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The "H" for some reason never seems to have been as popular as the 200B, despite having the same claw as the Super Vox, notable for its gentle treatment of films. I've never really used one tho', so can't really comment on performance.

Hard to say that the Lux was any more than a curiosity. It had lots of Mazac problems; you can see the motor on this one has been replaced by what looks like a Specto motor. The gate also tended to disintegrate, warp or jam, until the introduction of a steel gate in the YC model, also identifiable by its larger, 200B size lamphouse top. The notching mechanism, small lamphouse (and thus low light output) and lack of sprockets were anachronisms, although higher-powered modern tungsten halogen lamps can deliver better light, as long as you don't want to show notched films with them.

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PhotoGalleryThe Specto is generally regarded as one of the best silent machines for 9.5 and, converted to tungsten halogen lighting and with 800/900ft arms, is still an excellent machine. Many 8mm zoom lenses can be used in place of the rather slow original, as here.

The Vox was a revelation when 9.5 sound burst onto the scene in 1938. It is capable of excellent performance when retro-fitted with tungsten halogen lighting, a better lens (eg the old-series B&H) and a photo-diode or solar cell. "Wow" is the main problem, due in part to having only two sprockets, but also, I think, to the relatively small diameter main drive shaft which terminates in the lower sprocket. It isn't supported well enough, and therefore bends, and the addition of an extra point bearing outside the sprocket on the Super Vox didn't really fix it.PhotoGallery

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Alert cine enthusiasts should not have been too surprised by the advent of sound, as the "S" projector had been around for a while. Plenty of little giveaways like the sound loop and amplifier connection fittings on the castings and 24fps capability. Opposite is my old trusty Super Vox, a 21st birthday present and my main 9.5 projector for many years. It never did have an amplifier case. Peter Leverington undid some turns of the main 31 volt lamp tranny and fitted a 24v halogen lamp for me. I tried various lamps, including the 24v 250w dichroic, but that seemed to me to make the whole machine too hot, so I stuck with the "peanut" type. A photodiode feeds sound to an external pre-amp and amp.

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This is one of my favourite pictures, taken with huge amounts of light as well as flash; the other is a McKee pic). The Gem is one of the best-looking 9.5 machines, a sort of late Art Deco job. However, as I was dismantling it onPhotoGallery acquisition, as I usually try to do, I was simultaneously stripping down a Eumig P8 to steal the transformer and any other bits of use (for instance, the lamp mirror can, with a bit of work on its mount, fit a 17.5 Home Talkie). One of the principal reasons for the demise of 9.5 was very apparent; the Gem was over-simplified, mechanically crude and, I thought, poorly engineered, whereas the P8 was a complex and solidly-built piece of engineering. I do not know why Pathescope were unable to make a financial go of things even when producing such cheaply-made machines. Were they particularly inefficient, or what?PhotoGallery

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To show I am not totally biased in favour of 9.5, here is another of my favourite projectors. The B&H 606H, rather than the 606, right looks just right and is a great colour. I have to say, I think the idea of B&H using a mechanical friction brake to control the speed, which I think is true of all the 8 & 16 machines of this style, is a bit crude compared to the rest of the engineering.

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A really gorgeous-looking 8mm machine is the Bolex M8R. It has beenPhotoGallery described as possibly the best Standard 8 projector. For some obscure reason, Bolex did a version of this in that horrid, drab olive green. Mad. Right is the later 18.5, with it's special low-speed capability.

Earlier 16mm projectors are nice , too. I havePhotoGallery a soft spot for the old GB L516, and I have acquired a number of them, partly for spares but mostly because I really dislike the thouPhotoGalleryght of such superb machinery just going to the tip. They can be a bit noisy, but that's not really the point, is it? In the same way, I find the old B&H machines hard to resist, even if I can never tell what model they are. Some of them also have very useful, high-power transformers that I use to power all my 110 volt machines, and the speakers are first class. Another good-looking 16mm machine is the Ampro stylist. It's never quite workedPhotoGallery for me, but it is undeniably attractive. So far I have come across a brown one and a PhotoGallerygrey/silver one. There was also a Stylist Major, tho' I've not actually seen one. Actually, I think I prefer the previous model, the Premier. I saw one once at the old Buckingham Movie Museum , and always hankered after one, tho' it took me until 2005 to actually get one (the wonders of ebay). IPhotoGallery also acquired recently a silent Ampro which, lo and behold, has exactly the same basic mech as the later sound machines. The same is true of B&H machines before the major change to the 652/TQ1 etc range. With, of course, new lenses so you can't use the old ones. Some theatrical 35mm machines did the same, only in a more extreme way, in that sound heads were completely separate, often made by a different company and interchangeable.

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PhotoGalleryMoving on to more modern machines for a moment, here are two of my Xenon machines, the Elmo GS 1200 (right) for 8mm, and the Elf

EX2000A for 16mm. I got this in the first place because my CRT video projector was delivering brighter and whiter pictures than a 16mm machine with the standard 24v 250w dichroic. Can't be doing with that sort of thing. With a really good 8mm print (and why they can't all be like that I don't know), like The Lion King, the results are stunning. I nearly always find 16mm a disappointment; there are so many poor prints and dupes and so much dross among the titles.

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This is the Elmo ST1200 HD. There is a school of thought that says the ST1200 does most of what the GS1200 does, without all the complexity

and at a much cheaper price.........

PhotoGalleryOn the modern front, the best thing that happened to 9.5 for many years wasPhotoGallery the appearance of the Buckingham Elf conversions (editors, too). They have transformed 9.5 sound and Tony Reypert deserves great credit for single-handedly doing more for our hobby than most of the rest of us put together. Not being one for moderation, I naturally bought two. Xenon next.

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