Bolex L8 early model

L-8 (early model)

8mm Camera


  • OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 4 7/8in x 3 1/8in x 1 3/4in.
  • WEIGHT: 1 lb 12 oz.
  • 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.
  • LENS MOUNT: Thread diameter of 5/8" (15.8mm) with a setting of 0.3075" (7.8mm). Standard D mount lenses can be used with the L-8 ring adaptor.
  • VIEWFINDER: Optical type; instantly changed with a sliding mask, to accommodate the field of view for lenses of F=12.5mm, 25mm and 36mm. The field is seen through the finder as it will appear on the film.
  • PRECISE SPEED: Exposures are made at 1/30th second at 16 frames per second.
  • L8 complete outfit RELEASE BUTTON: provides for the making of continuous exposures by finger-tip release or by locking it in running position. The button also rotates to provide a definite lock to prevent accidental operation when not in use.
  • FOOTAGE COUNTER: automatically resets to zero when film is removed or when changing spools from one side to the other. When the end of 25ft of film is passing the gate, an indicator comes into the finder automatically.
  • TRIPOD SOCKET: 1/4" thread

Notes and Comments

The early model L-8 camera can be identified by the lack of a speed control dial. This version was designed with a fixed speed of 16 frames per second, with a 1/30th second exposure time. A soft skinned leather zipper case, wrist strap and red colored Paillard box were originally included with the purchase of the L-8. In addition, a choice of two lenses was available: a Yvar 12.5mm f/2.8 lens with fixed focus or the same with a focusing ring.

Serial Numbers and Dates of Manufacture

The serial number on a Bolex L8 can be found on the base of the camera, inscribed around the tripod mount; it can be used to determine the year in which it was manufactured. The L8 was improved in 1947 with the addition of a variable speed dial.

Bolex L8 (early model) :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
50000 55000 1942 / 1944
55000 58500 1945
58500 65000 1946
65000 70000 1947