented a 416 last year for the first time in yonks, nobody rents film cameras in this country anymore it seems. That camera is a pure delight to use, the best of Arri and Aaton rolled into one.

 

But sure, a rental camera should be fine, go with an XTR if that's what the budget suggests.

 

Just out of interest.. has there been a big drop off 35mm film camera rentals over say last 3 years.. or its sort of reached a plateaux ..

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An SR3 is 7kg with loaded 400ft mag and on-board battery, an XTR is rated at 6kg with same. Let's try not to over-egg the pudding, eh?

Yea, but you're talking from a bench technicians perspective, not someone on set shooting. The big weight differences aren't in the body and magazine, it's in the accessories the SR3 needs to become hand-held (which is the only reason to keep it light). The Aaton's integrated rail system and super light-weight handle, give a huge upper hand, plus the SR3 needs that silly pad to be comfortable for hand holding. Another thing to add is that almost everyone uses Lithium NP1's on XTR's which are much lighter then the SR3 battery solution and WAY cheaper.

 

I've weighed the two cameras built (as I owned both)... with the glass. The difference is around 4 - 6lb depending on accessories.

 

SR3s also use side rail pressure to keep lateral registration steady, as do almost all 16mm cameras. Aatons are steady despite no registration pin due to the whole gate/pressure plate/pulldown design.

I personally haven't seen anything like the little spring loaded pad on the XTR and 35III on any Arri camera. I've tapped all the surfaces of the rails on my SR3 and none of them moved. I've even put film in the gate and compared how the XTR puts SUBSTANTIAL pressure on the film, but the SR3, without a backplate/magazine, the film glides with seemingly no force.

 

For instance, you can't lie a piece of film on the gate with an XTR without pushing it down onto it. The film just pops up due to all the force of the spring loaded guide. So that to me is an entirely different design philosophy. Obviously the XTR uses an entirely different pulldown philosophy as well, which is super simple and I think is superior in a few ways. I do like Arri's design, but I think it's over complicated for what it needs to be.

 

The pressure plate is entirely different between the two cameras, but I don't see that as a excuse/reason for either camera to have better registration over the other. I do think both cameras have their advantages and the 416 does kinda borrow from both designs which is nice.

 

 

All three cameras are perfectly useable, the only downsides to XTRs are they are not as durable as Arris and there are less repair facilities familiar with them, but if budget is a major consideration the XTR may be your best bet.

This is true, they are fragile compared to the SR's. With that said, they do use a few tricks to keep the tolerances high AND keep the movement reliable. One of which metal to teflon mating surfaces on the pull mechanism. They use very similar bushings on the drive shafts as well to keep down on wear.

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I'd take an Arri over an Aaton any day, purely for the flexibility with the viewfinder. Don't get the complaints about weight. An SR weighs nothing compared to a 35mm camera.

You mean being able to move it from one side to another?

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You mean being able to move it from one side to another?

 

 

Yes I think Arri had some patent on the swing over design.. you could do it on the Aaton.. . but you had to take some screw out .. it was a sneaky way of getting around the patent ..

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Just out of interest.. has there been a big drop off 35mm film camera rentals over say last 3 years.. or its sort of reached a plateaux ..

 

35mm camera rental in Australia is virtually non-existent, and has been for about 5 years. The death knell was probably when the last major lab, Deluxe, closed in 2013.

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Yes I think Arri had some patent on the swing over design.. you could do it on the Aaton.. . but you had to take some screw out .. it was a sneaky way of getting around the patent ..

 

OHHHHHHHHH interesting, clever. Ya can't swing it over anyway because the video tap is in the way on the XTR.

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35mm camera rental in Australia is virtually non-existent, and has been for about 5 years. The death knell was probably when the last major lab, Deluxe, closed in 2013.

 

Yep it's sad. My Aaton 35III was imported from Australia as the rental houses ditched their equipment due to the lab going out of business. I'm not sure if NegLab is still open, but if they are then that's at least ONE lab that does all the formats.

 

I'm so sad that Deluxe was so nearsighted when they pulled the plug, it destroyed Australia's film economy due to the expense if shipping prints. They were nearly all made locally for their market and when you destroy the only lab capable of making prints... umm that's the end of that. :(

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I personally haven't seen anything like the little spring loaded pad on the XTR and 35III on any Arri camera. I've tapped all the surfaces of the rails on my SR3 and none of them moved. I've even put film in the gate and compared how the XTR puts SUBSTANTIAL pressure on the film, but the SR3, without a backplate/magazine, the film glides with seemingly no force.

 

SR3s use sprung saphire guides embedded in one side rail, older cameras like the 16S or 16BL used a whole rail that was spring loaded. Even Bolexes use a spring clip to exert side rail pressure, it's a very common feature of 16mm cameras. You generally don't really want substantial side pressure on the film in the gate - it shouldn't take much force to keep a flimsy piece of film pressed against one rail and you risk bowing the film or introducing wear. The tricky part is vertical registration, which is where a very accurate and play-free pulldown combined with a pressure plate comes into play. The registration pin on 16mm Arris is almost a double safety, it doesn't control lateral registration but helps position the film vertically, and also prevents any potential vertical movement (however tiny) during exposure caused by the loop moving. If you don't use a registration pin, then the pull-down claw and pressure plate need to be in perfect tolerance, and I suppose some extra side pressure helps too.

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SR3s use sprung saphire guides embedded in one side rail, older cameras like the 16S or 16BL used a whole rail that was spring loaded. Even Bolexes use a spring clip to exert side rail pressure, it's a very common feature of 16mm cameras. You generally don't really want substantial side pressure on the film in the gate - it shouldn't take much force to keep a flimsy piece of film pressed against one rail and you risk bowing the film or introducing wear. The tricky part is vertical registration, which is where a very accurate and play-free pulldown combined with a pressure plate comes into play. The registration pin on 16mm Arris is almost a double safety, it doesn't control lateral registration but helps position the film vertically, and also prevents any potential vertical movement (however tiny) during exposure caused by the loop moving. If you don't use a registration pin, then the pull-down claw and pressure plate need to be in perfect tolerance, and I suppose some extra side pressure helps too.

 

Interesting... I'd like to know how much force is applied to the film between the two cameras. It makes me wonder if the reason why Arri use a pin is because they wanted to be as light on the film as possible in the gate and they were concerned about movement. The SR3's I've used and owned had about the same amount of frame wobble as the XTR so it's really interesting why they'd make a more complex movement to solve a problem that maybe doesn't exist? hmmm...

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