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Boris Belay

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Everything posted by Boris Belay

  1. Yes, and as Herb stated, any mechanical Bolex H16 can be handcranked, with the speed governor limiting going over the set speed. It's as simple as using the rewind position (motor srping Off, release locked in run position), setting the speed and cranking it forward rather than reverse. A nice trick would be to craft a better handle than the tiny original rewind handle, especially since the spring-motor handle is not necessary. Also, with a broken spring, you can crank the camera with the main motor handle. Since you can still get new SBM's from what's left of Bolex, they're probably the only guys to sell factory-fresh hand-crankable cameras today ! Obviously, in terms of cost, you're better off getting one with a dead spring off eBay...
  2. Tim, Sorry in turn if your bad experience with one camera blinds you so much : re-read my posts and you will see how much I try to point out the limitations of the EBM (along with its qualities), its sound level being an obvious one. Nobody's going to be helped by factually false claims such as that EBMs are 'hobby cameras'. Please keep in mind what the point of these forums is. And let's remember this thread began with the words "All brand prejudice aside (if that's possible)... " -Boris Belay Marcus, you did not say anythig about the lenses included with each camera. That's certainly a big consideration with respect to the monetary value of the kits you're offered.
  3. Hey Bryan, Sounds great, and I'm jealous ! I can't remember the name of the sound either, and the one I heard of is French anyways... that old cine rivalry ! Anyways, that song was meant for 35mm. cameras -- are you sure the gear ratios are the same on the first 16mm. camera ? Where's the Kodak technical docs ?? Maybe a score was included ! Great stuff ! B.
  4. I think there are two versions, the first being 'Made in Switzerland' (ie, by Kern, who made the same for the Switar 10 and Vario-Switar 12-100), and a second that is supposed to be better yet (made by Zeiss?).
  5. Hi Dave, Great question. Most anamorphic systems for 16mm. were add-on lenses meant for particular (medium) focal range fixed focal lenses and mostly did not survive (commercially) into the late 60's. There are very few arround, and I doubt any were made specifically for Arri Bl's or most other news-crew geared cameras. 35mm. Studio cameras had built-in anamorphic set-ups, but I'd love to hear about 16mm. anamorphic taking lenses for 16mm. cameras. Anybody know of some ?
  6. Hi again, Yes, there's a fine line between the right camera and the next-step-up camera. and it's a very personal question. But as far as I am concerned (handling the whole Bolex range), the Rex-2 is the earliest H16 I would use : the 10x. VF is heaps better than the 6x. And it's a great compromise camera beacuse it's still so light -- very recommended ! As for eBay, it's not so bad, if you're up to it that is... Obviously it's not a shop : no trying, and often no return, but what deals you get ! I took it that you were handy and willing to tinker a bit from your original post, so you're in a good position with regards to eBay. Most people who sell cameras on eBay don't know the first thing about them, but they're often willing to go quite a ways to test the camera for you, so at least you know the basics. Also, Bolex cameras, particularly 60's models like the Rex-2 have one great advantage : they were very expensive cameras used mostly by wealthy amateurs : not pros who wore them through, and not off-handed why-the-hell-not consumers buying disposable products, but very often dedicated film enthusiasts who were very aware of how precious the thing was and treated them extremely carefully. And if, by chance, it's sat in the upstirs closet for the last 40 years rather than the damp basement, you're in luck indeed ! (When you think of it, there aren't many other items like that : precious enough to be well-cared for by enthusiasts but so obsolete and odd looking that their children sell them off just to clear that bit of room in the closet... I mean, they wouldn't sell their father's Rolex quite the same way, would they?) So, I'd say : try your luck with eBay because if you have a bit of common sense (and a bit of time to be patient, then wait for the delivery, then dust it and look it over thoroughly), the odds are definetely on your side. And being in Cali is a definite plus too ! If you don't want to take that risk (or that time), I have a couple of Rex-2's that may do (I fix them up in my spare time). Perhaps you'd trade for your '23 Kodak Model A ??? I'd love one too ! B.
  7. Marcus, If you've changed your mind, it's probably a good thing -- it means you've thought through your problem and sorted it out. But Tim, what would you say if somebody responded with a problem they had with their NPR 30 years down the line and it would cost 1000's of Dollars to get it (possibly) fixed ? What I mean is, we all know there are overused cameras floating around, of every model (the better they are designed, the more professionals use them... out and move on to the next). So I'm not sure one's bout of bad luck with a camera (and repair shop !) is a reason to discourage somebody else out of hand... Overall noise level is a reason, so is the quality (or not) of its accessories, so is its maneuverability, its overall convenience, etc. But thanks for posting the pdfs on the site, and do let me know when you throw away your next economically-unviable professional camera ! But please, don't say EBMs are just good enough to sit on a bookshelf -- if anything, it's unfair for those who only have $500 to invest in a fisrt camera. B.
  8. Hi, For that kind of question, I would get in touch with the company that bought the left-over stock of Filmos from B&H and sells near-new kits and accessories on eBay. They seem very very serious and helpful. Look them up through their eBay pseudo : kinemaman Good luck, B.
  9. Hi, Two very different cameras, indeed, and two different approaches... And what you call brand-prejudice is not really the main problem here, but approach to cameras in general, and, by extension, to cinema. The H16 bears the marks of its origin as an (enlightened) amateur camera and always seemed at best a niche camera to professionals, or wanna-look-professionals. The NPR was always a professional camera, but remains the early TV-news crew beast that it ever was (otherwise Aaton wouldn't even exist). So, beyond what it can actually do for you, it's a matter of personal relation to the machine itself Synch-sound would seem to point you directly to the NPR (assuming it hasn't gotten noisy with time), but you're obviously leaning the H16 way... smaller, portable, flexible. The qualities of the Bolex way are also its limits (as with every other engineering choice) : what you get in flexibility going from a light, hand-held, 100 footer with a single lens to a 400-footer with zoom and all is the relitive awkwardness of the add-on result. But, like you, I think it's worth the trouble, and the Bolex system is a wonderfully rich one, wit the advantage of an enormous amount of models sold and still floating around for relatively low prices. It seems to me, your main question is whether the EBM works... isn't that true ? Try any 12V. battery around (there's an EBM manual to download on this site with battery connections schematics, or I can explain it all to you). If your question really is whether the camera is in good running order, the only way to reassure yourserlf is to test it thoroughly in the store. In terms of quality, the EBM is a very good camera. Obviously the technology dates back to 1971, but it's an evolution of the a model that was already 40 years old then and thoroughly mastered. Some people think that because it wasn't a all-new model created from scratch, it must not be as good, but what I see is that with 90% of the camera tested on previous models, the faults are limited to the remaining 10% (just think of the introduction of plastics as miracle light-weight, durable material in the 60's/70's and what we know they've become 30 years later to relativize the all-new-is-better approach). To get to the point : image stability should not be a problem on a decent EBM. Bolex are reknowned for that, which is why they're such a reference for animation. Also, the EBM is in fact lighter than the mechanical models, so more portable, and internally, they're very simple cameras : not much that can go wrong there, besides the electronics (of which there is less, and of the same age anyway, than on an NPR). So, check that everything works in the store, and look the camera over : some of these have been very, very little used, and you can see it. I have two EBMs that I got off eBay and they look like they were produced in the 21rst C. That and checking the fonctions hands-on is a good pointer to the actual shape of the camera because it's a simple, straightforward engineering (By the way, the Swiss mentality is much closer to the American "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" outlook than the French flashy engineering that's spectacular in results but pretty knife-edge and finnicky ; think : Concorde... same era!) And regarding crystal : it should work, why not ? Tobin, for instance, has been making ctiny crystal units for EBM's and EL's for years. I got one for $25 recently. Also, here's a tip : if you use the EBM handle/battery holder but without battery (obsolete model, too expensive to replace), you can actually hard-wire the crystal unit in the battery compartment to have a permanent built-in crystal camera. So, all in all, if you're more tempted by the Bolex a) make a list of all the good reasons why NOT to get it and all the things it can't do for you ; B) if you're still tempted, spend an hour or whatever it takes for the store-owner to kick you out trying the camera thoroughly an generally assessing its shape. If that's convincing, you're probably doing the right thing buying it. The price with all the accessories sounds ok, depending on the lenses (their quality and whether they suit your needs) and the warranty you get from the seller. It's a bit on the expensive side if the lenses are not good quality Switars, Angénieux, or equivalent (remember that the camera takes 'RX' specified lenses, by the way). For more on the Eclair, get the opinion of somebody who knows them better than me, but if you need more info or advice on Bolex's, don't hesitate to ask. Cheers, B.
  10. Hi, The upgrade to a better viewfinder is defiitely a possibilty on H16's... they're great cameras for that since the body essentially never changed, the screw holes are the same, etc. And this, from the earliest models (esp. after the built-in frame counter was added) to the latest Rex-5, and even the EL (although...), and including all the side models : M, S, J, etc. So, that's for the good part (and mounting the VF is easy too). The not-so-good part is finding the viewfinder : the 10x. VF is (definitely) better so anybody who has one keeps it (forget about the 13x. VF, even rarer). And since it was used all the way to the Rex-5's, SBM, etc, any spare one will be snatched up to repair a damaged higher model rather than a Rex-0 like yours, for instance. I fix these cameras, so I'm always on eBay looking for spares, and I can tell you these essentially never come up for auction... unless they're attached to a camera, of course. My advice is to either buy a damaged camera with a 10x. VF, but those are rare too, or better, bid on what looks like a working Rex-2 (great, light model, IMHO), get it for cheap if possible, and trade your Rex-0 for the same money (if you're smart about your auction listing, like good pics and a lot of reassurance about its working condition), or if the Rex-2 turns out to be less than operational, transplant the VF. Get a Repair manual off eBay too -- if you're a little handy, it's a great $25 investment. Bolex are great for just that : cheap, easy to repair, low maintenance, and evreything you need to begin shooting 16mm -- hard to beat ! Cheers, B.
  11. I am looking for a Service Manual for the Bolex H16 EL model, prefrerably the Mk I (1975) version, but Mk II or III may do too. Does anybody have one available (scanned or hardcopy, free or not) or, alternatively, could point me to a source for them ? (I am not looking for those for the preceding models (up to EBM), which are easy to find, and I already have). I got a very rusty (!) EL off eBay and took it apart, cleaned it (well, what could be cleaned of it) and it looks ok. But it has a loose power (red) wire by the motor, which I don't know what to make of... I fix Bolex cameras regularly, but my electronics is a bit rusty... The camera doesn't run (obviously), symptoms are : when the battery pack is connected, the camera goes straight to shooting mode (not light measuring possible) with the 1/1 axis catch retracted. Pressing the trigger does not do anything. Short of a manual (and addresses for repair shops), any hint or suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks, Boris
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