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Author Topic: Honest evaluation of projector choices
David C. Lucidi
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 127
From: Glenolden, PA, USA
Registered: Nov 2013


 - posted November 17, 2013 01:25 PM      Profile for David C. Lucidi   Email David C. Lucidi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So I come to the collective with a dilemma (I apologize for the length). Every year I put on a massive outdoor showing in 16mm. We do a Double Feature. I always ran 2 projectors for changeover, which consisted nothing more than me "quick as lightning" swapping switches by hand and swapping audio plugs from one projector to another. The screen is 12' x 16' (custom made by me), and the projectors were Kalart Victor 80-25's, using 200watt bulbs, and the standard F1.6, 2" lens. Projection distance is approx. 72 ft.

I have had zero problems with these projectors filling up the screen with a bright, clear image. I love the Kalart Victors, I own 4 of them (also a 70-25, and a 75-25). I feel they are the safest to handle film, due to the 3 safety "trips" they have on them (for those who may not know, this is a manual thread).

My problem is the frustration of running older film, and having the safety "trip" when the film slips due to worn out sprockets (or an old splice). My films are always well lubed (usually Vitafilm or Film Renew). But it's a pain in the arse, when putting on a big show like this, and the film stops several times during a bad section of film. Keep in mind, I usually run the entire feature nonstop (complete with trailers, drive in headers, etc). So a break in the action, before intermission between features, really ruins the magic. Esp. if it happens 3-4x within minutes.

SO I have been contemplating other projectors and this is where I'd like input. Xenons are out, simply because I'd want (2) projectors and don't have that kind of money. I also have an Eiki RT-0 (auto thread with loop restorer), and a B & H 2592 (with a worm gear needing replacement in the future). Both of them seem to be brighter (both with a brighter 250w bulb, and faster 1.2 lenses, not to mention the brighter setting on the projector). I have run "bad film" through both to compare (as they both have the loop restorer), and the 3 claw B & H seems to REALLY handle the film a lot smoother than the Eiki (both are in great shape and well shopped through with new belts, lube, etc). It would appear the same film has maybe 1-2 loop restores on the B & H, while the Eiki does it 2 dozen times and jitters like crazy (I would assume this is due to the 3 claw vs 2, and the 3 sprocket vs 2 sprocket design of the B & H vs. Eiki).

So if you made it this far (Sorry!), my question is....given everything above, and the distance I project, what would you suggest? I absolutely loathe slot loaders (I have an old Eiki SSL-0) and won't run film through them (nothing personal to those who love them, but I'd sooner chew off my arm). I like the B & H for both brightness, lens availability, and gentleness of the film, and the worm gear I don't mind paying the $400 to replace it. Am I missing anything else out there?

Also, I like how the B & H scope lens screws into the existing lens, transmitting more light. The Kalart Victor has a gap of about 3" with the scope attachment, and I swear, anything more than 10' outdoors and the image is too washed out (my guess is due to the light loss with the gap). With the B & H, I went as much as 20' and it still looked decent, all things considered.

I'd appreciate the collective experiences, input, and ideas [Big Grin]

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5784
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted November 17, 2013 02:50 PM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The answer is simple.

Bell & Howell. YES. It has three claws and a loop former. It has three sprockets (Yes, I know it's actually two, but the film meets one of them twice.) It's kind to film.

Eiki/Elf. NO. Two claws. Large lower loop often triggering the loop former. Not very kind to old film.

My comments are based on owning both projectors.

--------------------
Maurice

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David C. Lucidi
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 127
From: Glenolden, PA, USA
Registered: Nov 2013


 - posted November 17, 2013 05:01 PM      Profile for David C. Lucidi   Email David C. Lucidi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Maurice,

I was wondering about the lower loop myself....I noticed on the B & H it's considerably smaller/"tighter" than the "loosey goosey" so to speak on the Eiki. Could that be why the Eiki triggers it more often?

With respect to the sprockets I still consider it having 3 even if it's re-using one -- the Kalart Victors do this as well (there is a double use one at the beginning, re-used at the end, and a middle one right after the sound drum).

From what I recall, Elf is basically the International name for the Eiki's, correct?

Thanks for the input!

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5784
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted November 18, 2013 02:41 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David
Loosey Goosey is a marvellous expression for the Elf/Eiki lower loop. If a film has a degree of warp, for instance, this is what happens to it, possibly triggering the loop former.

It is true that the lower loop on a Bell & Howell is rather small, but I would always trust a Bell & Howell to run an old and possibly shrunken film.

All my Eiki projectors are badged as Elf. Not entirely sure why, but at one time, here in the UK, projectors were distributed by Elf Audio Visual Holdings Limited.

--------------------
Maurice

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Gerald Santana
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1058
From: Cottage Grove OR
Registered: Dec 2010


 - posted November 18, 2013 04:37 AM      Profile for Gerald Santana   Author's Homepage   Email Gerald Santana   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi David,

Welcome to the forum. From my experience, the Kodak Pageant AV-12 M6 16mm Optical/Magnetic projector is the best machine I've ever used. The lamp will go from 200 to 1000W. There is also a 4" lens for theatrical shows and you can also fit a 1" ISCO 1.3 zoom lens from a BOLEX super 8 projector on there for a huge picture at a very short throw. There is also a bifocal converter for a bigger image at a shorter distance that is made by Kodak for an Ektanar lens.

It's basically a Kodak chassis in a plywood box--so far, it is the best projector I've used so far and will do everything you need including magnetic striped films. You defiantly need to get a little mixer or a small P.A. board and run sound into that instead of unplugging the cables.

I also recommend the Elmo 16CL or the Eiki Super Slim Slot Load models...quiet machines and easy on film.

--------------------
http://lostandoutofprintfilms.blogspot.com/

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David C. Lucidi
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 127
From: Glenolden, PA, USA
Registered: Nov 2013


 - posted November 18, 2013 06:29 AM      Profile for David C. Lucidi   Email David C. Lucidi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Gerald,

I have known of the Kodak Pagaents over the years but never dealt with one personally. This is a very interesting model from what little I have been able to find about it online.

However one of my concerns is that while the bulb wattage goes up to 1000 watts, the bulbs themselves are the older incandescent kind. In my personal dealings, I have found that no matter how high the wattage, the halogens always shine brighter (example: my Kalart-Victor 75-25 has a 750watt incandescent (max 1200 watt), while the 80-25 has a 200 watt Halogen. The lower wattage halogen is noticeably brighter). My concern on projecting a distance of approx. 75' means I need as much light as possible, short of going Xenon. With the aforementioned B&H and Eiki, they both use 250watt Halogen, even brighter than my existing Kalart Victor setup. Any thoughts on this?

One other concern about the Pageant is the claw -- is it a 2 or 3 claw in the film gate? I couldn't find anything about this online.

Thanks for the reply and advice!! [Big Grin]

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Gary Crawford
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 978
From: Manassas, VA. USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted November 18, 2013 06:37 AM      Profile for Gary Crawford   Email Gary Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I run all Pageants....the 250 series with the better amp and the halogen bulbs. Terrific on old film ...will run almost anything...
for large audiences and halls, I run Pageants with the Gemini arc lamps.

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Allan Broadfield
Master Film Handler

Posts: 452
From: Bromley, Kent
Registered: Nov 2010


 - posted November 18, 2013 06:55 AM      Profile for Allan Broadfield   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Broadfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's a pity that the Bell & Howell TQ models have the worm reputation, as they undoubtedly treat film with kid gloves and give a great performance. I've had my TQ111 for some time now and had it examined recently by someone in the know and the worm gear is still in perfect nick.
I would definitely recommend the Bell & Howell after checking condition, but you'd do that with any machine, wouldn't you?

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Paul Mason
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 537
From: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK
Registered: Nov 2013


 - posted November 18, 2013 07:21 AM      Profile for Paul Mason     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've had several Bell & Howells and I would recommend a manual threading type from the 1960s as there is less to go wrong. An original worm gear is a worry but many examples are still going strong perhaps due to continued regular use.

--------------------
Paul.

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David C. Lucidi
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 127
From: Glenolden, PA, USA
Registered: Nov 2013


 - posted November 18, 2013 09:06 AM      Profile for David C. Lucidi   Email David C. Lucidi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've got no problem with the worm gears as there are people who can fix them and, once done, they appear to be bullet proof. So far I have only seen the B&H have all of these features:

-3 claw pull down
-3 sprockets (even if one is used twice)
-Loop restorer
-Halogen lamp (at least the later ones)

Gary, the Kodak Pageant intrigues me, however. The manual threading is no problem, and the later model 250 series does indeed look interesting. How powerful are the Gemini Arc Lamps compared to the standard halogens? How expensive are they to replace (and for that matter, availability)? How long (on average) do they last compared to, say, a 200-250 watt Halogen?

Lastly, does the Pageant have a 2 claw or 3 claw pull down?

Thanks again all for the information, amazing how much one can learn after 30+ years of being in the hobby [Cool]

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Richard C Patchett
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Flint Mi 48506
Registered: Dec 2007


 - posted November 18, 2013 04:20 PM      Profile for Richard C Patchett   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C Patchett   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Greetings
Just in case heres more infor on

Types of Projectors

Manual:
You physically take the film in your hands and thread (lace for you folks in the UK) the film through the entire film path. You open every sprocket guard, open the film gate, set the tension of the film around the sound drum, and loop film around the rollers as the film exits the projector. All projectors from the very beginning of the development of projectors up until around 1962 were manually threaded. This is good because the projector and film path were less cluttered plus you had to know something about film so you wouldn't destroy either the film or projector. Film can be stopped at any point in the reel and unthreaded easily if you don't wish to see the entire movie.

Auto Load:
You flip a lever and feed film into an entryway. The film threads itself through the entire film path. When the film exits the projector you give the film a slight "tug" to trigger the release linkage and take the machine out of the automatic thread mode. The numerous linkages and guidance hardware are complicated. That's why auto load machines are the most expensive to purchase brand new. Film can be stopped at any point in the reel and manually unthreaded with a little difficulty. By the way, AUTOLOAD is a registered trademark for Bell & Howell's line of automatic threading projectors. Bell and Howell invented automatic threading projectors in late 1962 with the introduction of the famous model 552 and its baby brother the model 545. Film leader (the first 3 feet for sure) must be in good condition and free of sticky tape, folds, kinks, torn holes, etc.


Slot Load:
You flip a master "loading lever" and the entire film path opens up. Then you just sort of 'lay' the film in the slot. Then flip the master lever into the run position and show your movie. Film can be stopped at any point and unthreaded easily. Some machines allow you to actually rewind the film while still in the film path. There is usually some safety interlock switches preventing rewinding if any of the sprockets and claw is still engaged with the film or damage would result! These machines are also complicated internally, difficult to clean, and can be problematic. Slot load and channel load are the same terms. By the way, Graflex invented the slot load system in 1966.

--------------------
RC’s Classic Collection
16 mm Parts & Service
Elmo, Eiki, Bell & Howell +
http://www.rcsclassic16mm.com/

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David C. Lucidi
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 127
From: Glenolden, PA, USA
Registered: Nov 2013


 - posted November 18, 2013 08:28 PM      Profile for David C. Lucidi   Email David C. Lucidi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Richard,

Thanks for the reply! Before I joined the forum (when I would snoop around), I had seen your name pop up on here as the 'resident expert' for repairing the B&H machines (thus why I said I wasn't concerned about getting the worm gear repaired).

I did know all 3 types of projectors, having owned 4 manuals (all Kalart Victors....the ODDEST (and I'll go so far as to even say, neatest) manual threading in my opinion), 4 automatics (Eiki's and B&H's), and 1 slot (Eiki SSL-0).

I know people swear up and down on the slot loaders, but I absolutely hate them (probably as much as those people who hate the auto-threads). Consequently, I love the auto thread as much as I love the manual threads, providing the projector was 'shopped' and in good shape (as they all should be, in my opinion). Eh, different strokes for different folks I guess [Wink]

I may be in touch with you Richard if I end up changing/updating my 'stables' with a few B&H later models. Whether the worm gears are bad or not, I'm from the old school way of thinking: "fix it now, and be worry free", vs. playing 'Russian Roulette' with when (not if) it will finally fail [Smile] Thanks for the input!

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Richard C Patchett
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: Flint Mi 48506
Registered: Dec 2007


 - posted November 18, 2013 10:17 PM      Profile for Richard C Patchett   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C Patchett   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Greetings David
Thanks for the reply
I would be glad to service your projector needs.
I agree there are many people out there that like one projector over another.
If you’re interested in another Kalart Victor i just got done refurbishing one, it’s on my web site
Look forward to hearing from you
Thank You
RC

--------------------
RC’s Classic Collection
16 mm Parts & Service
Elmo, Eiki, Bell & Howell +
http://www.rcsclassic16mm.com/

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Jeff Missinne
Film Handler

Posts: 69
From: Superior, WI USA
Registered: Nov 2012


 - posted December 18, 2013 06:08 PM      Profile for Jeff Missinne   Email Jeff Missinne   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Both Kalart Victor and Kodak Pageant are very gentle on film. I've used and liked B & H autoloads and prefer them to manuals as getting the film "just right" around the sound drum can be a real bear sometimes. If you get it the least bit wrong, the sound will gargle. The Sons of the Desert chapter I belong to owns a B & H autoload Gemini arc machine, fully refurbished, and a dream to operate.

I've owned a couple Eikis and they were both film chompers; hated 'em. Don't care for slotloads either, and in fact Kalart Victor's (I think it was called a 90-25) was really horrible. Have never run an RCA-400 but understand they are a gentle machine as well.

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