The Bolex H-16 Rex 5 is a 16mm reflex camera made in switzerland, it had various advanced features of that time appreciated by Cinematographers.
It has optical system permits through the lens viewing at all times. It is an extremely versatile, portable, dependable, well-built camera. The self-threading allows easy loading of daylight spools. This cameraʼs features include single frame, extended exposure, slow motion, a 135° angle variable shutter, and backwind.
The camera is loaded with so much features that includes
RELEASE SELECTOR (ON/OFF)
The optical system of the Bolex H16 reflex permits through the lens viewing at all times. This system utilizes a beam splitter so the image seen in the viewfinder is completely free from flicker. The reflex finder enables accurate focusing and framing, and allows to estimate the depth of field.
This adjustment corrects the optical system to the operatorʼs eyesight (whether or not if s/he wears glasses) and remains the same for all lenses on the camera.
The douser (located on the reflex viewfinder) closes the eyepiece to keep light from reaching and fogging the film plane through the viewfinder.
By turning the turret you can change from one lens to another. To turn the turret, use its fold away lever rather than handling the lenses. In this way, there is less risk of accidentally changing the aperture and/or focus ring. When using heavy lenses, such as telephotos or zooms, the turret should be locked with either a special locking clamp or a turret plug. Turret plugs go into the lowest lens cavity (when turret is on normal position); they are marked with a red ring. For other lighter lenses, the turret lock on the camera should be sufficient. This lock is located above the lens in the taking position and should be tighten before the lenses are in place. Keep the wide-angle lenses and telephoto lens opposite of each other on the turret so the telephoto lens doesnʼt interfere with the field of view of the wide-angle lens.
The H16 camera has a filter between the taking lens position and the reflex prism. The filters therefore remain in place no matter which lens is used. When filming without a filter, an empty filter carrier should be left in the filter slot to prevent light from entering the slot and fogging the film. Make sure the carrier is located firmly within the slot and the correct filter is in place before shooting. An incorrect filter will either alter the color balance or exposure.
The Bolex H16 has its own internal spring drive motor. This allows an electric motor to be used and also allows you to backwind the film for camera dissolves. Turn the motor disengaging lever to “MOT” and move the slide release to “stop”. If the side release will not go to stop, slightly wind the spring. Lift the winding crank, which automatically engages the spindle, and turn counterclockwise. Wind the spring fully without forcing it. Fold the crank and secure it on the latch on the lower body. Fully wound, the motor will drive about eighteen feet of film through the camera (about 28 seconds at 24fps).
The camera has seven film speeds from 12 to 64 frames per second (fps). To select the desired speed, there is a control knob to turn until the corresponding frame rate number is opposite the red dot.
The H16 is equipped with a shutter whose aperture can be varied when the camera is running and when it is stopped. This enables you to reduce exposure time without altering the camera running speed or f-stop. In bright light, the variable shutter can be used to reduce exposure, therefore eliminating the need for a neutral density filter.
The shutter may be locked in each of its four positions by pulling it out and pushing in when at the desired setting.
Superimposing a fade-in on a fade-out makes a lap dissolve so that one picture gradually disappears as the next gradually appears. This allows for a smooth transition during which the picture brightness scarcely varies. To produce lap dissolve, it is done by closing the first shot in a sequence with a fade-out. Lock the shutter in the “closed” position. Set the frame control to zero. Disengage the motor. Set the slide release to the ʻMʼ position. Douse the Viewfinder. Cap the lens. Rewind the film, using the backwind key, until the frame counter indicates the duration of the fade-out. Move the slide release to the STOP position. Frame the second sequence to be filmed and release the slide lever. At the same time make a fade-in the same length as the fade out.
The footage counter indicates how much film has been exposed. Once the camera has been loaded, the counter will read FEET. Run the camera until the figure “0” appears opposite the white line in the indicator window. This indicates the film leader has been taken up and the camera is ready to be used.
The frame counter is helpful for lap dissolves, double exposures, and animation.
The upper dial adds the frame in forward run and subtracts them in reverse (0 to 50 frames).
The lower dial totals in unit of 50 frames. It will subtract when the camera runs in reverse.
Indicators are from 0 to 1000 frames.
H-16 increasingly adopted by professional film makers. The company also made a successful range of high-end movie projectors for all amateur film making gauges.
In 2012, Bolex announced to create a digital Super 16mm cinema camera called the Digital Bolex D16.