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Bolex 155


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#1 Mark Kellems

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 07:24 PM

Evening.

I have just recently started shooting S8. I have shot 5D and 35mm stuff but never knew how much fun these cameras were.

I bought a few cameras for a shoot I did this weekend: Vivitar 98PM, Bolex 155 and a Bauer Nizo S8. I went over to pro8mm and grabbed one of their tester rolls (Vision2 50D) to test out. The Vivitar worked great as did the nizo (which I can't really find a lot of information on the S8) but the 155 had power issues.

I looked up some info on power issues but came up with very little. I love this camera and would hate to part with it for something could be simple to try and fix myself.

Would love some direction or advice here if anyone knows.

Also picked up a Bolex P1 which is pretty great as well. It is in great cosmetic condition however definitely needs a lube. I checked with the Bolex dealer/service folks at PROCAM (http://www.bolexusa.com/). Curious if this is something I should try to do myself. Anyone done their own serving on the P1?

Thanks for all who post on this forum. I have learned so much from reading through it all.

Cheers,


MK
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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:47 PM

Hi Mark,

Welcome to the wonderful world of obsolete technologies!

One of the great things about 8mm and S8 cameras is that they're so cheap you can pull 'em apart without worrying too much. If you forget how it goes back together, just buy another one!

Well, most are cheap - some people seem happy to fork out hundreds of dollars for a Canon or Leicina, even thousands for a top of the line Fujica - but really, you shouldn't have to spend more than 50 bucks, sometimes just 5.

With the Bolex 155 (and any battery powered camera), the most common problem is corrosion in the battery compartment. Batteries get left in there for years and leak acid, and the corrosion can travel up the wires. Cleaning the contacts with steel wool or a little wire brush and anti-corrosion spray sometimes works, but you may need to replace the wires too, which would require some disassembly and a soldering iron.

The P1 is a Regular 8mm camera, meaning it takes different film, on little spools rather than cartridges like Super 8. I personally prefer the older R8 format, the cameras are virtually all spring powered with metal casings and seem to last forever. They often came with interchangeable prime lenses which is much harder to find on the Super 8s, which almost always have a fixed zoom. Bolex made a whole series like that (C8, B8, D8) which use the same body as the P1, wonderful little cameras, though not reflex.

All those Bolex pocket cameras, including the P1, are quite simple to open up to access the inner mechanics. First run down the spring, then open the the pressure plate by flicking the lever, and pull it out. Then undo the screw on the block where the lever is and remove the block. There's a little spring-loaded roller at the top of the block which may come loose, note how that works in case you need to re-set the spring. Then remove the claw spring and undo the top screw holding the claw (note the washer under the claw seat). Don't undo the screw under the claw that screws in sideways, that sets the pull-down to shutter timing. You can now undo the screws holding the top plate, and access the gears beneath. A shaft connects between the plate and the footage counter at the back of the body, just watch how it fits. The general rule is a drop of oil on any bearing (where a shaft spins in a hole) and a light smear of grease on any sliding surface. Old hardened grease can be removed with a cotton bud and a cleaner like alcohol. But avoid greasing the governor, which is the sort of umbrella mechanism at the back. If you play with the speed selector you'll see a slider with a little pad moving - that pad limits the governor's spinning speed, so it and the surface it acts upon shouldn't be glugged up with grease. Originally it was lubricated just with graphite, but a dry lubricant like molycote works also. Otherwise just leave it. If you're not removing anything further you can actually wind the spring and give it a run to see how the mechanism works, but set it to the lowest speed.

The important bits to lubricate are the claw axle (grease), the take up clutch under the cover plate (grease) and the few bearings you can access under the gate area (drop of oil).

Have fun!
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#3 Mark Kellems

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:40 AM

Hi Mark,

Welcome to the wonderful world of obsolete technologies!

One of the great things about 8mm and S8 cameras is that they're so cheap you can pull 'em apart without worrying too much. If you forget how it goes back together, just buy another one!

Well, most are cheap - some people seem happy to fork out hundreds of dollars for a Canon or Leicina, even thousands for a top of the line Fujica - but really, you shouldn't have to spend more than 50 bucks, sometimes just 5.

With the Bolex 155 (and any battery powered camera), the most common problem is corrosion in the battery compartment. Batteries get left in there for years and leak acid, and the corrosion can travel up the wires. Cleaning the contacts with steel wool or a little wire brush and anti-corrosion spray sometimes works, but you may need to replace the wires too, which would require some disassembly and a soldering iron.

The P1 is a Regular 8mm camera, meaning it takes different film, on little spools rather than cartridges like Super 8. I personally prefer the older R8 format, the cameras are virtually all spring powered with metal casings and seem to last forever. They often came with interchangeable prime lenses which is much harder to find on the Super 8s, which almost always have a fixed zoom. Bolex made a whole series like that (C8, B8, D8) which use the same body as the P1, wonderful little cameras, though not reflex.

All those Bolex pocket cameras, including the P1, are quite simple to open up to access the inner mechanics. First run down the spring, then open the the pressure plate by flicking the lever, and pull it out. Then undo the screw on the block where the lever is and remove the block. There's a little spring-loaded roller at the top of the block which may come loose, note how that works in case you need to re-set the spring. Then remove the claw spring and undo the top screw holding the claw (note the washer under the claw seat). Don't undo the screw under the claw that screws in sideways, that sets the pull-down to shutter timing. You can now undo the screws holding the top plate, and access the gears beneath. A shaft connects between the plate and the footage counter at the back of the body, just watch how it fits. The general rule is a drop of oil on any bearing (where a shaft spins in a hole) and a light smear of grease on any sliding surface. Old hardened grease can be removed with a cotton bud and a cleaner like alcohol. But avoid greasing the governor, which is the sort of umbrella mechanism at the back. If you play with the speed selector you'll see a slider with a little pad moving - that pad limits the governor's spinning speed, so it and the surface it acts upon shouldn't be glugged up with grease. Originally it was lubricated just with graphite, but a dry lubricant like molycote works also. Otherwise just leave it. If you're not removing anything further you can actually wind the spring and give it a run to see how the mechanism works, but set it to the lowest speed.

The important bits to lubricate are the claw axle (grease), the take up clutch under the cover plate (grease) and the few bearings you can access under the gate area (drop of oil).

Have fun!



Thanks! Really excited about the P1. The 155 I really want to work but if things don't really work out I won't be that crushed. Somehow, I am kind of attached to the P1 though. Really appreciate your response, Dom. Will give it a shot and post the outcome of my experience.

Am processing some of the 7285 I shot this weekend. Will post that too if anyone is interested in seeing.

Cheers!

M
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Ritter Battery

Visual Products

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Tai Audio

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Willys Widgets

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Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

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