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Problems with bolex

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#1 Troy m

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 07:17 PM

Hello, I recently bought a bolex 16mm film camera. Runs well. However, everything in the viewfinder is very very dark, even with quite a bit of light and aperture fully open. Is there anyway to fix this?

Also, I got a 25mm to 100mm zoom lens for it. Almost impossible to focus because viewfinders so dark. Besides that, even when zoomed out all the way, things appear closer than they should. I have to stand at the other end of the room just to get a medium cu shot.

Any ideas? Thanks.
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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 01:40 AM

Seems you have an H-8 with a lens for 16-mm. film on it.


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#3 Troy m

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 02:00 AM

Seems you have an H-8 with a lens for 16-mm. film on it.


It says h16 on the camera. What would you recommend doing?

I did run a roll of 16mm film, but have to get it processed and telecine do though.
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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 06:09 AM

When you read H16 on a plate then the camera is a 1963-built or younger. It might be an H-16 Reflex. They have a filter slot and I presume you have an ND gel filter in there. An H-16 M has no filter slot.

 

A 25 through 100 mm zoom lens doesn’t give you a wide angle view. 25 mm is normal focal length. Perhaps you have a filter at the lens front. The viewfinder darkens when you close the iris. Brightness is not comparable to a mirror reflex system.

 

Please load up an image of the equipment. That way we can help much better and faster.


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 06:16 AM

If anything a 25 is a bit long on 16mm. It only has half the angle of view of the classic 50mm. normal lens on 35mm. still format.

You wouldn't want to go on set with nothing shorter than a 25


Edited by Mark Dunn, 25 February 2015 - 06:20 AM.

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#6 Troy m

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 01:05 AM

Here are two pics of my camera. I tried putting more but it kept saying the files too large.

 

Let me know if there are any certain "angles" of the camera that might be more helpful.

 

Also, what lens is considered normal and would work well with this bolex?

 

It says "H16 Reflex" on this camera.

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#7 aapo lettinen

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 01:30 AM

that looks like H16RX0, exactly the same model I have. 

Your viewfinder shutter seems to be on (the small silver lever on the viewfinder assembly just over the frame counter) , have you tried to move it back and forth? the shooting position is the lever down, facing backwards. 

It this does not help you should check the prism assembly: rotate the turret so that the prism is exposed. remove the filter frame and then carefully flip the prism to the side (be careful because the prism frame is spring loaded and can hit the side of the turret with force) 

 

please take a picture of the prism assembly when turned on the side so we can see the ground glass on the top of the prism.

you can also try to see through the viewfinder when the prism is on place but the take-up lens is removed and see if the image is now any brighter


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#8 aapo lettinen

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 01:33 AM

there seems to be holding screws on place on the other c-ports of the turret, so you have to remove them first before you can rotate the turret, maybe it's best to remove the lens also.

 

your rubber eyecup seems to be missing btw, you should get one for preventing light leaks through the viewfinder


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#9 aapo lettinen

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 01:46 AM

the kern 18-86 is a very basic zoom lens for this camera, quite ok lens but little soft and heavy and has square bokeh and a bit too much CA.

the kern primes are very good with the bolex, if you don't specifically need zoom lens i'd recommend getting at least two primes, at least the 25/1.4RX and something from 10 to 16mm range.

If you plan to shoot a lot of fiction with it, it might be better to get some lenses which are easier to use with follow focus, for example Nikon AI-S lenses with c-mount adapter   :)


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#10 aapo lettinen

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 05:56 AM

the viewfinder optics: 

h16reflex_2.jpg

(image from http://www.bolexcoll.../h16reflex.html  )

 

There isn't much which could be causing the perceived low brightness other than the possible filter, something wrong with the ground glass or something in the light path which dims the image, maybe dust or other stuff on the optical parts. Bolex viewfinders are quite dim in general though (about 20% of the light going to viewfinder compared to nearly 100% of a standby mirror reflex camera)


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#11 Dennis Couzin

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 10:48 AM

If you plan to shoot a lot of fiction with it, it might be better to get some lenses which are easier to use with follow focus, for example Nikon AI-S lenses with c-mount adapter 

 

Take care when choosing non-RX lenses for the Bolex RX camera.  Bolex disseminated a rule-of-thumb: lenses up to 50 mm should be RX; lenses longer than 50 mm need not be RX.  The rule-of-thumb was FALSE.  I first challenged it in 1976-78, and returned to the matter (with more optics under my belt) in 1987.  Others have confirmed my findings, most recently this by Dom Jaeger.

 

Unfortunately, as Bolexes become collectors' items, the original Bolex literature becomes holy text. 

 

When buying old RX lenses, beware that either the focus mount grease chosen by Kern, or some lubrication around the iris, tends over time to transfer to the two lens surfaces facing the iris.  Cleaning those two surfaces requires minimal disassembly of the lens. 

 

Concerning the dim viewfinder, the diagram of the optics shows internal reflections off three 45° prism faces.  Those purposely uncoated faces must be scrupulously clean to avoid reflection failure.  Many years outgassing of the camera's paint and lubricants might cloud them.  


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