The Bolex Bible
By James Grahame
Shopping for a Bolex 16mm movie camera can be confusing, which makes Andrew Alden's £15 Bolex Bible an essential aid. You can pick up an early model H16 for a few hundred dollars, while a shiny new SBM will set you back around $4,400 plus the cost of a decent lens. Alden's book explains what the differences are, and what features you should look for when hunting for your dream camera. The £15 spiral bound book features 100 fact-filled A4-size pages and dozens of black & white photos that give an overview of the H16 body, lenses, motors and accessories. There's even a brief section on loading film.
The Bolex H16 is one of the most popular 16mm movie cameras ever made. The original H16 was introduced in 1935 and the modern spring-operated SBM model can still be purchased new. Bolex cameras remain extremely popular among film students and experimental filmmakers, because they're capable of capturing images that put sterile "High-Def" camcorders to shame. It's even possible to convert vintage cameras to shoot modern widescreen Super 16mm format.
By the way, Alden also runs the Bolex.co.uk site and offers a range of second-hand outfits at prices ranging from £450 ($900) to £1100 ($2200). If that's out of your price range, you could just pick up one of his basic black Bolex t-shirts and pretend. I won't tell.