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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Is Singer a good brand of portable 16mm projector?

Author Topic: Is Singer a good brand of portable 16mm projector?
Patrick Curran
Film Handler

Posts: 2
From: Carrollton, TX, United States
Registered: Mar 2017

 - posted 12-31-2017 01:39 PM      Profile for Patrick Curran   Email Patrick Curran   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a Singer 16mm slot load projector that I’ve been using for the past year in various presentations. I’ve seen several users on various forums mention various opinions on them, but none of them clearly stated whether or not Singers were good or bad and why. I will note that I haven’t noticed much damage to films I own by using this projector. Excuse me if I sound unprofessional here, I am just largely getting into this interest as a whole and I’m not quite familiar with everything.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8001
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 12-31-2017 04:28 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Singer primarily makes sewing machines. At one point, they owned the Graflex line of 16mm projectors, which is what you have.

The short answer is that you could do worse. These are gentle enough on film (unlike the auto-load Bell and Howells), but aren't the best with damaged prints. Some of them use lamps that are NLA. Sound quality is not the best, but is not terrible, either.

Look at Elmo 16-CLs (with new rubber rollers and the later-style takeup mechanism), Eiki SSLs, or Kodak Pageants for higher-quality portable 16mm tungsten-lamp options. The manual-load Bell and Howells are fine, too, but most of those have a worm gear that goes bad and likely will need replacement. All of these will be gentle on film if well maintained.

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Jason Withers
Film Handler

Posts: 2
From: Richmond, VA, USA
Registered: Jan 2018

 - posted 01-10-2018 02:27 PM      Profile for Jason Withers   Email Jason Withers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, I think they are pretty good projectors. I have the later variant, the Telex Instaload XL. As I understand, Telex Corporation bought the Singer educational line sometime in the early 80s, and started branding the former Singer 16mm projectors under the Telex name.

Anyways, the projector I have seems to be of very high quality. One thing I like about these projectors is the slot load system. It's similar to the Bell & Howell slot loaders and is a snap to route the film to the take-up reel. The projector transports the film very gently through the system and hasn't faltered yet. It came to me in dirty condition, so I cleaned up what I could. One minor issue I initially had was the volume control had a lot of static so I bought some Deoxit spray and it seemed to fix the problem. Overall, I'm happy with the projector and it projects a very steady image on the screen. My model is the basic model with just forward and reverse, but some models had a film counter and still operation as well as a speaker built into the cover. Mine just has the integrated dual speakers, but it is plenty loud. It does have an external jack so I am thinking you could use any speaker you wanted.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16254
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 01-12-2018 08:28 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They are the most difficult of all 16mm projectors to repair! I worked on the HS A-V squad and we had about 100 of those and the district office had a guy down stairs with all the factory tools to repair them. Other HIgh Schools in the district had them as well. They are easy to thread and can take a lot of punishment... but when one dies it's really a PIA.


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Terry Monohan
Master Film Handler

Posts: 307
From: San Francisco CA USA
Registered: May 2014

 - posted 01-12-2018 11:24 PM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I like the Kodak Pageant 16mm solid state amp projectors from the 70's. Very easy on film. Have a few models that have a bright lamp tungsten type bulb with a great adjustable sound amp. Holds large reels ok and very quite. Splices go through very good. The model is the Kodak 250S. This is my favorite 16mm film projector. The image looks so clear and clean. Have some zoom lenses and a few CinemaScope® ones. Love to collect various trailer reels and splice them all on one big 16mm 1 hour reel. Makes a great variety movie party on my large home screen.

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Mike Blasko
Film Handler

Posts: 15
From: Lakewood, Ohio
Registered: Aug 2006

 - posted 01-21-2018 02:06 PM      Profile for Mike Blasko   Email Mike Blasko   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They are ok machines, but the previous posts are being kind on the sound. It’s awful in my opinion and the worst of any projector I’ve heard. The black XLs are ok, Jr the difference in an EIKI or Elmo is staggering.

I had one for a long time and had no issues (the rare xenon conversions) but the sound is what killed it.

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Jason Withers
Film Handler

Posts: 2
From: Richmond, VA, USA
Registered: Jan 2018

 - posted 01-22-2018 09:34 PM      Profile for Jason Withers   Email Jason Withers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I had one of those Eiki slot loaders, I think the SLLO model but I didn't find it sounded any better than the Telex or a Bell and Howell. The sound is only going to be but so good from a small integrated speaker system.

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