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RE: Eclair Cameras: ACL serial numbers. 1, 1.5, 2?


Thank you for your excellent reply! I guess I should say, picture only, rather than sight unseen.

I plan on having the camera overhauled upon purchase, but nonetheless this is excellent information and thanks for taking the time to post it for us all.

It comes with 2X400' French mags. I will be converting it to S16. I'll have it in a couple of weeks, if anyone is curious, I'll post here how things work out.

Best regards,


From: august loessberg <jerdog@ou.edu>
Reply-To: EclairACL@topica.com
To: EclairACL@topica.com
Subject: RE: Eclair Cameras: ACL serial numbers. 1, 1.5, 2?
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 08:32:33 -0500

From your email it sounds like it is not quite a sight unseen buy.
If you are getting a motor that works well and a kinoptik finder and
everything has been added and adjusted correctly, what difference does it
make?  The model numbers 1, 1.5 and 2 are not from Eclair.  Each camera
regardless of when it was made was made by hand and every part fitted by the
factory.  If the camera has a solid drive rod and runs quietly you have a
user.  I have repaired and restored numerous ACL's NPR's and ARRIs over the
years.  My experience with the ACL is that various models used a variety of
assembly screws, mirror drive rods and in some cases different materials for
the gears, i.e. nylon and even bronze.  These differences are minimal and
are usually not the concern of a user.

The 200 magazines however do have a distinctive difference in manufacture
between those approved by Eclair for use with 75fps speeds and those not
approved.  The magazines for 75fps have a different guide plate on the
sprocket plate that keeps the film from packing over and steadies the take
up loop.  As for the light meter.  It was a poor design to begin with only
giving you information about variation in exposure and not T stop accurate
in any condition. I usually advise owners to have it removed especially if
you are going to have it upgraded to S16.

The Kinoptik finder uses the same back focus as the Angenieux so changing it
out is simple and requires no other adjustment.  The main issue with older
cameras is the mirror drive rod.  The older, multiple piece drive rod was
replaced by a solid rod, as the earlier model rod was noisy and could not be
made quite.

The last element to consider is the possiblilty of an amatuer opening up the
camera and not reassembling it properly,(more common than any other
problem), because this often leads to problems with the shutter timing.
Unlike other cameras the ACL is so tiny that it has been manufactured with
less tolerance for error. Make sure the mirror is in excellent condition,
there is no supplier for the original material these were made of and I have
never seen a well restored mirror.

Poor shutter timing and improper mirror adjustments are common in cameras
that have been worked on by inexperienced repair shops or amateurs, these
are the things I would look for.

Here are two simple tests for any ACL user to make on a new camera purchase. First, set the camera on a tripod and remove the magazine. Place a piece of
3M matte adhesive tape over the aperture in the gate(where the film rides).
Open the shutter and focus the image.  Then look through the finder and
rotate the shutter until you can see the image, do not refocus the lens.
But do set the diopter in the finder.  Check to see that the image is still
in focus.  Repeat this several times to make sure your eye is not
compensating for focus change and while you are doing this make note of the
image alignment also.  Make sure the picture in the finder is the same as
the picture in the gate on the matte tape. If all is well the mirror and
prism are okay.

Second to make sure the shutter is timed properly look at the gate while
rotating the motor inching knob and watch the claw.  The claw should not
move above the gate level or ingage the film at all until the shutter is
completely closed. If it does your shutter is out of time and just a
millisecond of error can cause flicker or double image.  Though this can be
easily seen in a film test it is cheaper to determine correct timing by
watching the gate.

-----Original Message-----
From: walter lawlor [mailto:walterlawlor@hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 4:54 PM
To: EclairACL@topica.com
Subject: Eclair Cameras: ACL serial numbers. 1, 1.5, 2?

Hi folks, I'm thinking of buying an ACL sight undeen. It looks to me like a
2, but it may just be the accessories.  Serial # 2880.  No obvious Made in
France, or England (Not inside the mags mounting area.)  Any thoughts?  It
has a Kinoptic viewfinder, but that could have been added.  French 400'ers,
8-75HD motor. Again, all 2 like items could be upgrades, owner doesn't know
if there is a lightmeter.

Any thoughts?

Love some help, thanks,


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