Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

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threeinv
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Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by threeinv » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:29 pm

Recently I won an auction as the only bidder for a Bolex 160 which was incorrectly listed as a "Rolex 160" :lol: Two of the battery terminals were broken off at the circuit board, AA batteries had leaked in the past, the mercury light meter batteries were leaking, there was a chip in the front lens element, the zoom knob was bent, and of course the eyecup was deteriorated. Since more work was needed than just getting a replacement eyecup from Chambless, I contacted Marc Ueter at Bolex in Switzerland. Their present price for servicing is $375, which includes return shipping to the U.S. It seemed steep, but I'd already fallen in love with the design & quality of the camera and was anxious to have a working showpiece at my upcoming wedding. It took some work to convince my fiancee, but I sent the camera to Bolex.

I received the camera back a few days ago and just have to share my highest recommendation of the Bolex factory service! I had sent them a list of known problems but they replaced even more parts than I expected. They installed a new front lens element, door hinge, plastic battery holders, black film chamber backing plate, motor/solenoid (?), circuit board, left side trim panel, focus knob, plastic lens hood slide pieces, light meter battery cover, and eyecup (the latest H16 version with elliptical mounting flange). I had already investigated the options for updating the light meter batteries (Wein cells or the Gossen Luna Pro adapter kit) but was very pleased to learn that as part of the service, the technician installs new 1.5 volt batteries and re-calibrates the light meter to the new voltage! Buying a new eyecup and Gossen battery adapter kit would have cost me $100 if done separately. The technician also applied some black paint to a ding on the edge of the lens housing and replaced the small nameplates on either side of the lens. I swear the aluminum chassis looks better, too, as if they polished it. I'm very impressed with the workmanship and have no doubt that the inner workings of the camera look just as nice as the exterior.

What surprised me most was that the company still had so many new parts in stock--a new front lens element and even the circuit board?!! I asked Marc whether they were depleting a small inventory of parts and he sent the following reply:

"We have many new parts for the 150 - 155 - 160 camera and can get them 100% rebuilt, for many years to come. We can also rebuild most of other Super 8 Bolex and Eumig cameras and projectors, and can service some Beaulieu ones. We can also rebuild almost all 8mm Bolex - Eumig and some Beaulieu film projectors. Of course we can service all Bolex 16mm cameras, can convert them to Super 16, and are still manufacturing brand new cameras. The only cameras we cannot rebuild / service are the 8mm ones. We stopped servicing 8mm film cameras 40 years ago. In case you - or friends of yours - have more cameras that need to be serviced, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would be very pleased to help you."

I'm so happy to hear of the state of Super8 at Bolex! Marc was very helpful and responsive throughout the process, and I couldn't be happier with the camera. It will be capturing some great wedding memories and will surely be a hit amongst our guests.

- Derrick

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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by aj » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:25 pm

That is certainly encouraging to hear. Some service mentality which is hard to find our toss-away society.

Still, with some patience better Bolex can found too. Sometimes new/unused but of course 30 years old. Doing nothing for so long is no good for a camera of any kind. The eyecups are always useless. Broken away thanks to the rubber not being so good. Some on other brands but then there are still others who keep up despite their age :)
Kind regards,

André

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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by gianni1 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:20 am

That's really amazing, brand new refurbished Bolex 160... I've got a few of them cams, I'm gonna save up to get them serviced... I love the metal fungus trails on the chrome handle.. what are those marks from?

G 8)

threeinv
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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by threeinv » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:11 pm

I've wondered about those funky squiggles on the aluminum, too, and have no idea what they're from. They're under the "clearcoat," though, and can't be felt so I think it adds some character!

- Derrick

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CHAS
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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by CHAS » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:16 pm

threeinv wrote: I received the camera back a few days ago and just have to share my highest recommendation of the Bolex factory service!
- Derrick
That is so great to hear. My first S8 camera was a Bolex 155 and I also bought a couple of 160s on auction. Great camera, amazing lens. That is a lot of dough but I guess you get what you paid for.

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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by David M. Leugers » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:53 am

This is the way forward for S-8mm as I see it. A rebuilt to like new Bolex 160 (which should last for many years to come) for less money in it than what a new Bolex 160 cost over 40 years ago! Sure you might find a usable (for now) Bolex 160, but you and I both know which camera you'd like to own and shoot with...
With the cost of film and processing, just the ease of mind and confidence in your equipment is worth a lot.

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BAC
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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by BAC » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:17 pm

Hi, This is my first post on this forum.

I have two Bolex 155's and a 160. These are great cameras, I love using them but I won't pay much for them. I always look for deals on e-bay, I got a great working 155 for $10. The reason I won't pay much is because you never know what you are going to get. Most people selling them have not tested them. So far I have been lucky and have two that work great.

When I saw how much the servicing cost I was a bit shocked. But when I read what they did for that I started thinking that may not be a bad deal. I think the most important thing they did was recalibrate the light meter for 1.5 volt batteries. One of my biggest concerns buying a camera is how the meter works. If that is not working properly the camera is junk.

I'm sorry to here that they don't service the 8mm cameras but I wonder if that includes the H8. I have a P1 that I'm still testing and a D8L that works great. It's amazing how well these cameras work after 50 years.

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CHAS
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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by CHAS » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:22 pm

Also Mitch Perkins can do a mod on the Bolex 155/160 models to allow for an external light meter. To me that was the one annoying part on those models. Other than that a great camera.

threeinv
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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by threeinv » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:01 pm

It's worth inquiring about the H8. Here's Bolex's website:
http://www.bolex.ch/NEW/index.php

I was prepared for the price, having read a post here a couple of years ago which was $325 or so at that time. The 1.5V update meant a lot to me, as well as the thought of new grease on the gears and having the light meter & run speed checked. This $5.99 camera was in serious need of help; there was even a dead bug visible inside the lens. I'm quite happy to have gone the rebuild route instead of paying the ridiculous $300 - $400 that some eBay sellers are trying to get for non-serviced cameras.

I forgot to mention that Marc at Bolex said they could, at my request, make the camera compatible with 64T film. I didn't inquire for details, since I don't have any of this discontinued stock. They also sent back all the defective parts sealed in a plastic bag--that's how I know so much was replaced.

- Derrick

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BAC
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Re: Bolex factory service on Bolex 160 Macrozoom

Post by BAC » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:33 pm

I had great results with 64T film in both my 155 and 160 without any modifications. I just let the meter do it's thing. It may have been slightly overexposed but through my projector it looked great. I just shot my first roll of 100D in the 155 camera and at first glance through my editor it looks pretty good.

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