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Bolex H16EL Conversion super16 / video assist


Pontus Norberg
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Hello!

This is my first post here one the forum, so sorry if im doing things wrong!

Im buying my friends Bolex H16 EL 16mm camera and gonna do some modifications to it to make it more useable for production. 

First of all, my plan was to convert it to super 16 at jkcamera but apperently he doessnt do conversions anymore . Anyone know other people or companies that do this service? Im located in sweden somewere in europe would be optimal.

Also, i want to make some kind of video assist, and if possible to record some video proxies to my odyssey7q. 

Ive found lots of diy solutions on different forums, but this Bolex CCD Viewfinder eyepiece video tap* on ebay seems like Pretty good solution. (Link in the end of the post). This with a analouge BNC -sdi (Like for example Blackmagic Design Mini Converter Analog to SDI) would in theory give a quite nice video assist for operating + proxies to the 7Q? Anyone have experience from this?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bolex-CCD-Viewfinder-eyepiece-video-tap-Video-assist-system-for-10x-or-13x-Bolex/183987134019?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908105057%26meid%3D65c73a1599d34af2bd6202b3242ef3c2%26pid%3D100675%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D131047732677%26itm%3D183987134019%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2380057&_trksid=p2380057.c100675.m4236&_trkparms=pageci%3A85eb1b12-f4bb-11e9-b296-74dbd18066fe|parentrq%3Af32277a516d0aa668d849b46fffefc83|iid%3A1

Thanks a lot! 

 
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I wonder what sort of projects you are planning that a Bolex EL is the choice. I loved the wind up bolex for wierd, technically challenging experimental things, but I don't get the attraction of the EL.  What about Eclair ACL, Aaton LTR, Arri SR2? Those cameras you can throw on your shoulder to shoot your cine verite, and shoot with sound if you want.

 

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Thanks for your reply!

Well, i got a very good price for the camera thats why...my friend shot many shorts on this camera and it looks great, he have not had any big complains about it. 

Did you experience problems with the Bolex EL? Im very new to bolex in general so im greatfull for all info!! 

Would love to buy a sr2/sr3, but its way out of my budget unfortunately...also If im shooting more demanding stuff im still gonna rent a camera, but i just wanna own something myself for smaller gigs and experimental stuff. 

 

 

 

 

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First off, it costs A LOT OF MONEY to convert to super 16, several thousand dollars. When you're done, you get a sliver of extra width and your camera has been heavily modded and has no extra value on the market. So you're basically throwing money away for a millimeter of change. 

Second, Film cameras need to be focused through the viewfinder. So if you put a hard tap on the viewfinder, you can no longer check focus. It's not a digital camera, you can't just tell if it's in focus, video tap's aren't good enough quality. So getting a tap as your ONLY WAY to see the frame, doesn't make any sense. 

Third, film cameras are film cameras. The "IMAGE" is made by the lens and film stock, not the camera itself. So you say the Bolex EL looks great, but it looks the same as any other film camera with the same lens and stock, as long as the camera is working properly. So you could theoretically use any camera you want and get the same image. 

The Bolex's are great for experimental stuff, but outside of that, they're kinda long in the tooth. They make quite a bit of racket, so too loud for sync sound recording. They're very odd to hold when using them, which puts a lot of stress/pressure on your arms to keep it up. Without a swivel viewfinder, it's hard to get the cameras into places where you can't look straight down the viewfinder. The battery system kinda sucks and needs some modification to make work well. Can't really rely on the focus marks on the OEM lenses, they're not meant for modern production. Finding C mount Super 16 lenses is also nearly impossible. So you'd do all that conversion work and then find it hard to get lenses, unless you had an adaptor for the mount and use something more modern. 

I love my Bolex, I use it all the time, but just for fun, nothing serious. Straight 16mm, low-cost, if something happened whatever, ebay has lots of them and I have a real Super 16 camera for the serious work. 

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Thanks for the reply!

hm, les bosher Will do the conversion for  500gbp, (about 650dollars) , im emailing with him right now! That feels like a good investment for me, to be able to use it the way i want to. I paid 900dollars for the Camera package, and i might just ad the pl mount adapter to it wich is about 300 dollars. Wich makes it 1850 dollars for a fuctioning super 16mm with pl mount! We own a set of cooke s4mini wich i plan to use (mainly the 18mm) I know its not a super professional setup, but i think it Will make the job Done for me and for a fraction of the price for lets say a sr2 super 16 converted (at least what i found on the market)

Battery wise it works ok, my friend had already build a custom made solution for it. Gonna look in to if i could perfect it.

Im still learning a lot about the 16mm market so correct me if im wrong!!

Like i Said, im not gonna put it on huge sets, Will still be renting more reliable cameras for that. 

I just wanna try to build a fun setup that i can use on projects that i dont have budget to take in a 416/ sr3!

Really appriciate all ansers, im still quite new to this world. 

 

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Varför har du inte frågad? A pre-owned H-16 EL isn’t worth more than $400. It has way less mechanics than a spring-drive model. Why Super-16, why a PL mount? The camera is not made for postmodernity, it’s a modern product, designed in 1931. I’m a simplicist and a purist. And a mechanic who knows what it implies to do such things. It won’t be a fun project because your ideas will crack the budget fast. Better spend a thousand on a tripod with a good fluid head in a container! Ahem, pre-owned. Förlåt.

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13 hours ago, Pontus Norberg said:

les bosher Will do the conversion for  500gbp, (about 650dollars)

That's well under the quote I got. I have a feeling there will be some missing parts for that cost. 

13 hours ago, Pontus Norberg said:

might just ad the pl mount adapter to it wich is about 300 dollars.

PL to C mount? 

13 hours ago, Pontus Norberg said:

We own a set of cooke s4mini wich i plan to use (mainly the 18mm) I know its not a super professional setup

Well that's a pretty helpful piece of information lol 😛 

The 18mm will be 36mm super 35mm equivalent btw. My go-to lenses on Super 16 are the 9.5 and 12mm.

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On 10/24/2019 at 6:59 PM, Simon Wyss said:

Varför har du inte frågad? A pre-owned H-16 EL isn’t worth more than $400. It has way less mechanics than a spring-drive model. Why Super-16, why a PL mount? The camera is not made for postmodernity, it’s a modern product, designed in 1931. I’m a simplicist and a purist. And a mechanic who knows what it implies to do such things. It won’t be a fun project because your ideas will crack the budget fast. Better spend a thousand on a tripod with a good fluid head in a container! Ahem, pre-owned. Förlåt.

Hm havnt found a bolex el for that cheap anywere... maybe you have better sources than me!

I just like to be able to choose the format my self and not be locked to the 1:33 ratio. 

Well, i guess i would crack the budget more if i lets say would buy a sr2 converted? I just feel like its a cheap way to shoot super 16 for me, i dont know maybe there is better options for my budget, please send me links in that case!! 

Already own a good tripod haha. 

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On 10/24/2019 at 10:39 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

That's well under the quote I got. I have a feeling there will be some missing parts for that cost. 

Ok, i will ask him again whats included in that price. 

PL to C mount? 

No the bolex mount (RX?) to pl. 

Well that's a pretty helpful piece of information lol 😛 

What do you mean? 

The 18mm will be 36mm super 35mm equivalent btw. My go-to lenses on Super 16 are the 9.5 and 12mm.

I know about the crop factor, but its the widest we got in the set 🙂

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Pontus, 

 Some time has passed since this thread, but I find we have a similar approach with our Bolex EL's! I've been modding mine, (and funnily enough also had Les Bosher convert it to PL - he's great, and I have the Cooke S4is. 

I was wondering if you modded your battery solutions at all, and if you ever did manage to come up with a good Video Assist? 

Personally I love the EL. Super 16 is well worth it and your prices seem spot on. 

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