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Hello,

I needed to post this comment and ask for some advice. It is sad that my first comment in this forum is about a negative feedback of a supposedly good reputable camera service engineer, but I just felt that I have to tell this.

I have been reading this forum for many years, although I never commented until now. I am self taught filmmaker with a burning passion for analogue film, so this forum was a fantastic help and guidance over the years. 

I bought an Arriflex 16 s/b camera 4-5 years ago from Cinema Camera Engineering Company in Los Angeles. I contacted them through their website and they were incredibly professional and attentive. The camera was serviced and arrived in perfect conditions. Everything was working really smooth. I was really happy with the purchase. Over the years, I bought some prime lenses, accessories and I built my rig following advice I read on topics and comments from members of this forum such as Tim Carroll and others. It wasn´t easy trying to understand everything by my own. I bought few great books like The 16mm Camera Book by Douglas Underdahl which helped me on my path to filmmaking. I grew a very close loving relationship with this camera. 

In the last two years I didn´t use the camera at all. Having some upcoming projects in the next months, I figured that after such a long time it would be better to have the camera serviced and lubricated for another 5 years.

I searched for a good camera service in Europe since I am located in Barcelona. After doing some research and reading few comments on this forum, I decided to contact Les Bosher in England. I sent him the camera a few weeks ago and I received it back yesterday. 

To my surprise, the camera has come back with so many issues:

- The door cannot be completely closed. When I close it, it moves. Light can probably leak in, and it is also moving the viewfinder throwing the image inside all over the place. 

- I cannot push the level to open the door all the way to AO open position. It stays in between. Before it snapped at AO.

- I notice more friction when rotating the lens turret. Before it was smoother. 

- Also, I think the supply feed spool now is like the other way around. I am not sure, but I think before it was smoother clockwise and now it aint easy to move. 

- The persicope viewfinder has some issue and moves changing the position of the image inside.

- The eye focus of the finder do not stay hard when I tighten the knobs, so I am loosing the position of the focus for my eye really easy when touching the finder. 

- I sent him two lenses (Arri 8mm and 16mm) I bought online over the years to have them cleaned and make sure the were collimated and adjusted to the camera. Now I cannot move the focus of the lenses. The Arri 8mm focus is really stiff. It is hard to move it. 

- I also did a tape and eye focus test with both lenses from 1 meter and 2 meter distances. In order to focus the chart on the wall, I have to pull the focus to infinity, yet the chart isnt completely in focus. So this could mean the flange focal distance in the camera is out of alignment?

I am just really surprised at this kind of work. The camera was great and I feel now it is unusable.  I phoned him yesterday and ask him what went wrong. Then I sent him a couple of videos showing the problems. Yet, today I havent got a response. I just feel really disappointed and I cannot understand this lack of professionalism. Not to mention, the communication by email was not good at all, and he missed some details of my address when he sent me the camera, so the delivery company couldn´t deliver the camera and it was sent back to England, then back again to Spain with the right address. It took more time and stress than usual. 

I am going to phone him again today and ask for a refund. I want to send the camera to someone else who can restore it back to perfect mechanical condition. I think after seeing the poor work that was done to the camera, I am afraid to send it again to him. I just hope he agrees to refund me the money so I can use it for another better service. 

Do you guys recommend a good place to service an Arriflex 16 s/b camera? I am located in Barcelona, so somewhere here in Europe would be great.  Considering the bad experience I just had, I wouldnt mind to pay extra and send the camera to the States. 

I have found that DuallCamera or VisualProducts offer a service for Arriflex 16s. Are they reliable? 

I would appreciate your advice and recommendation. 

Javier

 

IMG_8977.jpg

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Sorry to hear about your bad experiences!

I had my Eclair ACL converted to super16 by Les some six years ago. I think the work was generally good, I also bought some accessories for my camera. Unfortunately there was one big issue. Light leaks. For some time it was a great mystery, Les couldn't give any answer to my problem. Then I found a hole in the lens mount... The problem had to be corrected by Bernie O'Doherty from http://super16inc.com/ If I remember correctly he had to readjust something in the movement as well.

The light leak problem has been present in other Eclairs converted by Les as well.  A while after I learned of another such camera (on Youtube) I contacted Les to ask if such problem was more prevalent. I never got a reply from him. Another ACL owner from this board has also shared his experience of Les not returning any emails or phone calls after contacting him due to some problems in his converted ACL.

As far as I know, Les is semi-retired. Already when I had my camera converted he told me that he doesn't always answer emails so fast as he's away. Certainly that doesn't seem to be the reason for all cases of silence from him...

I can heartily recommend Bernie. Shipping to US from Europe was/is not fun, but the results were good. I also had my ACL ground glass laser brightened by him, it was worth it.

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Thanks Uli for that contact, it seems that Georg Bogner services Eclairs as well 🙂

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Thank you for your answers.

I will check both recommendations. Georg Bogner in Munich seems to very convenient. I will give him a call.

I have just spoken with Les Bosher on the phone and politely ask him for a refund.  He told me that he was in the middle of something and that he would answer my email later. I dont expect much from this. But who knows, maybe he has some decency and after reviewing the videos of the camera, he would come to his senses and contact me. 

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15 hours ago, Heikki Repo said:

Further info: Georg Bogner has retired and only services Arris now and then.

I had no idea. Thank you for letting us know Heikki.

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