Bolex 18-5L Super 8 Projector

BOLEX 18 - 5L

Super 8mm Projector


  • OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 10 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 6 1/2"
  • WEIGHT: 15 1/4 lbs.
  • CONSTRUCTION: Cast aluminum; light grey finish; Carrying handle; Detachable cover.
  • REEL CAPACITY: Reel arms accommodate 400 ft reels. Both reel arms fold downward for storage.
  • THREADING: Automatic threading from reel to reel; the device feeds the film into position and forms the loops to the correct length -- film continues threading underneath and to the rear of the projector onto the take-up reel; Manual threading and unloading possible, if desired. Lens assembly pivots outward for cleaning of gate and unloading of film.
  • POWER: Two versions: 1) 50 cycle 110-240v AC power; 2) 60 cycle 110-125v AC power.
  • LAMP: 12 volt, 75 watt lamp. Earlier models used the 13730C04 RT44 bulb which is now obsolete with no modern equivalent. Modern replacement for later models: EFN 12V/75W Halogen lamp.
  • LENS: Interchangeable lenses; Originally supplied with a choice of four lenses: Bolex Hi-Fi f/1.3 lenses of 15, 20 or 20mm focal length or with the Bolex Hi-Fi 14-25mm f/1.3 zoom lens. An Isco Vario Kiptagon 16.5-30mm f/1.3 lens was usually equipped on later models.
  • Bolex 185L controls VARIABLE SPEED: 18 and 5 frames per second; 18fps reverse projection; Rapid motor rewind. Forward or reverse motion with lamp switched off at 18fps. Speed dial allows switching directly to reverse projection from forward projection.
  • OTHER FEATURES: Framing knob adjusts the claw for vertical alignment in the gate; Front leg for height adjustment and rear legs for leveling; Variable shutter automatically changes from three to nine blades when projection drops to 5fps; Catathermic filter preserves the film from excessive heating; A table lamp can be attached which switches off when the projector is running and relights again when stopped.
Bolex 60s couple

Notes and Comments

The 18-5L was introduced in 1967 as an updated version of the 18-5 Super 8 projector. The major improvements made to this model were a brighter lamp (12v 75w) and the ability to switch from forward motion to reverse with the lamp illuminated.

Two lamp versions

Incandescent and Halogen bulbs
When first introduced, the 18-5L used an incandescent 12V 75W bayonet mounted bulb. (Phillips designation 13730C 04 RT44 - also referred to as the "spaceman bulb") After approximately 1970, the projector used a halogen lamp with a built-in dichroic filter.

Bolex catalogs and advertising from 1970 offered a choice between the two types, and it appears that both versions were offered for a short time. Later advertising, however, only lists the 18-5L with halogen bulb.

Halogen Lamp
EFN Halogen Lamp

Unfortunately, the 12V 75W incandescent lamp used on earlier models was discontinued in the 1980s. The modern equivalent of the Halogen bulb is the EFN 12V/75W, and is relatively inexpensive. From what I've been told, Bolex offered a bulb adapter for the incandescent version, but I don't have any more information than that. Chambless Cine Equipment offers a conversion that allows early 18-5L projectors to accept the EFN lamp.

Serial Numbers and Dates of Manufacture

The serial number on 18-5L Super projectors is located on the bottom of the base, directly behind the front leg; it can be used to determine the year in which it was manufactured. Although it was introduced in 1967, the serial number range allocated for each year of production begins in 1966 for the 50hz version; the 60hz version began production in 1967. [1] The table below lists the S/N numbers for both 50hz and 60hz variants of the 18-5L, but does not distinguish between incandescent and halogen lamp models.

(50hz) 18-5L :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
3200000 3201500 1966
3201500 3218000 1967
3218000 3225100 1968
3225101 3243825 1969
3243826 3253225 1970
3253226 3257900 1971
3257901 3269234 1972
3269235 3270950 1973
(60hz) 18-5L :: Serial Numbers
  #   Year
4400000 4405200 1967
4405200 4414000 1968
4414001 4420200 1969
4420000 4425900 1970
4425901 4426700 1971
4426701 4433001 1972
4433002 4437250 1973

1 "Serial Numbers and Date of Manufacture," Bolex International S.A., Sept. 1, 1977.