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Small fix needed for a 16mm camera


Fabrice Ducouret
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I grew up using an amazing Pathé Webo 16mm, that I was very attached to. It disappeared under sad circumstances during a move.

After being extremely disappointed by a Bolex turret 16mm and a Kodak K-100 that I thought I would like just as much, I just got another one after years of missing it dearly, but it seems that the "pellicle" part is missing, because when I put a lens in the mount, the focusing is wrong (for example I put a lens on and focus on an object that's 7ft away and the lens marking reads infinity).

Everything else works perfectly well... I assume a previous user just broke the pellicle while trying to clean it, as seems to often be the case for this model.

I found this thread, which was very helpful, but the OP doesn't explain how he solved it.

I'm trying to understand better what the pellicle's job is - since I am able to see clearly through the reflex viewfinder, but the focusing is off from the markings.
Can I still use the camera, and, if I achieve focus, that means the shot captured on the film will be sharp as well?

And is it easy to fix? In the post I linked to, someone mentions a Webo repair shop that is gone now. The one mentioned here is gone as well.

I called a few people around town, but if I'm unable to fix it or have it repaired (I'm in L.A.), I'd like to find a picture of an intact Webo front, in order to explain the seller why I am returning it.

If anyone can help with any of this, it would mean a lot to me.

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If the pellicle was broken you wouldn’t see any image in the viewfinder. If the focus marks are off you have a problem with the distance from lens mount to ground glass or aerial image (reflected off the pellicle). Or the lens itself may be out of calibration.

I don’t remember if a Pathe Webo uses a ground glass, do you have a manual describing setting the viewfinder eyepiece diopter?

For reflex focussing to work, the viewfinder image needs to exactly match what is on the film, but these are two different paths. The focal flange depth is the distance from lens mount to film plane, which determines the recorded image. For the viewfinder image to match, the distance from lens mount to ground glass, reflected off the pellicle, needs to be exactly the same as the flange depth. To properly check these distances requires optical measurement using a bench auto-collimator, something camera and lens techs will have. 

The other variable is the lens itself, which needs the back-focus to be set to match the camera flange depth. This can also be checked with an auto-collimator. 

If you have more than one lens, you could check if they all won’t focus to infinity, in which case the camera is most likely the culprit. 

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Pathé WEBO M, M for membrane. The pellicle or membrane is a microscope cover glass of 0.004" thickness, made non-reflecting on one side. I have such glasses but never got to have them bloomed due to the costs. The volume of WEBO M repairs is too small to justify the investment, at least for me. If someone pays the expense, I will do it. Another pellicle camera is the 8mm Christen DB, also French. Same size of membrane glass

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On 10/9/2020 at 5:39 PM, Dom Jaeger said:

If the pellicle was broken you wouldn’t see any image in the viewfinder. If the focus marks are off you have a problem with the distance from lens mount to ground glass or aerial image (reflected off the pellicle). Or the lens itself may be out of calibration.

I don’t remember if a Pathe Webo uses a ground glass, do you have a manual describing setting the viewfinder eyepiece diopter?

For reflex focussing to work, the viewfinder image needs to exactly match what is on the film, but these are two different paths. The focal flange depth is the distance from lens mount to film plane, which determines the recorded image. For the viewfinder image to match, the distance from lens mount to ground glass, reflected off the pellicle, needs to be exactly the same as the flange depth. To properly check these distances requires optical measurement using a bench auto-collimator, something camera and lens techs will have. 

The other variable is the lens itself, which needs the back-focus to be set to match the camera flange depth. This can also be checked with an auto-collimator. 

If you have more than one lens, you could check if they all won’t focus to infinity, in which case the camera is most likely the culprit. 

 

You were absolutely right.

I carried out more extensive testing on a test bench with a laser rangefinder, and I actually understood where my doubt was coming from:
Some lenses, made for newer TV cameras, do not focus at the distance of the ring due to their slightly different screw threads.
For these lenses, we must not rely on the markings on the ring, and simply rely on the reflex viewfinder to focus.
I attach photos of my benchmark testing of the c-mount lenses, and results here
.

Thanks

 

 

 

Edited by Fabrice Ducouret
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On 10/10/2020 at 12:10 AM, Simon Wyss said:

Pathé WEBO M, M for membrane. The pellicle or membrane is a microscope cover glass of 0.004" thickness, made non-reflecting on one side. I have such glasses but never got to have them bloomed due to the costs. The volume of WEBO M repairs is too small to justify the investment, at least for me. If someone pays the expense, I will do it. Another pellicle camera is the 8mm Christen DB, also French. Same size of membrane glass

Hey Simon,

 

Thanks for the input. The thing is, for me the Webo 16mm is simply the best 16mm camera out there, so I am bound to buy that one model that I am the most comfortable with again and again (hopefully I don't lose the new one, there's  no reason to!).

Let me explain myself:

-Spring-powered is a plus for me, not a limitation. I cannot be bothered having to charge batteries if I shoot all day or looking for adapters if I travel the world,
-Reflex viewfinder is a must for me. I use weird lenses (see my answer to Dom above with the benchmark link), and I need to be able to not only change focus while filming but also use scopes like the Schneider Cinelux 2x,
-Interchangeable lens system, because one single lens rarely does it for all kinds of situations,
-It has many features that I love, like slow motion at 80fps and fast motion at 8fps, and several choices in between, and possibility to change frame rate while filming,
-You can do in-camera cross-fades, which I find much more pleasing than digital cross-fades (explained here),
-And, last but not least - it is incredibly compact and easy to handle. Now, for some people who are tripod-bound, that is not a big problem, but that is an indeniable strength of the Webo over, say, the Bolex 16mm, which has a high center of gravity and is very difficult to hold firmly, see this chart of grip positions of the Webo I made here.

Other cameras I have owned and used are the Krasnagorsk, Bell & Howell "Gun" Camera 16mm Type N-9, Kodak K-100, Bolex 16... None of them really compares! But if you have suggestions of models that I should try out, or if you want to share the 16mm cameras you enjoy using the most, please, tell me!
 

Edited by Fabrice Ducouret
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Your are right about the Pathé having

  • a very low optical axis,
  • a low center of gravity, and
  • a big base surface.

It is also one of few spring driven cameras that run up to 80 fps. Competitors on that ground are the Bell & Howell Filmo 70-B, -DB, -G, and -S or the ETM P-16 which go up to 128 and 120 fps respectively. A younger Victor 3/4/5 reaches 80 fps, too. If you need such speeds

For the other features in combination we have the Ciné-Kodak Special, the Paillard-Bolex H-16 RX-2 to -5, the Pentacon AK 16. CKS’s reflex system is usable until you press the release button. The magnifyer tube is useful. The turret for two lenses and Kodak’s proprietary mounts surely lose ground.

A Pentaka 16 accepts a spring drive accessory. Its variable mirror shutter gives you a brighter finder view than a Paillard-Bolex. The younger P.-B. H-16 Reflex models have a big enough base in my opinion. Their turret disc accepts more lenses than the Pathé’s which has recesses. But that can be changed. Optically, Pathé beats Paillard, the double prism system compromises stronger than the pellicle. Mechanically, the H-16 is superior to the WEBO M. No chauvinism intended.

An Arriflex 16, although no spring drive accessory to it is known, gives you 100 percent light in the finder, the big base a professional camera must have, reliable mechanics, a rugged turret, and magazine capability. What not many know: bajonet lens mounts don’t center lenses better than threads. In fact the Bell & Howell A and B mounts are the best in that respect, there is a cylindrical fit between camera and lens. The C mount is threads only, with less play.

If you can live with a NON-REFLEX critical focusing system, your choice widens. With an ETM P 16, of which I know its mechanics will survive a meteor hit, you can remove the periscope loupe (hence the designation P), so a replacement offering stronger magnification is possible anytime. The ETM P 16 Reflex is rare. The H-16 with serial number below 100,400 have a very accurate set-up system together with the diagonal rackover and 190 degrees shutter opening angle. Still more light reaches the film in a Filmo 70, say, models DA/DL/DR, with a 204 degrees angle plus 15 times magnifying focuser and alignment gauge. An Arco TV-16 has 220 degrees on a variable shutter and a prism reflex finder.

My favourites are Filmo 70-DL and P.-B. H-16 S-4.

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12 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

Your are right about the Pathé having

  • a very low optical axis,
  • a low center of gravity, and
  • a big base surface.

It is also one of few spring driven cameras that run up to 80 fps. Competitors on that ground are the Bell & Howell Filmo 70-B, -DB, -G, and -S or the ETM P-16 which go up to 128 and 120 fps respectively. A younger Victor 3/4/5 reaches 80 fps, too. If you need such speeds

For the other features in combination we have the Ciné-Kodak Special, the Paillard-Bolex H-16 RX-2 to -5, the Pentacon AK 16. CKS’s reflex system is usable until you press the release button. The magnifyer tube is useful. The turret for two lenses and Kodak’s proprietary mounts surely lose ground.

A Pentaka 16 accepts a spring drive accessory. Its variable mirror shutter gives you a brighter finder view than a Paillard-Bolex. The younger P.-B. H-16 Reflex models have a big enough base in my opinion. Their turret disc accepts more lenses than the Pathé’s which has recesses. But that can be changed. Optically, Pathé beats Paillard, the double prism system compromises stronger than the pellicle. Mechanically, the H-16 is superior to the WEBO M. No chauvinism intended.

An Arriflex 16, although no spring drive accessory to it is known, gives you 100 percent light in the finder, the big base a professional camera must have, reliable mechanics, a rugged turret, and magazine capability. What not many know: bajonet lens mounts don’t center lenses better than threads. In fact the Bell & Howell A and B mounts are the best in that respect, there is a cylindrical fit between camera and lens. The C mount is threads only, with less play.

If you can live with a NON-REFLEX critical focusing system, your choice widens. With an ETM P 16, of which I know its mechanics will survive a meteor hit, you can remove the periscope loupe (hence the designation P), so a replacement offering stronger magnification is possible anytime. The ETM P 16 Reflex is rare. The H-16 with serial number below 100,400 have a very accurate set-up system together with the diagonal rackover and 190 degrees shutter opening angle. Still more light reaches the film in a Filmo 70, say, models DA/DL/DR, with a 204 degrees angle plus 15 times magnifying focuser and alignment gauge. An Arco TV-16 has 220 degrees on a variable shutter and a prism reflex finder.

My favourites are Filmo 70-DL and P.-B. H-16 S-4.

Thank you Simon for this well-documented answer. A pleasure to read it.

I find difficult to find a reliable database of these cameras, where I could read more about them and see pictures of them (the Super-8mm format, for some reason, has generated a larger amount of wikis and databases than 16mm - maybe a larger user-base, although less professional?).

When I consult the pictures of the Bell & Howell Filmo B or DB (of which there are no more than 2 photos on the whole internet, not sure how easy it is to get one), it seems it has some of the issues I have with the Bolex: difficulty to place on a flat surface, and oddness of the gravity center, because of the vertical position of the spools inside the camera. Which would be especially bothersome for high-speeds since a good grip is even more important.

I could not find a single photo of the "ETM P-16", the "Victor" cameras, or the "Pentacon Ak16".
Is this the Pentaka 16? This article seems to have the only existing image of this camera. Interesting if it is reflex.

The Ciné-Kodak Special is the one that most grabbed my attention. The Cine-Kodak Special II look like a Webo with less features and a bunch of oddly-placed knobs which would make firmly holding the camera a bit cumbersome (might be a real pain to avoid flicking this little guy during prolonged use, or to not scratch anything with these sharp protruding viewfinder pieces! OUCH!). But you say the reflex system is unusable during filming - why? Again, that defeats the purpose a bit if one if following moving subjects.

The Bolex 16 that you recommend (with reflew finder usable during filming) is the one I *thought* I had purchased, only to be severely disappointed when I realized I had to do the whole process of focusing on the viewfinder plate, changing the lens position, etc every-time I'd shoot something. It makes the use of Scopes impossible. But I think it'd be impossible to use scopes even on the H16, given the offset of the lens from the tripod socket and the height where the scope would be in relation to the shape of the camera; the weight would be too high up to hold the camera vertically effectively. And how many times did someone focus, then forget to put the focused lens in front of the film gate position? It's really a bad idea all along (no chauvinism intended! Plenty of bad French cameras exist...).
I am also very confused with the naming conventions of the Bolex Cameras, I cannot find a reliable source giving the names of each model - the one I have doesn't have a model name on it, but online photos of my (non-reflex) model show up with "H16" in the name, and the one you have which is different is also called H16?

I however disagree that the Bolex cameras c-mount disc accepts more lenses than the Webo. The annoying metal lever that is supposed to help the user rotate the mounting disc gets in the way with some wider lenses, and the middle axis is a huge bump that some lenses touch when mounted - the front plate of the Webo is almost completely flat.

"Mechanically, the H-16 is superior to the WEBO M. No chauvinism intended", I would love to hear more about your findings in this field (the mechanical comparison, not the chauvinism! haha), while I have both a Bolex and a Webo at hand to compare.

But I sometimes wonder if the designers at Bolex intentionally made their 16mm cameras easily breakable (difficult to hold, the adjustable optical viewfinder on the film door is wobbly, the non-reflex viewfinder at the top by the handle is wobbly...), to make sure there would be profits from servicing them.

The Filmo 70-DL makes me feel like the Kodak K-100, in the way that it offers its user to place little "fake" lenses on the viewfinder to "simulate" the lens crop. But these little viewfinders can be hard to find, screwed on in their wrong position, slow to install, etc, where a reflex viewfinder would cut through these steps. It also seems a bit heavy, and therefore hard to handle? My Bolex weights 2.6 kilos, without lenses or film inside, whereas the empty Webo is 2.3 Kgs. And I can't imagine how heavy a G.I.C. ETM P16 must be, if you say it can withstand a meteorite hit! The Arriflex as well...

"If you can live with a NON-REFLEX critical focusing system" - I could, and was going to when I purchased the K-100 (2.6 kilograms btw), but I really want to use scopes!
There really has to be a very good reason for a camera to not have a reflex viewfinder for me to consider it. In range of film cameras I use, I use a lot of bellows cameras for medium format, for example, because they are very portable and convenient, although not reflex (I use the laser rangefinder mentioned earlier or a Blik hotshoe rangefinder). How do you quickly focus with the Filmo?
And the Kinamo 35mm I have for hand-cranked 35mm filming - well, it films 35mm 4-perf and weights an outstanding 1.4 kilos!

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13 hours ago, Fabrice Ducouret said:

I find difficult to find a reliable database of these cameras, where I could read more about them and see pictures of them (the Super-8mm format, for some reason, has generated a larger amount of wikis and databases than 16mm - maybe a larger user-base, although less professional?).

* For the more professional 16mm cameras you can find info in the various camera assistants guides and cinematographers handbooks from a few years ago, ie Samuelson’s Handbook for Cinematographers, The Professional Cameraman’s Handbook or Camera Assistant’s Manual by Elkins. For more amateur 16mm cameras there are less complete resources, but Lossau’s Filmkameras covers most. A few have been discussed in threads on cinematography.com if you google, and there are plenty of scattered collector sites covering various cameras. There is a camera collectors Facebook group that also has lots of info. I often find photos in old online auction catalogues or eBay.*


When I consult the pictures of the Bell & Howell Filmo B or DB (of which there are no more than 2 photos on the whole internet, not sure how easy it is to get one), it seems it has some of the issues I have with the Bolex: difficulty to place on a flat surface, and oddness of the gravity center, because of the vertical position of the spools inside the camera. Which would be especially bothersome for high-speeds since a good grip is even more important.

* A flat base Bolex is definitely an improvement over the earlier models for the ability to set it down. I don’t find them too cumbersome to handhold, though. Many of the early 16mm cameras followed the Filmo/Victor form, which were the very first 16mm cameras, along with the boxy Cine Kodak.*


I could not find a single photo of the "ETM P-16", the "Victor" cameras, or the "Pentacon Ak16". 

*You didn’t google very hard :

https://www.catawiki.com/l/22763917-movie-camera-16mm-etm

https://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Victor-Animatograph/Victor-Cine-camera-Model-5.html

https://www.flickr.com/photos/128971864@N07/35424243241/ *

Is this the Pentaka 16? This article seems to have the only existing image of this camera. Interesting if it is reflex.

*It was sort of East Germany’s answer to West Germany’s Arriflex 16St. It doesn’t really compare, but it’s an interesting camera nonetheless. Here’s a manual from a forum member’s site:

http://www.mishkin.yolasite.com/resources/16mm_manuals/Pentaflex AK16 user manual English translation.pdf *


The Ciné-Kodak Special is the one that most grabbed my attention. The Cine-Kodak Special II look like a Webo with less features and a bunch of oddly-placed knobs which would make firmly holding the camera a bit cumbersome (might be a real pain to avoid flicking this little guy during prolonged use, or to not scratch anything with these sharp protruding viewfinder pieces! OUCH!). But you say the reflex system is unusable during filming - why? Again, that defeats the purpose a bit if one if following moving subjects.

*The reflex function on Cine-Kodak Specials is a flippable mirror that allows you to look through the taking lens while not filming, but once you press the release the mirror flips back out of the way. No cine cameras were fully reflex when the Cine Special was first released, but some CKSs were later converted to reflex. They were very highly regarded and often used for scientific filming and other semi-professional tasks in the 30s and 40s, and continued being used for decades. They were the first camera I know of to use quick change magazines, as used later on cameras like Eclairs, Aatons and Arri SRs. Apart from the lack of a reflex pellicle, I think they have as many features as a Webo, but far better construction. Unfortunately they use a proprietary Kodak mount which limits the lenses somewhat, but adapters to other mounts were made.*


The Bolex 16 that you recommend (with reflew finder usable during filming) is the one I *thought* I had purchased, only to be severely disappointed when I realized I had to do the whole process of focusing on the viewfinder plate, changing the lens position, etc every-time I'd shoot something. It makes the use of Scopes impossible. But I think it'd be impossible to use scopes even on the H16, given the offset of the lens from the tripod socket and the height where the scope would be in relation to the shape of the camera; the weight would be too high up to hold the camera vertically effectively. And how many times did someone focus, then forget to put the focused lens in front of the film gate position? It's really a bad idea all along (no chauvinism intended! Plenty of bad French cameras exist...).
I am also very confused with the naming conventions of the Bolex Cameras, I cannot find a reliable source giving the names of each model - the one I have doesn't have a model name on it, but online photos of my (non-reflex) model show up with "H16" in the name, and the one you have which is different is also called H16?

*The Bolex Collector site has a thorough catalogue of all the Bolex spring-powered models:

http://www.bolexcollector.com/cameras.html

You can designate models by the serial number and visible features.
The flat base models are the best in my opinion, and come with all the features you would ever need - forward and reverse running, a variable shutter that can be automated with a Rex-o-fader, footage and frame counters, auto-threading, reflex viewing, behind the lens filters, easily fitted external motors, facility to add a mattebox or anamorphic adapter or stereoscopic accessory, and a range of very good quality RX lenses.*


I however disagree that the Bolex cameras c-mount disc accepts more lenses than the Webo. The annoying metal lever that is supposed to help the user rotate the mounting disc gets in the way with some wider lenses, and the middle axis is a huge bump that some lenses touch when mounted - the front plate of the Webo is almost completely flat.

*Very few C mount lenses don’t fit a Bolex, perhaps only the odd zoom lens, very early C mounts with over long mount threads or CCTV lenses.*


"Mechanically, the H-16 is superior to the WEBO M. No chauvinism intended", I would love to hear more about your findings in this field (the mechanical comparison, not the chauvinism! haha), while I have both a Bolex and a Webo at hand to compare.

*I completely agree with Simon about the superior durability of a Bolex. They are very solidly built, and were for this reason often chosen as documentary cameras on expeditions to hostile environments. The famous Kon Tiki voyage was filmed with Bolexes, and won an Academy award for it. I doubt a Webo was ever used for anything more strenuous than a stroll through the forest of Fontainebleau.😉 The only amateur 16mm camera more durable is a Filmo.*

But I sometimes wonder if the designers at Bolex intentionally made their 16mm cameras easily breakable (difficult to hold, the adjustable optical viewfinder on the film door is wobbly, the non-reflex viewfinder at the top by the handle is wobbly...), to make sure there would be profits from servicing them.

*Maybe your Bolex is faulty? Nothing should be wobbly. They definitely weren’t made to break easily, but I have heard that complaint about certain French cameras. 😉*


The Filmo 70-DL makes me feel like the Kodak K-100, in the way that it offers its user to place little "fake" lenses on the viewfinder to "simulate" the lens crop. But these little viewfinders can be hard to find, screwed on in their wrong position, slow to install, etc, where a reflex viewfinder would cut through these steps. It also seems a bit heavy, and therefore hard to handle? My Bolex weights 2.6 kilos, without lenses or film inside, whereas the empty Webo is 2.3 Kgs. And I can't imagine how heavy a G.I.C. ETM P16 must be, if you say it can withstand a meteorite hit! The Arriflex as well...

*You can’t really compare an Arriflex 16St to any of these other cameras, it belongs with the more professional entries like the Mitchell 16 and Maurer, only those were not reflex, and never gained much of a following. Only Eclair’s Cameflex 16/35 from 1950 compares, and I would rate the Arri higher. A Bolex is great for animation and in-camera effects and generally learning about film, and is sturdy and reliable and relatively cheap which is why it still survives today as the most popular student camera by far, but if you work on cameras as I do the difference in construction, materials and tolerances is very marked. An Arriflex is a precision piece of machinery. Pellicles and prisms are not ideal solutions to reflex viewing, whereas a spinning mirror/shutter became the method used in every professional motion picture film camera since the 60s.*


"If you can live with a NON-REFLEX critical focusing system" - I could, and was going to when I purchased the K-100 (2.6 kilograms btw), but I really want to use scopes!
There really has to be a very good reason for a camera to not have a reflex viewfinder for me to consider it. In range of film cameras I use, I use a lot of bellows cameras for medium format, for example, because they are very portable and convenient, although not reflex (I use the laser rangefinder mentioned earlier or a Blik hotshoe rangefinder). How do you quickly focus with the Filmo?
 

*Filmos and Eyemos were used quite well during WWII and later conflicts, a deep daylight stop would help with depth of field, but operators got used to quickly estimating the distance and using the lens distance marks.*


And the Kinamo 35mm I have for hand-cranked 35mm filming - well, it films 35mm 4-perf and weights an outstanding 1.4 kilos! 
 

*I do love the Kinamo. Once of my first posts here was about it, unfortunately the pictures I took of the camera insides while refurbishing it are lost:

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/topic/48464-is-this-the-most-compact-35mm-cine-camera/

Joris Ivens used one to shoot one of my favourite short films, Regen, in 1929:

 

 

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21 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

 

Dom, I will try to keep it short, but I really appreciate the effort you put into your answer, and the immense knowledge you have brought to this discussion.
Maybe I didn't google very hard (I actually use DuckDuckGo, which I prefer), but I didn't know the full names of the cameras. As it turns out, I consider most of the ones listed here as oddities, and I would *never* consider using them. They all look extremely cumbersome, in the 3-5 kilos range, or are not with a reflex viewfinder, which rules them out right away.

What are the "flat base Bolexes" you mention? The Rex-5? All the ones I have seen have a really bad balance / center of gravity that prevents putting them down on a table the right way up. Hard to forgive such a design flaw. And the high-up lens mount prevents using scopes, as I said before.
Although my Super-8 Bolex, the 150 or 160 Super, has a really amusing design that reminds me of a 1960s kitchen appliance - or a camera you'd see in a comic book. I'd never use it either, because of the complicated types of batteries needed and the cumbersome design, but nonetheless a weird object to stare at confusedly (I think the designers at Bolex were taking something...). I own over 50 Super-8 cameras and the Bolex I had were the absolute worst, so maybe there's some of that in my feelings about the brand...

Back to 16mm...

Example #1 of the Bolex being super wobbly, weakly built, coming apart, badly designed, makes it difficult and scary to even handle.
Example #2 of the Bolex being wobbly, and having parts that move that really should absolutely never, ever move, since they are optical, fragile outside elements.

Example #1 of the Webo being sturdy as a tank, and wonderfully easy to handle very firmly (while lighter than the Bolex).
Example #2, because, you might want to hold it firmly on either side of the body? Do not try to reproduce with the Bolex...

Here's the front plate of the Webo, almost perfectly flat...
Here's the front plate of the Bolex, unnecessarily encumbered and not flat at all...

Which results in lenses like this one, not being mountable on the Bolex!
But on the Webo, it fits like a glove...

Another example of the really bad design of the front plate of the Bolex, preventing to use this amazing Canon Macro Zoom Lens...
And the Webo wears it without a problem.

Also, yes, I wouldn't mind teaching 16mm using a Bolex, but I've seen a lot of USA schools teach students with a Krasnagorsk-3, which I think is a better camera than the Bolex. Cheaply built, for sure. Proprietary mount, alas. But definitely cheap, affordable, very easy to hold and manipulate for hours, and with a reflex viewfinder.

I liked the joke about Fontainebleau, but my first Webo was given to my by a teacher that had used it across Europe for 30 years and it ran perfectly even when I used it. If the videos in this post do not convince you of how much sturdier it is...
 

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15 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

Fabrice, what do you mean by scopes? CinemaScope anamorphot?

Simon, a lot of people have been using anamorphic projection lenses to capture anamorphic footage of photography.
There's a lot of resources online about this, it allows for guerilla filmmakers and low-budget productions to access anamorphic technology at a fraction of the cost it would be with actual anamorphic lenses.

Tito Ferradans has reviewed pretty much every option available in his youtube channel.

I personally use a Schneider Cinelux with either film or photo cameras (turns a 35mm SLR into a panoramic camera, makes it feel like a Hollywood still...).

The tests with the Bolex were absolutely non-conclusive - not even impractical, just impossible. I'd have to use two tripods. But then how do I focus? I'd have to align everything on the top lens position, focus... then move everything back? Nah...

It's much easier with the Webo. The camera and the scope fit on the same rail mount. I just need to offset the camera by a couple of centimeters to the right...

This is what the Webo's reflex viewfinder sees. And once anamorphosed... (The actual results will not vignette and be better aligned...)
 

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I know the finder optics exactly. The word Scope is just not on my mind for an optical device, have worked with anamorphoseurs. The Möller system may be of interest: https://www.filmkorn.org/faszination-cinemascope/?lang=en.

You overload the H camera. We live many years after the camera got conceived. It was designed in 1930-31 as a take-along camera, not wider than the Movikon 16 for example with a turret. The Movikon 16 is from the same time, 1931-32. Originally the H came with a winding key or a crank. Compact lenses have been a goal with many lens manufacturers then. You will find short telephoto systems still after WWII, say the Angénieux P 3.

As to upright cameras on tripod Paillard offered an aluminium base to the older models. Beaulieu is a joke in that respect. For Bell & Howell Filmo 70 I plan to make a support that gives the camera the rigidity it deserves.

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5 hours ago, Fabrice Ducouret said:

What are the "flat base Bolexes" you mention? The Rex-5? All the ones I have seen have a really bad balance / center of gravity that prevents putting them down on a table the right way up. Hard to forgive such a design flaw. And the high-up lens mount prevents using scopes, as I said before.

All the models from Rex 3 on, including M3 and SBM. Most of the filmmakers and students who bring Bolexes to me for service tend to stick to the Rex 4 or 5 or SBM, they have the best viewfinders and all the features. Your Bolex is quite an early one, I don’t blame you for not being too impressed. I liked your video showing the wobbly bits, it reminded me of those infomercials where they show people being super clumsy trying to use a screwdriver or something in order to sell their new improved version. 😜 I can see that you love your Webo dearly, so far be it for me to try and change your mind.
 

Bolex made or commissioned many accessories including an anamorphic system which cleverly screwed support rails into the extra lens mounts (I think Simon linked to a pic of that), but they are hard to come by. You’re right that it’s easier to adapt a traditional rail system to a lower weighted camera like the Webo, as you have done.

I actually really like the first Bolex Super 8, the 150 Super. I love those space age designs from the late 60s. But most of the later Super 8 cameras badged Bolex were actually made by other companies, like Eumig. By that time Paillard was a spent force.
 

Regarding the K3, if you ever get your hands on one you will feel how cheap and junky they are. They are very hit and miss in terms of quality, and I’ve had loads of clients have bad experiences with them. They are most definitely not better than a Bolex.

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8 hours ago, Pavan Deep said:

Can I ask what issues did you have with the Kodak K100?

Pav

If you read the rest of the discussion, you can find out that I prefer cameras with a reflex viewfinder and a flat front turret. I think it's a decent camera for someone who doesn't need a reflex system, solidly built and easy to manipulate!

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Apologies I didn't read all the posts thoroughly, my question was based on your original post where you say you were disappointed with the K100. As for a reflex option I believe with all these cameras we can use dogleg lenses like the Angeniuex 17-68 or the Som Bertiot lenses.

Pav

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On 10/15/2020 at 1:03 AM, Fabrice Ducouret said:

The tests with the Bolex were absolutely non-conclusive - not even impractical, just impossible. I'd have to use two tripods. But then how do I focus? I'd have to align everything on the top lens position, focus... then move everything back? Nah...
 

Fabrice,

I'm loving this topic and I'm so glad you started it, and made a good case for the Webo, a camera which I have  long been curious about.

I have dabbled with shooting through an anamorphic lens, but didn't want to spend a lot of money. So I picked up this giant inexpensive projection lens and rigged up the Bolex on a cheese plate, with rails and a big mount for the front lens. It works okay and I have even handheld this rig! This is just to show that anything is possible with the right rigging components.

You also mentioned the Kodak Cine Special. I have been scanning film shot with a Cine Special from an old filmmaker friend and am finding lots of unstable footage. Recently I verified with someone else, that with their Cine Special system some magazines were more reliable than others - the claw mechanism is part of the magazine and it doesn't seem to be very well made.

bolexAnamorphic_smaller.jpg

Edited by Webster C
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12 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

It’s not the claw’s fault. The CKS has a lateral guidance that functions only with film perforated both edges. https://www.filmvorfuehrer.de/topic/14799-darf-ich-vorstellen-cin/

Thanks for the link Simon! It reminds me of the Auricon gate with its bearings that help stabilize the film. I'm still dubious about the steadiness of the CKS, though, as the films that I have been getting scanned are mostly 2R and I see registration issues. Do you think it's odd that the film is sandwiched against itself as it passes thru the single sprocket on both the feed and the takeup side?

Also, Simon, do you have any experience with the Eumig C16R? It seems to have the same problem as the Beaulieu R16 & Filmo, in terms of the miniscule base for mounting. I haven't worked with one though, I'm curious. Sad that it's a proprietary lens mount. 

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On 10/19/2020 at 3:15 PM, Webster C said:

Fabrice,

I'm loving this topic and I'm so glad you started it, and made a good case for the Webo, a camera which I have  long been curious about.

I have dabbled with shooting through an anamorphic lens, but didn't want to spend a lot of money. So I picked up this giant inexpensive projection lens and rigged up the Bolex on a cheese plate, with rails and a big mount for the front lens. It works okay and I have even handheld this rig! This is just to show that anything is possible with the right rigging components.

You also mentioned the Kodak Cine Special. I have been scanning film shot with a Cine Special from an old filmmaker friend and am finding lots of unstable footage. Recently I verified with someone else, that with their Cine Special system some magazines were more reliable than others - the claw mechanism is part of the magazine and it doesn't seem to be very well made.

bolexAnamorphic_smaller.jpg

 

Webster,

Thanks so much for following this discussion and adding your contribution.
Your rig is super - congratulations! But double or single focus?
I'm sure you can always find a smaller anamorphic someday either by luck or if you win the lottery... (Are you in the anamorphic shooters group on facebook?)
I'd love to see your anamorphic footage.

To be honest, I don't get why people place anamorphic lenses in front of a digital camera. For me it only really makes sense in front of a film camera... If you use a 2x anamorphic on a no-crop-needed setup, you end up with a output image after anamorphosis that is 7680 x 2160 for stills and 3840 x 1080 for video as seen here - pretty useless imho. But when you're working with a square-ish format, now we're talking...

By the way, how do you offset the anamorphic or the lens to align them? Here's my Pathé and the Schneider Cinelux seen from above, they're not aligned because the lens of the Pathé and the tripod socket are not on the same axis. If you know the name of the lego piece I need for my Fotga rail - it'd be much welcome! 

 

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