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First Bolex test with Nikon lenses


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#1 Bryce Lansing

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:43 AM

I got my first test back, and was pretty satisfied for the most part. But a few things are worrying me a little bit, because I have a friend who wants me to shoot his short film on it in a month.

There are a few very noticeable scratches throughout the beginning, but they're gone by the end. This confused me a little bit, because if it was something in the camera that was scratching the film as it came through, wouldn't it have scratched the whole roll?

Another is the soft focus. I had always read that you should never use non-reflex lenses open past f4. I noticed shots at 1.2 and 1.4 were completely out of focus (although they looked focused in my VF.

Most shots were focused, but some shots at 2.8 (for instance the one at 00:36) were pretty soft. However the sharpest shot of the roll was shot at 2.8 (at 01:04). So how do I know if it's ok to shoot at 2.8 or not? How do I know what shots will be soft and what will be sharp?


View on Vimeo
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#2 David Auner aac

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:43 AM

Hi Bryce,

have your Bolex checked and cleaned. That should take care of the scratches. Also, your film is pretty speckled with dirt, try and keep the interior and film very clean during loading.

Secondly, be sure to use a tripod for test shoots like this. Makes it much easier to check for stuff if the frame doesn't bounce around as in some of your shots.

As for softness, it's really hard to say with the vimeo file. Some shots looked pretty good to me. Maybe you could post some`full-res stills?

Cheers, Dave
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#3 Bryce Lansing

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 02:01 PM

Heres some frames:

16mm f2.8 lens, f2.8, pretty sharp.
Posted Image

24mm f2.8 lens, f2.8, soft
Posted Image

24mm f2.8 lens, f2.8 1/2, soft
Posted Image

50mm f1.2 lens, f2.8 1/2, very sharp
Posted Image

16mm f2.8 lens, f8, sharp
Posted Image

The only thing I can think of is that the 16mm and the 24mm lenses don't perform well at 2.8, because that is their open aperture. The 50mm performs very well at 2.8, but it's open aperture is 1.2. But what confuses me is the first shot with the 16mm at f2.8 is not soft.

Edited by Bryce Lansing, 21 October 2009 - 02:05 PM.

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#4 David Auner aac

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 03:00 PM

The only thing I can think of is that the 16mm and the 24mm lenses don't perform well at 2.8, because that is their open aperture. The 50mm performs very well at 2.8, but it's open aperture is 1.2. But what confuses me is the first shot with the 16mm at f2.8 is not soft.


Hi Bryce,

you should really have your camera checked. I seems to me that the shots you describe as soft are not soft because of using Nikon lenses. They seem to be sharp behind the subject (e.g. the lines next to the persons face near the window seem quite sharp). If these shots appeared in focus in the finder my guess is that there's something afoot in your optical path in the camera. It either seems like the FFD is off or the GG isn't where it should. That's my guess.

Regards, Dave
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#5 Bryce Lansing

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 09:41 PM

The actual GG is in the right place, but could it be something in the viewfinder?

Also, what is the blue streak that keeps appearing on the left side? Is that a result of the motor starting up? I only see it at the beginning of each shot. And why is it blue? Not quite as flattering as the orange marks I've seen on other Bolex footage.
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#6 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 02:36 AM

The actual GG is in the right place, but could it be something in the viewfinder?


Hi Bryce,
will have to pass on that one. I have no idea but can only repeat my advice!
Have that camera checked! A normal CLA without major parts will only run a couple hundred bucks, more than worth it!

Cheers, Dave
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