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DIYS Modifications DIYS aka Do It Yourself Projects - mostly gear modifications

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BH Filmo/Eyemo Info Wanted/DIY
Old 12-15-2018   #1
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BH Filmo/Eyemo Info Wanted/DIY

Heyo!

A couple of months ago (maybe longer?) a few members and I had a pretty interesting string of comments about Filmo and Eyemo cameras. This really sparked something in me... a very keen interest in owning and operating one.

SO! I have a few questions! Most are in regards to modifying these old cameras is why I have chosen the DIY section to post! Specifically I am asking questions about the 16mm FILMOs but as I understand it they are fairly similar cameras in construction and practice.

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Questions:

Single Perf, which models came factory ready for single perf film? I assume this would be any model after the DA but not including the DA?

Has anyone modified a DA for single perf? comments?

Has anyone modified their FILMO to Super16? I can imagine it would be fairly straightforward if not labor intensive and possibly inconvenient.

Can you recommend a good C-mount zoom lens that has both a reflex viewfinder and will fit on a late model Filmo that already has a turret vf?

Does anyone have information or comments on modifying these cameras to be reflex? I have seen a few "crash cam" Filmos modified with reflex housing (assume pellicle mirror) and a SLR mount (one was Nikon F)

Any maintenance or repair information/tips would be greatly appreciated!

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!I do not yet own one these cameras! Instead am looking to gather up the knowledge before jumping into a project. Thanks a ton!
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Old 12-15-2018   #2
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Most DL and all DR came from the factory for 1R film.

All of the 70 series Filmos have the same basic transport design and modification of the sprocket capstans is really easy. I've done it on a 70A, 70DA and a D, all transport without any issues. You MUST pay attention to the gear mesh of the sprockets and the camera or you WILL eff up your transport. The pull-down claw also has to be clipped and to do this you have to get really intimate with the foil shutter. It is very pliable but once bent is a royal PITA to get straight again so it doesn't rub on the shutter chassis or jam completely. That said, don't warp, wrinkle, bend or whatever the shutter. Also, don't cut off the wrong pull-down claw. Check three times, or even better, use a paint pen before you take the shutter chassis out, mark the claw to be cut before any surgery is attempted. Also, you need to file smooth the remnants of the claw and make sure none of those filings get into the camera, in the shutter mechanism or the spring motor.

Modifying to Super-16 is possible but if you're using fast lenses or short focal lengths with constrained image circles, you'll get offset vignetting unless you actually machine a new turret to move the axis of the lens over the new center of the film. If you keep the apertures smaller and the focal lengths longer, you don't need to do this. I'm a real stickler for distortion and balanced images so I will always stick to 4:3 on my Filmos. I think a better solution would be to use anamorphics.

The turret VF is the stumbling block for many zoom lenses, especially those with reflex finders. The flange bases tend to be wide so you can't stick the lens on all the way. Add to that, the turret center nut usually prevents mounting of a lens fully. Even 1/6 turn will not allow your lens to reach infinity. The D and DA have a reverse-Galilean finder and is much shorter, no VF turret, so they are the only Filmos with a lens turret you can use a good C mount zoom or C mount adapted lens C-SLR like Nikon.)

If you modify a Filmo to be reflex, you can't have a turret at all and you're creating a single-purpose camera. It can be done but you need a good machinist and you need a budget for tools and dies. The steel of the shutter chassis which you'll have to drill into is hard as a coffin nail. Extremely good stuff. I think it's blued tool steel. You'll scratch it with a file, no problem but you'll also eat up a few drill bits. This is also why it is such a pain to widen the gate to make it Super-16. If you want to put a reflex housing on this, I'd suggest using a Leica Visoflex and pulling the pellicle mirror out of a Canon EOS RT. You would have to be extremely precise with your alignment and image circle placement. You may want to use a laser bore-sight. This is actually a pretty cool idea...
Come to think of it, if you're doing this, get a 70HR or KRM so you can load up 400ft cores instead of 100ft. If you're working at 24f/s, this gives you 11:06. You'll spend more but you also won't be changing reels every 3 minutes. You'll be able to have a few ready-loaded 400ft mags (if you're lucky and spend enough to find more than one.)

Otherwise, get a Bolex Rex, have it CLA'd and have a blast. One thing you can't do with a Bolex that you can with a Filmo is motorize it with a portable, battery operated drill.

I currently have a 70A, 70DL and 70DR. About to get into another, late DR. I just gave one away to a fellow RFF'ers kid for her use after film school.

I have a few recommendations for anyone looking to purchase a Filmo. Things to look for, expectations, etc.

As for maintenance, it's pretty easy. Clean it, lube it, shoot it. Wash, rinse, repeat. Never dry-fire the camera above 32f/s. The claw needs a bit of drag and stability from film to prevent it from hitting the edge of the gate/pressure plate. A few Filmos have slightly bent pull-down claws because antique dealers or idiot kids thought blasting it at 64f/s was cool since it sounds like an F-104 engine spinning up for takeoff. "Tested at all speeds" needs to be taken with a grain of salt because if the estate seller or someone's grandkid doesn't know this, he'll "test" it and unknowingly ruin the timing. The claw can be bent back but it's easier to buy a new one and repair it right.

Feel free to PM me for more questions (and my email address) or we can keep the discussion going here.

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Old 12-15-2018   #3
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Phil! Thank You!

I am going to take a little time to digest your comments!

The reflex mod intrigues me, being able to use zoom lenses without reflex viewers, or alternatively my Nikon primes.

I am totally confident in hacking away at a camera, I appreciate all of your warnings! This is truly a new world for me.

A HR seems ideal, but I think I will start with a DA and mod it for single perf. Test then maybe go for the S16 mod. then additionally the reflex idea.

Any reason for the EOS RT specifically? The FD Pellical camera's are cheap as well and I think there is one sitting on a thrift shop shelf not to far away from me.

I have also considered buying a transparent mirror from Surplusshed and having it cut by a local glass shop with their fancy computer controlled machine. The housing, I was thinking the same, a re purposed reflex housing for some other camera system. Sounds like a search for the local camera swap in March.

This would ultimately be a long term project for me. With the hope of a relatively cheap initial entry.. keeping most of the machining and custom work to myself.

Goal is to use the camera to shoot short clips of live music and festival antics. I think 100' is plenty which may mitigate the point of the HR.

Thanks again!


Edit: A big motivation for looking at the Filmo's is the sheer reliability as well as the dramatic price difference between something like a Arri or Bolex.

@Phil: Are the side plates interchangeable? Could you use a older door without the turret finder on a model meant to have it? Just a curiosity!
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Old 12-15-2018   #4
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I used a Filmo back in film school. It is quite a nice camera just as it is, why not try a nice stock one with the three prime lenses? They really handle quite nicely the way they were originally designed which is why they were so successful in their day. Another way to get the S16 aspect ratio (1.66:1) is to simply crop the top and bottom of the frame- that way you donít have to move the lens position. Have fun, shoot film.
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Old 12-16-2018   #5
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Treat the spring in a traditional Filmo with great respect. It is very strong and very sharp.
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Old 12-17-2018   #6
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A little update,

I’ve purchased a camera to play with.

A 70DR that ,with Phil’s help, I plan to clean up!

Photos to come... now to re activate that old Flickr!
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