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Kern Vario-Switar 12.5-100mm zoom , cover S16 (Bolex EL S16)?


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#1 Patrick Tong

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 12:44 PM

I have a Kern Vario-Switar 12.5-100mm zoom and Bolex EL Super16.

When I set the lens at the wide position 12.5mm, and minimum the focus(4 feet from the object), it will have a few ?black shadow? cover all the corner?..is this len not ok for S16?

The lens need to Mod. for S16?

Thank you
Patrick
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 01:49 PM

I have a Kern Vario-Switar 12.5-100mm zoom and Bolex EL Super16.

When I set the lens at the wide position 12.5mm, and minimum the focus(4 feet from the object), it will have a few ?black shadow? cover all the corner?..is this len not ok for S16?

The lens need to Mod. for S16?

Thank you
Patrick


It sounds like the lens has not been converted to Super 16. That lens can be modified for Super 16, if it is the right serial number or above. Best to talk with Bolex in Switzerland to find out if it is the right one. That is the only zoom lens that Bolex will convert to Super 16, and regardless of what they say all the time on eBay, the POE 16-100 Kern Switar zoom lens cannot be converted to Super 16 and it does not cover Super 16 below 25mm on the zoom scale.

-Tim
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#3 Scott Bullock

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 09:28 PM

Tim, you wrote:

". . . regardless of what they say all the time on eBay, the POE 16-100 Kern Switar zoom lens cannot . . . cover Super 16 below 25mm on the zoom scale."

Bolex's website seems to contradict this, at least, somewhat. I'm going to email them and find out for certain since I've been thinking of buying this exact lens. Anyway, in their Super 16 section, they write: ". . . the 16-100mm POE model can be used with some restrictions for the short focal length."

That sentence, in my opinion, seems to be saying that the lens will cover S16 through the entire range, but there are restrictions at the 16mm focal length. If I were to hazard a guess, I would think that these restrictions have to do with certain apertures when focused at certain distances. Perhaps I'm mistaken though.

Can you or anyone clarify this issue for me?
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#4 Tim Carroll

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 10:14 PM

". . . the 16-100mm POE model can be used with some restrictions for the short focal length."


The "some restrictions" means anything below 25mm in the zoom range, as I stated above. Now I am not saying you could not find a combination of aperture and focal distance below 25mm where you would not be getting vignetting, but when I want a lens to be usable, I do not want to be restricted to only certain focal distances and apertures. Above 25mm on that lens is fine, below is not.

-Tim
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#5 Patrick Tong

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 10:33 PM

The "some restrictions" means anything below 25mm in the zoom range, as I stated above. Now I am not saying you could not find a combination of aperture and focal distance below 25mm where you would not be getting vignetting, but when I want a lens to be usable, I do not want to be restricted to only certain focal distances and apertures. Above 25mm on that lens is fine, below is not.

-Tim




Thank You , Tim

I will email Bolex for detail.

:D :D :D
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#6 Scott Bullock

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 10:56 PM

Thanks for the information, Tim. It looks like I'm going to have to start shopping for the modified 12.5 - 100.
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#7 lluis

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:24 AM

I didn't test any 16-100 poe Vario-Switar, but in some web pages it's considered a full super 16 coverage.
I have the 17-85 compact Vario-Switar and it covers the format!!
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#8 Scott Bullock

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 04:02 PM

I didn't test any 16-100 poe Vario-Switar, but in some web pages it's considered a full super 16 coverage.
I have the 17-85 compact Vario-Switar and it covers the format!!


Tim;

Now I'm confused, because since just last night I've received emails from two different rental/sales houses that agree with llius's post quoted above regarding the Vario-Switar 16-100 POE covering the full Super 16 frame at all focal lengths. Both companies are named at this forum quite frequently and seem to be in good standing. Are you sure that you aren't thinking of the Vario-Switar 12.5-100? This lens definitely has issues below 25mm. I really need to get this figured out because I have the opportunity to acquire this lens, which I've been giving serious thought to, but it needs to do what some people say it can but you say it can't. And because I respect your opinion and your standing on this forum, I'd really like to get to the bottom of this issue.

Thanks
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#9 Tim Carroll

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 06:19 PM

Scott,

Don't know what my standing is on this forum, but thanks for the compliment. As far as the 16-100 POE lens, I used to have one with my Bolex EBM. I am the one who gave Tim Tyler the manual that he has posted on that lens below in the Manuals section of this forum. It has been a few years now, but when I talked with Bolex in Switzerland about having my EBM converted to Super 16, (Marc Ueter I think it was) told me that the 16-100 POE lens would not cover Super 16 at the bottom end, i.e. below 25mm. That does not mean that there is not some combination of focal distances and apertures that would not vignette in Super 16 below 25mm, but you cannot use all apertures and all focal distances without getting vignetting on the corners of the image.

If you are getting people who are telling you it will work fine, and they are also the same people who are trying to sell you the lens, that does not surprise me.

To be sure, I would suggest going to the Bolex Switzerland web site, and either calling them or emailing them and ask them. Something may have changed in the last few years, but I doubt it.

That or get a written guarantee from whoever is trying to sell you the lens, that if it vignettes when used with Super 16 at the wide end, they will give you your money back. If they are so sure it is not an issue, they should have no problem doing that.

-Tim

PS: I found Marc Ueter's email address bolex@bluewin.ch, he is the guy I talked to at Bolex Switzerland. Send him an email and ask him if the Vario-Switar 100 POE lens, the one that is 16-100mm F1.9, the one shown in the manual on this web page:
Vario-Switar 100 POE

Ask him if it will cover Super 16 at all apertures and focal distances when used between 16mm and 25mm. I could be wrong, but the reason I remember it so clearly is that I was so disappointed because I had one of those lenses and it would not work, and Bolex would not convert it, so if I converted my EBM, I would have no lenses. Mine was the bayonet version by the way, but that should make no difference.
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#10 Scott Bullock

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 08:48 PM

Thanks for all of the information, Tim.

Unfortunately, I still haven't gotten to the bottom of this issue. I've received some more emails regarding the subject of the 16-100 POE and the ONLY company, so far, that claims that it won't work is Bolex in Switzerland. I've had 3 different sources tell me that Bolex is, well, smudging the truth, in order to boost the sales of their modified 12.5-100 lens (they no longer manufacture the 16-100). So, I don't know what to believe. At any rate, I'm going to purchase the lens -- I was offered a 7 day money back guarantee, so what the heck. During that time, I will project the lens and shoot a test roll entirely at the 16mm focal length just to see what the deal is with my own two eyes. When that is done, I will post the results here.

By the way, does anyone know where I can get a user's manual for a Bolex SBM that was factory converted to S16? Or, will a Rex V manual work just as well? (I haven't used a Bolex in 10 years; I need a refresher course . . . :( )
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#11 Tim Carroll

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 11:21 PM

Thanks for all of the information, Tim.

Unfortunately, I still haven't gotten to the bottom of this issue. I've received some more emails regarding the subject of the 16-100 POE and the ONLY company, so far, that claims that it won't work is Bolex in Switzerland. I've had 3 different sources tell me that Bolex is, well, smudging the truth, in order to boost the sales of their modified 12.5-100 lens (they no longer manufacture the 16-100). So, I don't know what to believe. At any rate, I'm going to purchase the lens -- I was offered a 7 day money back guarantee, so what the heck. During that time, I will project the lens and shoot a test roll entirely at the 16mm focal length just to see what the deal is with my own two eyes. When that is done, I will post the results here.

By the way, does anyone know where I can get a user's manual for a Bolex SBM that was factory converted to S16? Or, will a Rex V manual work just as well? (I haven't used a Bolex in 10 years; I need a refresher course . . . :( )


I would think Bolex Switzerland would know what will and what will not work with the cameras they make, but it is up to you.

The SBM is pretty much a Rex 5 with a Bayonet mount for the lens. Been a while since I shot with one, but if memory serves, the functions are the same. Don't know if any issues are brought up with the Super 16 conversion. Who did the conversion on the camera? I know with the Bolex conversions, you have to shift the Bayonet mounting plate to make the camera shoot Super 16.

-Tim
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#12 Scott Bullock

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 12:10 AM

Basically, I just need the information regarding Bolex's confusing -- well, sort of anyway, IMHO -- viewfinder system for S16 because their marking scheme is old school and less than ideal, especially in the increasing world of single perf. film stocks. Additionally, I need to know how the 'switchable' bayonet mount system works on the SBM so that I have a proper optical center. I wonder if they even offered a manual for the S16 SBM, or if it was just an addendum to the regular SB and SBM models? Come to think of it, for my needs, an SB camera manual would suffice just fine excepting the repositioning for S16 and normal 16 on the lens mount parts.

I appreciate your help Tim, but if the rental/sales company sells me a package that doesn't do what they claim, I will get my money back. It just sucks that there's so much confusion regarding this subject. You'd think it would be clear-cut, either the lens covers S16 or it doesn't. I just can't figure out why Bolex Switzerland says it won't work and every other sales/rental agency I've come across so far says the opposite. It's frustrating. Nevertheless, I love Bolex cameras; I should have never parted with the Rex 4 system I once had, it flat-out rocked.
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#13 Tim Carroll

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 12:25 AM

Basically, I just need the information regarding Bolex's confusing -- well, sort of anyway, IMHO -- viewfinder system for S16 because their marking scheme is old school and less than ideal, especially in the increasing world of single perf. film stocks. Additionally, I need to know how the 'switchable' bayonet mount system works on the SBM so that I have a proper optical center. I wonder if they even offered a manual for the S16 SBM, or if it was just an addendum to the regular SB and SBM models? Come to think of it, for my needs, an SB camera manual would suffice just fine excepting the repositioning for S16 and normal 16 on the lens mount parts.


Have you looked at this web page?

Bolex Super 16

It covers the basic ideas.

-Tim
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#14 Scott Bullock

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 12:44 AM

Yes, I've seen that site, Tim. How else could I have quoted from it in a previous post? Regardless of the site, from which I've already quoted, the issue remains the same, does it not? Have you actually projected and/or shot S16 with this lens?
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#15 Craig Knowles

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:42 AM

I had my POE tested by Visual Products in Ohio to see if it would cover S16.

Basically, they project a light backwards through the lens and compare it to a chart on the wall. According to their tests, it was very close, but no cigar. Vignetting was slight - to the point that it might be possible to use the lens if you planned to mask the frame to 1.85 - but in the end, they said the lens would NOT cover S16.

I then ran into the same thing you did. A lot of other places I looked on-line were saying the POE would cover S16. I think what you'll have to do is run some test footage through the full range of the lens and see what amount of vignetting you get.

When/if you do, PLEASE post your results.

Edited by Craig Knowles, 07 March 2006 - 02:45 AM.

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#16 Tim Carroll

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 07:20 AM

I had my POE tested by Visual Products in Ohio to see if it would cover S16.

Basically, they project a light backwards through the lens and compare it to a chart on the wall. According to their tests, it was very close, but no cigar. Vignetting was slight - to the point that it might be possible to use the lens if you planned to mask the frame to 1.85 - but in the end, they said the lens would NOT cover S16.


I know the folks at Visual Products and they did some work on my Bolex years ago and I am sure I talked with them about the POE lens and Super 16, so maybe they are another source of why I believed the lens would not work.

That being said, I always had two sources that I considered authoritative when it came to Bolex cameras, the Bolex factory in Switzerland and Andrew Alden in Great Britain(author of the Bolex Bible). Bolex in Switzerland says the lens won't work. I asked Andrew about this last night and here is his response.

Dear Tim,
Nice to hear from you again! Actually the POE 16-100 lens is fine for Super 16 (I use one myself) and ok right down to 16mm - the problem you mention is with the later 12.5 - 100 MC Vario-Switar family of lenses which need new back elements (expensive). The only issue with POE lenses is that the optical axis on a converted H16 camera should be shifted across by 1mm so it does mean that any POE on a turret or bayonet mount will probably foul the front release button on the camera (SBM, SB and REX V)- the answer is to cut away part of the guard around the back part of the lens. It is a minor modification.
I hope this is of help, Andrew


So if Andrew says it will work optically, and Bolex in Switzerland won't commit to exactly why it will not work, then I would assume Andrew is correct and that the lens will be okay optically if you do the modification to the front release.


As far as your other question Scott, I guess I cannot figure out what you are asking. The SB or SBM you are asking about works just like a standard SB or SBM or even Rex V, with the exception of what is listed on that particular Bolex page about shifting the front lens mount back and forth between Regular 16 and Super 16. Where is the confusion?

-Tim
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#17 Scott Bullock

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 08:33 PM

Craig: It's interesting that Visual Products is one of the companies that told me the POE will cover S16.

What's more interesting is that Bolex Switzerland told me it wouldn't cover S16 and then gave me the links to their three official US dealers who all replied by telling me that it does cover. Anyway, I'll post my results.

Tim: You're right, nothing is confusing. I'd just like to get my hands on an SBM manual with the supplementary S16 material. I'm a sucker for reading material. I finally found one today at, coincidentally enough, one of the Bolex dealers in the US. Thanks again.
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#18 Craig Knowles

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 12:47 AM

Craig: It's interesting that Visual Products is one of the companies that told me the POE will cover S16.


Interesting. I stood in the testing room with them about 6 months ago and saw the results myself. It was VERY close, and I was considering making the change to S16 anyway, since I rarely use the full frame, and would be fine matting to 1.85 as long as vignetting only occurred in the corners.

To clarify, I double-checked tonight and my lens is actually the KERN Vario-Switar 1:1.9 f=16-100mm POE BOLEX H16RX.

I'm eager to hear of your results.
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#19 Tim Carroll

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 08:20 AM

Just to follow up, I just received this email from Marc Ueter at Bolex Switzerland:

Dear Mr. Carroll,

I hope all is well.

The 16-100 POE lens will vignette in Super 16 under focal 35mm approximately. This lens cannot be converted to Super 16.

Best regards.

Bolex International SA
Marc Ueter


So there you have it. Much contradictory information.

-Tim
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#20 Patrick Tong

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 09:08 AM

Just to follow up, I just received this email from Marc Ueter at Bolex Switzerland:

Dear Mr. Carroll,

I hope all is well.

The 16-100 POE lens will vignette in Super 16 under focal 35mm approximately. This lens cannot be converted to Super 16.

Best regards.

Bolex International SA
Marc Ueter


So there you have it. Much contradictory information.

-Tim


Hey Tim , I also received a email from Marc Ueter at Bolex Switzerland.

The S16 mod. for 12.5-100 lens is very very E...X....P....E....N....S....I....V....E... :( :( :( :( :(
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