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Compact c-mount zoom lenses for Bolex cameras


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#1 Shawn Gallagher

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 06:19 PM

Hi,

I'm curious about the difference in quality between two compact zoom lenses for the Bolex; the SOM Bethriot compact Pan Cinor 17-85mm and the Kern compact Vario-Switar 17-85mm.

Is the huge difference in price justified? I bought a perfect compact Pan Cinor for under $100, collimated and everything (mabye I got a good deal) but I'm wondering if the compact Vario-Switar is that much better for the price, for example an unserviced one went on ebay yesterday for $350.

Now, I'm certainly an amateur when it comes to cinematography, but it seems that the specs of the lenses are pretty much similar. They are both slow; the SOM opens to f3.8 and the Kern to f3.5, the focal range is the same and the design is effectively the same.

Also, (I'm really curious about this), I know that there is a funny thing with the other early Kern zoom lenses, (and I'm thinking of the Vario-Switar 18-86mm EE that I own) that the filter threads, in addition to being an annoying "series" size are also at an odd thread pitch so that you have to have a specially machined adapter if you want to put anything more than one drop-in filter in front of the lens (and that's only if you have the retaining lens hood). Does anyone know if the compact Vario-Switar suffers from the same problem?

The compact Pan Cinor I have accepts standard modern 43mm filters, which is a big plus in my book. But I've also heard that the resolution, when compared to a Switar is rather sub-par. Does anyone know if the compact Switar zoom has the same reputation as the Switar primes in terms of resolution?

This may be too much to ask, but if anyone has stills or examples of footage from the compact Switar and would like to post it here or post a link to it, I would be very grateful.

As always, thanks to everyone here for your great advice!
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#2 Bernie O'Doherty

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 07:48 PM

Hi , The Switar blows the Pan-Cinor out of the water. I go from collimators, both through-the-lens and projection. The Pan-cinor was one of the first zooms and the tracking is primitive, to say the least. I love the French, but the Swiss get the celebration drink for their lens.
That's my two Irish cents, Bernie
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#3 chuck colburn

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 03:15 PM

Shawn,

Is your Bolex a Rex?
Sheila in equipment for sale on this site has an Angenieux 9.5-57 for sale cheap. This is a very good short focal length range zoom. And since you are using a "C" mount camera, an adapter should not be hard to find. Just be sure to have it collimated as it is not only very wide but very fast.
Best to have it collimated with running film as this will show you if you have a breathing problem, (not asthma) in the gate.

Chuck
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