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How much would it cost to purchase a good to near mint condition Aaton A-Minima?

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Prices are going up pretty fast. Last decent A-Minima I saw went for $6k. Remember, no matter what the batteries will need to be re-celled and that camera does have a main drive belt that will need replacing at some point as well. So "mint" condition is hard unless you pay a premium and get all of that done in advance. Another side note, the daylight spools are becoming harder to get, so make sure if you get a camera, you get as many mags as possible with as many spools as possible. 

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6 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Prices are going up pretty fast. Last decent A-Minima I saw went for $6k. Remember, no matter what the batteries will need to be re-celled and that camera does have a main drive belt that will need replacing at some point as well. So "mint" condition is hard unless you pay a premium and get all of that done in advance. Another side note, the daylight spools are becoming harder to get, so make sure if you get a camera, you get as many mags as possible with as many spools as possible. 

 

Thank you for your reply! Do you recommend going with maybe an Xtera instead? Are they around the same price range? I know both cameras were used for the beginning half of Damien Chazelle's "First Man," (brilliant film) but would you say they used the Minima as more of a b camera and the Xtera would have been their main camera?

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The A-minima is a "speciality" camera. Not an A, B or C camera, but something you pull out to get that one shot where no other camera can go. It's not a sync-sound camera, so it's louder then an XTR/Xtera and it takes very specialized film loads which are not made by anyone anymore. So you can't just order film and use it with the A-Minima like all of the normal cameras. It takes 200ft loads but they're wound backwards with the emulsion out and need to be threaded in daylight due to the complexity of the camera loading. So you'd need a dark room to re-spool onto the 200ft daylight spools properly or pay a lab to do it, which just adds to the cost. 

The XTR Prod and Xtera are the same camera mechanically and design, but the Xtera uses the 35mm style video tap which is much higher quality. These are A unit sync sound cameras, designed for production. They take standard 400ft loads or 100ft daylight spools (not the same as the A-Minima at all) and they're dead quiet, only 20db at 24fps. 

Remember, with film cameras, the image is created with the lens and film stock, not an "imager" like digital cameras. So a 50 year old 16mm camera would deliver identical quality images to a 416 if the lenses, movement and stock were the same. This is one of the biggest things us film people have to explain to digital people who wish to shoot film. They just think they must use the newest and best to capture great images and it gets very annoying, especially when there are only a hand-full of 16mm cameras made in the 2000's +. So in reality, who cares what camera body Damian Chazelle used on "First Man" (all the behind the scenes stills I've seen show a 416). Can you afford the Super 16 Ultra Primes which are what makes the image? If you can't, then it's probably best to rent a camera and lens kit for a while to get your feet wet. 

Finally, finding XTR Prod's and Xtera's is currently impossible. Every once in a blue moon, one shows up on the radar and they go for $7k easily these days. I haven't seen an Xtera for sale since 2016 and in 2018 I only saw 2 XTR's for sale, one Plus and one Prod, both went for a lot of money. Ya just gotta keep your eye on ebay because nearly anyone who has one, will post it there first. The easiest super 16 camera to find is an Arri SR3, but even those are getting more and more rare. 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

The A-minima is a "speciality" camera. Not an A, B or C camera, but something you pull out to get that one shot where no other camera can go. It's not a sync-sound camera, so it's louder then an XTR/Xtera and it takes very specialized film loads which are not made by anyone anymore. So you can't just order film and use it with the A-Minima like all of the normal cameras. It takes 200ft loads but they're wound backwards with the emulsion out and need to be threaded in daylight due to the complexity of the camera loading. So you'd need a dark room to re-spool onto the 200ft daylight spools properly or pay a lab to do it, which just adds to the cost. 

The XTR Prod and Xtera are the same camera mechanically and design, but the Xtera uses the 35mm style video tap which is much higher quality. These are A unit sync sound cameras, designed for production. They take standard 400ft loads or 100ft daylight spools (not the same as the A-Minima at all) and they're dead quiet, only 20db at 24fps. 

Remember, with film cameras, the image is created with the lens and film stock, not an "imager" like digital cameras. So a 50 year old 16mm camera would deliver identical quality images to a 416 if the lenses, movement and stock were the same. This is one of the biggest things us film people have to explain to digital people who wish to shoot film. They just think they must use the newest and best to capture great images and it gets very annoying, especially when there are only a hand-full of 16mm cameras made in the 2000's +. So in reality, who cares what camera body Damian Chazelle used on "First Man" (all the behind the scenes stills I've seen show a 416). Can you afford the Super 16 Ultra Primes which are what makes the image? If you can't, then it's probably best to rent a camera and lens kit for a while to get your feet wet. 

Finally, finding XTR Prod's and Xtera's is currently impossible. Every once in a blue moon, one shows up on the radar and they go for $7k easily these days. I haven't seen an Xtera for sale since 2016 and in 2018 I only saw 2 XTR's for sale, one Plus and one Prod, both went for a lot of money. Ya just gotta keep your eye on ebay because nearly anyone who has one, will post it there first. The easiest super 16 camera to find is an Arri SR3, but even those are getting more and more rare. 

 

 

Appreciate all of the information, this was the article where DP Linus Sangren talks about the cameras and lenses used: https://www.afcinema.com/Cinematographer-Linus-Sandgren-FSF-discusses-his-work-on-Damien-Chazelle-s-First-Man.html?lang=fr 

Any great affordable Super16 prime sets you would recommend? I've seen a lot of test footage with most setups using Super Speed primes, but I really haven't seen anything else.

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Yea I read the American Cinematographer article, he's got a lot of fun details in there about camera, lensing and lighting which was fun to read. As a pretty die hard Aaton guy myself, it was nice to see someone do a feature with 16mm and 35mm Aaton cameras, much like my own. 

There is a set for sale right now on this very forum that is the best deal I've seen in a long time. $10k for a set of 5 Arri Super speeds for Super 16. 

I have the Russian knock off's called Optars and they're a bit soft, but they really work well for super 16. I haven't had a lick of complaints from the people who use my camera and they're around $6k for a new set of 5, but again they're hard to find. 

Remember, you can always start with a zoom lens. The Canon 11-165 is the defacto standard and there is one of them for sale on here for $2800 euro's if i recall. I have a Zeiss 12-120, were it is much smaller and lighter then the Canon, the Canon is a crisper and nicer piece of glass with a better range. 

Ohh and watch out for "mount" types. Quite a few 16mm lenses are Arri B mount. You'll be needing PL mount for any modern camera. 

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1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Yea I read the American Cinematographer article, he's got a lot of fun details in there about camera, lensing and lighting which was fun to read. As a pretty die hard Aaton guy myself, it was nice to see someone do a feature with 16mm and 35mm Aaton cameras, much like my own. 

There is a set for sale right now on this very forum that is the best deal I've seen in a long time. $10k for a set of 5 Arri Super speeds for Super 16. 

I have the Russian knock off's called Optars and they're a bit soft, but they really work well for super 16. I haven't had a lick of complaints from the people who use my camera and they're around $6k for a new set of 5, but again they're hard to find. 

Remember, you can always start with a zoom lens. The Canon 11-165 is the defacto standard and there is one of them for sale on here for $2800 euro's if i recall. I have a Zeiss 12-120, were it is much smaller and lighter then the Canon, the Canon is a crisper and nicer piece of glass with a better range. 

Ohh and watch out for "mount" types. Quite a few 16mm lenses are Arri B mount. You'll be needing PL mount for any modern camera. 

I really appreciate all the information you've given me; it is literally been the exact response I've been looking for, for almost a month now, thank you!

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