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Wind up vs. Electric


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#1 Michael Humphrey

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:22 AM

Hi there! I'm looking at a project shooting 16mm in the not too distant future. I'm a director/producer hence my lack of knowledge on the above subject.

I've used wind ups a little bit but most of my 16mm projects have been on Arri's and things.

For this project we need something small and portable as we are travelling through a few different countries. We'll have easy access to power though - so charging batteries isn't an issue.

To get to my question! Is it people's opinion that an electric Bolex (I'm looking at a Super16 EL) gives an image closer to an Arri/Aaton than a wind up? Not withstanding lens choice. I wonder if the wind up gives a shakier look more akin to amateur/home movie style of shooting.

Oh and I'm going for a Joe Roman sort of look - http://www.knucklehe.../html/roman.htm (no arguments over who he is ripping off please!)
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#2 Chris Millar

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:25 AM

Private message me - I have a super16 EL for sale ...

As for the look compared to a wind up - if its well maintained, no difference at all.

Only thing I can think of is shot length - you can churn through 400' in one hit with an EL or EBM, a wind up I think is just under 30secs and the speed wont stay the same during that period.
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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 10:51 AM

A good wind-up Bolex can keep speed remarkably well - I measured one recently that deviated no more than a fifth of a frame per second up until the last few seconds, though generally they slow a little more than that. As Chris said, if it's in good condition there should be no difference in image quality from a motored version.

For travelling purposes the advantage of a wind-up is you don't have the extra weight of batteries and a charger, and you never have to worry about whether your battery is about to run down. They're also cheaper to buy and to service, and often more reliable, or at least harder to break.

But I must admit a bias - I love those old wind-ups!
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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 12:32 PM

The 16-mm. film camera that really keeps speed amazingly constant is the Eumig C 16. This is so because of its gears and ball bearings for main and governor shaft. A maintained Eumig C 16 will not let you down. Mechanics as good as with Paillard-Bolex. The most compact and slimmest of all 16-mm. film cameras
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#5 Chris Millar

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:54 PM

But I must admit a bias - I love those old wind-ups!


Hi Dom,
yup - aint no way I'm selling my RX4 and SB (super16) ! I know them inside out - (at least I did :rolleyes: )

They are truly beautiful things - especially the turret with three presets on it.

As much as I like its Star Wars Imperial style desgin, the EL can go ...

p.s. - we'll catch up next time I'm in town nearer the end fo the year... (hope all is well with you)
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#6 Philip Nasadowski

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:12 PM

I got a motor recently for my reflex and, well, the motor rocks!

That said, I still use the spring a lot.

I ended up stealing two security type 12 volt batteries from work (we have plenty laying around) and made up a little pack with a free 'camera' bag I got with my tripod. It got enough space to store the motor, 15 feet of cord and the batteries in it, and it looks cool :)

The bolt on motor for the earlier models is a nice piece, though mine need to be opened and relubed (was DRY). Big deal. I was surprised how quiet it is. Too bad it's not a sync motor, with a little barney over the camera it might be quiet enough for some of what I'd want sound with.

(Or is my Bolex unusually quiet, it just doesn't seem to make much noise)
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#7 Michael Humphrey

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:28 AM

Thanks for the replies everyone! I need to start saving for a nice Super16 SBM I think.... they seem like a life long friend!
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#8 Jeremy Rumas

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 11:08 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone! I need to start saving for a nice Super16 SBM I think.... they seem like a life long friend!


hey Michael, I'll just add this...don't totally count out a Rx4 or Rx5 model with the turret either. I had wanted an SBM, and they look very solid, I'll say that. But I am really glad I ended up getting a Rx5. If you shoot on the run, it's so nice to have a couple different lenses on that turret to quickly switch between a wide and standard lens one shot after another. It makes for interesting shooting. It's also a slimmer, less bulky design. Mine has held up well, even with my DIY S16 conversion.
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#9 Chris Elardo

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 01:13 PM

I agree with Jeremy. I own a S16 Rx5 along with a Bolex ESM motor and a Tobin time lapse motor. These along with a three lens turret are about as flexible a package as you can get. Happy shooting-
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#10 David Auner aac

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:10 AM

+1 what Chris and Jeremy said. The REX-5 is, in my mind, the queen of the H16 Reflexes.

Cheers, Dave
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