Mitchell BNCR 103

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Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by GlennPrzyborski » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:58 pm

In addition to Mitchell’s large format camera, there were10 Photo-Sonics 70mm-10A high speed cameras. They pulled down 10 perforations for each frame of film, yielding a square image. (see photo below) This 135lb, pin-registered camera could shoot at up to 80 fps. The massive motor operated on 208V 3-phase AC and a gearbox setting controlled the frame rate. Many of the lenses were made by RTH (Rank-Taylor-Hobson) which later became Cooke Optics from England.

Interesting Note: Philip Kiel, president of Photo-Sonics Inc. told me that in 1986, the iconic hi-res, color telephoto shots of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding were shot on a Photo-Sonics 10-A that was built in 1959.
Joseph Przyborski sets up a 70mm Photo Sonics 10A at Cape Kennedy
10 perf pull-down 70mm image
film-70mm.jpg (29.16 KiB) Viewed 2074 times

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by marop » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:23 am

Great pictures! To think that most of the newer camera operators probably don’t even know what a BNCR is! That was a Movie Camera!

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by mediaed » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:34 am

Thanks for the new pix. Was wondering about the pan-tilt head.

I have a O'Connor 150 head supporting a full dressed out Arri 35 blimp but have hesitated to put the BNCR on it.

I had a person in India searching for info on the camera but the Covid19 lockdown there stopped the effort for now.

Stay safe.ED.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by GlennPrzyborski » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:08 am

Another shot of my Mitchell BNCR #103 from 1982. Usually BNC’s are mounted on Worrall geared heads. I owned a Sachtler & Wolf Hydro 300 fluid head. It worked very well with this heavy camera and allowed an operator to zoom and/or follow focus. This was very helpful when shooting with small crews.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by GlennPrzyborski » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:55 pm

I stumbled upon another photo of me and my old #103 from back in 1981. We were shooting a TV commercial for a major bank in West Virginia.
I have a lot shorter hair in 2020...

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by mediaed » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:10 am

Yes. All the cases. Finder and accessories, body, lens and accessories, matte boxes, Worrall head, motors and blimp covers, mag blimp, lens blimps, 2 mags per case X 3......
And that is just the BNC/BNCR. All the cases for the 9 other cameras and 3 other blimps, motor cases, various mag cases plus the tubes for the sticks and cases for all the pan/tilt heads and risers/highhats make a weird art installation at the top of a stairway in the office building here.
When asked "would you like the case?" I generally say no.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by Guest » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:46 pm

Sorry Ed, I don't remember from mid-80's the name of the production company in India. I believe my late business partner originally listed the camera in the classified section of American Cinematographer Magazine (I think). The company wire transferred the money, and I drove the heavy cases to the air cargo terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by mediaed » Sat Feb 29, 2020 12:41 pm


Do you recall the contact for where the camera went?

We are trying to build a database of all surviving Mitchells on this website as you can see from the index page selections. It is all about building a future awareness of these examples of precision film machinery that will never be seen again.

If you know of anyone who still owns a Mitchell, please encourage their participation.


Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by GlennPrzyborski » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:13 am

I believe it was an original BNCR from Mitchell, not a conversion. Yes there was a lens blimp for the 25-250 Angenieux plus I believe a smaller one for the Baltar primes. I've attached another photo showing Barbara Freeman using it... you can see the mounting holes for the lens blimps.

Re: Mitchell BNCR 103

by mediaed » Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:17 am


Thanks for the great info. To the best of your knowledge the viewfinder door was the original? That makes it one of the 42 factory built from scratch BNCR Mitchell cameras as opposed to the earlier and later conversions. did it have the front lens blimp for the 25-250 lens? My conversion has both lens blimps from the same time period.
BNCR 104 conversion from BNC 1968-72
# 103 was shipped in Feb of 1969. It could have been bought specifically by Fox or Aspen/Preminger Productions for M A. S. H. Or was a rental camera picked new for the shoot ( possibly Armistead? He was buying a number of Mitchells at that time.)