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Difficoult choice buying my 16mm camera


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#1 Giorgio Taricco

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:05 AM

HI all,
I'm trying to choose my new 16mm camera and I'm very confused about what I've found on internet.
The cost will be the same, 600 Euro and the two, options are the arri 16BL o the Bolex H16 EBM EL.
I have no preferences about the two camera, each of them likes me very much but reading some articles on the web has only confusing me about the choice.
So, seems that the Arri will be soon no more serviceable due to missing of spare parts and technician able to repair it and the Bolex is a very delicate and complex camera that needs to be serviced with regularity.
Arii 16 a pro camera without disussion and the Bolex is a Consumer camera...it's right?
I'm interesetd also to know any experiences about the lens quality and sharpness, Kern Vario 10-100 or Angenieux 12-1200 for the Arri.
Which is the best lens overall?
I need to make my choice within a couple of days.
Please help.
Thanks
Giorgio
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:44 AM

Tough choice. The Bolex is from a different era and design philosophy than the Arri.

What type of shooting will you be doing? The Bolex might be a little easier to hand hold and with 100' loads would be generally easier to work with. Which will probably translate into actually using it more.

If you were shooting features with planned setups on tripods, I would probably go with the Arri, but if you are experimenting and walking around with the camera I would go Bolex.

The Angenieux 12-120 is a wonderful lens. Don't know much about the Kern.
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:40 AM

Hi Giorgio,

As Will was saying, your decision will be based on what you plan on shooting with the camera.

I used to own a Bolex EBM, which is the predecessor of the EL and basically about the same camera. It is a very noisy/loud camera and is not suited for shooting situations where you want to record dialog among actors.

The Arriflex 16BL is a self blimped camera and works much better for shooting situations where you want to record dialog among actors. It is much quieter than the Bolex EBM or EL.

Neither the Bolex EBM/EL nor the Arriflex 16BL is a good camera for hand held shooting, as they are both heavy and awkward.

Having used both the Kern Switar 16-100 and the Angenieux 12-120, I can say they can both be good lenses. The image quality from either is going to be mostly dependent on what shape each particular lens is in. They are both thirty to forty year old lenses, and although both were very high quality when they left the factory in the 1970's, how they were taken care of in the years since is going to have a large impact on their ability to make good images now.

To sum up, if you want a camera to shoot images only, and are not going to be syncing the images with dialog, then the Bolex EBM/EL would work fine. If you want a camera to shoot images and want to sync those images to dialog, then you would need a quieter camera like the Arriflex 16BL.

If you do want a camera to shoot images and are not going to be syncing the images with dialog, you may want to look at the Arriflex 16S which is usually less expensive than the Arriflex 16BL and is a great camera for shooting hand held. You can find out much more information about the Arriflex 16S at the web site below:

Arri16S.com

One other thing, the Arriflex is a professional motion picture camera and the Bolex is a consumer motion picture camera. The construction of the two is of very different quality. The Arriflex is far more durable.

Best,
-Tim
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:38 PM

If you're opening the field to other cameras, the 16s might be a really great choice...rock solid and plenty of good lenses available. No easy conversion to Super 16 but as Tim documents on his site it's not really that important.

If you're just having fun with 16mm, look at a recent model Canon Scoopic MS. Everything can be set to automatic (including loading) which makes it a very simple camera to use. Can be found for about 30% less than what you are looking at now. Great lens on it although it's fixed.
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#5 Giorgio Taricco

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:52 PM

Thanks guys for your advices.
I'm planning to shoot only B&W negative film, Kodak 7222 or 7231 and I need a "walking" camera, easy to use also on the street.
Sincerly I'm very tempted for the Arri and also I want to shoot some sound scenes so maybe it would be the best choice.
But, there is something special about the Bolex camera to me, they are marvellous designed and fascinating.
The only problem with the Bolex is the viewfinder, I know that is not so much brighter, 25% of light less, so do you think this will be a real problem shooting night scenes?
How much would be a full service for the Bolex compared to the Arri?
I'm in Italy so in case I can send the camera to Munich or to Switzreland to have the cameras serviced.
Regarding the Scoopic, I know that is a great camera like the Eclair and the CP16 but they don't attract me very much, I don't know why...
Finally and more important for me, starting with a fine working camera, does anyone can see the differences seeing a film shooted with the Bolex instead of Arri?
I'm speaking about frame stabiity, lens quality and noise aside...sound recording.
Giorgio
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#6 Mark Dunn

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:33 PM

Having used all three I'd say BL for sync sound or the S if not. The Bolex is a very different animal but very portable.
The BL does look like a proper newsreel camera though. It's a good production camera, not really a 'walking' camera, if you mean a day's walking- it weighs about 15lb.
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#7 Kip Kubin

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:06 PM

I started with a Bolex EL...the thing that made me switch cameras was the viewfinder/noise/mag loading

Viewfinder

The Bolex tends to force you to shoot wit the camera up to and even with your eye...makes sense... until you want a low angle dolly shot.... then it's an issue.

On the other hand... the Bolex with a 100ft load can squeeze into many tight places other cameras can not.... HH is easy with that camera but heavy over the course of a day as it's generally not on your shoulder.

Mags

Only one 400' mag came with my Bolex... so, I had to stop and load...slightly hard to do in the field....easier using daylight spools though...again, depends on how you shoot.


Like the others said...what, and how you generally shoot will dictate the camera you buy... you may need to put more into a camera of these two don't meet your needs......make someone an offer on one that will work best for you.

Lots if sellers would rather see their old cameras being put to good (or any) use rather than just sitting around on a shelf.
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#8 Tim Carroll

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:35 PM

Thanks guys for your advices.
I'm planning to shoot only B&W negative film, Kodak 7222 or 7231 and I need a "walking" camera, easy to use also on the street.
Sincerly I'm very tempted for the Arri and also I want to shoot some sound scenes so maybe it would be the best choice.
But, there is something special about the Bolex camera to me, they are marvellous designed and fascinating.
The only problem with the Bolex is the viewfinder, I know that is not so much brighter, 25% of light less, so do you think this will be a real problem shooting night scenes?
How much would be a full service for the Bolex compared to the Arri?
I'm in Italy so in case I can send the camera to Munich or to Switzreland to have the cameras serviced.
Regarding the Scoopic, I know that is a great camera like the Eclair and the CP16 but they don't attract me very much, I don't know why...
Finally and more important for me, starting with a fine working camera, does anyone can see the differences seeing a film shooted with the Bolex instead of Arri?
I'm speaking about frame stabiity, lens quality and noise aside...sound recording.
Giorgio


Giorgio,

There is only one type of Kodak B&W negative film made today, the 7222. 7231 was discontinued a couple of years ago.

If you want a "walking" camera then I would definitely recommend the Arriflex 16S with a 100 ft internal load. Great hand held walking camera.

If you are really attached to the Bolex, then maybe that is what you should get, as you will be the one using it. I did not like the darkness of the viewfinder on my EBM and did not find it an easy camera for hand held work, though I always shot with the 400 ft mag in place.

The Arriflex will probably have a steadier picture as it is a registration pin camera and the side pressure rail in the gate does a really good job at correcting weave.

Best,
-Tim
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#9 Robert Lewis

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:36 AM

I have a Bolex EBM and a Bolex EL (Mark III), with a Kern Vario-Switar POE4 zoom lens. Recently I got an Arri 16S/B with an Angenioux 12-120 zoom lens.

My experience with the Arri 16S/B is limited because I got it only recently but I have been very pleased with the results I have from it. I have found that there are still servicing resources available for the Arri, although I am not sure about spare parts, and certainly I have found Arri both in Munich and London to be most helpful. There are other independent servicing resources available here in the UK, and so I believe that generally the Arri 16S is still a serviceable camera.

The Bolex cameras too are servicable in the UK and certainly in Switzerland, and so I am not sure that it is possible to distinguish between Arri and Bolex in that respect. As for operation, my Bolex Cameras produce excellent results, and I have found that the Kern lens is an excellent piece of equipment which can be operated fully automatically (provided the exposure control mechanism is fully working). I have never considered the viewing system to be a problem, simply because with the Kern POE lens it is possible to set composition and focus with the benefit of a fully opened aperture. One advantage of the EL (as opposed to the EBM) is that the shutter stops in the closed position and so one gets nice clean scene changes without flash frames. Neither the Arri 16S not the Bolex EBM has this advantage.

Bolex in Switzerland and Arri in Munich are still in business, and I have found them both to be friendly. Bolex service the Kern lenses too, and so the whole of the Bolex equipment is still serviceable.

The bottom line, I guess is that there will usually be personal preferences evident, and I am not going to express a view as which I think is better than the other. They are just different, but I would say that whilst they are very different from each other they both have advantages and disadvantages when compared, as other contributors have highlighted. They are both well built and solid and I think their respective records speak for themselves. The one thing I find particularly useful with the Bolex cameras, however, is their ability to automatically "lace" the film when loading.

Finally as to film, I like shooting in B & W and generally use Kodak's 7222. As far as I am aware, Fuji do not produce a B & W stock, but there are others. Orwo and Foma are good stocks, I am given to understand, and both suppliers seem to be making an effort to become better known.





.
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#10 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:25 AM

Anyone who would choose a Bolex over an Arri is high. Arriflex is know for it's precision, reliablity and rock-steady registration . [Bolex] while a reputable company, in my opinion, just doesn't come close.
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#11 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 06:47 PM

Anyone who would choose a Bolex over an Arri is high. Arriflex is know for it's precision, reliablity and rock-steady registration . [Bolex] while a reputable company, in my opinion, just doesn't come close.


Agreed. I have an ARRI S/B and you can't beat the quality of those cameras.
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#12 Tom Jensen

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:48 PM

Get a digital video HD prosumer camera. Most people might not like the concept but you can get so much more use from it. Almost everything shot on TV is digital video. All the aforementioned are old and will need repair. There really isn't much you can do with those cameras that you can't do with an HD camera. You can barely market yourself as a cameraman with an SR so don't waste your money on an old film camera.
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#13 Kip Kubin

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:21 PM

On balance...

Buy an old film camera....buy a digital one as well.



We live in a world where both are extremely affordable.



PS...I've been testing ORWO black and white stock.... you may like it....as a 400 speed alt to Kodak

http://www.orwona.com/about-us/
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#14 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:09 PM

PS...I've been testing ORWO black and white stock.... you may like it....as a 400 speed alt to Kodak

http://www.orwona.com/about-us/

a bit OT here, but Kip, do you have any frames you could share of that stock?
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#15 Giorgio Taricco

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:19 PM

Very interesting points or views here thanks again guys
I'm still thinking about the choice and also found a NOS Bolex EBM converted to Super 16mm by Camerapro, it has been used for a couple of rolls and is in brand new condition, price would be around 850 Euro... without lens.
Must I think about it?
Giorgio
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#16 Peter M Osinski

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:09 AM

just a note...


http://www.cinematog...showtopic=55271

I am selling my 16mm lens. It has a pl mount right now, was originally either arri-s or arri-b, but can be adapted basically any mount. It is one of the sharpest lenses in its class as well as one of the fastest.

I just got a job in broadcast editing so I no longer need it. I am willing to part with it for a good price.

It is also very light weight, only a pound or so, so it's a great lens for handheld work.

email me at peter@skibovision.com if you are interested
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#17 Jim Carlile

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 06:01 AM

Arri, no doubt about it. But it sounds like you need an S more than a BL.

Go for the S. Smaller, lighter, easier to use, and cooler looking. Very adaptable.
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#18 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:36 PM

Let me give you some sound advice. Always do what the rental houses do. They are the ones with their fingers on the pulse of the movie industry. It's because they know what rents and when their equipment gets old, they know what they can resell. Most cameramen who buy cameras use them as a tool to get work. I owned a BL back in the early 90's and producers looked at it like a piece of junk because there were SR's. I had everything for it and it was in great shape. I had at least 25 filters. I had a crystal synch motor control. I had power cables and batteries. I had a rise that could adapt an arri bridgeplate where I could support telephoto lenses. I had primes and a prime lens housing. It was still difficult to get work as a DP with my camera because the technology was old. It was a great camera too. My cousin used it on his steadicam and it worked great. Producers just didn't want it because they want what the rental houses have.
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#19 Will Montgomery

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:33 PM

Let me give you some sound advice. Always do what the rental houses do.

Good advice. Of course that means don't buy a 16mm camera at all. Certainly no rental house is now.
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#20 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:22 PM

Good advice. Of course that means don't buy a 16mm camera at all. Certainly no rental house is now.


Scroll up. that is exactly my advice. I noticed you mentioned the Canon Scoopic. I loved that camera. It had the makings of a really decent handheld camera. It never went beyond what it was. No "future" generations or modifications. If it had a hard front that would have been great. That being said, the lens it had was great. It was easy to load, it was compact and it was comfortable to hold. It just never went anywhere.
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