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Bolex Super 16 questions: Yet another thread.


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#1 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 05:29 PM

After reading multiple threads on this topic I still have a few questions about converting a Rex5 to Super 16. I contacted both Les Bosher in the UK and Jaakko Kurhi at JK Camera in the US to get more info. Both of these gentlemen's Bolex conversion work seems to be held in very high regard, yet they take a very different approach to the conversion process: Jaakko keeps the three-lens turret, while Mr. Bosher replaces it with a bayonet mount.

Ideally, I'd prefer to have a camera that uses the three-lens turret to be used with a set of Switar primes. Maybe the bayonet conversion is a better mechanical solution, but I don't want to be forced to constantly change lenses. Also, I'm still unsure which lenses, especially which prime lenses, are useable after conversion. The Internet sites are full of conflicting information.

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone who has actually had a camera converted by either company can share their personal experience regarding reliability, image quality, useable lenses and anything else of interest.

Thanks,

Fran
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#2 Nick Mulder

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 10:37 PM

10mm Switar preset or standard will vignette - preset ever so slightly less

If you are forking for the conversion and not doing it yourself I'd keep the 3 turret - I've done my own conversions of bayonet mounts and they are easy - I'm yet to convince myself that my ideas re. converting a turret will be successful (the mods are destructive and hard to simulate if they will work or not) so if someone else can guarantee a good outcome then I say go for it ..

What finder does your RX5 have ? 13x or 10x ? (13x has the darth vader style silver knurling on the end)
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#3 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 11:32 PM

What finder does your RX5 have ? 13x or 10x ? (13x has the darth vader style silver knurling on the end)


Thanks for the reply, Nick.

I have the 10x finder, which I understand is replaced with a 13x as part of the conversion. Another question: Do you know which is the widest Switar Preset prime that will fully cover S16? Sorry to ask what should be obvious, but like I said earlier, there seems to be a lot of conflicting info out there. That's why I'd like to hear from anyone who's actually had the mods done and knows from experience what actually works.

And here I was thinking it would be simple to build a light, compact, take-anywhere S16 camera from the Rex5. Nothing's ever easy, is it?

-Fran
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#4 Nick Mulder

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 07:02 AM

I'm about %90 sure the old 16mm Switar prime covers it - I dont have one, but a collegue does and he has never mentioned problems - so its only the 10mm that craps out (and therefore the 5.5 aspheron also) ...

To mill/file the gate and recentre the lens (so only the centre mount is centred for super16) is easy - its the crap involved in getting your finder to show the super16 frame that is the real mission ... even harder but maybe possible (I might try one day) is to get it centred for all three mounts for both reg and super16 ... I think I have a method but dont want to try as I already have two cameras shooting it already...
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#5 AdamBray

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 09:30 PM

Here's a video of an RX-5 converted to S16 by JK Camera. This whole video was shot with a 10mm macro-switar wide angle lens (preset version) that Nick just said wont work..

Judge for yourself...


http://www.mediamili...akeemallout.htm

Edited by AdamBray, 13 May 2007 - 09:32 PM.

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#6 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 12:22 AM

Adam,

Thanks very much for that info. Of course, now, I'm totally confused: Jaakko at JK told me that the 10mm preset wouldn't cover either!

What you've got there looks very good. How much did you have to crop during transfer to get to that aspect ratio? Was there any vignetting in the original footage?

-Fran
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#7 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 01:12 AM

Here's a video of an RX-5 converted to S16 by JK Camera. This whole video was shot with a 10mm macro-switar wide angle lens (preset version) that Nick just said wont work..

Judge for yourself...


Try also measuring the aspect ratio of that clip for yourself - its 1.9 full frame and 2.2 in the letterboxed sections - of course its not going to vignette - youve had it cropped out from the super16 1.66 in transfer ...

And I never said it wont work - I said it will vignette ...

I suggest you check your actual footage to see the frame real-estate you've had chopped off :ph34r:
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#8 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 02:17 AM

Very impressive footage, Adam. Sharp and crisp. As the Switar 10mm is probably of 1960s vintage, I thought it would give a bit of an 'old' look to footage. However, this music video clip has very much a 'modern' look to it, obviously aided by the modern film stock.
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#9 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 02:25 AM

The coated Switar Primes - especially the presets - are up there with Ziess glass IMO ...

Too sharp in some instances :lol:

They really are underrated, and even though they seem to be going through a price-fxing process at the mo' on eBay (prices have at least doubled over the last year) they are still a bargain - in many respects they really do outperform the cameras they are designed for (lack of non-compromise blimps/sound sync and/or finely registered movements)...
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#10 AdamBray

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:59 AM

Adam,

Thanks very much for that info. Of course, now, I'm totally confused: Jaakko at JK told me that the 10mm preset wouldn’t cover either!

What you've got there looks very good. How much did you have to crop during transfer to get to that aspect ratio? Was there any vignetting in the original footage?

-Fran


It's not my work, I just thought I would pass along the info. You can email Franck or Kevin at Media Militia and ask them. I'm sure they would be glad to help you out.
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#11 AdamBray

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 05:25 AM

Try also measuring the aspect ratio of that clip for yourself - its 1.9 full frame and 2.2 in the letterboxed sections - of course its not going to vignette - youve had it cropped out from the super16 1.66 in transfer ...

And I never said it wont work - I said it will vignette ...

I suggest you check your actual footage to see the frame real-estate you've had chopped off :ph34r:



Ok, you did not say it wont work. But I think the vignette is not a problem if you don't mind cropping it. I personally like the real narrower 1.9 theater look anyways, and would crop to some degree anyways I think even if there was no vignette. That's just my taste though.

Edited by AdamBray, 14 May 2007 - 05:29 AM.

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#12 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 10:52 AM

1.66 (super16) is the European wide screen standard theatre look ...

In my experience its often cropped to 1.85 by unsuspecting (mostly ingorant) or purposfully lazy/unequiped projectionists in theatres ...

The picture is therefore raked downwards to fit in the subtitles and following from that the picture will crop out peoples eyes in close up shots ...

Not sure of the relevance though ! something about 1.66 being a proper 'theatre' widescreen ratio ...

heh - excuse rant - but yes, as you have illustrated widening your pic (not with anamorphic adaptors mind) will solve the vignette issue

this:

...is a perfect example of the 10mm Switar super16 vignette - note also the edge fog

you can see how Adam could remove it by masking the top and bottom via a wider crop
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#13 Duncan McDougall

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 01:23 PM

"Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone who has actually had a camera converted by either company can share their personal experience regarding reliability, image quality, useable lenses and anything else of interest."


I've had 2 Bolex bayonet mount cameras converted to S16. One at the factory in Switzerland, and one by Les Bosher. Both conversions were well done, but shipping overseas is a pain. Factory conversion uses all new parts but you pay for them in a big way. I have heard that JK conversions are excellent. Send your camera to him.
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#14 AdamBray

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 03:32 PM

you can see how Adam could remove it by masking the top and bottom via a wider crop


That was an awesome video. Thanks for the link. Yeah, I'd crop that. :P
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#15 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:32 PM

I've super16'd both an EL and an SB (both bayonet mounts) here at home, I can pass on instructions once they are, but you'll need:

A Mill with slot bit in the range of 2-4mm (I used a 3mm) - contrary to other sets of instructions found on the net you wont need a lathe...

A vise (often found on a mill anyhoo as clamping kits a too bulky for the milling of the gate)

A good set of those small files - circular, some variety of sharp edged, fine flat with cutting edges and fine flat with non-cutting edges should do ya

Med/large and med/small (magnetic tip is helpful) flat head drivers

Jewellers Drivers - mostly just a larger flat head for fastening and small flat head for prodding things in awkward places

Pliers - big un's and small small un's

DMT (if you are going to do an EL, you'll need it to get into the shutter housing without breaking the light meter release mechanism)

Some of the screws were screwed in by some Swiss Gorilla's I tell ya so upon removal they can get a little cosmetically damaged - I replaced them with shiney new ones that needed to be cut down to correct length = hacksaw required (or you could just labor away with a file)

Compressed air comes in handy as does engineers blue, tape, magnifiying glass, lens cleaner etc...

oh yeh! > A small torch, my head mounted LED one worked wonders for re-aligning the mask with the gate

Which comes to the mask... I can get them made for you from file here by a gobo manufacture in Australia for about $50 or so - or you can figure that bit out for yourself - I filed one of my own which looked ace until it was magnified in the finder and I could see the topography of my handiwork (crud;)) - the ones from Aus are laser cut - lasers! like from starwars! woohoo! .... ooooor simply centre your reg16 mask and not see the super16 frame... or remove it and not have anything (worse)

Balls - or equal levels of stupidity


I think thats about it - all up getting all this gear (new even, and yes the Mill too) would cost about the same as sending your camera overseas for conversion
:P
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#16 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:33 PM

double post whoops - mods please remove

thanks

Edited by Nick Mulder, 14 May 2007 - 04:35 PM.

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#17 Peter Russ

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:49 AM

After reading multiple threads on this topic I still have a few questions about converting a Rex5 to Super 16. I contacted both Les Bosher in the UK and Jaakko Kurhi at JK Camera in the US to get more info. Both of these gentlemen's Bolex conversion work seems to be held in very high regard, yet they take a very different approach to the conversion process: Jaakko keeps the three-lens turret, while Mr. Bosher replaces it with a bayonet mount.

Ideally, I'd prefer to have a camera that uses the three-lens turret to be used with a set of Switar primes. Maybe the bayonet conversion is a better mechanical solution, but I don't want to be forced to constantly change lenses. Also, I'm still unsure which lenses, especially which prime lenses, are useable after conversion. The Internet sites are full of conflicting information.

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone who has actually had a camera converted by either company can share their personal experience regarding reliability, image quality, useable lenses and anything else of interest.

Thanks,

Fran


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#18 Peter Russ

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:08 AM

Hi Fran,
I've just got my own RX5 converted at the Bolex factory in Switzerland, the turret works just as before, ands the quality is as your would expect, just perfect. Perhaps the resale value of your camera may be better in the future with a Bolex H16 super 16 label on the side of the camera, if it is a 13 or 14 times viewfinder it may worth considering the slight extra cost. The contact is: Marc Ueter (www.bolex.ch)

The best lens are still the Switar Presets, 26mm,75mm and the 10mm. They all cover s16, however some, but not all, 10mm do not quite make it edge to edge. Another good lens to have is the Century West 6.3. and a nikon c mount adapter allows you to use 35mm still camera lens, but do not put any heavy Nikkors on the turret or you can bend it.

cheers Peter
australia
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#19 AdamBray

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 02:07 PM

Hi Fran,
I've just got my own RX5 converted at the Bolex factory in Switzerland, the turret works just as before, ands the quality is as your would expect, just perfect. Perhaps the resale value of your camera may be better in the future with a Bolex H16 super 16 label on the side of the camera, if it is a 13 or 14 times viewfinder it may worth considering the slight extra cost. The contact is: Marc Ueter (www.bolex.ch)

The best lens are still the Switar Presets, 26mm,75mm and the 10mm. They all cover s16, however some, but not all, 10mm do not quite make it edge to edge. Another good lens to have is the Century West 6.3. and a nikon c mount adapter allows you to use 35mm still camera lens, but do not put any heavy Nikkors on the turret or you can bend it.

cheers Peter
australia



What was the cost? What was the turnaround time? Problems shipping?
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#20 Peter Russ

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:24 PM

What was the cost? What was the turnaround time? Problems shipping?


THe Bolex factory conversion costs 2500 swiss francs, (about US$2000) but I got a slighly better deal as the price increased in January. Bolex also service and test the camera. Turnaround is about a month, no shipping problem from Australia, however it is important to email Marc at Bolex first before you send a camera as the Swiss have some import tax you need to get around with the paperwork. I'm sure he would be happy to help with any questions (bolex@bluewin.ch).

cheers Peter
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