Bolex B8


8mm Camera


  • OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 5" x 3 1/2" x 2"
  • WEIGHT: Approximately 28 oz.
  • OUTER CASE: Highly polished duraluminium body, covered in genuine Morocco leather. Metal parts are chrome-plated.
  • FILM CAPACITY: 25ft daylight loading spools of double run 8mm film. When a roll runs through the camera, only half the width of film is exposed. The spool is then reversed and run through again, exposing the other half. When processed, film is split and spliced together giving 50' for projection. Projection time at 16 fps for 25' roll is 4 minutes.
  • THREADING: manual, with no loop forming; with the pressure pad opened the film is simply placed over a guide roller, threaded behind the gate, over the bottom guide roller and onto the takeup spool.
  • MOTOR: Constant speed, spring motor mechanism; governor controlled. Generous winding key, attached to the camera, folds back against its side when not in use. Spring cannot be over-wound.
  • TURRET: Accommodates two standard D mount lenses.
  • VIEWFINDER: optical type; adjustable dial shows the scene as viewed by focal lengths of 12.5mm, 25mm and 36mm. Accessory prism attachments allow for filming with 5.5mm lenses, and for parallax correction while filming at close distances.
  • VARIABLE SPEED: 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 48 and 64 frames per second.
  • RELEASE BUTTON: continuous exposures can be made by a sliding release lever or cable release. The lever can be locked to prevent accidental exposures, or set for continuous hands-free filming.
  • SHUTTER: 165 degree disc shutter gives an exposure time of 1/35th second at 16fps.
  • FOOTAGE COUNTER: Precise reading of exposed film footage. Audible end-of-film signal. Resets to zero upon reloading.
  • SINGLE FRAME: A cable release socket allows the user to expose single frames for filming animation, titles, etc.
  • TRIPOD SOCKET: 1/4" thread

Notes and Comments

The first Bolex B-8 was produced with three variations of control dials. The original model used a small swivel dial for the zoom viewfinder and speed controls. This style was replaced on later models with a set of milled knobs. Neither are ideal; the original is rather fragile, while the latter is extremely difficult to adjust without very small fingers.

The third variation features improved control dials constructed of plexiglass. The larger size allows them to be easily adjusted. The plexiglass style knob isn't common on the original B-8, but appears on the B-8VS and all pocket-size cameras that were manufactured later.

to 461520 461521 to 627500 after 627501

The three versions are illustrated above with the corresponding serial numbers. The swivel dial appeared on cameras with a serial number below 461520. From approximately 1955 until 1957, these cameras were constructed with milled control knobs (from serial numbers 461521 to 627500). Plexiglass control dials appear on cameras manufactured after serial # 627501.

Bolex twin-lens turret cameras:

B-8, B-8VS, B-8L, B-8SL and B-8LA.

Serial Numbers and Dates of Manufacture

The serial number on this model can be found on the base of the camera body, inscribed around the tripod mount. The Bolex B8 was first produced in 1952, but not officially introduced until 1953.

Bolex B8 :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
410000 415000 1952
415000 420000 1953
420000 460000 1954
460000 510000 1955
510000 610000 1956
610000 670000 1957
670000 745000 1958