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Evan Samaras

Arri 35 BL III & 4 Serial No.s?

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Hi Everyone,

I just bought a set of ARRI BL's with the following serial numbers:  35407 & 36141

I am hoping to learn which BL models they are, as they were advertised as a III & 4 although the seller may have made an error. I believe one of them may be an original model BL. Is there a website I can use to find the models? All help is appreciated! Thank you! 

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Attached is a picture of "BL3," although that may just be the Mag and not the body. It is also NOT with PL mount. 


Edited by Evan Samaras

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The original BL is simply called the BL. The 3 and 4 models came quite a bit later and are quite a bit different than the original. 

The camera pictured above is a clearly a BL2. This is a marketable improvement over the original BL, but with a double pulldown movement that prohibited the camera from doing high speed work, so it's max speed is 50fps. It also has an electronic counter which the original did not have. The double pulldown did help with stability and sound level however. 

You can tell a BL 2 from a BL 3 and 4 instantly because the newer cameras no longer have a lens blimp (that huge housing around the lens), the viewfinder is beefier and the loading door is a different shape. There are of course, many other differences between the BL2 and 3/4 models, but generally the big differences are the addition of a PL mount, more standard 180 degree shutter and an entirely new optical viewfinder. 

The BL 4 was a minor update to the viewfinder and reduction in speed again. 

The BL 4S was just a movement update, slight electronics update and magazine change so you alter the loop size after you load the magazine, which was always a problem with the BL cameras. 

If you ever plan on using either of these cameras, they will need to be gone through by a professional. The BL series uses a urethane drive belt that decays after around 20 years. It requires a professional technician to replace the belts because re-timing the camera requires special tools. The cost is around $1600 for the main drive belt replacement and another $800 for the shutter belt. These belts are how the camera can be so quiet and they do work really well. 

If you google search (Arri BL series) you will get many pages of information about the cameras.  


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Thank you for the information Tyler, it's very helpful.

I definitely plan on using the BL4. Is there a specific manual or book that you would recommend?

When I first purchased my SR3 I read John Fauer's book front to back.

I don't plan on changing the belts myself, although I would like to take a look at their condition. Replacing projector belts has been easy enough, but I definitely don't plan on touching camera belts! From my understanding, Andrew of AZ Spectrum gave them a thumbs up for Bill of Health, but I would like to take a closer look myself. I hope to find some short ends to run through the camera for testing purposes. I could probably even develop it in my lomo tank. Any specific recommendations on your part otherwise?


Thank you again. 

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