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Pathé Professional Reflex 16mm camera


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#1 Izreal

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 03:18 PM

Hi, I was looking to buy a 16mm film camera. I am a film student with not a lot of money to spend. I keep running across these Pathé Professional Reflex 16mm camera's on ebay for dirt cheap and was wondering would they be a good buy for a student filmmaker and how good are these camera's. I've heard that such movies as The Birth of a Nation was filmed using these camera's. I'm also considering the Russian K3 and the Bolex H16 Rex. I've heard a lot good things about these two camera's also. Which be the better choice for a student filmmaker?
Thanks
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#2 Alex Yang

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 10:29 PM

How much money do you have? You could get a Eclair ACL for around $2000. Its quiet and sometimes it'll include a crystal sync motor. Plus its very light. Not bad! If that's a little too pricey, I'd go with the Bolex. There are a lot of parts floating around and can be easily serviced.

Edited by alexfan90, 06 December 2005 - 10:30 PM.

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#3 Herb Montes

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 08:02 AM

Hi, I was looking to buy a 16mm film camera. I am a film student with not a lot of money to spend. I keep running across these Pathé Professional Reflex 16mm camera's on ebay for dirt cheap and was wondering would they be a good buy for a student filmmaker and how good are these camera's. I've heard that such movies as The Birth of a Nation was filmed using these camera's. I'm also considering the Russian K3 and the Bolex H16 Rex. I've heard a lot good things about these two camera's also. Which be the better choice for a student filmmaker?
Thanks


Actually it was the Pathe Professional 35mm camera that was used to film Birth Of A Nation. It was a popular camera during the silent era until it was replaced by the Bell & Howell 2709. The 16mm Pathe camera came late by comparision to the Bolex since Pathe had been pushing its 9.5mm gauge for amateur use even though Kodak's 16mm gauge was more wide spread. I have recently acquired a Pathe Webo Super 16 camera which I will be testing soon but I can tell you a few things about it. The lens turret has recessed mounts so certain lenses can't screw all the way in. Also the lens mounts are very close together so large lenses would be impossible to mount as a set. The reflex finder is okay, about as bright as a Bolex Rex. These cameras can suffer from broken reflex pelicles and replacing them can be a task. The camera does have all the features of a good Bolex Rex. For durability and being able to add motors and accessories I would go with a good Bolex.
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#4 Izreal

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 05:04 PM

Thanks for the insight. The Bolex does seem like it would be a better choice. I'm a film student and I don't have the money to spent on a Eclair ACL (would be nice though). I was also looking at a K3 with a M42 screw mount, I notice they go for cheap. I here a lot of good things about them, as well as the Canon Scoopic. But I alwaays here that you can't reall go wrong with a Bolex.
Thanks again
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#5 Herb Montes

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 09:53 PM

Thanks for the insight. The Bolex does seem like it would be a better choice. I'm a film student and I don't have the money to spent on a Eclair ACL (would be nice though). I was also looking at a K3 with a M42 screw mount, I notice they go for cheap. I here a lot of good things about them, as well as the Canon Scoopic. But I alwaays here that you can't reall go wrong with a Bolex.
Thanks again


I have heard good and bad things about the K3. The Bolex is a good choice for its flexibility. All types of motors are available for it: multi-speed, sync, animation and time lapse. The non-reflex models can take any c-mount lens. The Rex models are limited to certain RX mount lenses. With the right camera you can grow with it. I own three, an M4 and the magazine version the M5. They are single lens non-reflex but I use zoom lenses with reflex finders on them. I also own a Rex5. I use them mostly for animation.

I also have Kodak K100s, Kodak Cine Special and the Bell & Howell model 240. Many beginners like the Bell & Howell Filmo model like the 70DR. Solid and dependable they are good to learn shooting 16mm with. And can be found cheaper than the Bolex.
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#6 Boris Belay

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 03:31 PM

I have not tested the Pathé 16 cameras personally, but I know the line a little bit. The specifications on paper are good, and a lot were sold in France (mostly), from the 50's to the 70's. I'm sure they were good enough in quality and the latest, electrical models (also in Double-Super-8 format) were quite sophisticated. But I think the main problem you're likely to run into with these cameras is its rarity : no parts (for replacement or expansion), no tech support, no knowledgeable friends to help you out.
I'm a big fan of the Bolex range and can give you a lot of details on most of it so you can make a decision that suits your needs. You can get a good starter Reflex Bolex for $200 on eBay with a bit of patience and the right questions.
The main criteria, as always, are : your budget, and the kind of filming you'd like to do. Once you've thought that through (and considering you're making choice for maybe a year, not necessarily for life), many people on this forum will be happy to steer you in (what they belive is) the best direction.
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#7 gregorscheer

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 08:47 PM

I had a Pathe webo super 16 for a while. I thought it looked very cool and elegant It is not a super 16 format that is just the name. The funny thing about this one was that it had the claws on the oposite side (On the left side when looking through the gate from the inside) not all of them have this problem So if you wanted to use single perf film you had to reroll it onto another reel so that the emulsion would be on the right side It has an amazing 80 fps speed for slow motion and a variable shutter. There is a guy in great britain who repares them and also intalls a brighter pellicule for enhanced reflex viewing. Let me know if you need him i can find his name and address. I made one experimental film with it called weditations on water that was based on slow motion photography. You can watch it on the web at www.vinestreetworks.com/waterstream.mov

However in the long run I prefer to work with more recent bolex electrical magazine cameras like the el or ebm for sound filming.
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#8 John Stephens

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:03 PM

greg i can't email besides posting.

 

i very much would like to know the name of the guy in brittian who makes the pelican glass  as mine in broken in m y camera that was my dads and that is the last piece i need (probably purchase several)

buddha.logical@gmail.com

 

thanks very much  if anyone else knows a supplier please let me know thanks (:


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#9 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:42 PM

 

I'm a big fan of the Bolex ..... You can get a good starter Reflex Bolex for $200 on eBay

Hey Boris,
Me too, I can't imagine the memory of my life without a Bolex. Pixilation, strapping it onto an improvised optical printer, shooting undercranked running through the forest naked with my wife on my honeymoon. Priceless.

One concern I have with Bolex is that people generally never serviced them, so there will be many cameras that are about to run dry and get damaged. The cost of doing a CLA on a Bolex? Dom Jaeger's company in Melbourne does it for under $400, maybe guys like you can do for less. But this is higher than the purchase costs of many Bolex cameras. The same process is going to occur to the proffessional 16/S16mm cameras that have fallen or are falling off the proffessional use platform.

So oportunities and dangers exist for those buying cameras. The old saying that you get what you pay for is completely missleading. It is possible to pay the same amount for a camera unserviced vs serviced, basically because the market is not adequately descriminating between the two. And not all sellers are equal when it comes to extracting money from a sale.

Costs of a basic CLA are going to trend higher than the purchase price of cameras.

Cheers,
Gregg

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 16 April 2013 - 07:45 PM.

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#10 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:14 AM

For the record 16mm. was introduced in 1922 as an amateur gauge followed by 8mm. in 1932.


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#11 Simon Wyss

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:51 AM

16mm was introduced in 1923. The first camera available was the Victor. At the end of the year came the Bell & Howell Filmo. Ciné-Kodak in 1924. The first European 16mm camera was the Ciné-Nizo by Niezoldi & Krämer, München, 1925. Bolex Auto 1927

 

http://www.lib.uiowa...sc153/smpte.htm

 


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#12 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 09:27 AM

16mm was introduced in 1923. The first camera available was the Victor. At the end of the year came the Bell & Howell Filmo. Ciné-Kodak in 1924. The first European 16mm camera was the Ciné-Nizo by Niezoldi & Krämer, München, 1925. Bolex Auto 1927

 

http://www.lib.uiowa...sc153/smpte.htm

Hi Simon,

 

since you're interested in accuracy..

 

I've been delving into this history, according to the best evidence to date the actual order was the Cine-Kodak first, followed very shortly by Victor in August 1923. The first known advertisements for Bell and Howell's 16mm "Cine Automatic Camera" appeared in the Jan 1924 edition of American Cinematographer (an interesting read, which you can actually find online at http://archive.org/s...ge/n23/mode/2up). Bell and Howell didn't call it a Filmo until their next advertisement in the April 1924 edition. 

 

Both Victor and Kodak showed their new 16mm devices to the SMPT in May of 1923, but having invented the format Kodak had more time in advance to get their machines on the market (and properly test them). Of the three 16mm pioneers, Victor's cameras were the worst, while the more patient Bell and Howell under McNabb created a camera that is still among the best ever made. Victor spent considerable energy pushing the myth of his primacy, he also claimed credit for the first triple lens turret camera, despite Bell and Howell releasing theirs at the same time or even earlier. 

 

In Europe after the Cine-Nizo, came the Cine Geyer and Zeiss Ikon's little 16mm Kinamo among others before the Bolex. I have a Cine-Nizo model B which is quite delightful, but a tin can next to a Filmo! 


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#13 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 09:50 AM

greg i can't email besides posting.

 

i very much would like to know the name of the guy in brittian who makes the pelican glass  as mine in broken in m y camera that was my dads and that is the last piece i need (probably purchase several)

buddha.logical@gmail.com

 

thanks very much  if anyone else knows a supplier please let me know thanks (:

 

Not sure you'll get a response from Greg since the original thread is over 7 years old.

 

Camera technicians who could replace a Pathe pellicle must be few and far between these days. A now-retired technician who mentored me years ago told me he refused to work on Pathes because they were such horrible, fiddly things. I have a Pathe Webo Super but have yet to pull it apart to confirm his description. I know another old camera tech who told me he replaced pellicles with cut-down microscope slide cover plates, the thinner the better. I've also heard of people using cellophane stretched over a wire frame, probably not optically great, but it's one solution I guess.

 

Alternatively, some stills cameras use(d) pellicle mirrors, but they would still need cutting down to size, if you could source spares. 


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