Archive for the ‘Cameras’ Category

How To Use the Sunny 16 Rule when shooting with your 16mm Camera   Leave a comment

I rarely go out shooting with a light meter, I usually just use the sunny 16 rule and “go with it”.   I had an earlier question about using the Sunny 16 rule, so I did a quick video that give you a run down.

Posted June 23, 2015 by 16mmadventures in Cameras

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Bolex H16 Manual   1 comment

Someone interested in purchasing film asked if I could help find a Bolex H16 manual.   I did some digging and found this in my files. Bolex H16 User Manual

Posted August 23, 2013 by 16mmadventures in Cameras

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Filmo 70 Video on Youtube   Leave a comment

Here is the companion video to go with the Bell and Howell Filmo 70 camera review.

Posted January 18, 2013 by 16mmadventures in Cameras

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A Quick Summary of My Process – Start to Finish   1 comment

Here is a quick and dirty rundown of my process.

Film:  I have used several different kinds of 16mm film but mostly I use a color intermediate film Eastman 7243 that was not intended to be shot in a camera but used to make duplicates of negatives.   This film I rate at asa 12 or asa 6 depending on the situation.  This film allows me to use a relatively open aperture on my camera and shoot in bright sunlight.  It is low contrast and has a very fine grain.  But the real reason I use it … It is really cheap.

Camera:  My current go to a Bolex H16 reflex camera.  It is reliable and easy to use.  The reflex aspect is very nice, I like having my subject in focus.  I also use the Filmo 70a for fun or in situations where I don’t want to risk damaging the Bolex.

Camera Settings:  I almost never use a light meter.  I use the sunny 16 rule and adjust to my situation.  Let see –  it is sunny and the film is 6 Asa and my shutter speed is twice the reciprocal of my frame rate, so 1/48th of a second – hmmm 6 – 12 – 24 – 48 so I should open up 3 or 4 stops from f/16.  It is a lot quicker if I just call it the sunny f/5.6 rule.  Of course if I can’t open up enough I can always slow the frame rate down and get an extra stop or two.  Anyway this works and once you get used to it, it is pretty quick.

Processing:  Again, I am cheap and I like to do stuff myself, so I process everything myself.   I don’t like complicated either so I do a very simple hand processing method using the least equipment and chemicals possible.  I process in a hand made dark tank.  It is a simple affair that is easy and cheap to build.  The film is spooled off the daylight reel in a dark room and bunched up and stuffed into the dark tank.  Then the film gets a quick wash in a warm borax solution for a couple of minutes, then a rinse in water, a 5 minutes develop in dektol, then a rinse, then a 5 minute soak in fixer and then a final rinse.  Let the film hang dry for an hour or two and it’s time for spooling and digitizing.

Digitizing:   I fought with this step for quite a while.   At first I bought an old B&H projector and just projected the reel and shot the result with whatever camera I had laying a round.  But I was unhappy with the results.  You can never get the shutter of the camera and projector to line up and the rate was always off, a bad flicker is the result.   I tried several methods before I settled on my current setup.   I took another old 16mm projector and retrofitted it with a stepper motor drive and a microswitch on shutter.  So I can control move the film slowly and precisely through the projector.  I also changed the light source to a LED bulb with a diffuser.  I use a Canon G5 camera that is aimed back into the lens to individually capture each frame as a high resolution image.   It take a couple of hours for the rig to run through and capture a single 100′ of film but I like the results much better.   Digitizing one 100′ reel leaves me with about 4000 – 1.5mb images that crop down to a 1600×1200 image so I can do a 1080p movie without losing quality.

Editing:   I take the images and drop them into Avidemux for initial processing.  This program allows me to crop, rotate, invert the negative and color correct all in one pass.  The output can be any number of  formats including uncompressed avi’s to highly compress mpeg4’s.   I take these files and load them into Sony Vegas pro for the final editing to a youtube or dvd type output.

Here is a quick example of what the files look like before and after processing.


Bell and Howell’s Filmo 70 Camera   11 comments

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70a sideview This is where I started on my 16mm adventure.  I was looking around on Ebay for Super8 film cameras and I ran across a B&H Filmo 70a in a box for a great price and I ended up winning the auction even though I really didn’t intend to.  Has that ever happened to you?  I mean there you are innocently browsing around and then Wham!, then a box shows up a couple of days later with something you hadn’t even been looking for.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 framerate closeup The Filmo 70 is a great starter camera that has a lot going for it: sturdy, inexpensive, easy to understand, easy to use, readily available, cool retro look, good resale value.   Of course there are some things that are not so good: heavy enough to make a great boat anchor, no reflex viewfinder.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 inside

If you go wonder around ebay looking for these monsters you are going to find a blue million variations.  B&H made these cameras for more than 30 years and they make 5 or 6 different models.   The above camera is an ancient 70a model made in the 20’s.  It has just a single lens limited framerate, I have one that goes  from 8 to 16 frames and another that  goes 12 to 24.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 Later version frontview Later models add the three lens turret, the ability to hand crank or add motor drive, speeds up to 64 frames a second, upgraded frame counter, additional longer film magazine.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 Later version rearview

The camera shown here was used as a sports camera filming high school football games.  It definitely show a good bit of wear but even after all that it still works fine.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 Later version sideview So what about repair???  well any old camera found on ebay is quite a tossup.  I have purchased all kinds of old cameras of ebay and it seems that maybe 50% turn out to be OK.  I have purchased the occasional camera that came broke and was easily repaired with a bit of oil or other TLC but generally digging into the guts of any camera is good way to end up with a junk box full of camera parts and not much else.  The filmo 70’s are not too bad to work on if you restrict yourself to the shutter area, if you go beyond that into the spring motor portion then you are asking for the spring to pop out and knock you head off.   One of the oldest 70 that I got didn’t work at first but after I remove the shutter panel from the front I found that it just needed a tiny bit of oil to get it running.  Of course it was only after I had it apart that I found that there was a cap on the front in the dead center of the panel that made it easy to oil without disassembly.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 shutter closeup

Another factor to consider with these old cameras is that they were made for double perf film.  I have had success converting one camera by removing the transport sprockets and sanding off one set of teeth, also the pull down lever needs to be modified to remove one of the teeth on that.  I was a relatively easy convert.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 Single Perf Alteration

Another thing to look for if you are looking at 70’s is whether or not your camera has a winder.  Several of the older cameras I got came without keys and I had to make one up to use them.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 Crank

I took a 8 inch bolt and did a little torch work with my torch and made a quick crank that gets the job done.  I supposed I could have gone shopping on ebay and found a crank for 30 or 40 bucks but I a just a little to cheap to spend that much on a crank when that is all I spent on the camera in the first place.

16mmadventures_B-H Filmo 70 Crank closeup

Lenses,  Arrrrrrrrrrg     you do have to be a little careful with lenses with the 70 models.  The 70a’s that I have do not take standard c mount lenses like so many 16mm camera but take a c mount with a special extension at the back so that you focus by actually screwing the lens out the front.    And if you have a turret lens version then you have to look for a lens with out any protrusions out of the back the keep you from rotating the turret.  Oh yeah – and of course there is the issue of getting a matching viewfinder lens.

filmo 70a with lens

Here is my advice if you want a Filmo 70 off ebay – look for a seller with good feedback,  look for a camera that is in working condition hopefully with a lens and crank attached.  Be wary of anything that is “untested” which tends to be another way of saying broken.   Don’t get in a hurry watch them sell for a week or two before you buy.

Good luck and happy 16mm adventures!

Posted January 6, 2013 by 16mmadventures in Cameras

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