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Tom Schnaidt

Benz 5100 system

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Just wondering if anybody has any experiences with this focus system offered by a Brit company called UnitCine? I tried it out yesterday and was fairly impressed with its offerings. Very much like the bartech in construction and appearance. But it comes with auto Calibrate which, is a nice ease of mind knowing that your AC has one less chore to deal with in a lens change. It also uses 9v batts. It goes out on a 912 Mhz rather than a 900 Mhz, has 8 or 9 freqs as well. Its finished as though it were an Arri product with identical run Switch (green rounded button), Has an excellent marking disk systemt that is like a normal FF system on a camera, hard positive lock plastic rings---the antennas all seem very rugged as they are mounted with BNC style locks (TNC?) --- I am curious, it is offered for use mainly with Heden Motors, I have been interested in the M-one motor and dont know if it will work or not. It seems like a very simple, affordable unit. they offer receivers that are one, two or three channel. for $1000, $1500, and c. $2000 respectively. the handset is offered at 1,050. I'd love to hear feedback on this system from anybody whose heard of it. If you want to check it out it is at Unitcine.com. Of course, being in England, I dont know what the service would be like. I know JB is a saint with his product support and reliability as such. Able cine is the US rep for Unit though, and they too are a great company to rely on.

 

Thanks to all,

 

tom

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Forgot to mention that they also have another system that is much more of a Budget system, teh 4100 series. It is intended mostly for use with video lenses that have their own Iris and zoom motor units (ENG style)...this 5100 system is not to be mistaken with that one.

 

tom

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u can ask trinlgeman on this forum hi owns one of those...

i have to say tha look great ...but one thing that are realy important for a focus system as also for other parts of a sled its the techical suport ....cause not only the equipment may broke by himself or some assistant drop your unit to the floor or some camera cable came broke and burn your unit...u must now for a fact that they gonna give u a fast responce from the manufacture guy ....

if helps u im some way ....and not trying to sale nothing here ..i have a bartech and yes it no have auto calibration but this proses im shure that u will find it very simple and as fast as auto calibration can be.....but form me that i live here in argentina ..(the end of the world ) its that the only time when my unit burn cause a human mistake or something broke jim bartel give 200% suport ...all the time ...and that for me its a very important thing to have from a follow focus

about the m-one well its perfection made in a shape of the motor i have try heden but if u use a used one u gonna star having problems in the end'

still i think u must ask tringle man here in the forum about the benz system it allways the best to have all the sides of the story

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BFD?

 

Beyond Full proof Daily.....

 

Well, okay, nothing is perfect all the time, except for customer service, which Jim can certainly boast. I find it interesting that a MK 2 version is available (5100 as opposed to 5000) considering we never saw any 5000s in the field.

 

The M-1 is great. Brings the Bartech to a whole new level. Compatibility with this motor is a must for any analog system, in my mind. As for hard rings on the focus unit? Jim is coming out with these - really! Also, the BUZ, etc, is deep into development, which is cool.

 

Yes, I suppose I'm a bit bias since I now consider Jim a very close friend, but then again, we became friends because of what a great guy he is and what he has done with his products.

 

Best,

 

Alec

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As for hard rings on the focus unit?  Jim is coming out with these - really! 

Great! This is the one thing i really miss from my BFD, even more than an auto calibrate function. Will i have to make any changes to my handunit to use these?

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Hi Tom,

 

The 5000 series products (in US guise) operate on 10 different frequencies centered around 915MHz. (+/- ~7MHz). The #5100 handset antenna connector is a TNC (threaded BNC) and the #5500, 5600, 5800 receivers have BNC connectors.

 

The 5000 series works very well with M-one motors, Heden motors, FMG motors and even older CP SLD motors. The Zoom channel will work with ZMG and Heden -T motors.

 

We updated the 5000 series range of products in December '03 following feedback from customers, distributors and others. We added autocalibrate (why not?), autoseek (the receiver will automatically lock to the transmitter), revised the handset to work internally at 3.3v instead of 5v (this combined with the switched-mode PSU extend battery life to around 24hrs), and several other minor modifications.

 

The #4300 handset will operate with the 5x00 receivers also.

 

I have put the current manual for the 5000 series on the 'DOWNLOADS' section of our website.

 

Ben Fisher

UNITCINE

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Great! This is the one thing i really miss from my BFD, even more than an auto calibrate function. Will i have to make any changes to my handunit to use these?

No changes necessary. The rings are already made. All I am waiting for is the piece that screws in to the knob that holds the rings in place. I have been promised a prototype no later than this Saturday. It has been held up as they have been making BFD parts. Apparently I am getting in my own way. The rings will be $20 each or 6 for $100. The clip is included with the first ring.

 

 

Jim "a strip-per no more" Bartell

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The BFD is well-accepted and pretty much foolproof. If you don't want to have to retrain ACs or worry about selling a client on a system they never heard of then go with the BFD. Who worries about clients that care what type of focus system you have? Think about all the ACs who reccomend Steadicam Ops to productions.

 

The Benz system is nice if you are a DP who owns both film and video packages as you can configure the systems to integrate with both and control a host of functions in an ala carte sort of way. So being a guy like that I found it interesting, but for most people and certainly most Steadicam Ops I don't think this is particularly of any great advantage. Maybe also to crane ops, but they usually have wired systems.

 

Both systems are pretty easy to use, and that's what's really most important, right? You have to think about how you'd use the gear--if you just want to pull focus and start/stop the camera on a sled, then the BFD works great and you don't need the add-ons available on the Benz. If you're into the additional functions, then you can get a lot out of the Benz before getting anywhere near Preston or Scorpio price range.

 

I am curious about one thing--just how many Benz units have shipped? I haven't really seen them out there yet.

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I am curious about one thing--just how many Benz units have shipped? I haven't really seen them out there yet.

I'm curious about that too. I haven't seen one or talked to anyone that owns one yet.

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As far as how many units have shipped...I am apparently one of the lucky ones that has actually had the opportunity to preview and use it. Rumor has it that very few have shipped, and having spoken to at least one person who has ordered one, well, he's been waiting, and waiting. Months. Too Bad. Though I am very excited to hear that you are putting the hard disks on Jim, that is really great. Is there some reason in particulat that you have chosen not to make your antennas these BNC, TNC types? Just curious, I know you made some improvements on the antenna recently, but just curious.

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Maximum leadtime is now 2 weeks for:

 

5100 focus handsets

5200 iris only handsets

5244 iris/zoom handsets

5500 focus receivers

5600 focus/iris receivers

5800 focus/iris/zoom receivers

 

We are settled in our new factory, production is busy :D and so is R&D (me) ;) .

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As far as how many units have shipped...I am apparently one of the lucky ones that has actually had the opportunity to preview and use it.  Rumor has it that very few have shipped,  and having spoken to at least one person who has ordered one, well,  he's been waiting, and waiting.  Months.  Too Bad.  Though I am very excited to hear that you are putting the hard disks on Jim,  that is really great.  Is there some reason in particulat that you have chosen not to make your antennas these BNC, TNC types?  Just curious,  I know you made some improvements on the antenna recently, but just curious.

First, let me inform everyone that there is now a permanent fix for the antenna connector that prevents it from breaking. It is installed in all new units and has been for about a year. Older units are upgraded when they are sent in with broken antenna connectors.

 

The reason for not using a BNC/TNC is quite simple. The BNC/TNC is not allowed under FCC part 15 rules, which is what the BFD is designed to operate under. Basically, if the antenna is removable it must have a connector that is not readily available to the public. This prevents you wacky customers from running out and putting a 3 foot long full wave antenna on the unit and boosting its output to illegal levels (Shame on you! Shame!). Hence the RP-SMA connector I use.

 

Jim "Bowing to the FCC" Bartell

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The FCC stipulate that the transmitter should not use the same antenna as the receiver to prevent a possiblity of a higher gain antenna receive antenna being fitted to the transmitter and increasing the ERP (effective radiated power). There is no FCC stipulation that I'm aware of that says the antenna must not be available to Joe Public. However the BENZ 5000 system uses a TNC connector for the transmitter, and Joe Public is unlikely to find one of those down the back of his sofa....

 

PS: Any system that uses transceivers can use exactly the same antennas on all nodes.

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pardon my ignorance, but the Benz and the BFD look amazingly similar...which one was out first?

 

Ron B

I shipped the first 10 BFD units in October of 1999. Unless I am mistaken, Mr. Fisher announced the release of the BENZ 5000, on this forum at least, on February 3 of 2003. I'm afraid I don't know when production units began shipping.

 

However, let us not forget that Mr. Fischer was partners with Howard Smith in VFX, a company that produced a similar system called the TCFS follow focus from 1995 to 1997. But I think the first single channel flat-box-with-a-knob was actually the Chrosziel Fox. That was the product I had seen and was trying to make a better, lower cost version of. I didn't hear of the VFX units until the BFD was already in production.

 

Jim "Techno-historian" Bartell

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