Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Yet Another Super 16 Movie Camera!

There have been a handful of Super 16 cameras announced recently, a reminder that film remains an excellent way to capture high-quality HD imagery. First came the camcorder-sized Aaton A-Minima (around $20,000), followed by the incredibly compact Ikonoskop A-Cam SP-16 ($ 6500) and the absolutely professional Arri 416 (about $49,000). Now it's Aaton's turn again with the new Xtera (price TBA).

The Xtera accepts 400 and 800-foot film magazines to streamline the production process. It offers a progressive-scan video-tap with 640 x 580 resolution (NTSC) to allow the director to follow the action. Best of all, the new camera is compatible with the magazines and viewfinders used in the Aaton XTR prod series, which will allow rental companies to integrate the new camera easily into their inventory. The camera also features an extremely accurate "micro steady" film transport and a direct-drive brushless motor.

The Aaton site is somewhat vague about exact technical details. The camera is apparently "the quietest Super 16 camera," with AatonCode time code for sound synchronization. How quiet? They're not telling. There is no mention of shooting speeds, although I would expect a versatile range to enable slow-motion and other effects. Perhaps most impressive, each 12V 3.8Ah NiMH battery pack is good for 4 hours of shooting.

Needless to say, this isn't the sort of equipment you'll find perched on an amateur's shoulder. It's pro-quality gear that is perfect for shooting TV, films and documentaries. So why is it featured on Retro Thing? Because it once again points out that film is still enjoying its time in the sun. And don't forget that new equipment causes a trickle-down effect. Prior models become less expensive to rent, allowing more indie filmmakers to make the jump from video to film.

Aaton Xtera Super 16 Motion Picture Camera


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