Bolex H16 Supreme


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 with folding lever; 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. Parallax correcting Octameter gives an exact viewing field for lenses of 8 focal lengths: 16mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 63mm, 75mm, 100mm and 150mm.
  • Filter Slot FILTER SLOT: Built-in slot holds a gelatin filter behind the taking lens and in front of the shutter.
  • VARIABLE SPEED: 8, 16, 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.
  • SHUTTER: 144 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 Supreme was the first Bolex camera to feature a built-in gelatin filter slot. A box of six filter holders were included with this model. The H-16 Supreme also featured a folding turret lever that allowed the lenses to be rotated without disturbing focus or diaphragm settings. In addition, the turret was modified with a three position click-stop (earlier turrets had only two locking positions).

The bottom of the tripod base was modified with a small angled slot. This slot was included on all H models manufactured after this date, and provided for the secure attachment of the Surefire Grip. Earlier cameras could be modified to include this slot, for a small fee, by a Bolex service facility.

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

The Bolex H16 with filter slot was introduced starting with S/N 94201 as well as on earlier series numbered 93401-93430, 93501-93600 and 9400-94050.[1] In 1954, this was marketed as the "H16 Supreme". It was sold in the United States until approximately 1958, alongside the less expensive "H16 Leader" (which lacked a filter slot.) Note: the table below lists the range of serial numbers allocated to the production run of all H model cameras during this time, and do not necessarily identify a camera as having a built-in filter slot.

Bolex H16 Supreme :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
94201 95000 1953
95000 105000 1954
105000 120000 1955
120000 130000 1956
130000 150000 1957
150000 158000 1958

1 "Maintenance and Repair of the Bolex H Camera," Paillard Ltd., 4-H-10.55.