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Jay Starz

Bell and Howell 240 Camera

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Hello -

 

Does anyone know what kind of batteries will work in the battery compartment of a Bell and Howell 240 16mm camera with the electric eye? There were two very old Everready 4.5 volt batteries in one of the compartments of the camera case. I can't seem to find a modern-day counterpart. Does anyone have any information?

 

Also, can a person move the F-stop ring on this camera manually? Or is it motorized to connect to the Electric Eye?

 

I am excited to get this camera back in working order! Thanks!

 

J. Starz

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Jay,

Your camera is the last model 16mm camera Bell and Howell manufactured. The 240 is the 1st complete redesign from the decades old ?70 series?. Not having shot with the 240, I can?t say if it was better or worse than the 70 series or would last as long as the 70 series cameras have. One of the new features of the 240 is the ?electric eye?. This was B&H?s attempt to make 16mm shooting more or less ?point and shoot?. I recall seeing some footage shot with the 240 in the auto exposure mode years ago. I remember that the exposure change was not instantaneous, but would settle in after a second or so. This was on very slow Kodachrome film. But, it did work well for ?home movies?.

On the electric eye, the film speeds go from ASA 10 to ASA 50. If you are going to use faster film, you?ll have to use some N.D.s on the lens if you want to use the auto eye feature.

Did you get a manual with your camera? The manual should tell you the type of battery you need. Most likely the code # for the battery is no longer used today. You?ll have to do a search for a cross-reference list. I?ve had good luck at a place called Batteries Plus. Look them up on the web. Your 4.5 volt battery most likely is made up of 3 smaller cells inside the cardboard cover. Carefully cut the cardboard on one of the batteries and see what?s in side. If this is the case, the smaller battery should have a # on it. Then try and find that # in a list. I discovered this with a Duracell bat. I had. Duracell stopped manufacturing them, but Battery Plus still made them. This was a 4.5 volt battery made up of 3 cells.

If you can get the smaller cells, you can make your own. I have a manual for the B&H 16mm 200EE magazine load camera. This has a similar electric eye. This camera takes 6 Mallory RM-1R cells. The modern equivalent of the RM-1R is the PX1A, E1N, MR52, RM-1R, and V1PX.

 

Check out these links: http://www.cinematography.com/forum2004/in...?showtopic=3492

http://www.craigcamera.com/ib_bell.htm

http://www.mugjoint.com/media/manuals/manuals2.html

 

These guys repair B&H 16mm cameras:

http://www.utphoto.com/

Call them; they might have batteries for your camera.

 

One thing to remember, this camera came out in 1957 and with time the photocell in the electric eye may not be as accurate as it was when manufactured or it may not work at all. The photocell in the camera generates current to a needle mounted on a shaft inside the camera. As the meter is deflected to one side or the other from the impulses from the photocell (light or dark scenes), it closes an electrical circuit through a motor and the batteries, which drive it. This motor drives gears which then rotates the iris of the lens. You may get new batteries and the motor may still work, but if the photocell is not generating the proper amount of current, it won?t give accurate readings.

 

The best steps to take when you get the meter fired up and before you shoot any film relying on the ?eye?, compare the ?eye?s? readings with a reliable meter. Your 240 meter takes ?reflective? readings.

 

You can manually set the iris. If you have no battery to power the eye, the stop will stay the same when you run the camera. You will feel a slight amount of drag on the iris ring from the gears and the motor. If you have a working battery in the photocell is working properly, the stop will adjust when you run the camera. If you don?t want your selected stop to change with a ?powered? eye, B&H recommended you hold the iris still with a finger when filming, but not too long as it will drain the battery. You can take the battery out or put a piece of paper between the battery and the camera contact to keep the eye inactive.

Hope this helps

Charlie

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Charlie -

 

Thank you so much for the wealth of information about the 240. I will work to try to find a cross-reference sheet to determine the modern-day equivalent of the the electric eye battery. In the manual, it also calls for a Mallory-type battery - I don't have the manual with me right now, so I'm not sure which model of the Mallory battery.

 

All of the information regarding how the electric eye functions is extremely helpful. I was working with the camera the other day, and tried to move the f-stop ring manually, but the ring is really stiff on the camera and barely moves. Perhaps I'll need to get this serviced at some point, because I'm sure the camera hasn't been lubricated in decades. It was stored in good conditions, however, so everything is in really good shape - nothing's rusted, etc.

 

Thanks again for all the information. I appreciate it!

 

Jay

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Hey Jay and Charile,

 

I won a 240 off Ebay a few months back. I've gotten some film for it now and am ready to shoot. But the one thing that is stopping me is the battery issue. I haven't look at all for any ref sheets to the battery but I'm sure something's out there. Thanks Charlie for all the info, it's going to help me out as well! :D

 

Jay, my manual nob works good to set it manually. Maybe you could just oil it and work it out yourself. :)

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Guest Christopher Heston

Does anyone know how good this camera is?? I just won one off of ebay for 60 dollars. Did any of you get a chance to shoot some footage with it?? Is there a camera that can be compared to it?

 

-Chris

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Christopher, yes I've shot with the camera with excellent results! I would compare it to a higer end camera for sure! Crystal sharp picture, ROCK STUDY picture, I mean just everything you could ever ask for. I set the camera manually without the EE. REMEMBER this is only a TEST FILM and was shot only as a TEST FILM.

 

That's all this is. This was just to see if the camera even worked! We desided to shoot a short scene for the test.

The file size is about 15mb, as I tried to make it look as clear as possible. The transfer I did to get it to the computer is "crude" and doesn't do the film justice at all. But atleast you'll be able to see what the camera can do. I tested all speeds with it and they all work great! Here is the film test right here.

 

:) Congrats on getting the cam. I think you should be pleased. If you have any questions just let me know.

 

P.S. I'm shooting some color tests now! :D

Edited by HTTK

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Christopher, yes I've shot with the camera with excellent results! I would compare it to a higer end camera for sure! Crystal sharp picture, ROCK STUDY picture, I mean just everything you could ever ask for. I set the camera manually without the EE. REMEMBER this is only a TEST FILM and was shot only as a TEST FILM.

 

That's all this is. This was just to see if the camera even worked! We desided to shoot a short scene for the test.

The file size is about 15mb, as I tried to make it look as clear as possible. The transfer I did to get it to the computer is "crude" and doesn't do the film justice at all. But atleast you'll be able to see what the camera can do. I tested all speeds with it and they all work great! Here is the film test right here.

 

:) Congrats on getting the cam. I think you should be pleased. If you have any questions just let me know.

 

P.S. I'm shooting some color tests now! :D

 

HTTK,

 

Nice job!

 

What filmstock and lens did you use? I have only the 25mm lens on the B&H 240 (not the electric eye) and have been anxious to try it out. At 24fps without film the motor seems to run about 52 seconds on one wind. How much time did you get before having to rewind? Do you know the max ASA this cam will register?

 

Once again, nice job with framing and imagery and the little slapstick film was entertaining as well.

 

Thanks. Tom Ballard

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Tom,

 

I was using Tri-X 7266. I used the 25mm lens that was on the B&H. :) I got about that much time, but we wound the camera after about every 3 takes, just to make sure it was nice and tight. I don't know the max ASA the camera can take but I bet pretty much anything. As if you set the lens manuelly then you just have to know how much light to let in with the film speed your shooting. Tri-X outdoors is 200ASA and I think it turned out really well. ;) Thanks for watching and I'm glad you enjoyed this little test.

 

Hope you get shooting with yours soon.

Edited by HTTK

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Tom,

 

I was using Tri-X 7266. I used the 25mm lens that was on the B&H. :) I got about that much time, but we wound the camera after about every 3 takes, just to make sure it was nice and tight. I don't know the max ASA the camera can take but I bet pretty much anything. As if you set the lens manuelly then you just have to know how much light to let in with the film speed your shooting. Tri-X outdoors is 200ASA and I think it turned out really well. ;)  Thanks for watching and I'm glad you enjoyed this little test.

 

Hope you get shooting with yours soon.

 

Nice to see some loyal support for the Bell and Howell 240! I've used it mainly for school (have two bodies) with the Angenieux zoom lens (allows you to frame your pictures). I have an extra camera I'm probably putting on ebay very soon. But here is a still shot with the camera I have. (it was telecined and colors adjusted at home on my computer)

 

http://www.bootie.org/~sean/b&h-240/filmstrip-watermark.jpg

 

nice to see loyal fans!

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Sean,

 

Those are awesome screengrabs! Any video? I hope my color film comes back like that!

What stock were you shooting by the way?

 

That's the next thing I would like to get is the Angenieux Zoom Lens. Would you happen to have an extra one you might want to get rid of? :D

Yeah it's great to see more and more people getting interested in this camera.

It's a good one. ^_^

 

P.S. Welcome to the boards! B)

Edited by HTTK

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I have the 220, the 50' magazine-version of this camera. Its one detriment is the lack of a c-mount, but that is one which I am in the process of correcting at the moment. Also the magazine itself is about as flutter-free as a Super8 magazine.

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Guest Christopher Heston
Christopher, yes I've shot with the camera with excellent results! I would compare it to a higer end camera for sure! Crystal sharp picture, ROCK STUDY picture, I mean just everything you could ever ask for. I set the camera manually without the EE. REMEMBER this is only a TEST FILM and was shot only as a TEST FILM.

 

That's all this is. This was just to see if the camera even worked! We desided to shoot a short scene for the test.

The file size is about 15mb, as I tried to make it look as clear as possible. The transfer I did to get it to the computer is "crude" and doesn't do the film justice at all. But atleast you'll be able to see what the camera can do. I tested all speeds with it and they all work great! Here is the film test right here.

 

:) Congrats on getting the cam. I think you should be pleased. If you have any questions just let me know.

 

P.S. I'm shooting some color tests now! :D

 

Wow...I'm friggin speachless, I had no idea how good this camera is. I'm still waiting on shipping, but I will deffinatley be shooting film with it asap! Your test footage kicked ass, however, was the last shot a pan of a 35mm photograph?

 

I would love to see your color test footage. Right now I'm shooting with a canon 310xl super 8, and it seems like the bell and howell 240ee is far superior...not just cause duh it's 16mm, but the camera was made for the average consumer in the 50's and it takes better photos than a super 8 made in the late 70s.

 

I'll be posting some test footage of my own, seeing as I am recieving a wide lense with my camera.

 

-Thank you a ton!

 

-Chris

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Guest Christopher Heston
I have the 220, the 50' magazine-version of this camera.  Its one detriment is the lack of a c-mount, but that is one which I am in the process of correcting at the moment.  Also the magazine itself is about as flutter-free as a Super8 magazine.

 

 

How much shoud a person be willing to pay for a 220 magazine camera...seeing as Alan Gordon is the only company that makes and loads the cartridges...Or can this be done yourself?? Do you have any test footage of this camera other than the stills?

 

I saw one go on ebay for 15 dollars and I didn't take a stab at the bidding thinking that these cammeras were probably a sad joke and not worth anything...I'm kicking myself already for not bidding.

 

-Chris

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Sean,

 

Those are awesome screengrabs! Any video? I hope my color film comes back like that!

What stock were you shooting by the way?

 

That's the next thing I would like to get is the Angenieux Zoom Lens. Would you happen to have an extra one you might want to get rid of? :D

Yeah it's great to see more and more people getting interested in this camera.

It's a good one.  ^_^

 

P.S. Welcome to the boards!  B)

 

HTTK,

 

I emailed Sean, he replied and told me that the top and bottom framegrabs were shot with Kodak 250D and the middle strip was shot with Vision 2 500T.

 

Thought you might like to know.

 

Tom.

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How much shoud a person be willing to pay for a 220 magazine camera...seeing as Alan Gordon is the only company that makes and loads the cartridges...Or can this be done yourself??  Do you have any test footage of this camera other than the stills?

 

I saw one go on ebay for 15 dollars and I didn't take a stab at the bidding thinking that these cammeras were probably a sad joke and not worth anything...I'm kicking myself already for not bidding.

 

-Chris

 

I bought a pile of the magazines and reload them myself. I've never gotten around to digitizing any of my test footage, should do that now shouldn't I?

 

I've actually been designing a modification to the camera that would allow me to use a 400' magazine, basically hacking one of my original 50' magazines onto a B&H magazine. Quick reload between shots if it works. I've also been modifying the front face to allow it to take a C-mount lens, and I've already worked out a basic critical-focusing system for it. If this works out, I'll look into the final conversion, modifying the camera for an electric motor. (having gutted out the EE bit, I have a lot of room for a motor-drive in the unit)

 

And note, I paid $20 for mine, including shipping.

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Guest Christopher Heston
I bought a pile of the magazines and reload them myself.  I've never gotten around to digitizing any of my test footage, should do that now shouldn't I?

 

I've actually been designing a modification to the camera that would allow me to use a 400' magazine, basically hacking one of my original 50' magazines onto a B&H magazine.  Quick reload between shots if it works.  I've also been modifying the front face to allow it to take a C-mount lens, and I've already worked out a basic critical-focusing system for it.  If this works out, I'll look into the final conversion, modifying the camera for an electric motor.  (having gutted out the EE bit, I have a lot of room for a motor-drive in the unit)

 

And note, I paid $20 for mine, including shipping.

 

 

Hmmm...sounds like you're designing your own camera, everything but the motor. Is it easy to load the cartridges? Just cut a 100' spool in half?? Digitizing you footage would be great, but so costly.

 

Anyway, could you compare the B&H 16mm magazine camera to any other 16mm cameras? High end, low end? How does the footage it takes look with no modifications to the original framework?

 

Lastly, though this might seem ridiculous to ask, compared to the new super film stock loaded in either a Nizo or a Canon super 8 camera, how does the B&H 200 or 240 match up?

 

-Chris

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Tom,

 

Thanks for that bit of info. Those screengrabs are awesome that Sean did. :)

 

HTTK,

 

I emailed Sean, he replied and told me that the top and bottom framegrabs were shot with Kodak 250D and the middle strip was shot with Vision 2 500T.

 

Thought you might like to know.

 

Tom.

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The magazines are a pain to load, but they also are of higher build-quality to, say, a Super8 magazine. Quality wise, it compares mostly to middle-ground cameras, like the Bolex and Keystone. And if you use the same V2 stock that you'd find with the Super8, it beats the S8 cameras even with the default lens.

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I have two B&H 200 cameras that take the 50 foot magazines; neither has an electric eye and I use a lightmeter. One has a C-mount, the other is some B&H custom mount.

 

My B&H 200 cameras both take fine pictures, as good as a Filmo 70DR with an equivalent lens. They are smaller than my Super 8 cameras, and since they are basically the civilian version of the GSAP gun camera, they are rugged and make great running/action cameras.

 

In addition to Alan Gordon, Java Photo in Atlanta sells loaded magazines with Plus-X negative for $20/per. As downix does, I reload the magazines myself; there's a guy on eBay who sells good empty magazines.

 

Magazine film path stability is the big variable; you have to load them in the dark and they are "a little finicky" in action. Practise loading in the daylight with some expendable film.

 

One last note: 50' magazines require double perf film. Kodak doesn't make b&w film in double perf anymore, though they carry double perf Vision and Vis 2 stock.

 

Mr. Pytlak, how about another run of double perf b&w negative for us old camera fans?

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Guest Christopher Heston

I believe the batteries that are used for the B&H 240 are no longer made, however from some research I have found that a battery named px21 with a 4.5 voltage can be used. These can be bought on ebay or from a store called "batteries plus".

 

Anybody with footage from this camera (good or bad) should post it. I will be posting some very soon.

 

-Chris

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Thanks Chris for the info. :) I'll look up this battery and try to get a few. See if my EE works on my cam. I'm having fun learning about ASA, F-Stops and all the manuel stuff though. :P

 

Here is my footage that I shot with the camera if anyone missed it... Click here

Tri-X 7266

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Hello All -

 

Thanks to everyone who has sent replies and information regarding the 200 and the 240 cameras - sounds like people are experimenting with equipment and filming some cool things with this camera. I appreciate the information about the batteries for the Electric Eye. I have my camera pretty well cleaned up and hopefully will shoot some film with it soon. I think I will run a roll of Plus-X through it to see what happens. I will try to convert and post the film here when I do that. It's really cool to see the number of 200/240 enthusiasts - when I first posted I wasn't sure how many people would know about this camera; thanks for all of the great knowledge which has been posted! I'll post more after filming.

 

Thanks,

 

Jay Starz

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Guest Christopher Heston
Hello All -

 

Thanks to everyone who has sent replies and information regarding the 200 and the 240 cameras - sounds like people are experimenting with equipment and filming some cool things with this camera.  I appreciate the information about the batteries for the Electric Eye.  I have my camera pretty well cleaned up and hopefully will shoot some film with it soon.  I think I will run a roll of Plus-X through it to see what happens.  I will try to convert and post the film here when I do that.  It's really cool to see the number of 200/240 enthusiasts - when I first posted I wasn't sure how many people would know about this camera; thanks for all of the great knowledge which has been posted!  I'll post more after filming.

 

Thanks,

 

Jay Starz

 

 

I too would like to thank the masses and their responses to the numerous questions. It appears as though these relatively cheap 16mm cameras are a lost gem of the past. Just the other day at Action Camera which is a camera shop located in SF California, I saw a 240ee for only 100 dollars. That's next to nothing when comparing it to the price of other 16mm cameras.

 

Currently, I am currious as to if these cameras could be moded to fit larger lenses or (as crazy as this sounds) be moded to super 16.

 

Once again, any footage people have shot with this camera should be posted here. I will be posting mine asap (just as soon as I get it telecined). The footage will be from some Kodak plus x. I also hope to be shooting a roll of vision 2.

 

-Chris

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The B&H model 200, and any other 16mm magazine camera, is double perf and by definition cannot be modded into a Super 16 format, which requires single perf film.

 

Here are a couple of Plus X screen shots from the 200:

 

- from an Alan Gordon magazine loaded with 7231 NWS Radar film (a Plus-X variation):

http://www.cavepaper.com/dnload/16mm-PlusXneg-a.jpg

 

- Plus-X 7276 reversal cross processed as negative:

http://www.cavepaper.com/dnload/16mm-PlusXpos-xproc-g.jpg

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Guest Christopher Heston
The B&H model 200, and any other 16mm magazine camera, is double perf and by definition cannot be modded into a Super 16 format, which requires single perf film.

 

Here are a couple of Plus X screen shots from the 200:

 

- from an Alan Gordon magazine loaded with 7231 NWS Radar film (a Plus-X variation):

http://www.cavepaper.com/dnload/16mm-PlusXneg-a.jpg

 

- Plus-X 7276 reversal cross processed as negative:

http://www.cavepaper.com/dnload/16mm-PlusXpos-xproc-g.jpg

 

 

 

Well, I fiigured the bell and howell magazine cameras could not be moded to super 16, but the 240 is not a magazine camera. It is a 100' spool camera made around 1958. It can accept single and double perf.

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