Bolex H8 REX


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 with folding lever; Accommodates three interchangeable H8 RX type C-mount lenses; Built-in turret lock lever.
  • VIEWFINDER: 10x magnification; Reflex viewing with semi-reflecting prism system; Groundglass focusing; Adjustable to eyesight. The camera comes equipped with an Octometer viewfinder.
  • VARIABLE SPEED: 12, 16, 18, 24, 32 and 64 frames per second
  • 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.
  • VARIABLE SHUTTER: 133 degree variable shutter; Operated manually to decrease exposure time, or with accessory Rexofader to accomplish fade-ins and fade-outs.
  • 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-8 REX was the first 8mm reflex camera manufactured by Bolex. It featured through-the-lens viewing with a magnified groundglass image of 20x that allowed for extremely accurate focusing. [1] The rear of the viewfinder included a rubber eyecup attached to a diopter, which was adjustable to the user's eyesight.

The camera used a fully closing variable shutter which could be locked by pressing a lever inward at five marked positions, and adjusted by pulling outward. The "Rexofader 32" could be attached to the side of the camera to automatially open or close the shutter. By pressing a lever, it produced accurately timed fades of 32 frames. In-camera dissolves were also possible by filming a fade-out, backwinding the film by 32 frames, and then double exposing a fade-in over the previous fade-out.

The viewing system of the H-8 REX featured a warning indicator, consisting of one to four flags, that appeared in the viewfinder when the shutter was in any position other than fully opened.

H8 RX Lenses

Kern introduced a new line of Switar lenses designed specifically for use with the H-8 REX: a 5.5mm f/1.6 wide angle, a 12.5mm f/1.3 standard and a 36mm f/1.4 telephoto. These lenses included a new pre-set diaphragm with control levers; a specific diaphragm setting could be locked while allowing the diaphragm to be fully opened for focusing, and then returned to the previously set f-stop without looking away from the viewfinder.

The lens mount on the H-8 REX was the same 1" thread diameter as found on the standard C-mount of the H-16 and other 16mm cameras. However, the optical distance between lens seat and film plane was 15.305mm (compared with 17.52 on 16mm). [2] The lenses designed specifically for the H-8 Reflex were identified by the letters "H8 RX" inscribed on the lens barrel.

Bolex Cameras in the H8 Reflex Series:

H8 REX, H8 REX-3 and H8 REX-4.

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 H8REX began production in 1961, starting with S/N 190801, and was introduced in 1962. It was superseded by the flat base H8 REX-3 in 1963.

Bolex H8 REX :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
190801 192000 1961
192000 200000 1962
200000 202501 1963

1 Ernst Wildi, "Test Report On New H8 REX," Bolex Reporter, Vol 12, No. 1, 1962, 18.

2 Technical Corner, "Lens Mounts On Bolex Cameras and Interchangeability of Lenses," Bolex Reporter, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1964/65, 34.