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Bolex Reflex 5, Arri SG-BT, or Arri S


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#1 Damon Hoydysh

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 08:56 AM

So I'm looking to pick up a 16mm camera, my first. I've been shooting on Super 8 for over a year, and I'm ready to buy my first 16mm.

My uses: Lots of run and gun (I love to be able to grab my camera for almost any occasion and shoot), lots of hand held, music videos, narrative, drama, etc.

I'm looking at the following - althought the Eclair is a bit out of my price range:

Bolex Reflex 5 - (1200)

How are these Arri cameras for run and gun, hand held, etc?

Arri S - (2500)
Arri- SG-BT - (1500)

Eclair ACL2 - (2500) Expensive for me, but I know dialogue will be great - how about run and gun? hand held? etc.

I've been seriously considering the Bolex becuase of it's price point, and portability (it's the only camera I've held so far) - BUT it I know it doesn't have a registration pin, it's hand wind, and it's not crystal. I'm considering buying a crystal motor so that I can shoot music videos. What is anyone's take on the output of the Bolex w/o reigstration pin? Is this camera really wild? If I get the crystal can I shoot dialogue, or is it just too loud?

Which camera best suits my purpose? I'm wondering how the Bolex will be for dialogue?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 Sam Wells

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 10:23 AM

I've been seriously considering the Bolex becuase of it's price point, and portability (it's the only camera I've held so far) - BUT it I know it doesn't have a registration pin, it's hand wind, and it's not crystal.  I'm considering buying a crystal motor so that I can shoot music videos. What is anyone's take on the output of the Bolex w/o reigstration pin? Is this camera really wild?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The Bolex Rex 5 can have registration that is quite good but Bolexes require care and feeding.

The Arri S is like an insurance policy when it comes to registration.

(It's not the pin alone that assures reg in 16mm; for instance an Aaton which doesn't use one is arguably as steady - especially in terms of weave - as you can get in 16mm).

Arri S & Bolex with motor cameras are too loud for sync shooting, they're not designed for it.

ps I'm not sure what Arri "SG-BT" means

-Sam

Edited by SamWells, 16 July 2005 - 10:24 AM.

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#3 Steven Budden

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 10:38 AM

Also the bolex is much easier to hand hold/ more compact... until you start attaching things like motors and magazines. And the bolex is really easy to load and use. Also you can convert some of them to super 16 for a third of what it costs to convert those other cameras. I just had mine done though I haven't shot super with it yet.

I've been messing with recordering with the bolex and it's very loud for recording indoors, but acceptable in exteriors.

Also, the bolex synch motor will probably be at least 4-500 more.

Anyway, I'm all into a low profile camera, so keep that in mind. Even the bolex is a little big for me sometimes because I'd like to sneak it around and film whatever I find.

Steven
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#4 Nathan Milford

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 11:08 AM

The Arriflex 16SB-GS model is essentially an Arri 16SB with a largish pilotone module and a bloop light system. (Note: Pilotone was an old way of tethering the camera to the reel-to-reel recorder to establish sync sound, now obsolete and the bloop light system simply flashed the first few frames everytime the camera started to make it easy to identify, when editing a workprint, the start and stop of each take).

My Arri is of that vintage. The pilotone module and bloop light are essentially useless so I removed the pilotone module and replaced it with an aluminum housing for a self-resetting fuse and XLR4 power connector. The holes for the bloop light's bulbs I bore out a little wide to hold Lemo 2 connectors I wired into the system to allow me to plug in a lens light on top and to use an Aaton handgrip on bottom to start it.

There is nothing worth paying more money for on the SB-GS rather than some already made holes to exploit for body mods. Avoid the Arri 16S (or sometimes styled the 16St, for standard) It has three arri standard mounts on the turret that are effectivly useless if you wish to use more modern lenses. Also the arri standard mounts are fashioned out of aluminum, a soft metal, which wear over time to give you doubtless backfocus issues. The 16SB has two aluminum arri standard mounts but also has a steel bayonet mount (thus SB) which is much more robust. You can still get many modern(ish) lenses in arri bayo such as super speeds, the canon 7-63 etc...

Of course there are people who will outfit your Arri with a PL hard front and replace the turret. The great guys at Du-All are working on a reliable Super 16 modification (around $5K I think) that is more sane than the Van Dieman mod.

I love my Arri. It was no great investment of money (only a grand) and it is perfect for all mannor of MOS work, music videos, B-Camera, commercial spots etc.... A crystal motor from Clive Tobin makes the camera go a long way... I actually prefer it to the A-Minima!
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#5 Damon Hoydysh

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 12:06 PM

I love my Arri.  It was no great investment of money (only a grand) and it is perfect for all mannor of MOS work, music videos, B-Camera, commercial spots etc....  A crystal motor from Clive Tobin makes the camera go a long way...  I actually prefer it to the A-Minima!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks to everyone for your input. How would you compare your Arri to the Bolex RX-5? Can you get modern lenses for the Bolex? With a crystal motor, will the Bolex be sufficient for music videos, and commercial spots? Any input on the registration of a Bolex?

Thanks again.

-Damon
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#6 Robert Hughes

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 12:42 PM

If the Bolex is in good shape your picture will be quite steady. Last weekend I was shooting with a Bolex H16 RX1 from the 1950's, and the picture was fine, much more steady than my handheld operation.

Pin registration is critical only when you are attempting optical or other post production tricks like matting; for general non-sync use a camera like the Bolex will meet your needs. And if you keep your shots to under 20 seconds you can finesse the clockwork mechanism to run very close to 24fps, saving you the added expense & weight of a sync motor.
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#7 Nathan Milford

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 05:03 PM

Thanks to everyone for your input. How would you compare your Arri to the Bolex RX-5?  Can you get modern lenses for the Bolex? With a crystal motor, will the Bolex be sufficient for music videos, and commercial spots? Any input on the registration of a Bolex?

Thanks again.

-Damon

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Negative. Unless you get someone like Les Bosher to modify your Bolex you will but stuck using c-mount lenses. And not alll c-mount lenses will do, you will need RX lenses which compensate for the prism. The Bolex uses a prism to divert a third of the light destined for the film to the viewfinder, which gives you a darkish viewfinder (compared to a mirrored reflex camera) as well as another exposure compensation to keep in your head whilst shooting. Granted, the exposure compensation is minimal..

I wouldn't worry too much about registration. Bad registration is the sign of a badly cared-for and worn camera. You should concern yourself firstly with which camera feels best in your hands and secondly the camera's ability to be an asset to your career.

The Arri S and the Bolex are fine cameras. Don't, however, discount the Eclair NPR and ACL or even a CP16.

All of these cameras have thier drawbacks... it just boils down to what drawbacks are you willing to live with and what strenghts (beyond the ability to reliably move rawstock) fir your particular needs as an operator.

- nathan
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#8 Sam Wells

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 05:09 PM

I love my Arri.  ...  I actually prefer it to the A-Minima!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'll trade ya one for an A-minima :D

OK SB yes I forgot those pilotone models were called GS (I've deleted memories in order to free up space....... No don't comment...... the transposed letters threw me. I guess an alternate career in cryptography is out of the question now...)

-Sam
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#9 Damon Hoydysh

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 07:04 PM

Above all, I think the first paying job I use my camera will be to shoot a music video. Is it easy and or inexpensive to rent the crystal motor for these?

The Bolex I'm looking at is the Rex5 - mint condition, with the following lenses:

10mm;16mm;25mm; 50mm macro; 75mm

Is this a good deal? All for 1000.

Thanks,
Damon
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#10 Steven Budden

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 11:54 PM

So those are all RX switars? Is the glass clear? If so it's a really good deal.

A rex 5 on ebay goes for over 1000 (barely) for just the body, those four lenses would cost over 1000 again on ebay if bought separately.

Of course, the investment is even better if the camera works and doesn't need some kind of repair.

Caveat Emptor: Switars are old so there is almost always something wrong with them.

Steven
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#11 Damon Hoydysh

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I went ahead and bought the Rex-5 with the following for $1100:

16mm RX
25mm RX
50mm macro RX
75mm RX
Sekonic Studio Deluxe L-398 M light meter
changing bag
and some extras.

The camera is in immaculate shape.

I believe I got a good deal.
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#12 Steven Budden

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 11:25 AM

Sounds like a good deal. Suggestion... get some film and start shooting. Right away if you can. Otherwise you can spend forever upgrading and researching, adding accessories.

(That's what I do!)

Anyway, any experience you can get with any camera is valuable and will transfer to your new camera when (and if) you upgrade. (Keep in mind there are many experimental filmmakers that use a bolex for their whole life).

Have fun.

Steven
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