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My first Bolex :)


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#1 david romberg

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 12:46 PM

I was bidding on this camera about two weeks ago and even though I was the high bidder,
the reserve price was not met. The seller contacted me yesterday and offered the camera at
my last bid :) Anyway, I would like to get as much information on the camera and was is included.
I know its an M4 but I'm new to 16mm and need more info.

Here it is


my new bolex
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#2 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 01:28 PM

Dunno why not...
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#3 Nick Mulder

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 01:48 PM

well, it looks like a real train spotters package - like a nerd from back in the day - check out all those filters!

Probably quite clean and working well - please emphasize the probably

I have no idea what a "split image range finder viewer" is in terms of the image you get - (talking about the dog leg from the lens)...

Is that someones unfortunate attempt at describing reflex ? In any case it wouldn't technically be a reflex (theres no moving mirror function... not even in the real reflex bolexes)

I find with Bolexes and any camera really that any ol' clunker can suit an application if its spec'd right (often the cost is the most important spec) - horses for courses etc... so perhaps you could tell us more about what you want to use it for ?
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#4 Sir Alvin Ekarma

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 01:51 PM

I was bidding on this camera about two weeks ago and even though I was the high bidder,
the reserve price was not met. The seller contacted me yesterday and offered the camera at
my last bid :) Anyway, I would like to get as much information on the camera and was is included.
I know its an M4 but I'm new to 16mm and need more info.


It doesn't have a reflex viewfinder that isn't part of the zoom lens so you'd be stuck w/ old glass and since it's one of the older Bolex models, future modification to S16 could be a hassle. I'd say wait for a rex4/rex5 or ideally an SBM.
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#5 Nick Mulder

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 02:08 PM

It doesn't have a reflex viewfinder that isn't part of the zoom lens so you'd be stuck w/ old glass and since it's one of the older Bolex models, future modification to S16 could be a hassle. I'd say wait for a rex4/rex5 or ideally an SBM.


Older bolex models ? It has the 1:1 shaft so its basically an RX4 minus the finder and a different lens housing/shutter assembly - in fact I reckon with a mill and a good file you could have it super16 from start to finish within 2 hours tops... thats milling/filing the gate - filing the rollers and re-centering the lens then re-assembling the shutter in time with the claw - Hopefully that lens mount is somehow independent of the shutter assembly as slotting the whole assembly moves the shutters shaft too far and the helical gear starts rolling up the camera sides equivalent mating gear (where it hasnt been fully cut in that um 'zone') ...

Thing is you then have the nasty lens to widen and centre the finder mask for - could be easy... not sure - but yes you are stuck with parallax viewers or dog-leg style lenses - poo poo! unless you have a specific purpose for it and these limitations are worth the price difference between it and a 'newer' reflex ...

IF super16 is your thing and you have the cash - get an SB or an SBM - they are a bit more work in super16'ing but give the most usable resulting camera of all the wind up models ...
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 02:19 PM

I was bidding on this camera about two weeks ago and even though I was the high bidder,
the reserve price was not met. The seller contacted me yesterday and offered the camera at
my last bid :) Anyway, I would like to get as much information on the camera and was is included.
I know its an M4 but I'm new to 16mm and need more info.

Here it is
my new bolex


David,

Be very careful about the auction. There is a regular scam running on eBay that is exactly what you described. A person (maybe legitimate) puts a camera up for auction with a reserve. The auction never gets to the reserve price. Then a few days later, everyone who bid on the auction is offered a chance to buy the camera for their top bid. The whole thing is a scam. The first person may never have had a camera to auction, they are trolling for user ID's, or the second person who sends you the offer to buy the camera for your highest bid, is not the person selling the camera, he/she just got your eBay ID from the auction and is now offering the camera (which he/she does not have) to everyone who bid, hoping that some of you will send them money. It is a very old and very common scam.

Also, the auction you linked to is a Buy-It-Now auction, and someone supposedly bought it.

-Tim
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#7 david romberg

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 03:01 PM

The buy it now link was actually the second chance offer he sent me through ebay so I hope its legit... meaning
I already sent him money through papal. so far everything looks legit.. matching emails, matching paypal account, etc. This is my first venture from video into film and the rex packages were easily going over $1000, so I thought this was a good starting point.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am shooting a documentary in 24p and I want to integrate some 16mm.

To nick:
I am working in sd video so do you still think I should try modifying to super 16?
As far as lenses with the m4, I understand that the lack of a reflex means I am limited to lenses with a viewfinder. Are there any other lenses I should be looking for and is there a way to bypass this limitation? What else do I need before I start shooting (Except for film of course) that would be useful?


Thank you
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#8 Ian Marks

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 03:11 PM

I have an M4 set-up identical to this one. This is a very robust camera with essentially the latest mechanicals (like the Rex 4 and 5, and SB/SBM) but obviously with no built-in reflex finder. Because it has the 1:1 shaft, it is capable of accepting all the latest and best (i.e., Tobin) motors, and it can be modified for Super 16.

The lens is quite old in terms of design, and will never provide the kind of optical performance you would get with a modern Zeiss or Canon zoom, but if you stop down a bit from the maximum aperture, you might be pleasantly surprised. The lens is usually described as having a maximum aperture of f2.0, but it only delivers t2.77 to the film at maximum aperture.... fortunately it is marked in t-stops as well as f-stops so this is not a huge problem. The "split image" finder is pretty unique... you zoom to the maximum focal length to minimize depth of field, and you will see a split image effect - a kind of ghosting around the edges of things. Bring these two together to focus, and then zoom out to compose your shot. The finder's image is impressively bright, and it stays bright even as you stop down because the finder takes its light before the aperture (something like a Super-8 camera).

One significant drawback to the lens is that it doesn't zoom out to a usable wide angle (17mm is more like a "normal" to me). Believe me, once you have this lens on your Bolex, you will not want to be switching between it and a wider lens.... it's best left on the camera all the time.

Whether this camera is a good deal for you is something you'll have to decide for yourself. I've been very lucky and paid very little for mine. A Rex 4/5 - or better yet an SBM or an EBM - are a lot more flexible, but more money too. And you can make the argument that those cameras aren't as good as the Arris and Aatons.... after a while the simplicity of the M4 and its low buy-in start to seem pretty appealing.
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#9 Nick Mulder

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 05:57 PM

To nick:
I am working in sd video so do you still think I should try modifying to super 16?
As far as lenses with the m4, I understand that the lack of a reflex means I am limited to lenses with a viewfinder. Are there any other lenses I should be looking for and is there a way to bypass this limitation? What else do I need before I start shooting (Except for film of course) that would be useful?
Thank you

Well, if you aren't cropping your SD then you dont need super16 - and if you don't need it, you dont need it ... But if you do decide and are handy with tooling drop me a PM and maybe I can give you some advice. I'm thinking of getting one of those security style Bolexes (like an M Bolex but without the spring etc...) - it has the same mount so hopefully I'll be sure of how easy it is...

Asfor the the lens the only other option is to get a bunch of primes, tape measure and a parallax viewer to suit (non-reflex) - Ian is the best person to talk to about this though as he has the same setup and knows its highlights and bad points much better than I ...
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#10 Craig Knowles

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 06:17 PM

Be very careful about the auction. There is a regular scam running on eBay that is exactly what you described.


I whole-heartedly agree. Many people have been burned like this. To be safe, I'd ask the seller to put it back on eBay with a Buy-it-Now. Otherwise, you have no protection or recourse if it's scam. Good luck.
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#11 Will Montgomery

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 06:46 PM

I whole-heartedly agree. Many people have been burned like this. To be safe, I'd ask the seller to put it back on eBay with a Buy-it-Now. Otherwise, you have no protection or recourse if it's scam. Good luck.

EEEEEEKKKKK!!!

Be EXTREMELY CAREFUL. People have been doing these "2nd Chance" offers to scam you big time. I've had this happen THREE TIMES and they were all NOT LEGIT. I don't know why movie camera equipment seems to be a big target of scam artists but it is.
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#12 Sir Alvin Ekarma

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 06:59 PM

Older bolex models ? It has the 1:1 shaft so its basically an RX4 minus the finder and a different lens housing/shutter assembly - in fact I reckon with a mill and a good file you could have it super16 from start to finish within 2 hours tops... thats milling/filing the gate - filing the rollers and re-centering the lens then re-assembling the shutter in time with the claw - Hopefully that lens mount is somehow independent of the shutter assembly as slotting the whole assembly moves the shutters shaft too far and the helical gear starts rolling up the camera sides equivalent mating gear (where it hasnt been fully cut in that um 'zone') ...


I'm referring to the price quotes given by JK camera. For an s16 mod, it's a couple hundred bucks extra for a Rex 4/Rex 5 which can include optional 13x viewfinder conversion...
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#13 Nick Mulder

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 07:20 PM

I'm referring to the price quotes given by JK camera. For an s16 mod, it's a couple hundred bucks extra for a Rex 4/Rex 5 which can include optional 13x viewfinder conversion...

RX4 and RX5 probably cost more because of the turret system - and the 13x finder addition as you have mentioned - but the M has neither of these to worry about ...

If you have the right tools the gate and rollers are really a no brainer in how to modify it - the lens re-centre can be a little more work conceptually and you really need the 13x finder - hence the $$$
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#14 Michael Tisdale

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 11:34 PM

I have no idea what a "split image range finder viewer" is in terms of the image you get - (talking about the dog leg from the lens)...

Is that someones unfortunate attempt at describing reflex ? In any case it wouldn't technically be a reflex (theres no moving mirror function... not even in the real reflex bolexes)


A split image rangefinder literally splits the image along a diagonal line (or horizontal line in some still cameras); the image in the viewfinder is brought into focus by adjusting the focus ring until the two halves align. There's also a coincident image rangefinder; these give an effect of "double vision" where adjusting the focus ring aligns the two.

David,
The H-16 M-4 shown in the auction is a good camera. The lens is okay and I actually find that viewfinder easier to see through than the reflex viewfinder on H16 reflex cameras (to my poor eyesight at least).

You can also use all C mount prime lens with it, but if you do, you'll have to use a parallax viewfinder on the side of the camera. I may have missed it, but I didn't see one shown in the auction. You can pick one up on eBay for about $10 though. (look for an "octameter" or "preview finder")

Edited by Michael Tisdale, 06 April 2007 - 11:36 PM.

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#15 david romberg

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 12:46 AM

Received my camera a few days ago and it looks like its almost in new condition. I will shoot some tests soon.
Thanks for all the help. Included was two unopened tri-x reversal film marked with the expiration date 1967.
I'm guessing this film cannot be used even for tests....right?
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#16 Nick Mulder

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 01:02 AM

If they have been stored ok (not under the back window of a car for 40 years) you should get an image - might be a bit foggy
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#17 Ian Marks

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 03:38 PM

Congratulations.

You can always use that old roll to practice loading, too.
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#18 david romberg

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:09 PM

Congratulations.

You can always use that old roll to practice loading, too.



so maybe I'll use that old film for my test roll...

Ian or Nick,

can you walk me through the basics of loading my first roll and shooting my first roll?
I wanted to shoot a test classic perspective panning shot of a train going by at the station.
Think Lumiere with a pan as the train goes by. Also, the camera came with a nice German made
lightmeter, but it needs a new battery.

Thank you
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#19 Nick Mulder

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:27 PM

okidoki,

The film - is it on 400' cores (in a metal cannister that says 'open only in complete darkness' or similar) or are they already on a daylight load reels (smaller reels usually in cardboard boxes with another cannister inside that looks about the size of what you'd put in your Bolex) ?

Do you have an empty daylight reel ? (hopefully one came in the camera)

In the end you need at least 1 loaded daylight reel and one empty one - the loaded one will need to be emulsion in with the sprockets on the lower side when the film spirals out from the right (clockwise so to speak)...

I'll stop here until you answer the question - if you have 400 cores then there is another whole palaver to go about to load the daylight reel - oh the joys of starting out ! "you mean I need to spend another $100 ?" "wha?!?!" (its much easier with the right gear, but not impossible without)

How are you going to develop this film ? If you are paying a lab you might want to have it wedge tested beforehand so you dont waste you $$$ on a full load - they take a small snip and dev it and can test the fogging... If you have a darkroom (or a room that is dark at night) and have done some still developing and/or keen to learn you could fashion a neat developing bucket to save on money again - terrible results, but fun
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#20 david romberg

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:43 PM

[quote name='Nick Mulder' date='Apr 16 2007, 04:27 PM' post='167563']
okidoki,

I'm almost 100% its daylight load reels and it says on the box of the film "load in subdued light".
the camera came with two empty daylight reels and one smaller reel.
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