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Bolex Pro


Guest Gregor Scheer
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Guest gregorscheer

Yes I was ridden by some kind of devil, I did not really need it as I have a very nice bolex el Super 16 to make my educational documentary films that you can see on my website. but when this camera came up on ebay my old bolex obsession drove me to bid on it and I won it. So here it is quite a monster looks like an Aanton and comes without an instruction. So far I did not even manage to see something through the viewfinder. I would love to know of anyone who has ever used it or even better who can provide a copy of the instruction manual.

 

here is a picturepost-9293-1146181999.jpg

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Hi, Carlson's "Professional Cameramen's Handbook" covers the working operations of this camera. I can send you a copy of those pages if you can't come up with anyhting else. If you have the Bolex 16 PRO-100 model it will do to 100 fps. The regular model goes to 50fps, all crystal. Two more notes: Viewfinder is magnified 20x, shutter angle is 132 degrees, non adjustable. I think there were very few of these cams made.

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I would love to know of anyone who has ever used it or even better who can provide a copy of the instruction manual.

 

Hey,

 

You might wanna check out this website:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/brianv1983/

 

They shot this short-film on this Bolex 16Pro. It was photograped by a guy named Justin Talley. You'll find him here:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/brianv1983/justintalley/

 

I talked to him a few months ago and he's a pretty nice guy. Pop him an email with your questions. I know for sure he'll be glad to help you.

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Guest gregorscheer
Hi, Carlson's "Professional Cameramen's Handbook" covers the working operations of this camera. I can send you a copy of those pages if you can't come up with anyhting else. If you have the Bolex 16 PRO-100 model it will do to 100 fps. The regular model goes to 50fps, all crystal. Two more notes: Viewfinder is magnified 20x, shutter angle is 132 degrees, non adjustable. I think there were very few of these cams made.

Thanks Mike, I start to see the light thanks to your post, are there many pages in that book concerning the Bolex Pro (it is the 50fps model) It would be great if you could send them to me. But let me first see if I can't purchase the book. the one I found is the 4th edition is this the one you have?

 

Sounds like a great camera. As far as i know there where only under 200 of them built. My email address is gregor@vinestreetworks.com

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Thanks Mike, I start to see the light thanks to your post, are there many pages in that book concerning the Bolex Pro (it is the 50fps model) It would be great if you could send them to me. But let me first see if I can't purchase the book. the one I found is the 4th edition is this the one you have?

 

Sounds like a great camera. As far as i know there where only under 200 of them built. My email address is gregor@vinestreetworks.com

 

Gregor,

 

Hold off on buying the Professional Cameraman's Handbook, Fourth Edition, the Bolex Pro is not in there. In fact no Bolex cameras are in there any more. I checked my American Cinematographer Manual, both my camera assistant books, and The 16mm Camera Book, and none of them list the Bolex Pro.

 

I'd take Mike up on his offer to xerox the pages from the third edition, because I think you are going to have a tough time finding much in print about that camera.

 

-Tim

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Guest gregorscheer
Hey,

 

You might wanna check out this website:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/brianv1983/

 

They shot this short-film on this Bolex 16Pro. It was photograped by a guy named Justin Talley. You'll find him here:

 

http://homepage.mac.com/brianv1983/justintalley/

 

I talked to him a few months ago and he's a pretty nice guy. Pop him an email with your questions. I know for sure he'll be glad to help you.

Thanks, I certainly will,

 

 

 

Hi Mike I think I will have to take you up on your offer to scan or copy the pages in your book about the Bolex Pro the newer available edition does not contain those pages any more. can you scan the pages and send them by email or would you copy them and send them on paper or fax them. In any case I would like to reimburse your spending time and money and would send you $20.- if that could help

 

Kind regards

 

Gregor Scheer

VineStreetWorks

7 Vine Street

Staten Island, NY 10301

 

gregor@vinestreetworks.com

www.vinestreetworks.com

 

718 524 0221

fax 917 591 5149

Edited by gregorscheer
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I own a Bolex 16 Pro 100. I've had it for about ten years. I don't use it much anymore and did not run a lot of film through it. But its designed like a tank (excuse the cliche).

 

The threading mechanism of this camera is quite unique. You only have to load on side of the coaxial and have the film tabbed out at the front. Then when your ready to load, you just latch the mag on the camera, turn the threading knob and the camera threads itself and winds the film on the other side of the coaxial mag on its own. It is easy to open the takeup side of the mage to make sure that the film has "catched".

 

Viewfinder is a challenge as the image does not remain in the upright position.

 

Mine has a 144 degree shutter. The lens is in great shape as it is protected by a housing that allows for an amazing servo system.

 

The challenge I've had with this camera is the battery system - very bulky and old. I've recently thought of somehow adapting it to a battery belt system and running film through it again.

 

Have fun with it. It was a camera far ahead of its time.

 

JB

 

Thanks, I certainly will,

Hi Mike I think I will have to take you up on your offer to scan or copy the pages in your book about the Bolex Pro the newer available edition does not contain those pages any more. can you scan the pages and send them by email or would you copy them and send them on paper or fax them. In any case I would like to reimburse your spending time and money and would send you $20.- if that could help

 

Kind regards

 

Gregor Scheer

VineStreetWorks

7 Vine Street

Staten Island, NY 10301

 

gregor@vinestreetworks.com

www.vinestreetworks.com

 

718 524 0221

fax 917 591 5149

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Guest gregorscheer
I own a Bolex 16 Pro 100. I've had it for about ten years. I don't use it much anymore and did not run a lot of film through it. But its designed like a tank (excuse the cliche).

 

The threading mechanism of this camera is quite unique. You only have to load on side of the coaxial and have the film tabbed out at the front. Then when your ready to load, you just latch the mag on the camera, turn the threading knob and the camera threads itself and winds the film on the other side of the coaxial mag on its own. It is easy to open the takeup side of the mage to make sure that the film has "catched".

 

Viewfinder is a challenge as the image does not remain in the upright position.

 

Mine has a 144 degree shutter. The lens is in great shape as it is protected by a housing that allows for an amazing servo system.

 

The challenge I've had with this camera is the battery system - very bulky and old. I've recently thought of somehow adapting it to a battery belt system and running film through it again.

 

Jonathan great to hear from you - I saw your trailer. great footage but I guess shot with another camera.. The Bolex pro I have is the standard 50fps model It is truly a tank 22.5lb without the film and the battery pack needs a donkey to carry it around. News gathering must have been quite a muscle sport in the 70s.

 

I am slowly finding out how it works. One thing I do not understand is the function of that little wheel on the back side of the view finder if I turn it the viewfinder gets darker. What is that for? and another question. What needs to be done for lubrication and do you ever cleen the gate? I fear that taking out the lens too often could hurt the little rubber couplings for the servos. And the Tuchel without a cable that is inserted into the battery part is that for chrystal?

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One thing I do not understand is the function of that little wheel on the back side of the view finder if I turn it the viewfinder gets darker.

 

On my model, it switches between a clear tv-safe action within a 1.33 frame and just a 1.33 frame without the safe-action.

 

What needs to be done for lubrication

 

I've never lubricated it. There's a big yellow sticker near the movement that says "Aucune Lubrification". I do imagine, though, that it needs be lubricated at one point (!) and so thats probably something I'll also have to think about before starting it up again with a new battery.

 

and do you ever cleen the gate?

 

The pressure plate comes right out by swivelling the lock-lever on the inside upward. You pull the pressure plate out completely exposing the gate which is screwed into place and that I've never removed.

 

I fear that taking out the lens too often could hurt the little rubber couplings for the servos.

 

The lens can be taken on and off at will. Although, I agree that at this point, finding servicing will be a challenge and therefore it might be good to just keep it on. There is a wide-angle lens available - but I've never been able to find it.

 

And the Tuchel without a cable that is inserted into the battery part is that for chrystal?

 

Yes, Thats for crystal sync.

 

The pro100 is in most respects the same camera as the pro50. Let me know how it goes.

 

JB

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I used one on a project many years ago.Not much I can add except that even though it was a heavy camera, the balance was pretty good.It was one of my first experiences of shooting hand held run and gun style in 16mm.The threading scheme is one of the most unique and ingenious I've ever seen.

 

It's my uderstanding that Arriflex designed and built these cameras for Bolex.I guess they couldn't compete with the SR or the Aatons.

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Guest gregorscheer

Just received the copied pages from Mike thanks a lot, very interesting stuff, I will study it serieously ... thanks a lot for all these postings, what an amazing forum !!!

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  • 10 months later...
Guest Gregor Scheer

I plan to shoot my next short feature for young audience: How Things Are Made: Paper in 1780 - Capellades, Catalunia using 2 bolex pro cameras. On the Pitch Packet website in construction for this film you can click cinematography where I collect information about the camera you can click to

 

1) an article in smallformat 01/2007

2) the pages in Carlsons Handbook

3) the electric schematics

 

the link is http://www.vinestreetworks.com/Cape_pitch/capipitch1.html

 

we are considering conversion to super 16 Duall camera in New York sais they can do it - Will keep you updated

 

enjoy

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Guest Glenn Brady
. . . finding servicing will be a challenge . . .

 

I've been advised by the Bolex factory that service for this camera may still be available from Ruedi Muster Film & Fernsehtechnik, 2545 Selzach, Tel. ++41 (0)32 641 10 46.

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  • 9 years later...

Do you still own one of these Michael? I always wanted to play with one, fascinating offshoot in camera history.

 

The only online resource I've found about the Bolex 16 Pro is this short overview in German:

 

http://www.filmtechnik-online.de/filmtechnik/bo-blimp.htm

 

Otherwise, the system is covered in earlier editions of Carlson's Professional Cameraman's Handbook (but NOT the 4th edition from the 90s) which can sometimes be found second hand.

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The Pro was designed by Dr. Angelo Jotzoff under the auspices of ARRI.

 

You cannot remove the threaded film from the camera without cutting it.

Viewfinder has 20 times magnification.

 

http://www.lusznat.de/cms1/index.php/kinomuseum-muenchen/gerhard-fromm-s-sammelblaetter/bolex-16-pro-sammelblatt

http://www.lusznat.de/cms1/index.php/kinomuseum-muenchen/die-entstehung-der-bolex-16-pro

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Do you still own one of these Michael? I always wanted to play with one, fascinating offshoot in camera history.

 

The only online resource I've found about the Bolex 16 Pro is this short overview in German:

 

http://www.filmtechnik-online.de/filmtechnik/bo-blimp.htm

 

Otherwise, the system is covered in earlier editions of Carlson's Professional Cameraman's Handbook (but NOT the 4th edition from the 90s) which can sometimes be found second hand.

 

 

Yes, Dom, I do, and it's the one 16mm-camera I will never part with, ever :wub: . It's such a magnificent piece of engineering, and very simple to operate if you started your filmmaking on far more complex Super 8 cameras and thus don't expect a camera to merely have an On/Off switch, 24/25 toggle, and Run/Stop button. Sure, many of its in-camera production features are obsolete nowadays due to the digital post chain, but still.

 

With only around 150 units made, ⅔ in the standard configuration, ⅓ in the Pro 100 configuration through enabling it to run at 24 Volt, and a handful of each equipped with the Commag module, it's also a pretty rare camera. I would think most of those produced have survived to today – people who own it or search for it know what it is. In fact, the guy who sold me his for peanuts (at the dawn of the 'HDTV' video revolution) came back a few years later and wanted to buy it back for his 2K productions :lol: .

 

Stefan Neudeck's webpage on the Bolex covers the basics, but it should be noted that it is a simple copy-grab and German translation of David W. Samuelson's book Motion Picture Camera Data, published by Focal Press in its Media Series. I have the 1995 edition, and it still features the Bolex alongside most cameras up to the mid-1980s (including many Super 8 production cameras). I would wager that the first edition of Samuelson's from 1979 already features the Bolex 16 Pro. Thanks for letting me know about Carlson's. As Samuelson's has been my primary go-to book for all cine-film cameras from Super 8 to 65mm, I admit I never looked left or right, so I didn't know about that book :unsure: . Will check it out.

 

A few years back, Hans Albrecht Lusznat went online with his website, and it's an outstanding resource, giving the development history of the Bolex 16 Pro an appropriate feature spot. That article is also far more accurate and detailed than Ulrich Vielmuth's piece for Schmalfilm and Smallformat 1/2007. Lusznat also published a scan of Gerhard Fromm's Sammelblatt on the camera, from his series of detailed data sheets irregularly published in Germany's industry magazine Film & TV Kameramann. It's the best German manual short of the original by Bolex.

 

I didn't think anyone would be interested in this camera anymore, but following on from Vitaly's request, I may as well put everything online what I hold in digital data file formats on my side. I have lots of other paperwork on it in English and German, which would be time and cost-prohibitive to scan, but maybe what I can put online right here helps a bit?

 

Bolex 16 Pro and Bolex 16 Pro 100 - English-language Manual

https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ama1LN1dsVsKgSR4qlxouZc9i_OP

 

Bolex 16 Pro and Bolex 16 Pro 100 - German-language Manual (© Gerhard Fromm)

https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ama1LN1dsVsKgSUtbFsGXBj2BTOQ

 

Bolex 16 Pro and Bolex 16 Pro 100 - Trilingual electric circuit diagram

https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ama1LN1dsVsKgSaYZhknPFfB29VC

 

Bolex 16 Pro and Bolex 16 Pro 100 - German-language History (© Hans-Albrecht Lusznat)

https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ama1LN1dsVsKgScg9nfyCYwbM6ju

 

Bolex 16 Pro and Bolex 16 Pro 100 - German-language Newsletter featuring Gunter Sachs (page 1)

https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ama1LN1dsVsKgSu6iCDplhSxg8pF

 

Bolex 16 Pro and Bolex 16 Pro 100 - German-language Newsletter featuring Gunter Sachs (page 2)

https://1drv.ms/i/s!Ama1LN1dsVsKgSlYqCCQuO98Dnft

 

 

 

The Pro was designed […] under the auspices of ARRI.

 

No, No, No!

 

This urban myth and false propaganda needs to stop. The camera was not developed or produced by, with, from, or under anything from Arnold & Richter. Bolex-Paillard opened its R&D lab in Munich in 1961 specifically for this camera because that location was a leading industry cluster and talent place for most things filmmaking. Munich was not merely ARRI. That would be like saying that because BMW's R&D lab for autonomous cars is now located in Silicon Valley, it's upcoming self-driving cars are made "under the auspices" of Tesla or Google.

 

Head of Development Angelo Jotzoff came from projectormaker Frieseke & Hoepfner, Chief Developer Georg Thoma came from industrial engineering firm Deckel Maschinenbau. Thoma would later get the Oscar for developing the fluid head for Sachtler. The body was produced by Alcan in Nuremberg, the magazines by Bayer Leverkusen using its Makrolon polycarbonate (of NASA Apollo fame), and the viewfinder system came about in partnership with Rodenstock. The camera's development was from 1961 to 1967.

Final assembly of it occurred from 1967-69 in a Bolex-owned building in Munich-Leopoldstraße, from 1969-71 in a bigger Bolex-owned plant in Munich-Ismaning, and from 1971-72 in Yverdon at Bolex's HQ shortly before Bolex-Paillard went bust. Not because of the Bolex 16 Pro as some claim but because of its other office equipment, electric, and consumer product divisions being unprofitable: Bolex got caught off-guard by the electric typewriters by IBM and Olivetti, Japanese-made transistor and optical systems, and never understood the Super 8 market. Final sales stopped in 1974.

 

The Bolex 16 Pro and Pro 100 was one to two decades ahead of its time when it came out in 1967, and for the ultra-conservative mindset of most camera operators in the 1960s and 70s in Europe, it was simply an incomprehensive piece of technology straight out of a parallel universe. Openly nationalistic procurement practices by broadcaster and studios also left Bolex out in the cold in most European countries like France, Italy, Britain, and even ARRI-land Germany, despite its deliberately Munich-based location.

 

By just looking at what ARRI had in R&D and sold at the time of the Bolex development years from 1961 to 1967 (Arriflex 16 BL and 35-series), any claim that the Bolex 16 Pro was an ARRI product but in name is simply untrue. In fact, Joachim Gerb is on the record as saying that the design and construction of the Bolex 16 Pro was more than an inspiration for his Arriflex 35 BL development team and the product brief he set out when development of it started in 1966, presented to the public only in 1972! Placing my 16 Pro and 35 BL next to each other and comparing them thoroughly, that's fairly obvious. And the deliberate engineering of the coaxial BL magazine or the positive locking bayonet so not to infringe on Bolex' patents another. ARRI has a notoriously reactive corporate culture, and most if its camera milestones in the second half of the 20th century were a reaction to company-threatening forays by Mitchell/Panavision, Eclair/Aaton, and this Bolex 16 Pro. The fact that ARRI has outlived all of its competitors shows that ultimately success is a marathon run, and cannot be secured with superb innovation from Hollywood or Grenoble alone, but also builds on deep industry links, placeholder management, and the right timing.

 

;) :)

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Michael, you are a true artist! Thank you so much! I've already lost all hope on finding all this, but thanks to you I regained faith now. So far I have launched the servos on the camera. They work, and even the rubber caps are intact. :)

This is not just a camera, it's a masterpiece. I also think this is the quintessence of camera-manufacturing for documentary film.

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