The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

~
Feel free to discuss any topic related to the Mitchell Camera. Both 35 mm and 16 mm models are welcomed here. Also consider posting topics of other major motion picture cameras that you feel are important to the development of the Mitchell Camera. Feel free to upload a photo from the option on each new post.
~
blueimperio
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:49 am

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by blueimperio » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:51 am

Here is an ad from the SMPTE Journal that provides a birth date for the MK II moniker - "camera orders now being taken" in September of 1962. Click to see a higher resolution version.

full range.PNG

This earlier ad, perhaps from the ASC Handbook, indicates the birth of the New R-35, but alas is undated.

MitchellNC2 (1).jpg
MitchellNC2 (1).jpg (40.83 KiB) Viewed 868 times

I note in the second ad they are not yet using the new four-points logo, so that's another dating point.

Does anyone know when they introduced the four-points logo? In print ads they seem to have used the script version shown here since after the war.

I vaguely recall seeing a picture of an early SR-35 with the traditional "acorn" brass label, vs. the later metallic sticker. Can anyone confirm that early SR-35's were serial numbered the traditional way?

Thanks, Sif

mediaed
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by mediaed » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:40 pm

Just saw this post. Here is a basic timeline with serial numbers:

The (Mk1) R35 first serial number was #5 (it appears the first 4 were design tests in some form) that was in 1961. A total of 53 were built. The last one was serial number 59 in early 1962.
The R35 Mk II was a redesign of the original by late 1962. Many Mk1’s were recalled and also upgraded in this time period. The serial numbers started with 100. The last was serial number 257 in 1965.
A curious 10 more cameras were made that year designated as MkIIA in the records but with no special markings on the cameras. The last of the breed then finished out as #267. All had original split pressure plates.

From there production turned to the S35R many of which were converted to single lens hardfront. Mitchell, in some odd moment started these serial numbers with #101.

All in all, cameras of this same design were made into the late 80’s ending with S35RB #382.

marop
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by marop » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:37 pm

Ok, since I realize people want dates, I'll check my sales records and will be able to provide exact dates these cameras were first sold. I'm out now so can't do it yet....

blueimperio
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:49 am

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by blueimperio » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:59 pm

Thanks for the info Ed, and of course, more questions:

The (Mk1) R35 first serial number was #5 (it appears the first 4 were design tests in some form) that was in 1961. A total of 53 were built. The last one was serial number 59 in early 1962.

The R35 Mk II was a redesign of the original by late 1962. Many Mk1’s were recalled and also upgraded in this time period. The serial numbers started with 100. The last was serial number 257 in 1965.

Was there a defect/problem with the R-35/MK I? Do you know what the changes/upgrade(s) were?

A curious 10 more cameras were made that year designated as MkIIA in the records but with no special markings on the cameras. The last of the breed then finished out as #267. All had original split pressure plates.

From there production turned to the S35R many of which were converted to single lens hardfront.

They seem to have relaunched it in 1965 to much fanfare. There is a SMPTE Journal article article about "System 35" which I shall try to get a copy of to upload.

Mitchell, in some odd moment started these serial numbers with #101.

I note at some point they stopped stamping the S/N on the movement, at least in the obvious places as per the early MK I's.

All in all, cameras of this same design were made into the late 80’s ending with S35RB #382.

Just to be clear on the number produced per your comments, Ed (please correct my math if I've got it wrong):

R-35 (MK I) = production 53 total (including prototypes), Serial numbers X - 53 = (53-ish produced)

MK II - SN 54 - 257 / MK IIA 258 = 268 (214 produced)

System 35 (SN starts at 101) - SN 100 - 382 (281 produced)

for approximately 548 total R-35, MK I, MK II, System 35

Let me know if I got that right,

Thanks, Sif

mediaed
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by mediaed » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:31 am

Mk1= 53. (1-4 marked as “never built”)
Mk2/a (100- 268) = 168 (Serial numbers not continuous)
System 35 (101-382) = 281 ( “ )

Total = 502

marop
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:45 pm

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by marop » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:32 am

So it looks like I have the Mark II and S35R records. I’ve got SS records as well but that’s not part of this discussion.

Mark II; first one sold on 10/31/1962

Mark IIA, 6/1965. The serial numbers are consecutive from the end of Mark II. Only 10 IIA’s were made.

S35R, first one sold, 11/10/1965

Let me know if anyone has any questions/comments.

Mark

blueimperio
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:49 am

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by blueimperio » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:13 pm

Wow, a production run of 500 cameras over 15+ years - that's not bad.

Here are some ads from the ASC magazine chronicling the introduction of the R-35 (click on the pic to see a better resolution version of the scan).


Sept 1960.png

Several months before launch, Bausch and Lomb ran a complementary ad about the new Super Baltars available in the new Mitchell Bayonet mount developed for the 35-R


December 1960.png

The new hand-held Mitchell is coming...


March 1961.png

And now it's here, and ready for orders...

If you are a collector and look backwards on a camera type, you tend to get a picture of how they were modified in their later production life to fill a niche in their mature years, versus what the original intent was of the designer. Virtually every R-35/MK I/MK II/System 35 is modified from its original delivered form. (A motion picture camera is never thrown away, it lives on to do something new and specific.)

It is clear to me now that Mitchell intended the original R-35 design primarily to be a hand-held Mitchell. Clearly their traditional camera line couldn't fill this requirement, but this new design would address that shortcoming with traditional Mitchell quality and features.


mark II blimp 5.jpg
mark II blimp 5.jpg (94.49 KiB) Viewed 855 times

This layout photo from the Swedish Film Institute shows the features that make this possible with the R-35 - the pistol grip, the revised vertical stepped magazine that also acts as a shoulder rest, thumb lug, and the (not shown here) lens turret arrangement - all geared to this end.

The hand-held aspect of the design is taken so far that for tripod mounting, it is pointed out with an asterisk, an accessory adapter is required. Of course, because it's meant to be a hand-held camera.


These are poor-quality blow-ups from these ads which likely are the pre-production prototypes.


closeup.png

It looks like the main body casting may not be fully resolved yet, but the dog-leg motor casting and other features looks the same, Not sure how the normal mags will interface on the top, but hey - this is a hand-held camera, so who cares!


closeup 3.png

The tripod adapter can be seen here.


s-l1600 (11).png

An Arriflex type thumb tab is incorporated for operator triangulation in the original R-35 front.



It would be interesting to reassemble an R-35 "as was" to see how ergonomically it would feel today. However, it won't be light (I'm still looking for a weight estimate, fully dressed with a full mag of film).

Curious to pin down the exact changes between the original run of R-35 and the rest of the Mark I's.

Here is a launch article about the new R-35 from the ASC mag:

part 1.png


part 2.png



When the Mark II variant arrives, the product is re-launched in ads as a more modern Mitchell studio camera and the hand-held feature fades into the marketing background. The later System 35 re-launch in the mid 1960's solidifies this direction as a complete studio system.

My hypothesis is that Mitchell originally wanted to build a light-weight, hand-held camera, with all the traditional Mitchell features, but the market proved it wanted something different. Having done their homework right on the basic core design, Mitchell was able to adapt the R-35 design accordingly to support where they needed to be in the market during the 500 unit run - a more modern evolution of the Mitchell "system".

It should be noted that the hand-held camera market was very competitive when the R-35 was launched, with both the ARRIFLEX II and Eclair Cameflex well established (and at half the price of an R-35).

What the hand-held world wanted was a light weight, hand-held but un-blimped silent camera. That didn't come along practically till the ARRI BL of 1972. But Mitchell had an answer for that - The Mitchell MK III. Hopefully we will discuss that design effort soon.

Please chime in if you agree or disagree on these humble theories.

- Sif

mediaed
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by mediaed » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:35 pm

Primordial,

Sent you a PM.

mediaed
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Re: The Mark II was very light but other cameras prevailed

Post by mediaed » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:07 am

Primordial???

Gawd but you have to luv spell Chuck!

ED.

Post Reply