Saturday, July 16, 2011

DO I REALLY NEED AN OVERHAUL?

Does your camera really need an overhaul? It depends on what you will do with it. If you buying a camera just to place in on a shelf for display, then no, it does not need an overhaul, just a good external cleaning. If you are buying or planning on using a Bolex camera for filming, then it really needs:

1) ...to be in good operating order, or

2) ...it has recently been serviced, or

3) ...it is going to be serviced or overhauled


Click here for prices and written descriptions of what is included in a CLA, ExCLA and overhaul.

8MM BOLEX QUESTIONS

 Q: I want to buy a Bolex 8mm to collect. Where can I find one?

 A: eBay is your best choice. Plenty of 8mm Bolexs at all prices.

 Q:  I found a camera and it has been stored and needs work. Can I just disassemble it and oil it myself before shooting?

 A: Probably not. Bolex recommends that the camera have a service know as a "CLA" (Clean-lubricate-adjust) on a yearly basis. Nearly all of the cameras on eBay are from storage or yard sales. They typically have not been used for 10-50 years. You may be lucky and it may only require a CLA. More likely, you'll need an extended service (ExCLA) or a full overhaul.

 Q:  The seller says it is "great shape - like new!" Stored with no apparent damage. Is this good thing?

 A: Not really - if, you are going to use this camera for filming. Long stored cameras will most likely have not been serviced and are therefore not in a condition to shoot film. Consider this camera as a "Shelf Queen" and bid appropriately (much lower).

Also, you can email the seller and ask if the camera has been recently used to shoot film or if it has been serviced. If it has been serviced or has been used to shoot film, this is a good sign. Bid accordingly. Ask if it has a warranty or guarantee policy.

You don't want to spend $50-200.00+ and then have to spend another $100-$299.00 (or more) to have if fixed so you can shoot film. Remember that the sellers of these cameras usually state that "they know noting about the camera" or "are not a camera expert" or words to that effect.

This all-purpose "weasel clause" coupled with some fancy text and gorgeous pictures may convince you that this camera is "ready to go". In fact, it probably is <u>not</u> ready to go. Be forewarned. Ask some direct questions. Know what you are getting. Pay accordingly.

 Q: Where do all those old Bolex cameras come from?

 A: Starting about 1942, with the L8 (early model), 8mm Bolex cameras became popular with photographers and tourists to document their home lifestyles and while on vacation. The cameras were not cheap, but film was relatively inexpensive as was processing. The cameras improved over time and became very popular in both the USA and Europe. They are easy to operate and are very dependable.
 
Bolexs have lasted due to 1) outstanding Swiss engineering and, 2) Swiss manufacturing. Whereas some camera manufacturers used cartridges to hold their film, Bolex has always used spools. The film used, 8mm (B&W and color), is actually 16mm wide and is cut out of 35mm film which is still widely used today. This one simple fact has allowed the continued manufacture of 8mm film and kept the Bolex cameras from ending up on a shelf as display items rather than the useful film cameras that they are.

The greater majority of 8mm Bolexs are 50-60 years old and were originally bought from the period starting in the late 1940's to about 1963. They were in popular use until the advent of the camcorder, and then slowly were relegated into the closet. A great number of the cameras selling today on eBay are said to be from estate sales. This is logical as a lot of the original owners are now at their end of life or have died and their relatives are selling off  "Grandpa's old stuff".

Bolex cameras have always been a great value. To make and sell a camera like a Bolex D8L today, I estimate that it would cost about $3,500+. The market would be small and the cost to manufacture high. Film and processing are still available and the Bolex 8mm series is a great way to discover filmmaking with real film camera and at an affordable cost.
 
 Q: What is a good price for a Bolex D8L, used, in unknown condition?

 A: A fair price is about $30.00 to about $200.00+ for a camera in typical condition. The value depends upon the model, number of lenses and condition, the overall condition of the camera, the included accessories and if anything is damaged or missing. The less service it needs, generally speaking, the more it's worth.

Remember, most buyers (or bidders) don't know the correct value because they don't know the full condition of the camera before purchase. I've seen cameras that I estimate are worth $75-$100.00 sell for upwards of $450.00+. And those camera most likely need a service before shooting film. Just a good looking camera, but $450.00? 

Beware of bidders on eBay "going nuts" and sending the price too high. The cameras worth is NOT set by bidders, only the demand. That same camera that sold for $500 today, will (if it could) sell for $200.00 next week. Know what the camera is worth BEFORE you bid. If not, you may bid too much. 

 Q: What are the most popular Bolex models to buy?

 A: The most popular models are the D8L, D8LA, the P1 and the P2. The B8L is next followed by the C8L, C8 and older B8 and L8 series. The "L" after the model number indicates that the camera has a light meter. The "A" after the model indicates it is a "variant" of the preceding model. The L series are the cheapest. Nobody fixes them. Too complicated.

The D8LA is an upgraded D8L and has a back wind key (dissolves)and a modified light meter assembly, as well as some other minor differences. The P-1 series has a French made "Som Berthoit 8-40mm" (5X power) manual zoom lens, a battery powered light meter with the light meter in the direct path of the lens at all times. A clever arrangement of a small sliding mirror within the shutter assembly allows the meter to function full-time while filming.

The P1 was followed by a similar model, the P2. The main difference from the two was that the P2 had a different lens (smaller zoom range) and was marketed as a "simpler camera to operate". The P3 had a battery powered motor lens zoom motor (with manual zoom) and the same zoom range as the P1. Unfortunately, the P3 batteries tended to be left in the camera stored too long and the zoom motor and it's circuitry were subsequently damaged by leaking mercury cells. Watch yourself when buying the P3 model. Is the battery compartment clean? Does the motor work?

 Q:  What should I look for in buying a 8mm Bolex?

 A: Look for guarantees or warranties if you are going to use it to shoot film. If not for shooting film, look for its cosmetic condition. Make sure all the accessories are there, including: Lens', lens caps, filters, hoods, carrying case, film reels, strap, Declic handle, etc. This adds value and some cost, but the cost is less than if you buy the accessories "a la cart". Ask about the carrying case leather covering and the condition of the camera's Moroccan leather covers.

If you are collecting, the more accessories you have, and the better condition they are in, will ultimately  affect the camera's value. Be sure the lens(s) are good as well as usable.  Bolex original brand lenses are - YVAR, Pizar and SWITAR). Check that the camera has not been dropped. If not sure - ask. A dropped camera will have dents, scratches or gouges in the aluminum case edges, or perhaps a broken meter housing, bent lens casings or damaged lens filter threads, etc.

Bolex advertises that their cameras "cannot be overwound". The spring motor has a set of 2 gears that cannot be turned past a "certain point". This is supposed to guarantee "no overwinding" The truth is the gears can forced to "jump over" one another if enough pressure is applied. Its a LOT of pressure on the winding key, but it CAN be done.

"Oh, yes they most definitely can be overwound". It takes some doing but it can be done. Overwinding generally means the camera's spring motor is junk. Not sure? Ask the seller. They don't know? Offer less.

 Q:  What are the common problems with Bolex cameras?

 A: If it has a light meter battery (P1-2-3), look for corrosion in the battery compartment. The batteries originally used were mercury cells. The are no longer sold as they are dangerous (toxic). The leaking cell will corrode after time (years of storage) and the wiring in the light meter will be damaged. On all models, check to make sure the lightmeter actually works.

With all models, check (or ask) that the spring motor is not overwound or if has been left stored for a long time with the motor fully wound. A motor fully wound and stored can cause the spring to take a permanent shape causing uneven running. Ask how the camera winds. If it winds smooth, chances are it will run smooth.

Check or ask about the lens or lense(s) included. A small amount of dust (a few particles) will typically not show when filming. Large black spots or wispy "spider like webs" indicate fungus in the lens. Fungus may or may not show on the film. It depends where it is located within the lens case. The P series seems to have the most problems with fungus.

The non-P series cameras use "prime" lenses. They may have stuck focus or iris rings. The damping agent used to allow the lens to rotate smoothly is wax based. It can dry out from storage. Some lens become stuck permanently; others can be "worked loose". Ask. If the iris or focus rings(s) are stuck, consider the lens usable ONLY for display purposes.

Look for (or ask about) scratches on all lenses. Scratches WILL show when filming. Consider a scratched lens usable only for display purposes (more or less worthless). Replacement lenses for Bolexs are for sale on eBay. Beware of high prices. $10-25+ is a good ballpark price for an YVAR and Pizar lens. Switars lenses are more costly. Lens are made specific to Bolex. They are "D" mount. If you buy lenses other than YVAR, Pizar or Switar, make sure the lens is usable with your camera. Bell & Howell 8mm lens and Yashica lenses will not fit Bolex cameras.

 Q:  I see people on eBay advertising Bolex cameras as in "fantastic condition", "Like new", "Little use", MINTY !!! etc. But they don't mention whether or not the camera actually works correctly and can shoot film. The text just says, "it winds and runs". How do you know if it has been overhauled or even serviced recently? What should you do?

 A: Email the seller and ask when the camera was last serviced. If they do not know the answer, you must assume the camera has most likely been stored and will require maintenance. Bid less as it's value as a usable film camera is now in question. Again, if it's going to sit on a shelf, you can expect to pay less.

 Q:  Why is service and maintenance so important?

 A: Bolex cameras have spring wound motors. Most of the parts inside the camera are either oiled or greased. After 10-40 years of storage, the grease and oil will have dried up. The motor wind rough or may not wind at all (overwound).

If the camera was stored with the motor fully wound, the motor's spring (inside the motor casing) may have taken on a permanent "bend" which means that it has lost some or all of its "springy-ness". With less torque from the damaged spring, the motor runs slower, erratically or not at all. This is common. The fix is to replace the spring motor.

If the speed regulator is dirty, it can't do its job, so the camera will probably run rough or the filming speed will vary. If the camera does run, the film speed may vary such that the finished film will appear to speed up and slow down at random while playing on a projector.

 Q:  I think I can do the CLA maintenance myself. What do you think?

 A: I repair a lot of cameras that have been ruined by just such thinking. People think they can do anything with can of WD40 and a screwdriver. They can't. Ask yourself if you can do the following:

Can you disassemble and reassemble the camera correctly? And it must be perfect - 100%. Are you good with tools? Small parts? Can you diagnose damage to the camera? And repair it? Do you have repair parts? Remember, Bolex no longer sells any 8mm repair parts.

 Q:  What tools do I need in order to do my own work?

 A: At a minimum: A full set of Wiha Precision Slotted Screwdriver Set (#26099 - $27.90 +S&H), miscellaneous hand tools, cleaning supplies, calipers, small pliers, files, paint, other specialty hand tools, etc. Custom jigs, Bolex 8mm specific measuring and calibrating tools and jigs, measuring equipment for speed reference setting, etc. Things most people never heard of.

And of course, the correct grease and camera oil, diagrams, printed parts lists, and spare parts. Oh, yes and don't forget the knowledge of how to do all this.

And yes, you will probably misplace some of the very small screws or parts. Or put them back in the wrong places! Most important you need to know how to disassemble and reassemble the parts within the camera's main case, top plate, and front shutter assembly.  There's over 50 small parts in the front shutter assembly, alone. Do it wrong and you may cause more damage.

Do you know how to adjust the speed regulator correctly? Clean the shutter assembly? Calibrate the lightmeter? What to oil? What not to oil? Replace damaged parts? For spare parts, you can buy another camera to act as a donor. When you have damaged and/or can't re-assemble the camera, send it to me. I can fix it. Normal overhaul rates apply.


 Q:  I tried to do an overhaul myself and now the shutter control doesn't work. What did I do wrong?

 A: You probably bent the shutter control index pin when installing the shutter assembly into the main case. The pin is very small and fragile and is easy to bend. It's also a little tricky to get it aligned correctly when reinstalling the shutter assembly. You will need to replace the damaged shutter control. Be sure to re-align the index pin and the dial correctly. Don't break the plastic shutter dial, either.

 Q:  The motor runs now at one continuous speed or varies wildly. Before that, the speed could be adjusted and ran at a constant speed. What's wrong?

 A: Probably grease or oil on the regulator pad. Or the pad fell off and you didn't notice. Or the speed adjustment slide has moved. You didn't unloosen any screws there, right? Clean or replace the pad, calibrate the speed. 1-3% deviation is ok. You do know how, right?

 Q:  I can't wind the motor. The winding key will turn only a fraction of an inch and then it stops. The motor will not run. What's wrong?

 A: The motor is overwound. I know, Bolex says "it is impossible to overwind". But there it is - overwound. The motor needs to be replaced.

 Q:  I stripped the intermediate gear (motor-to-shutter drive gear) upon disassembly. What do I do now?

 A: Get the same model for a donor camera and use it for the necessary parts. Be more careful next time :)  Do you know what you did wrong that caused the gear to be stripped? I do. Do you know how to disassemble and reassemble the camera? I do. It isn't as simple as one might think. But, easy enough once you know how.

 Q:  The camera works fine except it stops filming after about 2 or 3 seconds. I reset the film in the film gate and the same thing happens. I ruined a new roll (25' of film). What's up?

 A: The lower spindle "over-riding clutch" is most likely frozen or sticky. You didn't notice because you don't know how to test, repair or calibrate it. About half of the cameras I work on have a stuck over-riding clutch.

 Q:  Is there a book or video that I can buy to show me how to overhaul an 8mm Bolex camera?

 A: No book or video. Nobody has done this. Not even Bolex. We do however, include a copy of Bolex's 8mm Service Manual for all of our serviced cameras. The manual(s) are available separately, too. See this accessories link at the top of this page.

 Q:  Can I just use the Bolex manual to show me how to do the work?

 A:  Unfortunately, no. The Bolex service manual basically shows all the parts, their respective part numbers and where they are located in relation to each other. There are no written guides or step-by-step instructions to follow for repair. No diagnosis. Bolex repairmen are trained by the factory and/or other Bolex repairmen. If this is you first camera, expect to damage it while teaching yourself.

You will need to discover what to disassemble (and when), what to replace and why, and/or repair without any external help. What will help you is to take digital pictures of the entire disassembly process. Make notes and/or sketches on what you do to disassemble the camera. What goes where, etc.

Then use the reverse order to reassemble the camera. It's not as simple as it seems, though. Wait until you get to the shutter area. Little, teeny wire springs everywhere, parts that go in both ways and only one way works. Things that slip out of place before you can close the shutter assembly. Then you test it and it doesn't work. So you do it over again :(  
 
 Q:  Can I take my camera to a local camera shop and have it serviced?

 A: Maybe. Call a local camera repair shop ask them. If they can't, ask if they know who can. Then ask those people the following: When did you last do a CLA / service /repair /overhaul on a Bolex ______(fill in your model here). How much for CLA? Can your repair any damage? Can you adjust speed? Answer should be: $100, yes, yes.

Ask if they have spare or replacement parts in stock. Ask what the approximate cost will be. Will they give you an estimate for free? They may have to disassemble part of the camera to make an accurate estimate. Expect to pay for this service. If they then do the repairs, will the estimate charge be applied towards the total cost? Should be.

 Q:  What if they need parts and they don't have them?

 A: Send me an email. I will most likely have the parts.


IN CONCLUSION
Compare repair and overhaul rates to the prices you find here. Our rates are very competitive. We ONLY repair Bolex 8mm models and only certain Bolex 8mm models. Make sure the repair person knows what they are doing.  Ask them what will happen if the your camera is accidentally damage when they attempt to repair it?

Will they pay for the needed repairs? Do they offer a written warranty for the repair and service work to be done? They better. Always get a written estimate before repairs and a written warranty for finished repairs. Know what you are going to spend beforehand.

Be sure your repaired camera runs properly before leaving the repair shop. Check all camera functions with a used roll of film before leaving. If you follow the guide here, you will pay a fair price for your Bolex and for repairs or servicing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BOLEX REFLEX LIGHTMETER BATTERY

Bolex light meter batteries are no longer for sale as they contained mercury. There are replacement batteries of the correct voltage  (1.35 VDC) available. One such battery, a WEIN Air Cell, MRB400. It is the same as the original battery voltage of 1.35 volts. As it is a different physical size, an custom adapter is included.

Per the battery's printed instructions, it is recommend that you remove the battery protective cover (green or black plastic tab) approximately 30-120 minutes before first use. You can leave on the black plastic ring (if on the battery) to center the battery within the Bolex battery compartment.

The Bolex camera's battery holder is located on the right side of the camera case at the top right corner. The cover plate unscrews counter-clockwise. The adapter goes in first and either way. There is no up or down on the adapter. Its only purpose is to take up the difference in length between the original and replacement batteries.

What does matter is that the battery itself, the MRB400 <u><b><I>must</I></b></u> be put in with the (+) sign on the battery visible. Or in other words, with the positive side (+) outward. The camera's screw in cover will touch the bottom of the battery and make contact on the plus side of the battery. See the BOLEX manual for the procedure to use and/or calibrate the light meter.
When finished filming for the day, we recommend removal of the battery so the Wein cell is not inadvertently run down.

TIPS FOR NEW BOLEX OWNERS

Congratulations new film camera owner! Here are a few hints and suggestions for using your Bolex camera:

1) Film cameras make some noise. It's all the gears, pulldown claw, mechanical regulator, etc. This is normal.  Wind the spring motor after each shot. Do not force the wind handle. Practice using a roll of out-of-date film. Establish maximum run time. Spring may lost some of its strength and may actually run with a shorter filming time than normal. This will ensure the motor will run at consistent speed.

Failure to do this may result in the motor reaching the end of it's wind before the shot ends. This will cause the film to be exposed slower than normal which will result in the finished film playing faster than normal. H8s and H16s "tick" every so often. This is normal. The "ticking" can be turned off with a lever inside the film case. See manual.

2) Later 8mm Bolex cameras have built-in light meters. Most have a calibration adjustment screw. See the manual for your model. In film production due to the costs involved, accurate light measurement is a must. Consider using another, separate light meter, such as a Sekonic L-398 (about $179.00) or similar.

Light meters are cheap enough to purchase used on eBay. Metering should be done slightly below the chin of the key person in a shot with the meter light dome pointing towards the lens of the camera. There are other ways, however, this will work fine for most filming projects.

3) Film and film processing/transfer to video, etc, is expensive compared to video. Before shooting a large project, consider shooting a "test" roll of film. After processing you can compare what you wanted to what you got. This may save you a lot of money.

4) Film cameras are lubricated on a regular basis. Consult your manual for recommendations. Bolex says it's cameras should be maintenanced every year. A 1-3 year interval is more common. Cameras that have been stored or used under dusty conditions may require more frequent maintenance. 


Cameras stored for 5+ years definitely need to be overhauled as the grease and oil are long dried up and probably have affected operation. Rough winding of the spring motor is caused by lack of lubrication.

5) DO NOT store the camera or transport in a hot/dusty location. Film cameras tend to pick up dust as they use both oil and grease in their operating mechanisms.

6) Bolex cameras are covered with English leather. You can clean them with "Lexol" brand cleaner and leather conditioner.

7) Metal edges and Declic handles can be polished "like new" with any fine polishing compound,. We recommended, "Bluemagic" brand. Any automotive supply store.

8) Do not touch the lens glass with your fingers. The oil and acid on the human hand will etch into the glass if left long enough. Clean with lens paper or denatured alcohol. Never use canned air on a lens. It may blow dust into the lens mechanism.

9) Avoid using canned air to clean the inner compartment of the camera. Blown air may actually cause dirt and dust to get inside of inner case where the motor gears are exposed. Use soft lint free cloth or Kim-Wipes.

10)  When the project filming is finished, remove the film take-up spool after running the camera with the lens caps on. This will wind the exposed film onto to the take-up reel and prevent fogging. Remove the film reels in a dark area or use changing bag. See Bolex manual. Depress the run button until the spring in fully unwound. This is good operating practice. The purpose of running the motor down is to relieve the tension on the spring motor. For long periods of storage the spring should always be run down.

RUBBER EYEPIECES FOR BOLEX

RUBBER EYEPIECE FOR BOLEX
Most Bolex reflex cameras are 30-50+ years old. The rubber eyepiece (aka: eye guard, eye cup, etc) is one of the first things to go. New eyepieces are available. Occasionally on eBay, you'll find a used and new ones for sale. Check this link:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=bolex+eyecup&_sacat=0 

Be sure to ask if it will fit you camera model before buying. Ask about the diameter (hole) of the mounting on of the cup. Some cups can be adapted to bolex cameras. Rubber stretches.

New ones are available from several sources:

http://www.chamblesscineequip.com/catalog/catalog.htm 

Note: Chambless is usually on vacation from August until September. See the site for more information. Look under Misc. Bolex Camera Accessories tab on the lower left side of the above page. You want the "elliptical" eyepiece for Bolex P-1-2-3 series. There are others listed. Ask Chambless if not sure. About $26.00 (and up) plus S&H last time I checked. They may or may not have stock when you inquire. If they don't have an eye cup, ask if they know where you can get one.

LOCAL CAMERA STORES
Check also with local camera shops. Take you camera with you. Substitute eyepieces (may need trimming) may be found there. Telescope eyepieces may work, but might require trimming. Don't forget GOOGLE search.

DO I REALLY NEED AN EYEPIECE?
The eyecup is used to keep stray light from enter through the viewfinder diopter and affecting into the metering system where it can change light metering values. This is common for ALL reflex cameras. It's the nature of how reflex works. If the sun is directly in front or behind of you, only ambient light (from the side) will affect lightmeter values. Light directly in front or behind is mostly blocked by you head.

Try this test, with the sun or strong artificial light, anywhere except directly in front or in back of you, pick a subject and get a meter reading. The do the same reading again, except this time 'shade' the side of your face with the flat of you hand. Example: using your right eye to set the f/stop, shade the right side of face next to the diopter while holding camera with left-hand. Amy meter movement? Yes, No? The difference, if any, is the extraneous light leaking into the camera's viewfinder and subsequently affecting the meter reading. If there is no change in the experiment, you probably do not need a rubber shade for your camera. Some diopters effectively shade themselves if the optics are far enough in.

BUYING A BOLEX

Thinking of buying a Bolex camera on eBay? Here's a few things to look out for and a few question you might want to ask…

1) When was it serviced last? If the camera will sit on a shelf and never be used for filming, this question doesn't apply, nor do any of the following. Just pick something clean. If you are going to use the camera to film, it camera needs to be serviced every 2-3 years. Most cameras sold on eBay have NOT been serviced in 30+ years. Grease and oil dry up and camera will not function properly. Services can cost up to several hundred dollars. And that's if no major parts are broken.


2) What kind of lenses does it have? Are they clean? Scratched? Fungus inside? Does the iris and focus operate? Most sold on eBay do not operate perfectly. Again, if its not going to be used, this doesn't matter.


3) Does the camera wind smoothly? Bolex cameras use a spring wound motor. It the camera has been stored with the spring fully wound, the spring motor may be junk. Ask. If the seller doesn't know, consider the camera as "parts". Bid accordingly.


4) Can I get my Bolex service? Yes. But usually not locally. Ask around. Call all the local camera stores. Ask who repairs and services Bolex 8mm cameras. When making contact, be sure to tell them the model number. There are many service facilities that service the H16 ( 16mm) models. Few that will consider working on a 8mm except for the H8 series as it is essentially a modified H16.


5) Are Bolex cameras still used? Still sold? Yes. Use for music videos are especially popular. 16mm Bolex cameras are still made to this day. Bolex cameras are very popular will wildlife cinematographers. Spring wound cameras can go anywhere. No electricity needed. Extremely reliable although a little noisy.


6) Can I fix or service my own Bolex. Maybe. Can you service your own car? Do you have the tools? Parts? Manuals? Experience? Learning curve? What if you break something?


7) Do you homework. It doesn't take long and you can save some money. How much? A typical D8L or P-1 selling on eBay goes for about $40-$85.00 depending on the accessories included. Sometimes more - usually less. If a camera is selling for over $100.00 and it has not been serviced and it does NOT have a warranty, why would you want to buy it?

Monday, July 11, 2011

BOLEX PRESSURE PLATE MOD

Bolex 8mm cameras use a combination of  (1) drag from the pressure plate, (2) friction from the backwind roller, and (3) take up tension from an over-riding clutch than turns the lower spindle, to move film through the camera.

If all is in working order, film passes through the gate normally. Registration on the 8mm models is somewhat limited by the lateral movement of the film (weave) and the gate position (held by plate tension). H8 series Bolex camera eliminated this situation by using guide rollers, a better claw, and better method for moving the film.


TAPE MOD
I have worked on cameras that have had plastic electricians electrical tape applied to the pressure plate to increase the plate pressure. Although this in not a recommended procedure, the film did pass on without any apparent problem. I don't know if this actually improved the registration, though.

If you use this modification, be sure to check the operation of the camera for excessive plate pressure as the lower spindle take-up torque may tear film sprocket holes. The drag set in the lower spindle clutch is dependent upon the grease between its two friction plates.

Over time the grease will dry and the drag increase. If the plate exerts too much pressure with the attached tape, the film passing thought the gate may have the sprocket holes ripped or damaged. The increased pressure plate pressure in conjunction with dry (but not stuck)  clutch may also do the same.

                              Copyright 2011 Bolexrepair.com

BOLEX P1 REFLEX IRIS

The iris in a Bolex Reflex (P series) cameras is located behind the optics for the viewfinder reflex mechanism. The iris itself is about 3/4 inch in front of the film gate; buried pretty deep. You can look through the viewfinder, close the iris and still see the subject.

The metering system receives light by means of a small mirror mounted at 45 degrees to the light entering the lens. At all times, its position is to reflect all light passing thru the iris into the CDS cell for metering. The metering system therefore, will indicate light affected by the iris.

When the camera is running, the mirror alternately moves back and forth for two functions:

1) exposing the film gate and allow light to reach the film, and

2) then blocking the film gate, while still sending all light to the CDS cell for metering.

When the camera is running:

1) you cannot see any 'flickering' in the viewfinder,

2)     you cannot 'stop down' to see DOF as with a 35 mm reflex still camera.


                            Copyright 2011 Bolexrepair.com

LENS DISTANCE FOCUS RING CALIBRATION

INSTALL

Be careful to not loose screws when installing. Screws are very small and easily lost. Suggest working on a table. Correct screwdriver is sometimes hard to find. I use a "WIHA" #260. Size is 1.5x40. I then file the sides of the blade slightly to fit the screw opening of the focus ring.


LENS DISTANCE FOCUS RING CALIBRATION

Reference is from the front of the lens. The correct orientation is to tighten the screws snug, but not tight, with the focus ring seated as close to the camera body as possible. The screws should hold the focus ring firmly onto the focus mechanism for the next step.

Now turn the focus ring fully counter-clockwise. Loosen the 3 screws about ½ turn allowing the ring to turn on the mechanism. Turn ring counter-clockwise (only) until the 1 foot (number 1) mark lines up with the white line on the lens barrel. Now tighten the screws. Tighten one to snug, then do the others. Now re-tighten all.

Next, rotate the lens full clockwise. Focus ring should not slip. The infinity figure (like a 8 on its side) should now line up with the barely visible white line. Turn back to the 1 foot mark. It should still line up. If it doesn't, or the ring slips in the future, the screws weren't tight enough. Avoid excessive pressure when screwing in screws. Top much torque can break screw tip.

D8L MOTOR REPAIR

Read everything here first and understand what you are about to do – Take Pictures – Make Diagrams – Don’t trust your memory... You will forget

1) Clean everything after disassembly or before installing. I use denatured alcohol (methyl alcohol – Home Depot sells it as a paint thinner). Grease or oil anything that can’t be reached after part is installed. For example: Motor gears located on the bottom or outside of motor. Once installed, these gears cannot be seen or greased. Do before installing. You can oil other parts after motor is reinstalled. I use a hypodermic syringe and a blunt (flat) needle as an “oiler”. It is easy to control, and gets into tight places.

Use the smallest amount of oil possible. I use “NYOIL”. It's inexpensive and a synthetic alternate to real "clock oil". Real "clock oil", the kind used for watches etc, is about $30-$50.00 per ounce.

Ouch!

NYOIL is available from:

www.micro-tools.com

It doesn’t dry out fast or gum up. DO NOT over-oil otherwise the oil may find its way into the film path and contaminate the film. Don't get any oil on the speed regulator pad or into the leather coverings. Sometimes previous owners will have oiled the wind mechanism from the outside. The result is the leather coverings now come loose. This is because the oil acts as a solvent to the glue holding the covering.

2) Take pictures (digital) or video, or make sketches or drawings of the camera before disassembly. This will help you when reassemble the camera. Refer to the Bolex Camera Parts Manual (PDF) on CD-ROM when assembling. Manual is available from Bolexrepair.com.

All Bolex repair personnel are trained by the factory, or are other experienced camera repairmen and can rebuild a camera from diagrams without the assistance of “step-by-step” method. This paper is a “step-by step” method outlining how a trained repairman would replace a motor. I have made important warnings and cautions as CAPITAL letters.

3) Before installing motor, grease all items that are not accessible after assembly, such as: motor regulator bushings, bottom of motor (override clutch) etc. Don’t forget or you will have to do the job over again.

4) Oil everything else after assembly. Don’t forget or you will have to do the job over again.

5) It is very easy to damage some parts such as the “shutter angle selector arm” during disassembly and reassembly. You MUST work slowly and carefully check each step by making sure the parts or assemble are installed correctly before proceeding to the next step.

6) Place “like screws” and related parts as a group as you disassemble. Clean as a group. Screws, springs and other small parts are easy to loose. You can use a “donor camera” if you loose screws or need to replace damaged parts. BolexRepair.com has a complete supply of used parts for sale.

7) This is only an overview on how I replace a motor. I’ve tried to give all the steps necessary as well as some of the problems that arise. I usually disassemble the camera completely down to the last part and remove all the coverings before rebuilding. I clean, polish, inspect and replace all damaged or worn parts before reassembly. This tutorial does NOT give these exact instructions for everything I do. If it did this tutorial would be many, many times longer :)

TO REMOVE THE MOTOR:

1) Open camera door.

Remove pressure plate.

Remove pressure plate plastic housing (claw cover). It has (1) long screw.

Remove claw spring.

Remove claw’s (1) short hold down screw. Use a small screwdriver (Wiha #260 / 2,5 x 50mm Made in Germany. Available from Amazon.com. Or do a web search. This screwdriver will work on almost every screw, but not all. Use a slightly larger screwdriver to hold the claw from turning when removing screw. I use a Wiha 260 / 4.0 x 60. There is a slot on the side of the claw eccentric. Insert 2nd screwdriver here to hold shaft from turning.

Take out the claw.

Remove film footage counter cover. Two screws. Use the Wiha #260 / 2,5 x 50mm.

Remove top plate. Use the Wiha #260 / 2,5 x 50mm. There are (5) screws. All are the same length and thread pitch on the D8L and D8LA and P1 will have plastic film guide. The screws will be longer on these models. Some models will be missing the long screws and guides. Some cameras will have had them added by enterprising repair people.

Place all the screws and plate / cover as a group to keep separate each from the other. Makes assembly easier.

Set the frame speed (FPS) to 12. This will press the regulator’s friction pad against the regulator and prevent it from falling out when removing motor.

2) Press the RUN button camera to until the motor is completely wound down. MAKE SURE the motor is run down. It may SEEM that its run down, especially if the camera has not been serviced. The motor may actually be wound and its gummed up and won’t move. This is common.

If the motor is “sticking”, you can hold the run button while helping the regulator (brass shaft with weights) to turn with your fingers. If necessary, put a few drops of oil on the intermediate gear and shutter assembly gears. Anything that looks like it turns. Do not oil the speed regulator (gold colored brass).

Remove shutter screws (4) each. DO NOT REMOVE THE SHUTTER ASSEMBLY! If you remove it now, or the shutter assembly comes loose, and the spring motor is wound, the motor will immediately unwind and the intermediate drive gear will be damaged (stripped) and the motor’s spring will most likely be damaged!

3) Holding the camera in your left hand, press your left hand thumb against motor’s top. This is to prevent the motor from turning in case if the motor spring is NOT fully wound down. Always assume the motor is NOT wound down and that it MAY turn when the shutter plate assembly is removed.

The other 4 fingers of your hand should be against the side of the camera with the winding key. If you hear a “Zzzzip – kerchunk”. The intermediate gear’s teeth are probably now stripped and the motor is most likely damaged :(

Very gently release the pressure of your thumb. If the spring motor was NOT fully wound down, the motor will want to turn. If fully wound, there will be a very large twisting force exerted on you thumb and fingers. If the motor is only partially would, the pressure will be less. Allow the motor to turn slowly while keeping firm pressure on the motor so that the motor does NOT turn too fast! Use both hands.

WARNING!  
If the motor releases all the spring pressure at once, the motor’s internal flat spring will be damaged beyond repair and the intermediate gear’s teeth will be stripped.

3) Remove and place the shutter assembly on the workspace or table. Be careful not to touch or disturb the run button (on the side of the shutter assembly) or the lightmeter engage lever located on the top of the shutter assembly. If these are disturbed, or fall out, you will have to disassemble the entire shutter assembly to fix.

4) The motor is now wound down and the shutter assembly has been removed and placed aside. Remove the by setting the speed dial to 64 FPS. Remove the 3 small screws from the winding key hold down plate. Place these aside as a group so the screws do not become lost or mixed with other screws. All screws MUST be returned to their original locations upon reassembly. Some thread sizes (pitch) are the same, but the lengths and different. Sometimes only by a fraction of millimeter.

5) Remove the large slotted screw holding the motor shaft to the winding clutch. I use a ¼” screwdriver blade. It fits snugly into the screw slot. Loosen by turning counter-clockwise. “Righty tighty – lefty loosy”. The screwdriver will want to turn the motor. You can prevent this, again, by using you fingers to apply pressure to the motors flat surface, while gripping the case with your other fingers of the same hand.

After removing the large holddown screw, use a smaller screwdriver and insert it into the hole where you removed the large slotted screw. Push firmly and the motor will move away and become disengaged from the winding clutch assembly. Remove the motor from the open case top.

You will have to tilt the motor at an angle slightly to remove it. The ring gear on the motor fits underneath a lip on the back of the camera case. When re-installing the motor, the gear slips under the lip first.

6) Carefully remove the winding clutch assembly from the case. It has an outer ring, an inner ring where the large screw goes, (3) very small springs, (3) clutch rollers and a circular flat spring. If you can remove the assembly intact, you will not have to reassemble the clutch later. If the parts separate from each other, simply place them all in a single location (area) so you can reassemble later. This part gets lightly greased before or after reassembly.


REASSEMBLY

1) Clean everything first. Inspect for damage. Repair or replace parts as necessary. After this, lightly grease the motors outer ring gear, override clutch (2 gears), and the lower spindle drive gear (other aside - opposite the 2 gears). Use Moly grease. You can get this at any auto parts store. It's called "High temperature wheel bearing grease". Unfortunately, you'll have to buy a 1 pound can - minimum.

2) Reassemble reverse order. Insert good motor, lubricate and insert the winding clutch. If winding was “crunchy” or the key is hard to turn, the grease in the one-way winding clutch assembly is dried out. There are 3 small screws hold the clutch in the camera’s case. Remove these screws. Remove the tops circular plate. The winding plate and clutch assembly will come out.

Take pictures and note how the coil spring is wound onto the drum part of the plate. Remove the coil spring. Remove the extremely thin thrust washer. DO NOT DAMAGE OR BEND IT. Note which way it came out. When you reassemble the assembly, the flat spring should go back in the same way it came out.

This spring wears different from top or bottom. One side rubs the wire spring. The other rubs the machined surface of the plate. Use a magic marker to mark the top. After cleaning, reassemble the winding clutch in this order: 1) grease the machined surface of plate where the thin washer rests, 2) Replace washer onto plate, correctly,  3) Grease thin washer now in place on plate, 4) Wind the spring onto the plates edge, starting with the spring end with the small bend in it.

This “bend” in the wire indexes into a small slot on the camera’s case and the bottom of the camera. The spring winds onto the plate clockwise (looking from spring side of assembly) with the end that has the bend going on first. Use you thumb to hold the springs “bent end”.

This spring acts as a one-way clutch when winding. When done winding on spring (may be difficult), put assembly aside. Clean and then grease the inside of winding assembly where it insert into the case.  Wherever you took off old grease, re-grease that area.

Insert the assembly into the camera. The small bend tip of the spring wire indexes into the cameras case at the bottom. Put the large circular plate with the 3 holes back on from the inside of the camera. Insert 3 screws – leave them a little loose.  Double check to see that the index spring tip is still in place. If so, screw the assembly down tight.

Place a dab of clear fingernail polish over the screws to hold them from coming loose. Install the motor after greasing the 2 gears on outside of motor. Lightly grease edge gear. Slip into case with motor close to back of camera. Align the square drive. Push into place.

3) Insert cleaned and greased clutch. Replace large screw and tighten. Again, use finger to keep motor from turning. You cannot overtighten the large screw as you fingers will slip before the screw threads can strip out. Be careful the screwdriver does not jump out of the slot and puncture you hand while tightening the screw.

4) Replace the flat spring and winding key. The spring indexes into (2) small holes on the clutch. The key tangs rest over the slots in the housing and touch the spring. Grease the tip of the key where the key touches the spring. Use a small amount of grease to hold the spring in place if necessary. Insert key into two slots. Doesn’t matter which way.

5) Put winding clutch cover on and insert one of the (3) screws. Tighten snug and back the screw out about 1/2 turn to leave the cover slightly loose. Replace the other (2) screws. Tighten all (3) screws snug. Check to see that winding key works as normal. If not, disassemble and reassemble. Then tighten all (3) screws tight.  Sometimes the spring will shift and the key will bind.

6) After the motor is installed, you can check for operation by rotating the winding key. Motor should turn smoothly in one direction, only. If key does NOT turn, spring has slipped off its index point at the bottom of the case and is binding. Remove the motor, loosen the 3 small screws and re-align spring into index slot. Check operation, again. At this point, the motor will turn, but NOT wind as the speed regulator is not installed.

7) Double check that the motor idler gear is not damaged. The one-piece gear is made from plastic (bakelite) and a small brass gear in its center. Clean and oil the support shaft. Clean the grease from the idler gear’s brass gear (inside part of idler gear) with a dental pick or toothpick. Inspect the gear for missing or “ground down” teeth. Then replace the idler gear onto its shaft.  Tighten screw securely. This gear couples the motor’s ring gear to the shutter assembly drive gear.

8) Rotate the shutter angle selector dial so it's pointer is pointing forward. This is full counter-clockwise rotation looking down at the dial. Full half-moon position or half shutter. There is a “lock” on the dial (sliding chrome button). Leave the lock OPEN (allows rotation of dial).

9) Turn over the camera and look inside the camera’s case. The shutter angle selector arm has a short pin (6-8mm tall or so) sticking out of it. This pin engages a slot in a brass gear at the bottom of the shutter assembly. When the selector arm is turned, the pin moves the brass gear’s assembly and that changes the relative angle of the (2) shutter blades which are located inside the shutter assembly.

10) Make sure the pin is NOT bent. If it is bent, it is possible to straighten it. Usually only once. The 2nd time the pin usually breaks. It MUST be fully straight up (perpendicular) to the case. If it is bent, use a needle nose pliers to straighten it. If it breaks off, replace this part or you will NOT be able to adjust shutter angle. About half the time I straighten a pin, it will break off :(

11) Rotate the speed control to 64 FPS. Remove the regulator if it is still installed. Clean it thoroughly. Remove any oil or grease. Grease the hole where the regulator end pin goes in the back or the camera’s case with a very small amount of grease. Use the tip of a small screwdriver.

Re-install the regulator. Turn the Speed Control to 12 FPS. This will push the regulator pad against the regulator keep the regulator from falling out of the case while you replace the shutter assembly. DO NOT get any oil or grease on the small leather friction speed regulator pad or the flanged part of the regulator located closest to the camera’s back.

12) Note the position of the brass gear of the shutter assembly. It will slide front-to-back (lens-to-back of camera). Using your finger, position it so that it is full back or away from the lens mount side. The gear’s slot or groove, matches up to the shutter angle selector arm’s pin.

13) The pin MUST go into the grove of the brass gear when assembling the shutter assembly into the case. If you install it incorrectly, or the pin is not engaged in the gear’s slot, you may damage (bend) the pin upon re-assembly. DON'T FORCE ANYTHING!

14) Insert the shutter into the case carefully, keeping an eye on the pin and gear to make sure they are engaged. The regulator end pin fits into a small brass oilite bushing located on the side of the shutter gear housing. With the pin still in the slot, place the end of the regulator into the bushing. It is easy to do after you have done several camera overhauls. But not so easy this first time.

The gear and pin is a tight fit with not much room to allow the regulator end to be placed in the bushing, but it can be done :)  I use a small dental tool with a hook shaped end to lift the regulator into position or use a small hemostat to grip the regulator shaft. Once the regulator is in place, the shutter housing can be pushed LIGHTLY against the cameras case. The (4) attach screws can be installed - loosely (finger tight) . DO NOT TIGHTEN YET!

15) After the screws are in place, BUT NOT TIGHTENED, rotate the shutter dial and at the same time watch the brass gear and pin. The pin should be moving the gear back and forth from front to back smoothly. If NOT, remove the shutter assembly and check to see if the pin is bent. Repeat until shutter assembly is installed correctly. Check and make sure the regulator end is in the shutter housing bushing. Rotate the shutter knob and visually confirm that the lever pin is operating the brass slider.

16) If pin and gear are ok, and the regulator ends are in place correctly, tighten the (4) screws that held the shutter assembly to the cameras case. If for any reason you cannot insert the screws, this is a “hint” that the shutter plate in NOT lined up with the holes in the camera body. Usually, it's the brass slider and the pin that are not in the correct position.

17) Turn the camera over and set the Frames Per Second (FPS) indicator to 24. Set the shutter dial to open (full CCW).

18) Wind the motor a few turns. Press the run button.

19) The motor should turn smoothly. If not, double check work or do over. Once the motor turns smoothly, proceed.

20) Double check that all screws are tight and reinstall the top plate after oiling. Oil any part the goes into a front shutter assembly bushing. DO NOT oil regulator flange or the leather pad that rubs against it. DO NOT OIL the other end (camera case) of the speed regulator. You already greased a bushing (bronze oilite) earlier. The greased end will NOT toss lubricant it into the regulator pad. Oil could be thrown. And its next to the regulator pad. So, no oil!

If you are not sure what to oil – do NOT oil it. Parts that get oil are: shutter assembly end pin of the speed regulator (towards the front of the camera), brass sliding gears inside shutter assembly, claw rotating shaft top bushing, and lower bushing.

21) Check top plate’s lower spindle. This is the spindle the rotates the take-up reel. Hold onto the top side of the spindle and press a thumb against the bottom side gear of the spindle. This gear is attached to an over-riding clutch. The gear MUST not turn when the spindle is turned. If both are stuck together, the film registration will skip after few frames or the film will tear.

If the two parts appear to be "fused" or “stuck”, you can lightly oil the edge of the brown plastic wafer between the gear and to bottom plate. This will soak in and “rejuvenate” the grease. The proper procedure is to disassemble it and clean everything and re-grease the assembly.

22) The clutch is stacked as follows: bottom plate, thin rotation plate, plastic (brown) friction disc, circular flat spring, and last, a small gear held by a short screw. The parts are “indexed” to each other. If you disassemble to clean off grease, pay particular attention to the order in which they camera apart. It is possible to assemble the over-riding clutch incorrectly. Lubrication is a very thin coat of grease on the brown friction plate. The drag from the grease provides the friction clutch drag.

23) Lightly grease the cross shaft for the footage counter on both ends and lightly grease the top plate gear that the cross shaft engages. Lightly grease the gear on the motor's top and the gears teeth on the underside of the top plate. On D8LA models, grease and then install the backwind gear. Grease the end that goes into the bushing installed in the camera case. The grease will hold it from moving or falling out.

24) Inserting plate into camera case: insert the shaft into top plate pilot hole. It will engage an idler gear on the top plate. Now insert the top plate/shaft, as an assembly, putting the back side of plate in first. Align the cross shaft with the hole in the back case. Use the tip of a small screwdriver or dental pick to move it around..

25) Make sure the shaft is fully install into the case opening (counter assembly interface). You will have to wiggle the top plate until it engages the motor small gear to the lower spindles small gear. On the D8LA models, the backwind shaft will move into the hole. Shift and wiggle the plate until is does. Once in place, the lid will fit flush. Double check that the cross shaft is in place.

26) Insert the top plate screw closest to the claw. Screw it down but leave it loose. Insert the other 4 screws. DO NOT TIGHTEN ANY SCREWS. If you do, you may damage parts.

27) After the (5) top plate screws are in place are in place, and top place is still a little loose,  wind the motor a few turns set on 12-16 FPS. Run the motor and move the top plate with your finger until the lower spindle engages the motors gear. Double check that the cross shaft is in place (hole).

28) Press the run button again. Grab the lower spindle. It should be turning freely. It will stop when you grab it. If it does not stop when grabbed, the spindle clutch needs repair or replacing. Remove, fix and try again. When the top plate is correctly in place, the spindle gears will mesh. You may hear a loud click when it happen. If the spindle is rotating, the gears are engaging. Tighten the 5 screws.

29) Wind the motor and press the run button. Look at the footage counter. If the counter is turning, the cross shaft is installed correctly and is engaged the counter assembly. If the counter is NOT incrementing, remove the 5 screws, move the plate, and use a small screwdriver or other tools to push against the fluted splines on the cross shaft. Go back to 26 and try again.

You may be able to do this without fully removing the top plate. There is a gap at the counter side if the case (rear) when the screws are removed. Place the tool between the gap and gently push on the fluted splines of the gear shaft. The two will engage each other. Replace screws. Repeat this step until the counter is incrementing (going higher in footage count).

30) When the counter is incrementing, tighten all screws. Run the motor to see if all is running smoothly. Check the counter again.

31) Replace the claw after oiling its shaft lightly. Place a very small amount of grease on the brass bushing the lower end of the claw where it touches the small steel post (rubbing block).

32) Add the claw return spring. Replace the top cover (claw cover) by first pushing the lever forward. This is the same position the lever would be in if it were installed and the pressure plate is against the gate. There is a index rod that must be forward to align itself. Pushing the lever forward with set it right.

Be sure the spring roller (at top of film path) is still operating. It's purpose is to take up slack from the feed reel. If it has come out, you will have to roll the spring top end (about a turn) with your thumb and forefinger. The assemble by inserting the pin into the hole in the cover while holding the spring. When done correctly, there is tension against the roller pushing it toward the shutter assembly (forward). Done wrong, it will just flop back and forth or pushes toward the center of the case’s case.

33) Check tensioner for operation. Spring tensioner should be pushing the film towards the case edges – not towards the inside of the case. The tensioner regulated the drag of the film through the gate.

34) While holding down the cover, insert the screw/button into the cover and then into housings hole. Screw down finger tight. Make sure that tension roller is still in the right end of the cover. If not reset the tension roller spring and place into the top cover. Move the cover right side and slide the tension roller’s bottom (part that touches the top plate)  around until the lower part of tension roller engages a hole in top plate.

After the tensioner is in place, line up the screw hole and screw down the cover. Check that the tensioner is still working properly by pulling the tensioner away towards the center of the camera. Let it go. It should snap back into place. If not, disassemble and start over. This cover assemble is one of the most difficult procedures to do. You probably wish you had two for hands :)

35) If all is ok, Give it a full wind, which is about 22 half turns (or 11 full turns) of the winding key. Run the motor. Check different speeds. It should run at 12 FPS and at 64 FPS and all speeds in between. Check single frame operation. Check to see of claw is operating. Check the counter to see if its incrementing.

Pull back pressure plate lever. It should pull the pressure plate back (towards the center of the camera) when the lever is operated. Pressure plate should “spring back” on its own. If you cannot move the lever or the pressure plate does not move back on its own, the cover or the pressure plate is installed incorrectly. Remove and reinstall.

Push lever forward. Fully wind and run down the motor. Run it until the counter reads 25’. You’ll have to rewind the motor several times. Then listen for a “clicking sound”. This is the end of reel indicator at 25’. A click every few second when the motor runs to indicate the reel has gone 25’. If no click, or the counter click before reaching 25’, repair the counter assembly. Pull back the pressure plate lever. You will hear a click. This is the counter resetting itself. The counter should read 0 feet.

36) If all is ok, put in test roll of film and check film travel. Look to make sure that lower take-up spindle is working properly. With the camera run button depressed and film passing through the gate, place a finger on the top of the take-up reel. The Reel will stop. Wait 2 seconds or so and release finger pressure. The reel should then take up the film slack. If not, suspect the spindle clutch is assembled wrong or needs an overhaul (cleaning and greasing).

37) If all appears ok, replace counter cover (inside the case) using 2 very short screws.

38) Motor overhaul is done. Any problems, retrace your steps. If it overwhelms you, send me the camera and all the parts. I will fix it all for you. Normal rates apply.

Copyright 2011 Bolexrepair.com All rights Reserved