H16 Standard


16mm Camera


  • OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 8 1/2" x 6" x 3"
  • WEIGHT: Approximately 5 1/2 lbs
  • OUTER CASE: Highly polished duraluminium body, covered in genuine Morocco leather. Metal parts are chrome-plated.
  • FILM CAPACITY: 100ft (30m) and 50ft (15m) daylight loading spools of 16mm film.
  • THREADING: Automatic threading and loop forming. The end of the film is simply placed in a channel leading to the feed sprocket. The release is pressed and the film is then automatically threaded throughout the entire mechanism.
  • MOTOR: Constant speed, spring motor mechanism; governor controlled. Large winding handle folds downward and attaches to camera when not in use. Spring cannot be over-wound. 8:1 external drive shaft permits the attachment of an electric motor.
  • TURRET: Rotating turret accommodates three interchangeable C mount lenses. The top position allows for critical focusing through a magnified groundglass screen.
  • VIEWFINDER: Eye-level focuser allows for critical focusing through a groundglass screen. Tri Focal viewfinder gives an exact viewing field for lenses of 3 focal lengths.
  • VARIABLE SPEED: 8, 16, 24, 32 and 64 frames per second
  • Eye Level Focus RELEASE BUTTON: provides for the making of continuous exposures by a finger-tip release on the front of the camera. A side release allows for locked, hands-free running or single frame exposures.
  • SHUTTER: 190 degree aperture shutter
  • FOOTAGE COUNTER: adds and subtracts accurately in forward or reverse motion and automatically returns to zero when film is reloaded into the camera.
  • AUDIBLE FOOTAGE INDICATOR: A distinct click announces the passing of each 10 inches of film through the gate. This mechanism may be disengaged, if desired, by simply moving a lever.
  • FRAME COUNTER: Twin dial counts frames individually and in total; Adds frames in forward motion and subtracts when film is wound backwards. Dial may be reset manually at any time.
  • SINGLE FRAME: Time lapse and animation is possible by using the side release button or an accessory cable release and adapter; I-T lever allows for timed or instantaneous single exposures.
  • MANUAL REWIND: Clutch disengages spring motor and permits forward movement and backwind without running down the spring; allows for dissolves and superimposition.
  • TRIPOD SOCKET: 3/8" thread

Notes and Comments

The H-16 "Standard" was sold with an eye level focuser and trifocal viewfinder (inscribed with a serial number identical to the camera body).

Eye level viewers for Bolex H cameras were available as early as 1940, but do not seem to have been manufactured by Paillard until after WWII. Stevens engineering and the American Bolex Company produced an "Auxilliary Focus Tube" with special mounting brackets, which magnified the image seen through the critical focus screen, and allowed viewing to be done behind the camera, at eye level.

Paillard produced an early version of this accessory by 1948, and began including it with all H model cameras. By 1949, the eye level focus was redesigned with the ability to adjust for the user's eyesight.

Bolex cameras in the H16 non-reflex series:

H-16, H-16 Leader, H-16 Standard, H-16 Deluxe, H-16 Supreme, H-16 T and H-16 S. (See also: the Bolex H-16 M series.)

Serial Numbers and Dates of Manufacture

Because the "Standard" was simply a marketing term used for H model cameras sold in the US, it should be considered a basic H16 non-reflex camera. As such, I don't include a serial number range here. For more information, see this article on Bolex Serial Numbers to identify the year in which your camera was made.