Bolex anyone!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by ic-racer, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I recall a thread a while back discussing the merits of having a cine forum. I guess that never happened. Well I have been shooting B&W 8mm for about 8 years now. Here is one of my Bolex Reflex cameras. Again, this is 8mm, so with a 100ft roll I get as much running time as the 16mm camera with the big 400ft magazine on top.

    I'm using ISO 100 reversal B&W. I was just shooting with the camera today. I have two other Bolexes also. One has the EE zoom and the other has a f0.9 Switar lens on it.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    They are very handsome.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Just some more info for those interessted.

    The lenses are little optical gems. They have preset-levers so you can rapidly open them up for focusing (of course all viewing while shooting is done at working aperture, thus the absolute requirement for the eye hood)

    The shortest one is 5.5mm retrofocus and the longest is 35mm. The short one is like a 40mm lens on a 35mm camera.

    Bolex has an unusual shutter angle, and that, coupled with the light loss from the full-time viewing prism can lead to errors in exposure estimation. The Gossen/Bolex meter takes care of everything. I use a zinc battery in it.

    Due to the magnification of the viewfinder image, the center lens (12mm) has the effect of being a "normal" lens (ie both your eyes open, the images are similar size). Compared to still photography, it is a long lens, approximating a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera. So, in effect the "normal" lens is what a still photographer may call a " portrait " lens.
     
  4. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    It looks a real gem, in lovely condition. Thanks for sharing.
    I'd like to get a 16mm at some point, although it looks like it costs a lot to feed them.
    Where are you getting your film from? Are you processing it yourself?

    I don't know what happened to the proposed Cine forum here... I guess Sean thought it best to leave that side of things to dedicated cinematography forums.
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I have been getting a good steady supply of B&W reversal from John Schwind on the internet. Although the film is 16mm wide, it needs to have twice as many perforations as standard 16mm film.

    The main problem for me with processing it myself (which I would not mind doing) is getting it split afterward. It has to be a precision split, otherwise the film won't make it through a projector.

    For 7 years I have used Prep Film services for processing and splitting.

    The Bolex 8mm splicer is another precision device. It actually tapers the two film ends and preserves the emulsion on one side, so the splice area is not much thicker than the rest of the film and no image is lost. Depending on how well you do it, there will still be a fine line across one frame.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hey there

    i had an itty bitty bh8 as well as the h8, the no-rx version of your camera.
    i really enjoyed using it and put a ton of film through it when i had them.
    when i originally won a H8 on ebOO, the seller didn't realize he was selling me a H16 LOL
    with a boatload of lenses so i had one of thems too.
    later i found a H8 ... and used them all for a while,
    until i realized i was broke and sold everything off to folks i knew would enjoy using them.
    ritz camera ( not the chain but the camera store in AZ ) used to have a very active discussion board
    and there were a ton of movie makers there ...

    i miss my bolexes and often times think of getting another little one, but unfortunately i am still as broke
    now as i was when i sold everything off.

    john
     
  7. isaacc7

    isaacc7 Member

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    Wow, that brings back som memories. I shot a ton on 16mm Bolexes and B&H wind up cameras. Those switars are indeed wonderful. I fell in love with the Schneiders on the Arri-S I used and have used them ever since on my LF rigs. Do the 8mm Bolexes have the in camera fade capabilities like their big brothers?

    Isaac
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes. You can see the lever just behind the lens turret. It pulls out and actuates the variable shutter, just like the H16. What you don't get is the behind the lens gel filter holder. The shorter focal length of the lenses does not give enough space. All most all the other features and accessories are identical.

    The lenses actually are "C" (not "D" like the non-rex H8) mount but won't cover the 16mm frame on the H16.

    This camera actually came from Sandy Ritz.
     
  9. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    This brings back good memories for me too! My H8 and all the accessories are still in the case in a closet. I even pull it out and look at it once in a while. What a precision machine!
    I went to video when processing became so expensive, but video is not the same as film.
    My Dad started taking 8mm movies when 8mm first came out - 1938 I think. I continued. We have family movies all the way to 1989, and then videos since. All the movies are edited with titles and on 400 ft reels. Special events, like trips, are on their own reels. We show movies at family get-togethers sometimes. They sure look good up on the big screen (70X70).
    Maybe I should try some B&W. I have a splitter that uses a razor blade in a guide. I've never used it, so I don't know how accurate it is.
     
  10. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    More little details. Since the lenses are so small, diffraction rears its evil head around f4 or f5.6 so I have ND filters to use outdoors. The lens hoods are clever in that they form series-size filter holders when you unscrew them.

    Much has been written about the Minox lenses (I'm a Minox user and owner) but these Switars seem to me to be better than the Minox. Of course with the barrel they are physically about 5 times bigger than the Minox lens.

    If you are wondering, the diagonal of the Std-8 frame is about 7mm. This is smaller than the Minox frame (about 13mm).
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I owned my first H8 non-rex for many years and never used it because at the time B&W reversal processing (not super8) was not easily available (in the 80s). Now there are a number of places that will do it. Things are actually better now than when I was a P&C major.

    Prep Film is actually located in Michigan. You should shoot some B&W reversal, you don't know how long this renaissance will last.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    that guy is great, isn't he?

    john
     
  13. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I have owned Bolex equipment since I was about 8. I am now 57....so almost 50 years. At one time I did commercial filming..for local ad agencies, TV commercials, industrial films, etc. The Bolex 16mm equipment represented extremely good "bang for the buck", being much less expensive than Arriflex and Eclair. I have had Bolex 8mm, still have a Bolex Super8, I have one of those very nice Bolex splicers, and a Bolex 18-5 standard 8mm projector, and in the last few years finally acquired one of the Bolex 16mm magnetic/optical sound projectors. I have always loved Bolex.
     
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  15. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Beautiful camera! I don't think I'll ever get into shooting cine film, but why don't you guys set up a group in the group area?
     
  16. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    Good idea!
    Who wants to start it? I'm happy to unless anyone else is particularly keen to do it instead.
     
  17. Kino

    Kino Member

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    You might want to do a search on the same topic on APUG.

    We ruminated over that a while back and, despite the enthusiasm, decided that since the majority of post production has gone d*gital, it would be practically impossible to keep that element from creeping in to conversations and running contrary to APUG policy.

    I guess if you could keep it strictly to photochemical, cinematography, self or lab processing, workprinting, editing and projection, it would meet the APUG posting criteria, but that would be very difficult in this day and age.

    Good luck.
     
  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Could be I'm one of the few who does this 100% in the analog domain. I'll post some pictures of the Bolex 8mm projector. It is a marvel of machined and cast aluminum. I don't know of a super8 projector ever made with the same quality and precision.
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Here is another one. This is a later model with the square base. It is either Rex-4 or Rex-5 (the H8s don't seem to exactly correspond to the H16 nomenclature).

    This has a fully functional EE exposure meter (again thanks to the zinc cells!).

    Also, thanks to SK Grimes for the adapter for the common Wide Angle converter. Without the converter, the lens is 8 mm to 35 mm. With the WA converter it goes from 4mm to 17mm.

    In terms of the front filter adapter, not only are Bolex lenses front threads pitched different than common filters, the size is a skipped by manufactures of adapters and filters. I presume because it is s "SERIES" size.

    Although the externals of this camera are similar to the earlier one, most of the inner components are different in the newer one. I do believe that many of the internal components of this one ARE shared with the contemporary H16 Rex5 that may still be in production.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Wonderful cameras in all gauges...

    I don't mean to be discouraging; just keep it analog! :wink:
     
  21. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    How funny you guys are having this discussion now. I got back to work today and someone had left a Bolex K2 on my chair. I don't know if it works yet but it looks cool and I'm game to try it out.

    Alan.
     
  22. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    lucky you! I wish someone would leave one on my chair :wink:
     
  23. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Lucky you! You have your own chair at work! :D :wink:

    Been reading this thread with much interest, must... resist... the... temptation!
     
  24. polaski

    polaski Member

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    Used a Bolex H-16 Rex in college in 1967, and then again in Europe (never mind what for) in 1971. What a beautiful camera. Continue to have fun.
     
  25. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I love cine cameras. I've never used one but they sure do look pretty. Is it difficult to get in to? Aside from sourcing the film, developing and projecting it.. ? It looks like a lot of fun. And those cameras, they look so shiny and full of metal.
     
  26. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Bolexes are easy to acquire; thousands were made and most were treasured, so most are in decent shape.

    Google around, there are many, many sites dedicated to Bolex cinematography...