Hand Holding


This may sound like a bit of a disappointment to hear but I dislike all the handgrips designed for use with the H16 camera and wouldn’t recommend you use any of them even when using the camera in stripped down form using just its wind up spring motor and a small C mount prime lens. Attempting to hold a H16 camera with the added weight of a 400ft magazine with 400ft of film in it, electric motor, take up motor and handgrip I think is next to impossible and even more difficult to achieve any good steady hand held shots without a lot of pain and discomfort for the operator trying to obtain them.

I’d recommend the use of a steadicam or a shoulder brace if you want to obtain these shots with a fully kitted out Motorised H16. So let me go through them one by one and tell you practically what there like to use starting with the most common and assuming your just using the camera spring wound without a motor or heavy zoom lens like the POE. Again these are my own personal views having tried them you may feel different so if you think they would help you try them out!

Even UN generals use a Bolex with Mechanical HandgripMechanical or Electric Pistol Handgrip

The problem with this grip is that after only a short amount of time using it your hands will tire. All the weight of the camera rests on the top of your thumb and 1st finger and as you grip the handle they'll become fairly sore after not much use.

The other factor is this handle looks so old fashioned with all its shiny chrome on display it’s kind of embarrassing to use. It’s made of a reassuringly indestructible metal construction though and has a leather strap to lock your hand around and connects to the camera using the Bolex rapid attachment disc so you’ll never feel like the handgrip and camera could come loose.

Once it is attached you cannot put the camera down in an upright position anymore without un attaching it which is fairly straight forward but if using the camera while travelling (as I do) putting your camera into an over the shoulder bag a number of times when not in use you'd have to put the camera in upside down with the handgrip poking out the top which isn’t great or constantly attach or detach it.

Bolex Surefire Handgrip on Flatbase AdaptorSurefire Handgrip

Even though its an older design it is a bit better to use and doesnt look as embrassingly retro as the mechincal hand grip.

Its lighter and alows the weight of the camera to rest in the palm of your hand and be further supported by your arm and allows your elbow braced into your body to hold the weight.

Its a little bit more fiddly to attach and detached using the screw thread and you’d have to also remove and reattach the cable release shoe every time as well.

Bolex Power Handgrip used unpowered on H16 SBMPower Handgrip

This is the most comfortable grip, its contoured shape designed to rest easily in the palm of your hand. Its intended to be used on an EBM camera or spring wound camera with ESM motor attached and includes a big battery compartment to power and start either motor from a button on the grip.

You can use it on spring wound cameras with the battery removed to save weight and start the camera running using the front shutter release but it looks kind of weird with its electrical cable that’s supposed to be attached to an EBM or ESM poking out unattached to anything.

But it’s the grip I’d use whether using spring wound or motorised camera above all others if i had to use one. So that only leaves one option i do like which may sound surprising:-

Hand Holding a Bolex without a HandgripNo Handgrip

However the best way to do things is always the simplest and I find its really much easier to hand hold a H16 directly and not via the use of any handgrips.

The flat base cameras sit really nice in the palm of your hand with your arm braced into your body to more easily take the weight you can easily get to the front shutter release button with your finger.

I often screw in the block that can hold a matte box in place for added grip and always keep meaning to make a moulded wooden handgrip that could screw in using the two front screws that hold the matte box holder. Back

I think that would be the perfect grip but only when using it spring wound.