The lens and other
problems in Super 16 conversions.
Some Super 16 conversions are not up to
par and somewhat confusing to the filmmakers as to lens and viewfinder coverage
of S16 frame.
Short focal length lenses made for the 16mm film cameras and having F stop ratio
number 1: 2. or higher (1: 2.8 )
are not likely to cover S16 frame. If the lens mount of converted camera is
not centered with the optical axes of S16 frame the problem
See below the illustration of the lens coverage of Super 16 and 16 mm
frame. The lens orientation is not the only problem
concerning the good operation of the converted S16 camera but it is the most
important. Execution of combined small details can make a big difference. Focus
distance and alignment of the Viewfinder system is also creating
problems in some S16 conversions.
16mm frame vs. S16 frame
1)This frame shows the area of 16mm
frame cropped for HD viewing.
2)This is a
full Super 16 frame cropped
for HD viewing. Compare images 1
and 2 for benefit of using the Super
3)This image illustrates the viewing
area when the converted camera is used
for 16mm frame. Just ignore the left side S16 area, the film will
be exposed but the projector will mask off this unwanted
image area and will be masked in
16mm. lens coverage
This image shows the lens coverage and the orientation of 16mm and
S16 image area.
The lens mount is moved to the optical center axes of Super 16 frame.
This image shows the difference if the lens mount of the converted
is left to its original position. The same lens that barely works for
above illustration will not cover the S16 frame. The solution is to use
a larger lens.
35mm SLR camera lens will do.
Use of a good quality 35mm SLR
lens is a good alternative for
Bolex Super 16 cameras.
Bayonet lens mount is an ideal
construction for use with 35mm camera lens. The adapter made for bayonet mount
rough handling and is strong to maintain a correct mounting distance using long
focal length lenses.
There is an adapter available for mounting a Canon FD or Nikon F lens to Bolex
C-mount. This approach is little riskier,
C-mount was designed for smaller and lighter 16mm camera lenses, using these
bigger SLR camera lenses the turret
plate can get bent, therefore changing the mounting distance out of
How does the 35mm camera lens
work with 16mm Bolex H body film camera?
I tested with two SBM Super16 camera. Using 2pc.
of 25mm lenses and 2pc. of 50mm. lenses. First test included one EBM
a Canon 25mm FD lens mounted using a BX-FD & FL adapter and the other EBM
having a switar 25mm. lens mounted with a
bayonet to C-mount adapter. When focusing both cameras to same distant target
the view angle and image coverage was the
by visual inspection in aperture gate and in the viewfinder of both cameras.
The second test using 50mm focal length lenses in the same procedure,
yields the same result. In conclusion, using the 35mm. camera
lenses with 16mm film camera, the excess area of the view will get cropped off
by the aperture frame size, that is if the
distance is correct for corresponding lens.
When 35mm SLR camera lens is used with appropriate adapter made for Bolex
Bayonet mount or C- mount camera,
the lens works the same as used with SLR camera. What you see in the
viewfinder is what goes to film gate.
All lens controls, F: stop and focus settings work.
Using properly collimated lens, infinity is in focus.
Note1: Bayonet to Canon FD & FL adapter does not work with
Canon EF lenses made for EOS cameras.
Note 2: Bolex C-mount Zoom lens does not work with C-mount to bayonet adapter.