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Bolex EL conversion


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#1 flavio filho

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 04:37 AM

Hi.

Need advice on what to do with a Bolex EL 16mm set, with mag and Vario-Switar 10-100 Lens.
I got this camera set in a trade. But I'm thinking to sell it to invest on two Arri 16s cameras.

I initially thought to convert it to Ultra 16 and keep it to shoot my short films. But as I got the Arriflex that I need to overhaul, I wonder if I would REALLY use the Bolex...

I know it's said the quality of the image is way too superior on Arriflex with some nice primes comparing to Bolex.

So, what would you do? Would you invest in both and keep them?
Or sell the Bolex set to invest on two nice Arriflex 16s and convert them to ultra/overhaul?

Thanks,
Flavio
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#2 Chris Millar

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 05:53 AM

I know it's said the quality of the image is way too superior on Arriflex with some nice primes comparing to Bolex.



Who said that > ? and what aspect of the image are they talking about ? registration or resolution ?



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#3 Ian Cooper

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 06:25 AM

Hi.

Need advice on what to do with a Bolex EL 16mm set, with mag and Vario-Switar 10-100 Lens.
I got this camera set in a trade. But I'm thinking to sell it to invest on two Arri 16s cameras.

<snip>

So, what would you do?
Would you invest in both and keep them?
...


Personally I would keep the Bolex for use in situations where that is best suited, and get the Arri overhauled so that's available for use as well.

In terms of quality, if you use the same lens on both cameras then you'll end up with exactly the same looking image (ok, would need the lens mount adapting to do that in practice, but hey ho!). The difference will be that the Arri is pin registered, whilst the Bolex isn't. Having said that, Bolex cameras in good condition seem to have pretty steady registration without the use of a registration pin, so I wouldn't be too worried.

You also have a magazine for the Bolex, which gives you the option of shooting 400ft loads, something you wouldn't have with the 16s unless you invest in the mag and torque motor.

In the UK I wouldn't bother with Ultra-16, it seems to have very little support from the labs. I'd either stick with R16 or convert to S16 (not possible with the Arri 16s). Both cameras are far from silent, so there's no advantage either way in that direction.

Personally I'd try contacting Les Bosher to enquire about servicing your Arri 16s. He's looked at a Beulieau R16 for me and overhauled my Eclair NPR.
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#4 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 08:58 AM

Keep the EL!

As beautiful as the Arri S cameras are, they are not good candidates for conversion, if you try you will have all sorts of problems. The EL can be converted to Super16, or Ultra if you must.

With the Arri the image quality will be dependent on the lenses available, namely Standard mounts - most of which by now won't be in great shape and the really good ones, like Cooke Kinetals, are hard to come by. And they generally won't cover a wider frame.

If you get a later model Arri SB with a Bayonet mount your lens options open up somewhat, but with adapters the Bolex EL can take PL mount primes, as well as the excellent C-mount Kern Switars (which will be handy for the wide end, as they were designed for the Bolex prism). Despite not being pin registered, a well serviced Bolex can be very steady.

Both cameras are MOS so if you're serious about 16mm filmmaking you should probably consider selling the Arri S and investing in a synch-sound camera instead. Arri SR2s are going pretty cheap these days.

My 2 cents, to be taken with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila. B)
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#5 flavio filho

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:40 PM

Keep the EL!

As beautiful as the Arri S cameras are, they are not good candidates for conversion, if you try you will have all sorts of problems. The EL can be converted to Super16, or Ultra if you must.

With the Arri the image quality will be dependent on the lenses available, namely Standard mounts - most of which by now won't be in great shape and the really good ones, like Cooke Kinetals, are hard to come by. And they generally won't cover a wider frame.

If you get a later model Arri SB with a Bayonet mount your lens options open up somewhat, but with adapters the Bolex EL can take PL mount primes, as well as the excellent C-mount Kern Switars (which will be handy for the wide end, as they were designed for the Bolex prism). Despite not being pin registered, a well serviced Bolex can be very steady.

Both cameras are MOS so if you're serious about 16mm filmmaking you should probably consider selling the Arri S and investing in a synch-sound camera instead. Arri SR2s are going pretty cheap these days.

My 2 cents, to be taken with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila. B)


Hi guys!

Thanks loads for the advices! I was almost ginving up to invest on the set.
Especially Ian, for the PIN registration that I heard before, but thought was more significant.

I'll have the Bolex converted to Ultra 16 in USA anyway. That's why I got the 16mm set, that is better for conversion to ultra.

And leave the Arris 16 to invest on later.

Thing is that I already have another Bolex, but a Rex 5 with some nice primes (10mm, 16mm, 25mm).
But this EL one has a zoom and might be very useful sometimes. True.
I also have 2 mags and 1 torque motor for the EL set.

Will have to re-cell the battery or buy a new one.

So, will end up with a F* great arsenal!!! :P

Well, will make the most of it.

Regarding telecine to Ultra in UK, there's a guy in Glasgow I'm talking to. He said he does telecine.
Because for Bolex, there's an italian guy that have made one and pretty good result. Roberto Pirodda

I'm a great enthusiast of Ultra 16 in EUROPE. So... The LAST thing to find is a Engineer that could operate a ULTRA16 conversion on cameras like Arri 16.

Thanks guys
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#6 flavio filho

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:54 PM

Hey, Don!

Sorry, I forgot. I give your 2 cents for the Tequila when we in Mexico one day... Who knows?
Chris, maybe I've put the wrong way. I mean regarding the registration I mean, that I read in this forum makes a lot of difference.


Thanks,
Flavio
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#7 Chris Millar

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 03:29 PM

In terms of quality, if you use the same lens on both cameras then you'll end up with exactly the same looking image (ok, would need the lens mount adapting to do that in practice, but hey ho!).

Not quite, the EL uses a prism to send images to its ground glass - this prism will cause image degradation with wider focal length lenses that haven't had an optical formula change - these lenses are specifically marked 'RX' and are made for the Bolex range... Keep in mind that it is an actual optical formula change and not just a back focus /collimation adjustment which many people regurgitate on the web without fact checking ;)
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#8 kevin jackman

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 04:02 PM

I had a bolex converted to super16, which is really the only worthwhile conversion, by an arriflex tech. He made the point that the registration specs for the bolex are the same as the arri. If you use the preset primes I think the images youll get will blow your mind. Its not worth going from super16 to ultra16 unless you have to.
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#9 Ian Cooper

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 04:07 PM

...Regarding telecine to Ultra in UK, there's a guy in Glasgow I'm talking to. He said he does telecine...


Mmm - Glasgow doesn't seem to have a huge post production film industry as far as I know...

It might be worth confirming exactly what telecine equipment he uses. If he can't handle negative film then I think it's probably a "transfer your home movies to DVD" type of place. Even if he can handle negative film, then it might still be the same type of company. I'd send them a test before you plan too far ahead, if the quality turns out to be fine for what you're after, then fair enough and carry on.


Not quite, the EL uses a prism to send images to its ground glass - this prism will cause image degradation with wider focal length lenses that haven't had an optical formula change...


Ok, fair point - I over looked that one on this occasion! Lol.

In essence though, the main difference between a Bolex and an Arri in terms of quality will be the registration, given similar quality lenses being used on both, and so long as the Bolex is in good condition then the registration on that shouldn't be a problem. After all, Aaton cameras don't use a registration pin either, so it's not a pre-requisite to good quality stable pictures.
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#10 Chris Millar

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 09:37 PM

In essence though, the main difference between a Bolex and an Arri in terms of quality will be the registration, given similar quality lenses being used on both, and so long as the Bolex is in good condition then the registration on that shouldn't be a problem. After all, Aaton cameras don't use a registration pin either, so it's not a pre-requisite to good quality stable pictures.


I agree on all counts ;)
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#11 flavio filho

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:46 PM

That's really great to know, guys, thanks loads!

Yeah, actually, can be either Bolex or Ari16s, its all about to get that lovely pictures!

Chris, all lenses I'm getting are RX, no exception. I've made sure to do that.
Ian, I'll double-check the company, thanks for the tip. I've heard of such things.

Great post! Thanks all!

Flavio
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#12 Chris Millar

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:41 PM

That's really great to know, guys, thanks loads!

Yeah, actually, can be either Bolex or Ari16s, its all about to get that lovely pictures!

Chris, all lenses I'm getting are RX, no exception. I've made sure to do that.
Ian, I'll double-check the company, thanks for the tip. I've heard of such things.

Great post! Thanks all!

Flavio


Over um, either 26mm or 50mm (I never owned a 50mm) - you'll find there is no RX model, as there is no need... So don't go searching for RX above there.

And keep in mind that the RX lenses wont be ideal for an Arri. They can be mixed/swapped but you'll need to stop down a fair amount for equivalence, the main issue is the 10mm.
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