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Eclair ACL My twopennys worth on the ACL S16 conversion


I've done plenty of Super 16mm conversions in the past and my advise would be - don't do it! I certainly won't do them again. I had the original Eclair ACL engineer's kit which had every depth gauge, tool and measuring device imaginable for almost every part of the ACL. I had access to engineers who could spark erode the gate to super 16mm, shift the port, tap holes and trim everything. But I can tell you now, it is a nightmare that requires the patience of a saint and the skill of a jeweller.

What people seem to forget is that of all 16mm cameras, the ACL is far and away the HARDEST to convert to Super 16mm. The Aaton and the Eclair NPR are an absolute breeze by comparison.

You have to take the viewfinder prism out to get the (extended) shutter back in and straight away you have three problems: Re-timing, shutter clearance and collimation. That will just be the start of your troubles. Once that gate comes out and you get it extended, the moment you put it back in the chances are the pull-down claw will scrape against the claw aperture. You'll have to reset the claws height and side position and I have never seen a manual yet that will tell you how to do it.

How also are you going to put S16 markings on your ground glass? No letraset will stay put the moment you clean it. To remove the original markings you may have to reground and polish it.

It's true you can put shims beneath the flange to reset the focal depth, but what happens if you put your camera back together and the focal depth is too long?? This can happen and frequently does. This means you then have to get that flange milled down perfectly flat and start placing shims beneath it.

As for the mirror (oh my god, sob). You try and get it off without snapping it. No chance. You try replacing it. (You need 1mm thick optical glass). Then try cutting it. If you get through all that, try sticking it back on. The glue may stop the mirror from sitting perfectly flat and the image will then shake in the viewfinder. I had to focus a LASER on the mirror to reset it!!

This is just a fraction of all the problems you'll come up against but the most soul destroying thing is, the moment it goes back together it will never, ever be the same camera again. It will never make the same sounds and it's true what another member said, that eliminating noise from the ACL is an art form in itself.

Please don't do it, it's the closest you'll ever get to hell!



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