I have a rarity amongst 16mm cameras, a Beaulieu with rock solid registration. The vertical and horizontal movement on my Beaulieu is actually less than that on my ACL or Arri M, both of which are in good registration. However, when viewed side by side, it becomes apparent that the Beaulieu footage has a "nervous" feel to it - due to breathing - charteristic of the R16, which I find unpleasant.
I think that the importance of the registration of different camera models is underestimated. The ACL and Arri S have similar image stability, but the SR 1 and 2 have a steadiness that, I think, to the viewer on a subliminal level, reads as "quality". The SR 3 has a stability that I find breath-taking.
A cinematograher recently said here that he had never been taken out of a film by registration. I agree, but I also find it easier to get into a film if it has solid registration.
The ACL is a great bargain, but I think that it is more than just the lens and film stock which makes a camera state-of-the-art.
>Subject: Eclair Cameras: Relative Quality of Film Cameras
>Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2003 19:15:04 EDT
>In a message dated 8/2/2003 2:04:02 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> > the truth of the matter is that one make of camera over another may give
> > better mechanical stability as far as the camera not breaking down, or causing
> > problems like poor-registration, lost-loop, jaming, etc. ... but this is not
> > an image issue --- correct?
>Absolutely. With a film camera in proper tune-up, if the film lays flat on
>the film plane for even focus, the motor runs reliably, and the registration is
>good, the main thing that matters is the TYPE OF FILM and the LENS, as far
>as image quality goes.
>I have just finished a feature shot with an ACL, and many of the younger
>actors marvel at this tiny 30-year old camera that isn't digital and shoots "real
>pictures". But they wonder if the quality of an old camera is really that
>good. I have to explain over and over that with film, if the camera is working,
>the quality depends on the FILM and LENS ... it isn't like video.