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16mm Projector Woes

Brett Allbritton

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Hey everyone,

I was hoping I might find someone here who has experience with a Bell & Howell 2585 projector.


A few months ago, I took my K-3 for a spin, shot a roll of film and had it printed. Long story short, I had a different Bell and Howell projector at the time that I put a lot of effort into fixing so that I could watch my test roll, but eventually discovered what was really wrong with it; a cracked worm gear.


So some time passed and I still wasn't able to watch my film, which was very frustrating. Eventually I ordered a Bell and Howell 2585 projector off of Ebay that was I told was in working condition. My problem is, I just got done using it for the first time, and I think I've already messed something up... Fortunately, I finally got to watch my test roll which was pretty magical, but my continuing issues with projectors have just made me really frustrated with the whole experience.


First, there seems to be an issue with the autoload function. I managed to get around this by doing it manually, and I'll likely take a video of this in a little bit to show what my concerns are here, but for now this is the less pressing issue.


My real problem came after I watched my film for the first time. I noticed that it seemed to be playing back at a slower rate, maybe 18 fps. I ignored this for the time being, thinking maybe this is just a setting I missed on my projector. Then, after the film finished, I did something stupid.


While the leader at the end was still playing through the projector, I turned the knob to the reverse setting. I quickly realized this was the wrong way to rewind the film because the projector made a bad sound and then slowly came to a halt, so I shut it off. I then put it back in forward position, let the film continue all the way through the projector to the take up reel, and then rewound the film the proper way, just one reel to the other.


My problem is that when I try to play the film now, no clear image is projected, just strange smears of light on the screen. Did I mess up my second projector already when I tried to put it in reverse with the film still in the machine? Does anyone know if this is fixable? I appreciate any advice, as my 16mm film experience has turned out to be way more frustrating than I'd hoped.

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I have a 2592. Is it shuttering and jumping on the bottom part of the frame? The filmstrip was probably slightly misaligned when you put it into reverse but should have returned to normal when you put it back into forward.


Have you tried to put any film through it since then?...

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Your "smearing" sounds like the shutter is open when the film is being transported, instead of when stationary. There is something wrong with the synchronisation between shutter and transport. If you are mechanically handy you should be able to work it out. Inch the film by hand and see what is amiss.

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The Bell & Howell Company sold good products until WWII. Throw that projector away and get yourself

an old one, a Filmo or a Filmosound. An old Ampro, even an old Revere, anything but not the cybernetics

crap from since the late fifties. Technicians will treat you with respect when you ask for a service. In my

case doubtless but I only take cameras for the moment.


More good projectors for 16-mm. film are

  • JAN, joint Army-Navy (Bell & Howell)
  • Siemens & Halske 2000
  • Diksi-Tfp.
  • Dixi 700 series
  • Philips EL 5000
  • Bauer P 5
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