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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 20th, 2004, 09:13 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 304
My First 16mm Camera

Hi guys, well I know this is a DV forum, but I also know many guys here shoot film, and I just recently bought a Bolex H16 RX5 film camera which can be seen here...

This of course is a OOOOOOLD school camera. It winds up, shoots about 30 seconds at a time, and is very LOUD. I got it from a good friend who no longer has interest in film for about 500 buckaroos, including 3 lenses, light meter, tripod etc.

I have a few general questions for all the film gurus here.

1. Supposedly I can upgrade this camera to Super 16. What benefits does Super16 have besides widescreen? Is this upgrade too expensive to be worth it?

2. The lenses that I have with it are OK I guess. They are all prime lenses, with no zoom. Can you guys recommend a place to get cheap/good lenses for this thing?

3. I'm puzzled as to how I can shoot dialogue scenes with this camera. I mean, the thing is awfuly loud. Is there anyway I can upgrade this camera to make it quieter? How did people back in the day shoot dialogue with this thing?

4. The viewfinder is on the right side of the camera...meaning I can't shoulder mount it on my right shoulder. I'm wondering if it's possible to get a new, longer viewfinder...and mount it on the left? The camera is pretty heavy actually so I don't even know if shoulder mounting is feasable.

Basically I am brand new to shooting film and I have a lot to learn. If anyone has used this camera and has some advise for me on anything, or some links to some sites that would help it would be much appreciated.
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Old July 20th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 390
Ah yes, the Bolex.. coming out of first year film I'm all too familiar with this tough little camera.

3. Even if you barneyed this camera beyond belief and managed to keep it quiet, your dialogue would drift after a few minutes. The Bolex doesn't actually shoot at a constant frame rate - it's pretty close, but it's enough that you can't keep synch for longer than a few seconds.

Make sure, after you load your film - in the dark, of course - that you tape up the loading side with gaffer tape or masking tape. The Bolex is notorious for light leakage, to the point where if you're not actually looking through the viewfinder, you should close the reflex (little switch on the top-middle of the viewfinder) to prevent any light from seeping in and down on to the film.

There are some good Bolex-specific tips here: That should get you started.. enjoy!
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