Just got a Bolex P1 standard 8mm w/Pan-Cinor zoom. Looks to be in good shape . However, I’m lacking a manual and wondering how you turn. We provide free online pdf manuals for camcorders, action cams, dashcams and Bolex Paillard Stereo Movies Series Zoom Reflex P1 – Instruction Manual. SETUP The Bolex P1 is easy to use. First, load the film. See the Bolex manual for the exact procedure. It’s pretty simple – you can do it in.

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Does your camera really need an overhaul? It depends on what you will do with it. If you buying a camera just to place in on a shelf for display, then no, it does not need an overhaul, just a good external cleaning. If you are buying or planning on using a Bolex mnual for filming, then it really needs: I want to buy a Bolex 8mm to collect.

Where can I find one? Plenty of 8mm Bolexs at all prices. I found a camera and it has been stored and needs work. amnual

Can I just disassemble it and oil it myself before shooting? Bolex recommends that the camera have a service know as a “CLA” Clean-lubricate-adjust on a yearly basis. Nearly all of the cameras on eBay are from storage or yard sales. You may be mankal and it may only require a CLA. More likely, the camera will not have been serviced and the oil and grease will have dried up.

The camera will wind “crunchy” and may run erratic of not at all. If this is so, and you want to film with this camera, you’ll need an extended service ExCLA or a full overhaul.

Can you do it yourself? If you oil the wrong places or use too much, you can cause problems down the road. A shot of WD40 in the outside winding assembly to ‘loosen up” the winding assembly?

Kiss the leather coverings goodbye. They are glued on. The glue does go well with WD or any oil. Oh, and the winding assembly will still wind “crunchy”. Knowledge is king here. Look up Bolex on the internet. Lots of incorrect answers when it comes to Bolex maintenance. Some videos on youtube on “how I did it”. I’m not saying you can’t do it. What I am saying is you will probably do an inferior job. Knowledge is king – not a msnual of oil. The seller says it is “great shape – like new!


Is this good thing? Not really if you are going to use this camera for filming. Long stored cameras will most likely have not been serviced and are therefore not in a condition to shoot film. Consider this camera as a “Shelf Queen” and bid appropriately much lower.

Also, you can bole the seller and ask if the camera has been recently used to shoot film or if it has been serviced. If it has been serviced or has been used to shoot film, this is a good sign. Ask if it has a warranty or guarantee policy.


Remember that the sellers of these cameras usually state that “they know nothing about the camera” or “are not a camera expert” or words to that effect. This all-purpose ” weasel clause ” coupled with some fancy text and gorgeous pictures may convince you that this camera is “ready to go”. In fact, it probably is not ready to go.

Ask some direct questions. Know what you are getting. Where do all those old Bolex cameras come from? Starting aboutwith the L8 early model8mm Bolex cameras became popular with photographers and travelers to document their home lifestyles and while traveling.

The cameras were not cheap, but film was relatively inexpensive as was processing. The cameras improved over time and became very popular in both the USA and Europe. They are easy to operate and are very dependable. Bolexs have lasted due to 1 excellent engineering and, 2 Swiss manufacturing. Whereas some camera manufacturers used cartridges to hold the film, Bolex cameras have always used spools.

The one simple fact has allowed the continued manufacture of 8mm film and kept the Bolex camera from ending up on a shelf as a display item rather than the useful film camera that it is. The greater majority of 8mm Bolexs are years old and were originally bought from the period of the late ‘s to about They were in popular use until the advent of the camcorder, and then were relegated to the closet to await their fate.

A great number of the cameras selling today on eBay are said to be from ‘estate sales’. And this is logical as the lot of the original owners are now at the end of life or have died and their relatives are selling off “Grandpa’s old stuff”. Bolex cameras have always been a great value. Film and processing and digital transfer services make the Bolex 8mm series a great way to discover filmmaking with real film camera and at affordable costs.

What is a good price for a Bolex D8L, used, in unknown condition? The value depends upon the model, number of lenses and condition, the overall condition of the camera, the included accessories and if anything is damaged or missing. The less service it needs, generally speaking, the more it’s worth. If it has Switar lens’ – it’s worth more. Broken or parts camera are worth even less. Remember, most buyers or bidders don’t know the correct value because they don’t know the full condition of the camera before purchase.

And those cameras most likely need a service before shooting film. What are the most popular Bolex models to buy?

The “L” after the model number indicates that the camera has a light meter. The “A” after the model indicates it is a “variant” upgrade of the preceding model. The D8LA is an upgraded D8L and has a backwind key for dissolves and a modified lightmeter assembly, as well as some other minor differences.


The P-1 series has a French made “Som Berthoit mm” 5X power manual zoom lens, a battery powered light meter with the light meter in the direct path Reflex of the lens at all times. A clever arrangement of a small sliding mirror within the shutter assembly allows the meter to function full-time while filming. The P1 was followed by a similar model, the P2. The main difference from the two was that the P2 had a different lens smaller zoom range and was marketed as a “simpler camera to operate”.

The P3 had a battery powered motor lens zoom motor with manual zoom and the same zoom range as the P1. Unfortunately, the P3 batteries tended to be left in the camera stored too long and the zoom motor and it’s circuitry were subsequently damaged by leaking mercury cells.

Watch yourself when buying the P3 model. Is the battery compartment clean? Does the motor work?

Bolex ZOOM REFLEX P1 Manuals

What should I look for in buying a 8mm Bolex? Look for guarantees or warranties if you are going to use it to shoot film.

If not for shooting film, look for its cosmetic condition. Make sure all the accessories are there, including: This adds value and some cost, but the cost is less bolfx if you buy the accessories “a la cart”. Ask about the carrying case leather covering and the condition of the camera’s Moroccan leather covers.

If you are collecting, the more accessories you have, and the better condition they are in, will ultimately affect the camera’s value.

If not sure bolxe ask. A dropped camera will have dents, scratches or gouges in the aluminum case edges, or perhaps a broken meter housing, bent lens casings or damaged lens filter threads, etc. Ask if anything’s missing. Declic handle sometime have the trigger button missing. If the seller doesn’t know, ask what they will do if the are parts missing, or is the camera “as-is”?

Bolex advertises that their cameras “cannot be overwound”. It takes some doing but it can be done. Overwinding generally means the camera’s spring motor is junk.

What are the common problems with Bolex cameras? If it has a light meter battery P Look for corrosion in the battery compartment. The batteries originally used were mercury cells. The are no longer sold as they are dangerous toxic.

The leaking mnual will corrode nanual time years of storage and the wiring in the light meter will be damaged. On all models, check to make sure the lightmeter actually works.

Does the lightmeter work?