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Just got quoted to clean and lubricate my bolex OUCH


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#1 Dennis Goble

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 03:06 PM

I just got a quote from procam in prescott AZ for cleaning and lubricating my bolex. :(

$495 :o

ouch :blink:

My bolex take up reel was running a little too slow. Film backed up and jammed. ;)

Maybe I'm a little out of touch here but this seems a little extreme. :P

Are these typical repair fees to expect for the bolex? :unsure:
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 03:36 PM

Dennis,

Sorry to say, that doesn't sound too extreme to me. Haven't worked on a Bolex since the last EBM I did a number of years ago, but a motion picture camera is a complex mechanism, not unlike a swiss watch.

When running film at 24 fps, the camera must move the film into a very precise position (to avoid registration and weave problems) and come to a complete stop just as the shutter is opening, hold for a split second, then just as the shutter gets closed, move the film to the next frame and precisely position that, TWENTY FOUR TIMES EACH SECOND. That's a bit of precision engineering. And to take the camera apart, clean and lube everything, and reassemble it, setting it all back to factory specs, takes quite a few hours.

An clean, lube, and adjust on an Arriflex 16S will run you close to $1000 when all is said and done, on an Arriflex 16SR with two mags, probably in the neighborhood of $1800, on an Aaton LTR with two mags, probably in the neighborhood of $2300. And up from there.

So $495 doesn't sound too unreasonable. But I remember when I first got into motion picture cameras many years ago, I thought the price for having them serviced was pretty steep too.

Best,
-Tim

PS: You can read more about what goes into (servicing) getting good pictures out of a motion picture camera, by visiting the web page below:

Getting the most out of your Arriflex
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#3 Dennis Goble

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 04:11 PM

Thanks Tim
I think I'm beginning to get the picture. :rolleyes:

I guess the arri has a little more going on inside than the bolex. Probably
no less precise though.

Just thought lubricating the take up spindle wouldn't be that difficult.
Probably a lot more inside needs it to since this is an old camera.
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 04:30 PM

I guess the arri has a little more going on inside than the bolex. Probably
no less precise though.


The Arri might be a little simpler because it doesn't have the spring, governor, and single frame stuff. Definitely simpler if the Bolex has a variable shutter. It's significantly more precise, and a whole lot more rugged.




-- J.S.
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#5 Tim Carroll

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 04:42 PM

The Arri might be a little simpler because it doesn't have the spring, governor, and single frame stuff. Definitely simpler if the Bolex has a variable shutter. It's significantly more precise, and a whole lot more rugged.
-- J.S.


You also have a different optical set up on the Arriflex because it is a reflex camera with a mirrored shutter, and you have the added precision of the registration pin, as far as adjusting its precise placement and its timing in relationship to the pulldown claw. The movement of the Arriflex 16S is quite a bit more complex than the movement of the Bolex, but thankfully there is no spring, governor or single frame mech.

Best,
-Tim
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#6 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 07:33 PM

I just got a quote for cleaning and lubricating my bolex. :(

$495 :o


Well, the good thing is that you can use it a long time before it needs service again. As you've already become aware, good service of precision camera gear takes a highly skilled person many hours to complete. Unlike video gear that gets replaced when it breaks or becomes obsolete in a very few years, your Bolex will keep on chugging as long as someone makes film for it.

Bite the bullet and enjoy the years of use you'll get.

Bruce Taylor
www.indi35.com
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#7 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:29 PM

I just got a quote from procam in prescott AZ for cleaning and lubricating my bolex. :(

$495 :o

ouch :blink:


Dennis,

I have to say, Deiter's repair work is absolutely first rate. He did a CLA on my RX5 and rebuilt a set of four Swiar prime lenses for me. First class work all around, the equipment performs like new.

Its actually not a bad investment when you look at it long term: One of my clients called me last week and told me he had found some kind of video camera in the company's warehouse. He asked if I wanted it since he was about to put it in the dumpster. It turns out to be a near-new Panasonic WV-6000 single-tube television camera. The camera was used once for a convention and lost in storage since the early 80s. I'd guess it cost $15,000-$20,000 when it was new. I found one on eBay, asking price $299. (It didn't sell.)

Just a guess, but your 1967 Bolex will probably be worth more than a RED ONE in about five years.

-Fran
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#8 David Auner aac

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 01:42 AM

I just got a quote from procam in prescott AZ for cleaning and lubricating my bolex. :(

$495 :o


Hi Dennis,

I felt the same when Roger Sharland quoted me around 900 EU earlier this year. But he needed to replace the pressure plate and the turret plate and those alone cost me close to 400! But will I ever need to that again? No, I doubt that! I'll take better care the little camera than it's previous owner did running lots of mags stripe film through it and shipping it with lenses in place! The Bolex is purring like a pleased kitten ever since!

Cheers, Dave
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#9 Dennis Goble

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 09:01 AM

Thanks all for all the posts.

I've had some offers to do the work now and most of them are less than half
of what I was previously quoted.

So I'm not sure what to think. :unsure:

Hi Dave your post caught my eye. I was going to post a new thread about the pros and cons
of using mag stripe film.
Seems it would wear on the pressure plate after a while. After all rust is abrasive. :lol:

I wonder how abrasive silver oxide is?
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#10 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 11:15 AM

Thanks all for all the posts.

I've had some offers to do the work now and most of them are less than half
of what I was previously quoted.

So I'm not sure what to think. :unsure:


Hi Dennis,

I'd call Deiter at Procam and ask him to explain the the service he does, ask him why he's more than the other guys. I believe he goes all the way into the camera to get to everything that needs attention. He also has all of the factory tools to get the camera back to spec. The other guy I'd recommend you talk to is Bernie O'Doherty at Super16 Inc., he does terrific work on pretty much any kind of film camera.

I had a similar discussion with Axel Broda when I was investigating a CLA on my Arri S/B cameras. Axel was by far the most expensive (about $900 for each camera), but he explained that some "service" outfits simply shoot lubicant into the places you can get to without disassembling the camera and charge you $250. The bearings and gears hidden deep inside the camera get no attention at all.

-Fran
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#11 Dennis Goble

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 11:32 AM

Hi Fran
Yes the guy I talked to(not sure if it was Dieter) there did explain the procedure. Essentially completely disassembling the camera, running it through a ultrasonic cleaner, then re lubrication and adjustment. I suppose he
would collimate lenses also.
Yes I also got a quote from Bernie. His quote was less than half and from what I've read about him he is pretty through. I don't think he would do the "spray lube thing".
So what's the diff here? I don't get it.
Dennis
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#12 Tim Carroll

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:07 PM

So what's the diff here? I don't get it.


Dennis,

Ask Bernie what exactly he is going to be doing to your camera. He should be able to tell you. I would guess he is not going to completely take it apart, ultrasonically clean everything, and then reassemble it using factory lubes and putting it back to factory specs. That is a "complete overhaul". That is what Axel Broda does, (and what he taught me to do).

Many shops will take the camera mostly apart, not ultrasonically clean everything, lubricate much of the essential drive train, then reassemble what they have taken apart, setting it to factory specs. I would call that an "overhaul light". For my university clients, I do a complete overhaul on their student cameras once every two to four years, and an overhaul light in the in between years. An overhaul light takes quite a bit less time, and since most camera service techs charge by the hour (though we quote a price by the job, because we know how many hours it is going to take), an overhaul light costs quite a bit less money.

Most techs charge anywhere between $75 to $125 per hour for their time working on the camera.

Hope that helps.

Best,
-Tim
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#13 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:21 PM

You don't have to worry about running pre-striped film any more. It was discontinued in 16mm. a long time ago. It's even gone in Super-8.
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#14 Dennis Goble

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:22 PM

Tim how much do you charge for the light overhaul?
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#15 Tim Carroll

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:37 PM

Tim how much do you charge for the light overhaul?


Dennis,

I no longer service the Bolex cameras, but for the Arriflex 16S camera, a complete overhaul starts at $750, and an overhaul light starts at $350, so about half.

Best,
-Tim
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#16 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:43 PM

Hi Fran
Yes the guy I talked to(not sure if it was Dieter) there did explain the procedure. Essentially completely disassembling the camera, running it through a ultrasonic cleaner, then re lubrication and adjustment. I suppose he
would collimate lenses also.
Yes I also got a quote from Bernie. His quote was less than half and from what I've read about him he is pretty through. I don't think he would do the "spray lube thing".
So what's the diff here? I don't get it.
Dennis



I'd trust Bernie--you're right, he's not the kind of guy who would cut corners.

Also, I think what Tim has outlined explains the different "service levels" pretty well. My understanding is a Bolex, when completely disassembled, requires some kind of special anti-reflective black sealant to properly close the interior compartment from stray light. Maybe that's where the lower-cost service would stop as removing this sealant to get under the hood would require more time and effort. I believe Deiter at ProCam goes all the way inside, but maybe your camera doesn't need that much work.

Just talk to Deiter and Bernie and get their point of view. Personally, I've always had any used cameras I've purchased fully serviced so I know if there are any issues. I've never had a problem with anything that Deiter, Axel Broda or Bernie O'Doherty have touched--they all do great work.

-Fran
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#17 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 04:07 PM

Just a guess, but your 1967 Bolex will probably be worth more than a RED ONE in about five years.


Haha, that just made my day. Thanx, Fran, that is so true. At last they all end on ebay.
:-P
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#18 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 04:36 PM

Yes I also got a quote from Bernie. His quote was less than half and from what I've read about him he is pretty through. So what's the diff here? I don't get it.
Dennis


Hi Dennis,

Yes, one has to be comparing apples to apples in terms of the service received for a given price. Another thing to consider is the business model of the vendor you are patronizing. I don't know anything about Procam, but if they have a commercial location, employees, and the official sanction of Bolex, their costs of doing business are going to be higher, and they are going to need to charge more to stay in business. Bernie O works out of his home in a rural area with no employees. These factors can have a big effect on pricing as well.

Bruce Taylor
www.indi35.com
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#19 Simon Wyss

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:09 AM

In my eyes a camera lubrication job should be rather cheap for a well-maintained camera needs lubrication more often than one thinks. A serious enterprise offers you a service standing order that includes winterizing, degreasing, oil and grease lube, the whole range.

A Filmo is something different from a Bolex. While the Bell & Howell needs a few droplets of oil from the outside, the Paillard is made from much softer and more requiring materials. For instance, its governor has leather pads that rub on brass, they need a little oil. The axles are simple steel in plain bronze bearings, they must not run dry. And more

Anyway, a trained mechanic opens, lubes and closes a Bolex within two hours (sans lenses). Pond yourself what you allow the man to charge.
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#20 Simon Wyss

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:18 AM

Ponder

The EDIT function is not operative.

Edited by Simon Wyss, 19 April 2009 - 10:19 AM.

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