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The main mistake is to abuse a turret camera with a zoom lens. You have a turret for a set of relatively compact and lightweight primes. I do of course understand the wish for reflex viewing which was a major innovation but there is no reflex finder system free of drawbacks. Paillard chose a half-hearted solution and made a mistake with it themselves. Nobody saw that the light path from the lens to the matted surface is longer than the light path from the lens to the film. Different from the symmetric prism block in the Technicolor three-strip camera Paillard-Bolex’s is asymmetric. This causes an increasing error with decreasing subject distance, that is on macro shots.

 

You might want to go in the opposite direction with a Paillard-Bolex H camera, forget about RX. The standard models, by the way the only other makes besides Bell & Howell, offer the old rackover system based on a critical focuser behind another turret port. The refreshing thing about it is that you have nothing between lens and film but air. You can use every C- or D-mount lens. It’s possible to screw on a wide-angle lens that protrudes into the turret until it just misses the shutter.

 

The pellicle reflex viewing system has the disadvantage of fragility. The thin glass membranes are most difficult to clean, in the case of the Pathé WEBO M camera even impossible to clean on the backside without disassembly of the front. The mirror shutter reflex system after Vinik, ARRI, and all others causes slightly uneven exposure across the frame due to its angled standing. It also obstructs wide-angle lenses.

 

Thanks for these insights, Simon. I'd mention also that Bolex actually made a little rackover base for moving the critical focuser into the taking position.

 

Regarding the disadvantages of a pellicle reflex, and the spinning mirrored shutter issues (I have an Arri 2B and light tends to leak around the shutter) - what do you think of the design of the Beaulieu's shutter? I don't fully understand it but they call it an "oscillating shutter" if I recall? Is there an advantage to that design?

Edited by Webster C

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