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Replacing Original Bolex Rex Viewfinder from 6x to 10x


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#1 Bryan Darling

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 04:56 PM

Hi, I have an original Rex w/o the variable shutter. It has a 6x viewfinder which is quite a pain to focus. I'm curious if anyone has knowledge in regards to changing out the viewfinders. I noticed that the finder seems more permanent than those on the non-reflex models. The problem would be finding a 10x or 13x viewfinder and then knowing how they are attached in addition to anything special in regards to the position of the finder, for proper focusing, etc.

Thanks,
B-
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#2 Clive Tobin

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 08:39 PM

Hi, I have an original Rex w/o the variable shutter. It has a 6x viewfinder


Given the price of parts these days (A Bolex body now sells new for $3600) it will likely be cheaper to sell your camera and buy a newer one. That's my guess. You might ask Procam and Chambless if they have the parts on hand and what advice they would give.

p.s.- If you don't have the variable shutter you don't have a Rex, you have the original Reflex. I have a lot of Bolex info in the Identifying Your Bolex section of my website, now with lots of pictures, at www.tobincinemasystems.com .
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#3 Boris Belay

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:59 AM

Hi, The upgrade to a better viewfinder is defiitely a possibilty on H16's... they're great cameras for that since the body essentially never changed, the screw holes are the same, etc. And this, from the earliest models (esp. after the built-in frame counter was added) to the latest Rex-5, and even the EL (although...), and including all the side models : M, S, J, etc.
So, that's for the good part (and mounting the VF is easy too). The not-so-good part is finding the viewfinder : the 10x. VF is (definitely) better so anybody who has one keeps it (forget about the 13x. VF, even rarer). And since it was used all the way to the Rex-5's, SBM, etc, any spare one will be snatched up to repair a damaged higher model rather than a Rex-0 like yours, for instance.
I fix these cameras, so I'm always on eBay looking for spares, and I can tell you these essentially never come up for auction... unless they're attached to a camera, of course.
My advice is to either buy a damaged camera with a 10x. VF, but those are rare too, or better, bid on what looks like a working Rex-2 (great, light model, IMHO), get it for cheap if possible, and trade your Rex-0 for the same money (if you're smart about your auction listing, like good pics and a lot of reassurance about its working condition), or if the Rex-2 turns out to be less than operational, transplant the VF.
Get a Repair manual off eBay too -- if you're a little handy, it's a great $25 investment.
Bolex are great for just that : cheap, easy to repair, low maintenance, and evreything you need to begin shooting 16mm -- hard to beat !
Cheers,
B.
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#4 Bryan Darling

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 06:03 PM

Thanks for all the info. I had been toying around with getting a Rex-2. My first camera was a non-reflex I got at a swap when I was 17. I love the cameras. It's funny because I have a k-3 sitting around on a tripod in my shop. So I looked through it for the hell of it and noticed how much easier it is to focus that thing.

Anyhow the original Reflex I have now works great. I figured there would be a big parts issue in replacing the finder. My thing is you can play the which camera is better game forever. In that people tend to focus on the gear rather than what they are using it for- creating content. I prefer limitations myself as it forces you to contend with a set framework in which to create in.

Since I have lenses, extension tubes, etc I'm thinking perhaps just getting a Rex-2 body and selling my camera. Then I just think hell maybe I should get an Arri S. But like I said you can play that game all day. My biggest issue is that with the aging of equipment and not knowing how cared for the cameras are it's hard getting one of ebay in which the seller knows anything more than the name plate on the camera. I don't want to spend a great deal of money as I'd rather spend it on filmstock & lab. If anyone has a line on a decently priced Rex-2 body please let me know. I'd like to get that and a switar 10mm RX as I find myself always using wide angle lenses and the zooms don't quite cut it for me.

Thanks again.
B-
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#5 Boris Belay

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:02 PM

Hi again,
Yes, there's a fine line between the right camera and the next-step-up camera. and it's a very personal question. But as far as I am concerned (handling the whole Bolex range), the Rex-2 is the earliest H16 I would use : the 10x. VF is heaps better than the 6x. And it's a great compromise camera beacuse it's still so light -- very recommended !
As for eBay, it's not so bad, if you're up to it that is... Obviously it's not a shop : no trying, and often no return, but what deals you get ! I took it that you were handy and willing to tinker a bit from your original post, so you're in a good position with regards to eBay. Most people who sell cameras on eBay don't know the first thing about them, but they're often willing to go quite a ways to test the camera for you, so at least you know the basics. Also, Bolex cameras, particularly 60's models like the Rex-2 have one great advantage : they were very expensive cameras used mostly by wealthy amateurs : not pros who wore them through, and not off-handed why-the-hell-not consumers buying disposable products, but very often dedicated film enthusiasts who were very aware of how precious the thing was and treated them extremely carefully. And if, by chance, it's sat in the upstirs closet for the last 40 years rather than the damp basement, you're in luck indeed !
(When you think of it, there aren't many other items like that : precious enough to be well-cared for by enthusiasts but so obsolete and odd looking that their children sell them off just to clear that bit of room in the closet... I mean, they wouldn't sell their father's Rolex quite the same way, would they?)
So, I'd say : try your luck with eBay because if you have a bit of common sense (and a bit of time to be patient, then wait for the delivery, then dust it and look it over thoroughly), the odds are definetely on your side. And being in Cali is a definite plus too !
If you don't want to take that risk (or that time), I have a couple of Rex-2's that may do (I fix them up in my spare time). Perhaps you'd trade for your '23 Kodak Model A ??? I'd love one too !
B.
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