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Paul Tarnavsky

Bell & Howell 240 w/ Comat Lens

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Hi Everyone,

 

I recently purchased a Bell & Howell 240 (single lens) off ebay. The camera came with a B&H 20mm f/2.5 20mm Comat lens and I'm confused about how this lens works.

 

Here's a description and photo of the lens:

The front of the lens reads various frames per second.

The middle part of the lens reads "film 10 32 index"

The base of the lens reads various stops from 2.5 - 16

 

post-37970-1234197974.jpg

 

Here are my questions:

 

1. Could someone please tell me what the middle part (film index) does? It appears to rotate independently of the base and front ends of the lens when you pull up. Also, why does it only give two numbers, a 10 and 32? What do those numbers represent? Are they supposed to line up some how with the frames per second above it?

 

2. Does the middle part somehow work in conjunction with the front end reading various fps? Supposing I wanted to film in 24 fps, what do I do to the lens to achieve this?

 

I'm very very new to film. I purchased the camera as a learning tool and cant wait to start shooting. I'd greatly appreciate anyone's help in this matter.

 

-Paul

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Hi Everyone,

 

I recently purchased a Bell & Howell 240 (single lens) off ebay. The camera came with a B&H 20mm f/2.5 20mm Comat lens and I'm confused about how this lens works.

post-37970-1234197974.jpg

1. Could someone please tell me what the middle part (film index) does? It appears to rotate independently of the base and front ends of the lens when you pull up. Also, why does it only give two numbers, a 10 and 32? What do those numbers represent? Are they supposed to line up some how with the frames per second above it?

 

HI Paul,

Looks like you have the lens with the handy dandy exposure calulator feature. And you can probaly safely ignore it!

 

Idea was you decide if you are shooting ASA 32 B&W or ASA10 Kodachrome, you set the dial to that speed, and then set the Frames per second. From that angle I can't see what version of 240 that you have, you may find a scale that says sunny clody etc, or you might have the EE (Electric eye) version of the camera. That has a built in light meter which takes now Illegal Hg batteries. Fortunatly the exposure can be set manualy on that one if the batterys are out.

 

Back in the 21st Cnetry, the only dial that makes sense is the Appature, which on a 240 is generaly set against the pointer on the front of the camera and not any of the lines on the lens. The actual filming speed is set on the body proper, and these days you would of course use 24 FPS. (in the old days many folks shot their (Silent) home movies at 16FPS.

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HI Paul,

Looks like you have the lens with the handy dandy exposure calulator feature. And you can probaly safely ignore it!

Just for fun I dug my 240 out of my workshop today, it has been down there while I have been looking for a guide on how to lubricate the camera. With the camera in fromt of me I can perhaps give a bit better explanaition.

 

If you loook at the front of the camera you will see a scale ranging from "Very Dull"to "bright sun" and a pointer with a large red line on the lens.. If the lens is set the user was suposed to be able to point that red line at the lighting condition and get the right exposure without using a meter.

 

The scale on the lens lets you select a film speed ("index) of 10 or 32, which would have been Kodachrome or Plus x back in the days the Camera was made.and put that beside a speed from 8-48 (frames) per second. that then sets the calulator to set the actual required exposure.

 

 

Again looking at the front- their is an alluminum post with a red dot just bellow the two "L"s in Howell. That post points at the lens appature from f1.9 to F16 on the lens.

 

Since you will not find any ASA 32, let alone ASA 10 Stock. these days - the nifty calulator is officallys useless, but the appature can still be set against that post. Note the focus of the lens is a bit further to the right at the line on the lens. itself.

 

If you remove the ring (last one on the back of the lens) that holds the 20mm Comat, you will find a C mount ring to hold a standard c-mount lens. - although the Comat is as sharp as any of the commoon 16mm lenses.

 

BTW IF anyone knows where I can get a lubrication procedure for the 240 I would appreacte you letting me know. MY camera works well, but stoped by itsel recently, a "nudge" got it running but I figgure it is about 50 years overdue for some oil, but I don't know how to oil it. Unlike the Filmo, there are no handy Oil holes.

 

I actually like the 240 better than the filmo as it will run longer on a wind, and takes less effort to wind. The film I have shot with looks as steady to me as my Old Filmo. (I have not run steadiness tests) and the 240 is quite a bit lighter to carry arround.

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Hey Charles,

 

I too have a Bell and Howell 240 that could use some oiling. Right now it sounds like an old sewing machine, but I read that with a clean and a lube, that it will quiet up a bit. I'm on the search for info and will let you know if I find anything.

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I've been looking. Little to no information out there. I found one camera shop that will do it for a couple hundred dollars:

 

http://www.duallcamera.com/intro/aboutus.shtml

 

Seems like the best bet out there. He told me that you can't just put oil into your camera because that will gum up the machine with the old dust and debris. The camera must be taken completely apart, cleaned, oiled, and put back together according to factory settings. Sounds pretty technical.

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The 240 series were awesome cameras. Other than the fact they lacked the filmo oil holes.

 

Freya

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I just bought a Bell Howell 240 on Ebay, it is the non electric eye model, which allowed me to use C mount lens on it.

I have two questions before I run a real film on it.

 

1) when I load the film, I see that there a metal form at of the film gate to make a circle, same as the bolex,

testing A, I left some space in between the film and the metal form, when I run the film, the film was not as stable , it was movinf left and right all the time.

testing B, I didn't leave any space in between, so the film just attached the metal form, it looks more stable than the first time, but I am not sure if it will damage the film or not.

 

2) I read on some forum that this camera will run 53 seconds at 24 fps. I did test, it will run 53 second when I set up the speed at about 30 fps.

Do I need repair this camera , or I can use like this?

 

 

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Do you mean loop former? The camera has an autoload facility but if you don't want to use it then set the loops so that the film is just clear of the formers.

You can check the running speed with a stopwatch- 16mm film has 40 frames to the foot, so it runs at 36ft/minute at 24fps.

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Do you mean loop former? The camera has an autoload facility but if you don't want to use it then set the loops so that the film is just clear of the formers.

You can check the running speed with a stopwatch- 16mm film has 40 frames to the foot, so it runs at 36ft/minute at 24fps.

Thanks for quick reply,

yes, I mean the loop former,

It is different as bolex which can open and close, so after loading the film the film won't touch the loops, but on Bell howell 240

after loading, the film will always touch the loop former , I am afraid that it may damage the film...

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On the K3 the formers retract when the door is closed. Does the 240 do that?

There is an online manual BTW

OK, I discovered that the loop former of this camera works the same way as K3,

It will open automaticly, when the door is closed .

Thanks,

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I got the first testing roll back from the lab. It flicker a lot in the last quarter of the winding.

Is this normal for this camera? Should I returned this camera to the seller?

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