Bolex H-8


8mm 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), 50ft (15m) and 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 twice the amount for projection.
  • 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 D mount lenses. The top position allows for critical focusing through a magnified groundglass screen.
  • VIEWFINDER: accessory Tri Focal viewfinder gives an exact viewing field for lenses of 3 focal lengths. Built-in critical focus viewer with optional cupped eyepiece.
  • VARIABLE SPEED: 8, 16, 24, 32 and 64 frames per second with the ability to change speeds while the camera is running.
  • Bolex H-8 with frame counter 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: An accessory frame counter could be attached to the motor crank shaft. Two separate counters registered increments of single frames and 50 frames as the film progressed.
  • 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 Bolex H-8 was introduced shortly after the H-16 and shared similar features. Unlike the H-16, however, it does not appear to have ever been manufactured with the Paillard-Bolex logo embossed into the leather or without a critical visual focuser. If you have information to suggest otherwise, please let me know.

The logo plate on the camera body could be removed to allow attachment of the external frame counter. The plate could then be positioned on the counter itself. By 1940, all H model cameras were supplied with the external counter already attached.

Bolex cameras in the H8 non-reflex series:

H-8, H-8 Leader, H-8 Standard, H-8 Deluxe, H-8 T and H-8 S.

Serial Numbers and Dates of Manufacture

The serial number on this model can be found on several locations: inside the film chamber, near the top spindle, or behind the turret plate near the bottom lens position. A matching number can also be found inside the film chamber door. The table below lists the range of serial numbers allocated to H8 cameras manufactured from 1938 until the introduction of the internal frame counter (S/N 33200) in 1946.

Bolex H8 :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
10000 15000 1938 / 40
15000 20000 1941 / 43
20000 25000 1944
25000 30000 1945
30000 33200 1946 / 47