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Bolex H16 REX-4

Equipment & Media | Real Photographers Forum - www.realphotographersforum.com
I hadn't originally planned to post an image of this camera but, following a discussion with Gill, I changed my mind. It's probably a bit too out of the interest range of many here (aside from being a gorgeous looking bit of kit) except maybe Dodkin. Anyway, here is a quick snap of the camera in question.

What is more interesting though is the reason I bought it (well, at least to me anyway). As some of you will know, I started my photographic odyssey with cine back in the mid 1970s after saving up and buying a second hand Russian 8mm cine camera. A few classics such as Spider vs Ladybird (X Cert.) and (Nearly in Focus) Hoverfly in Flight still exist and it is rumoured that there are even a few stop-motion animation masterpieces (in Jerky-Vision) in dusty cupboards somewhere! Anyway, I made 8mm cine films (mostly natural history) for several years until motorcycles started to consume all of my spare time (oddly, I don't think I ever made a film of them). When I was 21, I started to work for ICI and travelled from work to where I lived in Maidenhead in the company bus every day for the first year. From the drop-off point to home took me through the town and past a branch of Jacob's Photographic and one day, in the window, appeared an item that would be the subject of my lust for many months; a Bolex 16mm cine camera. Sadly it was accompanied by a price tag way beyond my reach but that did not stop me from standing and staring at it for long minutes as I walked back from work each day.

Fast-forward to 2014 (via the cunning use of the variable shutter to create an in-camera fade technique) and I started to look at Bolex cameras on eBay. And, of course, one thing led to another and, with a few clicks of the mouse, a long-unfulfilled desire, was sated. And that is why I have 2 Bolex 16mm cameras, 4 lenses and a few accessories littering up my living room!

I have a beautiful 1957 example of the H16 Reflex as well as this later, 1967, unit, equipped with the auto-aperture zoom lens (Vario-Switar 18-86/2.8 - it stops down to the shooting aperture when you start to film and the aperture is selected via a photocell and the ISO / shutter speed selected). The other camera came with a set of prime lenses (75/2.8, 25/1.4 and 10/1.6) on its rotating turret and I have just sent these off to be serviced as the controls were fairly stiff.

These cameras are still used by many film makers and are still made in both clockwork (as these are) and electric form by Bolex in Switzerland (since 1935) and truly are things of beauty (well to me anyway). I still stop and stare at it, but now it is in my living room and not a shop window. Who knows, I might even make Spider vs Ladybird 2 one day, maybe even in 3D as I have 2 cameras!

I'll take some more, and significantly better, images if people are interested.

 
Date: Sep 19, 2014   


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