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Camera Identification Assistance


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#1 Craig Miller

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 04:14 PM

I bought a lot at auction containing a variety of 16mm and 35mm movie cameras. I've independently identified most of them, but there are two left whose exact type is currently elluding me. The first camera I believe is a Bolex H16:

http://www.zianet.co...0_1815 copy.jpg
http://www.zianet.co...0_1816 copy.jpg
http://www.zianet.co...0_1817 copy.jpg
http://www.zianet.co...0_1818 copy.jpg

The attached motor drive makes it difficult to see the interesting side, but the only label I can see says "Paillard Bolex Switzerland." What are the key features for distinguishing amongst the various types. I still has the handle for the spring-driven motor and a funky viewfinder on top.

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The second camera, I think, is a B&H Filmo:

http://www.zianet.co...0_1819 copy.jpg
http://www.zianet.co...0_1820 copy.jpg

The motor drive makes it impossible to see the identifying side of this camera. What do I look for to verify it's a Filmo and determine which type. It does have a funky film counter attached to the top of it.

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 07:15 PM

The second camera, I think, is a B&H Filmo:

The motor drive makes it impossible to see the identifying side of this camera. What do I look for to verify it's a Filmo and determine which type. It does have a funky film counter attached to the top of it.



That is one funnky looking paint Job all right, where they part of an art display?

For sure your second one is a filmo 70XX but what version is hard to tell without better views. at th eBottom of your 1820 picture it does seem to have the removable door for the 400 ft magazine. and sure enough in 1819 at the right is the "veeder root" style conter to keep tack of that much footage. on the left of the same picture there is some sort of board attached to the tripod mount. The serial Number is generaly either on the tripod foot or on the other side on the round spring motor.

The serial Number (just the digits) is also stanped on the inside of the film door. in theory they should match.

The finder should be mounted on the film door and is no where to be seen. Later Cameras had the model on a plate on the outside of the finder. Older ones on a small plate on the spring motor which your photo's don't show. although in the 1819 photo- it almost looks like someone has repleced it with their own creation.

Both your cameras would need the paint removed to be useable as on your bolex it would get in the way of mounting the lens.
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 01:32 AM

I bought a lot at auction containing a variety of 16mm and 35mm movie cameras. I've independently identified most of them, but there are two left whose exact type is currently elluding me. The first camera I believe is a Bolex H16:

The attached motor drive makes it difficult to see the interesting side, but the only label I can see says "Paillard Bolex Switzerland." What are the key features for distinguishing amongst the various types. I still has the handle for the spring-driven motor and a funky viewfinder on top.


I believe its a Bolex H16 alright, but a strange paint job and an early version. Does it have a serial somewhere? Check out http://www.bolex.co.uk/ for more info.

Cheers, Dave
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#4 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 06:28 AM

That H16 is in an instrumentation housing. !t would have been used by the military, on a range, or in an aircraft, something like that.
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#5 Craig Miller

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 09:37 AM

That is one funnky looking paint Job all right, where they part of an art display?

For sure your second one is a filmo 70XX but what version is hard to tell without better views. at th eBottom of your 1820 picture it does seem to have the removable door for the 400 ft magazine. and sure enough in 1819 at the right is the "veeder root" style conter to keep tack of that much footage. on the left of the same picture there is some sort of board attached to the tripod mount. The serial Number is generaly either on the tripod foot or on the other side on the round spring motor.

The serial Number (just the digits) is also stanped on the inside of the film door. in theory they should match.

The finder should be mounted on the film door and is no where to be seen. Later Cameras had the model on a plate on the outside of the finder. Older ones on a small plate on the spring motor which your photo's don't show. although in the 1819 photo- it almost looks like someone has repleced it with their own creation.

Both your cameras would need the paint removed to be useable as on your bolex it would get in the way of mounting the lens.


Thanks for your reply, Charles. Both cameras were mounted outdoors for thunderstorm and lightning research in New Mexico, thus the white paint job. The serial number on the inside of the door is 46240, and there's also the letters "AK" stamped under one of the film cartridges. Both cameras have electrical motor drives replacing the spring motors, though the Filmo motor conforms to the original shape of the camera well enough that it might be a factory option, but I'm not sure. The film door has an impression where the finder should be, so I'm guessing someone removed it at some point as being unnecessary. What views of the camera would be needed to better determine it's model?
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#6 Craig Miller

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 09:39 AM

I believe its a Bolex H16 alright, but a strange paint job and an early version. Does it have a serial somewhere? Check out http://www.bolex.co.uk/ for more info.

Cheers, Dave


Thanks Dave. Both cameras were painted white as they were mounted outdoors in New Mexico for lightning and thunderstorm research. The serial number on the inside of the door is 41689, which from other boards indicated a manufacture date of 1948.
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#7 Craig Miller

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 09:43 AM

That H16 is in an instrumentation housing. !t would have been used by the military, on a range, or in an aircraft, something like that.


Thanks Mark. Most of the cameras I got along with these seemed to be some type of military surplus, so it doesn't surprise me these are as well.
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#8 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 07:55 PM

The serial number on the inside of the door is 46240, and there's also the letters "AK" stamped under one of the film cartridges. Both cameras have electrical motor drives replacing the spring motors, though the Filmo motor conforms to the original shape of the camera well enough that it might be a factory option, but I'm not sure. The film door has an impression where the finder should be, so I'm guessing someone removed it at some point as being unnecessary. What views of the camera would be needed to better determine it's model?


I only have a one Filmo, a DL so I can't be sure of the "break points" between the models. The rear Magazine door is only found on a few versions and is considered desirable, - it is found with the finder mounted on a platform to give enough room to "get you head in" beside the magazine.

The middle of the model run they switched to a single perf sproket, but I am not sure when. The single perf version is of course to be prefered. the model run ran from the 1930's to teh 1960 at least so their is a lot of ground to cover.

The miltary origins and the dat codes on your Bolex may indicate that both were re-purposed WWII era units.

The military was known for re-building equipment and it is even posible that your unit is made up of parts from different models. The nameplates were on the spring motor housing for the camera with the "old style" film loading knobs, (like yours) The 1950's style had flush knobs and the nameplate mounted on the finder. Yours is missing both places where the nameplate would be found.

perhaps some of the filmo experts canask you about the presence or ansence of other features to narrow it down.
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