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Features and Loading Tips for Bolex Reflex Movie Cameras

The Bolex trademark has been attached to reflex movie camera products for several decades. Because these movie cameras do not need to utilize any form of viewfinder technology, you are able to see the subject you wish to film as it appears through your camera lens. You may find it helpful to know what film formats are compatible with these cameras, what common features they might include, and how to maintain them.

What film formats do these cameras accept?

These movie cameras can utilize the following film formats:

  • 8mm: This film refers to a roll of film that is 8 millimeters wide. There are two versions of this type of film: standard and Super 8. The Super 8 version of the film stock shares many similarities with its regular counterpart, but it has a larger image area thanks to its smaller perforations.
  • 16mm: This film is twice the width of regular 8mm film. Some potential uses for 16mm film historically include industrial videos, educational videos, and home movies. The standard aspect ratio for this film format is 1.37:1. It is also available in Super and Ultra varieties.
What are some features of reflex cameras?

Although the specific features for these Bolex cameras can vary from model to model, you may find ones such as:

  • Slow motion: Slow motion settings that allow you to capture subjects at a slower than normal pace.
  • Variable shutter: A variable shutter that you can adjust to record film at different angles as necessary.
  • Extended exposure: Extending your exposure may allow you to capture stationary objects and bring them into sharp focus while blurring any moving objects at the same time.
  • Single-frame filming: This captures one image per frame as the film advances.
  • Self-threading: This capability may help you load daylight spools.
What are some common parts of these cameras?

These types of movie cameras include parts such as:

  • Douser: A douser that opens and closes as necessary to prevent your film reel from fogging.
  • Diopter: A diopter to adjust the optical range of the lens to work with your eyesight.
  • Bayonet: Bayonet mounts and filters for attaching the lens of your choice.
  • Release selector: A release selector to switch between various modes of filming if applicable.
  • Frame and footage counter: Frame and footage counters may help you keep track of how much film has been exposed during a shoot.
How do you load a reflex camera?

Following these general guidelines may help you load your movie camera:

  • Step 1: Make sure the pressure plate on the camera is closed.
  • Step 2: Close the loop formers, remove any empty spools, and insert a replacement spool.
  • Step 3: Clip the end of the film and insert it into the top sprocket.
  • Step 4: Run about 12 inches of the film through the sprocket and open the loop formers.
  • Step 5: Insert the roll into the take-up spool on the lower spindle.
  • Step 6: Run the camera again to ensure that the film loaded properly.