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Canon EOS lenses on a Bolex


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#1 Ryan Silva

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 05:33 PM

Hello, I'm a film student who just recently bought a Bolex H-16M to start experimenting with 16mm. I have a few decent quality Canon EOS lenses (50mm 1.4 in particular that I like using) and am curious about using the EOS lenses on the bolex. Adorama and B&H both sell E0S-to-C-mount adapters (http://www.adorama.com/VDCMEOS.html), and I am wondering a few things:

Primarily,
Will I have any issues with viewing the image in the viewfinder?

Also, I know of certain Bolex cameras only take certain kind of lenses (the REX models, if I'm not mistaken?) but I'm not sure whether or not the H-16m will have these issues.

And will there be any vignetting, etc. that would lessen the image quality? I plan on taking the camera to do some shooting during NYC's fashion week and use it as a possible spare camera so I can get some footage in film -- footage that I'd rather not have any distinct anomalies in.

And of course, is it worth purchasing -- I'm planning on buying a 17-85mm f2 Berthiot in the near future.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Ryan Silva, 29 December 2010 - 05:34 PM.

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#2 Jeremy Rumas

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:26 PM

I shoot with a Canon FD lens on my Bolex with a C-mount adapter, and am really happy with the results. I'd assume you'd be fine with EOS lenses, too...just as long as whatever lens you are using will operate manually. Seeing through the viewfinder should be fine too. As long as your viewfinder/diopter is focused for your eye, what you see through the viewfinder should be what you get on film.

Keep in mind with the smaller 16mm image area, what you see through the viewfinder and your final 16mm image will be cropped in on 2x tighter than if you were shooting with the same lens on your 35mm camera. Since this is the case, vignetting should not be a problem.

Example, if you like the framing of a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, you're going to want to use a 25mm lens on your 16mm Bolex for the same framing.


In regard to the Rx issue, it won't be a problem with any non-Rx lens longer than 50mm I think it is. Around 50mm and under, you need to have your lens stopped down a minimum of 2 stops to get a sharp image with a non-Rx lens on a reflex Bolex. For short focal lengths, just don't shoot with the lens wide open.
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#3 Ryan Silva

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:32 PM

I shoot with a Canon FD lens on my Bolex with a C-mount adapter, and am really happy with the results. I'd assume you'd be fine with EOS lenses, too...just as long as whatever lens you are using will operate manually. Seeing through the viewfinder should be fine too. As long as your viewfinder/diopter is focused for your eye, what you see through the viewfinder should be what you get on film.

Keep in mind with the smaller 16mm image area, what you see through the viewfinder and your final 16mm image will be cropped in on 2x tighter than if you were shooting with the same lens on your 35mm camera. Since this is the case, vignetting should not be a problem.

Example, if you like the framing of a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, you're going to want to use a 25mm lens on your 16mm Bolex for the same framing.


Thanks for the advice. The image area was going to be something that I was going bring up, but you've cleared up right up for me.
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#4 Andrew Glenn Miller

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 09:17 PM

What FD adapter do you have? I have a bunch of beautiful FD lenses I'd love to shoot but with my adapter there is nothing to set the aperture blades - so my lens is always stuck wide open.

I didn't realize this issue until I bought the actual adapter..
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#5 Jeremy Rumas

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 09:31 PM

What FD adapter do you have? I have a bunch of beautiful FD lenses I'd love to shoot but with my adapter there is nothing to set the aperture blades - so my lens is always stuck wide open.

I didn't realize this issue until I bought the actual adapter..


I was going to mention this actually...I have probably the same adapter you have. Got it off Ebay. I had to modify it to get it to engage the aperture blade. My adapter has two pieces, like an inner and outer shell. Three screws hold them clamped together. I took the screws out and then I used a thin aluminum tab(cut from a pop can!) and placed it in between the two pieces of the adapter. Screwed it back together. The tab sticks out inside the adapter, and catches the aperture lever when you turn the lens into place. The pop can aluminum didn't last long, so I upgraded to a piece of thin sheet metal, hehe. The surfing shot I posted in the 16mm forum is with this rig, plus a 300mm Canon flourite lens. It works beautifully.

This FD lens is the sharpest lens I have shot with on my Bolex. I will try to post some photos of my setup sometime.
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#6 Andrew Glenn Miller

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 09:57 PM

Makes sense, I need to figure out a rig like for my adapter.. I'd hate to switch to another 35mm system. Then again I don't find myself using 35mm lenses too often, I mostly use wide angle lenses, so I need to invest more of my money with switar lenses. I'd love to shoot with my FD lenses for weddings or fun stuff like that. Post a picture of if you ever get a chance, thanks.

By the way, if interested:
http://www.bhphotovi...NT_f_CANON.html
I got a cheaper general brand one. I recently bought a Nikon to C Mount adapter off ebay and it's great! It has a push in button that opens the lens right up to check framing.

It's a shame that these photo lenses breath, I haven't shot 35 photo on 16 cine however so I shouldn't be talking... yet. Do you ever rack focus? For documentary sake the breathing wouldn't bother me I suppose though.
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#7 Jeremy Rumas

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 04:57 PM

Makes sense, I need to figure out a rig like for my adapter.. I'd hate to switch to another 35mm system. Then again I don't find myself using 35mm lenses too often, I mostly use wide angle lenses, so I need to invest more of my money with switar lenses. I'd love to shoot with my FD lenses for weddings or fun stuff like that. Post a picture of if you ever get a chance, thanks.

By the way, if interested:
http://www.bhphotovi...NT_f_CANON.html
I got a cheaper general brand one. I recently bought a Nikon to C Mount adapter off ebay and it's great! It has a push in button that opens the lens right up to check framing.

It's a shame that these photo lenses breath, I haven't shot 35 photo on 16 cine however so I shouldn't be talking... yet. Do you ever rack focus? For documentary sake the breathing wouldn't bother me I suppose though.


That adapter looks exactly like the one I have. Its pretty easy to modify to get it to work. For wide angle, the 10mm Switar is great. For super wide, if shooting regular 16mm, the Angenieux 5.9mm is the coolest lens to shoot with. Moving that lens around through space just looks awesome.

I don't often rack focus. And I don't use any zoom lenses, so no problems with breathing there. I use a 10mm, 26mm, 75mm, 150mm, and 300mm. And that covers just about everything.
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#8 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 06:58 PM

Has any of you figured out another way to force the EOS lenses' "manual" aperture than Set in M mode, and screw it off??? :unsure:
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