Bolex H-16 non reflex. Viewfinders?
Posted 27 December 2009 - 07:51 PM
I recently bought a Bolex H-16 for my girlfriends birthday, she is just graduated as a cinematographer from IADT the national film school in Ireland. I got the bolex H-16 Non reflex from Ebay in the USA, in the sale details it said that it included a viewfinder, this was not really true as the camera came with with viewfinder that a attaches to the side door.
I have since done a little research and found that this model of 16mm bolex dose not have a viewfinder in what is now the normal sense, one that allows for through the lens focusing.
Instead it seems that an auxiliary viewfinder could be purchased that would allow through the lens focusing. But here is my problem I can't find this auxiliary viewfinder on ebay or any where else that I have looked, so what I want to ask is if there is anyone on out there that knows of someone who sales this part or any shop or company that might offer an alternative?
or should I just resell the camera and get another?
Cheers for the help
Posted 27 December 2009 - 08:32 PM
I see he has some viewfinders available. He's a really helpful guy and his prices are correct. Make sure you get one with 10mm attachment. I have reflex bolex bodies but I also have one, just to use it as a director's viewfinder.
1) Andrew also wrote a very practical reference book on Bolex camera's, called 'The Bolex Bible'
2) Can anybody teach me English? Is it two Bolex's, two Bolexes or two Bolexs?
Posted 28 December 2009 - 05:05 AM
I have reflex bolex bodies
Sorry, technical lapsus! I meant to say 'through the lens' Bolex. Prism, not reflex.
Posted 30 December 2009 - 07:28 AM
Problem is that no one seems to sell this part as it was not standard issue, I found a company in Canada that sells the viewfinder but I am unclear as to how it is attached. The Viewfinder is the eye level focuser, and as I understand it was an upgrade for the Bolex h-16 non reflex, that allows for through the lens focusing, but the people in Canada have me a little confused.
If any one can help me understand I would be very grateful;
Email 1). "A used eyelevel focusing viewfinder is in stock, priced at $95.00, which includes the required replacement viewing tube for the front of the camera body"
Email 2). "Focusing would be done by switching the shooting lens to the upper turret (front prism) position, focusing the lens, then returning it to the filmgate position for shooting. An alignment of the finder will be necessary to adjust it to the front prism framing, which can be done by removing the front finder cap and adjusting the internal set screws with a jeweller's screwdriver. Also, the finder will require the two chrome button mounting brackets on top of the camera body, not the slide-in shoe type.."
So what I want to know is;
1. is this a decent price?
2. Can I fit this myself?
3. When he says that that you switch turret position to focus, then switch back to the filmgate position for shooting is that standard for all of the earily bolexs?
and Kurt I am no good at spelling either so can't helpz..
Posted 31 December 2009 - 09:19 PM
You obviously have an early non reflex H16. Depending on how early it is it may not even accept the critical focus viewer(the part you're missing). If the camera doesn't have a round window on top, above the highest lens port when the turret is in the normal position, it can not accept a critical focuser. If it does, you should be able to view through it with a lens on the highest port, by putting your eye right up to it. Another way to tell is removing the lens on the highest port, and look if there is any optics behind it. If not the camera won't accept the critical focuser of which where at least two versions.
For framing, the camera should have what Bolex called the octameter that mounts on the side. Unless it's a very early model which used the Trifocal viewfinder which mounts on the same space the critical focuser would.
Sorry if the above sounds confusing, but the Bolex H16 was made for so many years, with so many models and improvements, and they all look alike at first glance, so you should take some time and learn about them. There is very little visible difference to a Bolex costing less $100 to one close to $2000.
This is a very informative page:
Clive Tobin has a good one too explaining the difference of the reflex models:
Here's a general grouping. I'm noting the basic improvements with each model but there were other improvements like variable shutter, turret lock, filtering etc., that were made, so you should become familiar with them.
- H16 non reflex- anything before serial 104000 has a different claw mechanism and should be avoided.
Later H16 non reflex have an improved claw mechanism up to serial 158000. This the most common non reflex Bolex camera and should have the critical focuser and Octometer.
The following are reflex and came with the octometer.
- H16 rex O and rex 1 up to serial 208000. Through the lens reflex via beamsplitter, magnification 6x. Difficult to focus with.
- H16 rex 2 up to serial 208000, 10x magnification, a real improvement.
- H16 rex 3 up to serial 210000, flat base.
- H16 rex 4 most up to serial 224000, 1:1, drive shaft, accepts later motors.
- H16 rex 5 most up to serial 253000, accepts 400ft magazine.
There is also models with names like M3, M4, M5, H16s etc. And there's more later models like SBN, EBM, EL you should become familiar with. The viewfinder was further improved too, to 13x magnification.
The non reflex focusing is done as you descibed. And to answer your questions:
1. Reasonable if you know it will work with your camera. But for that price you're close to the value of a early non reflex Bolex.
So to sum it up, in my opinion, you sell what you have and get at least rex 2, and preferably a rex 4, which will give you reflex viewing and a workable camera. But beware. Just because someone calls it a rex 2 don't assume that it is. Check the serial # and the features it has. Also all the rex cameras require lenses below 50mm to be labeled RX.
Edited by Mike Rizos, 31 December 2009 - 09:21 PM.