Bolex P3


8mm Camera


  • OVERALL DIMENSIONS: With grip, 9" x 8 1/2" x 2"
  • WEIGHT: Approximately 2 lbs.
  • 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.
  • ZOOM LENS: SOM Berthiot Pan Cinor 8-40mm f/1.9 zoom lens with power-zoom control (powered by two batteries).
  • VIEWFINDER: Reflex viewfinder with built-in coincident image rangefinder; Adjustable diopter for eyesight correction; Rubber eyecup.
  • VARIABLE SPEED: 12, 16, 18, 24, 32, 48 and 64 frames per second.
  • RELEASE BUTTON: continuous exposures can be made by a finger tip release button or cable release. Running operation can be locked to prevent accidental exposures. Tightening the cable release screw allows for hands-free filming.
  • VARIABLE SHUTTER: Adjustable dial changes the shutter opening from 0-165 degrees to allow for shortened exposure times and fades.
  • FOOTAGE COUNTER: Precise reading of exposed film footage. Resets to zero upon reloading.
  • SINGLE FRAME: A cable release socket allows the user to expose single frames for filming animation, titles, etc.
  • MANUAL REWIND: A small hand crank allows for rewinding film up to 60 frames.
  • EXPOSURE METER: A battery powered (Mallory RM450) cadmium sulfide photo-resistive cell measures light through the lens. A film speed sensitivity dial (5-400 ASA) is then set and a needle indicator in the viewfinder is centered by adjusting the lens diaphragm, resulting in correct exposure.
  • TRIPOD SOCKET: 1/4" thread; fits accessory Declic D trigger handle grip.

Notes and Comments

The P3 Zoom reflex used the same zoom lens as the earlier Bolex P1 but offered a power zoom feature; two levers were located on the side of the lens for zooming in and out.

The reflex viewing system of the Bolex P3 was improved with a coincident image rangefinder. Unlike the earlier P series, the exposure metering system was sensitive to film ratings from 5 to 400 ASA.

Bolex cameras in this series:

Zoom Reflex P1, Zoom Reflex P2 and Zoom Reflex P3.

Serial Numbers and Dates of Manufacture

The serial number can be found on the base of this camera, with the hand grip removed, inscribed behind the threaded tripod mount.

Bolex Zoom Reflex P3 :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
A 29001 A 40000 1963
A 40000 A 43100 1964