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Re: Eclair Cameras: JK Printer

I am going to use my JK Printer for the first time in a couple of weeks, so I can't give you feedback other than to say it seems as though it should work well --- certainly the JK has been around long enough (since the 70s) to be well tried. All the controls work well. In addition to straight 1 frame to 1 frame optical printing to and from R-8, S-8, 16, S16 and 35mm, it can also do programmed skip printing or step printing.

I'm using my JK-104 printer for a S-16 to 35mm blowup. The JK-106 (same basic machine but newer style electronics controller than the 104) sells new for just under $5G including a R-16 gate. The guy I bought my JK 104 from also had a striped-down JK 103, (he would swap gates and the controller to use it). So I decided to also take the 103 as a backup. It is the 103 "backup" that I'll sell off when done. Don't know price yet. To buy a R-16 gate from JK is $650, and the newest design JK electronics controller is about $750. There is also a somewhat more sophisticated controller called the THING-M from a 3rd party that costs about $2,000 --- I think it has a more gentle ramp-up). Although JK sells a S-16 gate for around $1000, I had my machine shop manufacture some S-16 plates and was able to convert the R-16 gate on the cheap. I made a few extra S-16 plates, and will sell those off as well.

To use the JK printer as a Digital film-to-video transfer unit requires the use of the High-End Fuji 35mm digital camera, and then for about $1000 JK will convert the FUJI to interface with the printer's film controller. Just have a lot of hard disc space. Considering the cost of Cineon transfer, even if the quality of this JK Digital unit is slightly less than a Rank it is probably a great tool for the little guy. (For Film Opticals, I have no doubt that the quality will be as good as a lab if the printer is set up meticulously, and good glass is used; with the JK gate everything is registered).

Right now I'm using an Acme 35mm Optical-FX Camera for the blowup, and added a Rodenstock APO-Rodagon-N 1:4 lens, 80mm. [Apparently optical printers use Enlarging-type lenses to hold focus even across the frame. The APO means that it is designed to focus all color wavelengths perfectly on the same plane within its 4x-optimized enlarging/reduction ratio.] I'm trying to shoot at an F 4 to 5.6. My lab has a test 16mm neg that I'm going to use to shoot a wedge test at various lamp intensities, and the lab will read the test to tell me which intensity to use for perfect exposure when processed in their developing bath. My lab will be making a wetgate, contact, registered S-16 Master Positive from my A,B,C camera neg for blowing up to 35mm Negative, so that the JK's lack of a wetgate will not be a factor; I wish I could afford to have my Master Positive made directly to 35mm, but the cost difference is huge. I'm working in B& W, and imagine that there will be negligible difference ... the B&W camera negatives are much grainnier than the Duping film anyway, since Kodak hasn't updated Plus-X negative's chemistry since 1956!!!I (I've read that in color, making a 35mm Interneg from either a 16mm contact IP or a 35mm IP gives good quality, but with a somewhat different-looking "color" result).

Hopefully all this will pay off in 10s of thousands of savings. I'll report back. Mark.

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