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Simon Wyss

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About Simon Wyss

  • Birthday 12/02/1961

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  • My Gear
    Gauge blocks, gauge pins, calipers, micrometers, autocollimator, stereoscopic microscope, and everything a mechanic uses
  • Specialties
    Cinema pioneers

    Commercial hand processing of motion-picture films
    Step contact printing

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  1. Although I service and repair Paillard-Bolex H Reflex cameras, always strive for the best result to satisfy my clients, I openly declare that I am not fond of the beamsplitter system. As an immediate reply let me suggest the following solutions. Use a non-reflex Bolex. You have a critical finder built in that allows to set focus as accurately as with a reflex model, also to frame precisely on static shots. It’s not as intuitive or shall I say responsive as the reflex finder but no less accurate. In dim light conditions the side finder lets you see more, that’s the case with any non-reflex camera. A younger Filmo model offers quite bright a finder view. Use a zoom lens with an incorporated reflex finder. Somewhat better Use a mirror shutter reflex camera that allows 100 percent of the light to the film and 98 percent (or so) into the finder. Shoot in good light conditions. Use a slow film stock. Keep the eye on the finder until you’ve got the take. Our eyes adjust to changing light levels slower than we think. The eye at the ocular, enclosed by a rubber cup to keep stray light away, will see more after about 20 seconds. Try that out, it’s a valuable countermeasure to the not so bright Bolex reflex finder. Free yourself from shallow depths of field, at least now and then, by shorter focal length lenses, by relying more on the depth indicators of lenses, by pulling focus always a tad shorter than perceived at first sight, i. e. to screw the lens a little farther towards the scene, just a smidge. Here you enter the subject of hyperfocal distance. I know that’s a huge discussion. Free yourself from illusions. It’s maybe a dream that people pursue, namely the idea that the old masters were able to pull focus while on the run, say, with an Arriflex or a Bolex pressed against the head, always nailing sharpness. Oh, no. Have the optics of your Bolex finder cleaned by a specialist. Beaulieu R 16 are typical victims of dust and oil on finder elements, too. Film in broad sunlight. Did I suggest that already?
  2. Any help is appreciated.  I have a B&H Filmo DA 16mm film camera that I just dis-assembled, with out a service manual.  I did NOT get injured by the spring.  I did however dis-assemble the entire clockwork/gear works not knowing that I did not have to do that. All the gear works fell apart before I could photograph them in their proper place. I was on Dom Jaegar's Cinetinker blog and saw pictures of a Eyemo 35mm service procedure. It looked a lot like a Filmo 70.  Now to the question, do you have or know where I could buy a B&H Filmo 70 service manual?? Or other help.


    Michael Leake

    1. Simon Wyss

      Simon Wyss

      Hi, Michael

      Immediate help might come from the picture. Else you can send me the camera, plate screwed in to secure the spring, I will assemble.

      I could give the camera a complete overhaul. That would cost CHF 600. Afterwards you would have a three years warranty.

      For further information please see the English pages of my website.

      Regards, Simon


  3. No and my article is on the 1960 Leicina 8 S, S for the built-in Summicron lens. Has nothing to do with anything Super.
  4. Call International Cinema Equipment, https://www.mteworld.com/
  5. Yes, one thing to learn is that the comma follows the last letter of a word immediately, then comes spacing.
  6. You have helical gears that drive the shutter, pinned. The shutter then is fastened to a disc with screws, guess someone has been at the camera. Repair job for a technician
  7. Motor seems to be younger than manual. See whether you find an impressum. Show us Motor has no oil cups. Sorry, you did something not good. Those round openings are air inlets. When motor heats up warm air from inside can escape at the inching knob end.
  8. If you don’t find a designated oil port, it is that the motor is grease lubed. I think the 2709 electric motor was oil lubed but not the Filmo and Eyemo ones.
  9. http://www.film-tech.com/warehouse/manuals/STRSIMPLEXHIST.pdf
  10. First to do away with a few misbelieves, a professional Geneva-drive projector is not noisy when running empty (without film), the Geneva or Maltese cross can hardly be heard clicking (which it shouldn’t, if correctly lubricated), if something’s noisy, it will be the film. If the projector is noisy by itself, it’s a shitty young product. The old machines purr nicely away. The cinema as I have known it was, in part, ruined by the absence of any further development of film advance mechanisms. Single glorious exception: IMAX 70mm. Got abandoned, too. the acceleration of the film by a Geneva drive is relatively gentle, given a good match of the advance sprocket with the film’s pitch. The more teeth in contact with hole edges you have the strain better distributed. the making of Geneva drives is no simple thing, these units cost a few thousands. Precision grinding is involved to tenths of thousandths of an inch. To answer the core question: mass and weight. Take the Sept by Debrie, the successor to the Autocinephot Tartara, it has a Maltese cross made from sheet metal. It wears quickly. Oskar Messter had introduced a flywheel to the Geneva drive. That improvement yielded a much smoother function overall but added as much weight as is only acceptable with projectors. It was soon learnt that the cross and the drive pin must be hardened and submerged in oil. The best projectors of before WWI had already oil capsules. In a cinema projector you want longevity. A silent four reeler implies 64,000 advances, a sound 90-minutes film needs 129,600 steps. Projectors used to make billions of shifts during their lives, several times more than cameras. It was also understood that the intermittent movement should be designed as a unit separable from the camera for cleaning and maintenance. A Geneva drive does not offer itself so easily for this. The fit between drive sprocket and shaft affords almost no play, you pull the sprocket with a tool, not just like that. Furthermore a camera sees almost always fresh film stock, projectors OTOH have to swallow miles and miles of variably shrunken films full of sometimes adventurous joints. Only the rugged Geneva survived that technical hell. A camera intermittent may be damaged by one wrong splice already. Somewhat on a sideline is the discussion about shutter angles with cameras. The Bell & Howell Standard Cinematograph camera of 1911, sold from summer 1912 on, offers 170 degrees fully open. The Leonard and Mitchell cameras the same. The ARRIFLEX had 120 degrees (60 out of 180), the CINEFLEX as well. The Eyemo has 160, the Panavision R-200, surprise, 200 degrees. The faster pulldown of a four-arms star wheel drive appeared useless because we don’t have two exposures at taking but two light parts per cycle on projection, three at lower speeds. There were film projectors on the market that flash even four times per frame, allowing to lower the frame rate to 12 ps. High-speed intermittent cameras have multiple claw tips on both sides in order to spread the pulling force over eight or ten perforation holes. Other fast acting makes use the old beater movement which pushes into the film with large contact surfaces.
  11. The cheapest solution is to forget about aspect ratios wider than 4:3 and make interesting films instead. Four to three is the most dynamic format there is, it suits movement best.
  12. The 4 mm bore 15 mm off centre radially receives a dowel pin from the tripod side to prevent the head base from turning.
  13. Out-of-focus images have nothing to do with the drive. You can crank an Arriflex 16 ST with a gear insert that was once produced or with a pressurised air unit, focus shifts should not happen, least with an electric motor. If a magazine motor pulls too strongly, you should still not notice anything focus-wise. The first thing to take place in that case is damage to the perforation. You will hear a tearing noise at the sprocket(s) when lid is off. You may have the film loops too tight, firstly the upper one. Try to find a size where the film literally drops into the gate like a waterfall. The lower loop just mustn’t touch the body bottom during a cycle.
  14. Kinap, Odessa comes to mind. Clearly Ukrainian manufacture although of Leningrad descendance, the town originally named St. Petersburg. The optics were all German. An Industar is a Tessar, the Vega is the Biometar, and so on. We should change to Soviet and at the same time acknowledge a huge technology transfer from the US to the various SSRs, the Sputnik included. The balance is that some US optics are of German origin, too, for example Wollensak Tessar and Raptar, some Bausch & Lomb, and Schneider lenses for Kodak. Christoph(er) Graf was a German.
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