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Bibhusan Basnet

Bolex H8 Rex 4

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Hi everyone, I finally received my Bolex H8 Rex 4 camera yesterday. I've also got a few rolls of Orwo film stock to play with. I've read the instruction manual that accompanied the camera but I'd like to know more before I roll my first can of film.


1. The camera has an Octameter attachment. When I look through the Octameter with the 5.5mm glass attachment, I can also see the remaining 2 lenses but this is not the case when I see through the viewfinder. It's a similar case when I switch to the 12.5mm setting on the Octameter, although it's not as bad as the 5.5mm setting.


Will I end up with the remaining lenses on my final image if I use the 5.5mm lens ?


2. When I align the focus ring exactly at Infinity, I feel the image looks a tad bit soft. If I stop the ring a tiny increment before the Infinity mark, I feel the image looks sharper. Is it just because the viewfinder is a bit dim and it's affecting my judgement ? What should I go for when I'm focusing for infinity ?


3. I bought the camera off eBay and on a full wind the camera runs for around 30 secs at 24fps. So I'm guessing that the spring is healthy.


4. The lenses are clean but the focus rings are a bit tight. I am not planning to do any fancy focus pulls with the camera but I would like to have it lubricated. We have an old gentleman in Kathmandu who has been repairing cameras for decades now. However, I'm not sure if he's ever worked on these lenses.


Do you think I'd be safe if I asked him to lubricate the focus ring and clean it up cosmetically ?


5. I played with the Gossen Bolex light meter this morning and I think I've got it right. Haven't compared the readings with other light meters but I'd love to go through a manual. Does anyone have a digital copy for the light meter ?


6. The camera looks good but there are dust specs on the metal parts of the camera. What should I use to clean these ? And what would I need to clean the leather ?



I think that's it for the time being. I'll definitely have more questions once I develop my first roll of film. I would really appreciate if you guys had any tips before I shoot my first roll of film :)


Thanks in advance :)



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  1. No
  2. This has to do with the combination of your eyesight and the finder optics. You can overcorrect the ocular, so try to find the sharpest view of the ground surface by swinging the turret away to let diffuse skylight fall into the prism. If a lens has the infinity stop set beyond distant objects being sharp, rely on what you see in the reflex finder.
  3. Correct. It’s about 27 seconds. You have one of the latest models with an enhanced spring.
  4. Give Kathmandu a chance. He will most probably not be able to disassemble the lenses entirely, however, for it takes special tools for that. If he has a workshop with lathe and mill, he can produce himself what he needs. The focusing threads alone he can do rather surely.
  5. It’s only about the cell. You need the right energy cell of 1.35 Volt tension. With a different cell you correct on the ASA DIN ring. Or on the internal resistor.
  6. Best is a clean dry cotton rag. Simply wipe the leatherette (it isn’t leather but an embossed fabric) and rub the aluminum body parts with more pressure.

The best advice I can give you is to use a tripod.

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1. Simon said right, the Octameter does not affect the film, it's a separate accessory.

I have always noticed the fact that with Octa at 5.5mm with glass attachment (I don't remember if even at 6.5mm, without attachment) you can see little parts of lens.

I also use a zoom lens, it covers half window of the Octameter! This is because the Octameter was not think for use with zoom.

Another curiosity: there is a very rare accessory, a bracket that lengthened the distance from camera to Octa, for solve the problem. I have it, but at 5.5mm a bit 'of lens are seen the same. This "arm" had been made for use with the Newest Bolex.

2. Simon says well.

3. Yes, correct for Simon.

4.Them are a bit 'delicate, I would have a little' fear, but it's true that the focus is more easily accessible. If the repairer is skilled you can do it.

5. The Bolex Gossen lightmeter (there are two models, but almost identical) will have a very small difference compared to the other lightmeter, because it was produced to consider the light deviated in the viewfinder of the Bolex H models.

It worked right with the 1.35v cells that says Simon, at past mercury type, no longer on the market, so you'll have to find a replacement with the current 1.35v calibrated batteries. I use the zinc air, not cheap and with small life, but they do the job well. There is also an adapter+other new types of batteries solution, you can see it by writing "adapter 1.35 cell" on Google, but I've never used it on Bolex

For the manual... give me your email address!

6. Ok for Simon

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Thanks a lot guys !


I'll take the lenses over to the old man's workshop to see if he can do it :)


The seller included a 1.35 V battery along with the light meter. It's a VARTA V635PX Mercury cell. Do you think it'll give accurate readings ? The light meter is intended to be used with Reflex models as it's stated on the meter itself. I would really appreciate it if you could send me a digital copy of the manual Luigi :)


My email address is: bibhusanbasnet@gmail.com


I've been playing with the camera more and I've come up with a few more questions. I hope you'll help me with them :)


1. I was going through the Bolex manual, specifically trying to understand the variable shutter positions. The upper most position is where the shutter is open, for a shutter speed of 1/65th of a second at 24fps. However, I also see an adapted shutter reading to compensate for the light loss. I understand this theoretically but where should I apply this ?


Suppose that I take a light meter reading of a scene, the shutter position is at the 1st position (the top most), I set the desired setting on my lens and I shoot. I should be good right ? Where do these adapted values come into play ?


Further more, the manual states that when you choose the 2nd position one must compensate by opening the lens 1/2 a stop and while shooting on the 3rd position one must compensate by opening the lens a full stop. Is it all that I need to know ?


And what is the 4th shutter position intended for ?


2. If I look closely at the light meter, I can see that the ASA and DIN values are offset very slightly. Is this normal ?


3. Do you have any experience shooting with Orwo film stock ? I have a few rolls of both UN54 and UN74. How well do these film stocks handle over exposure and under exposure ? I would really appreciate your observations.


4. I contacted Orwo regarding this same thing but I didn't really get the answer I was hoping for. However they said that the UN74 (ASA 400) film stock could be pushed up to 1600 ASA. Having shot only digital till now, I don't know if I understand this well. When shooting Raw with digital cameras, one can change ISO values in post production. A dimly lit scene could be brightened up in post production but you won't have the same dynamic range that is present at the base ISO of a particular camera system. Is it similar with film ? Do you lose the latitude when you push/pull film ?


5. Also what is the difference between pushing/pulling film during development and doing the same in post production ? What I mean to say is, can I develop the film normally and later choose to push/pull digitally ? Will I get the same results ?

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I think I’m going to keep this compact for we are slightly abusing forum space.


When you alter a movie camera’s shutter opening you have two possibilities for compensation with a given film: frame rate and diaphragm stop. Second position of the control lever means shutter angle a quarter narrower, third position is half angle. That cuts exposure time in half, hence one full diaphragm stop compensation. Fourth position is shutter closed, no exposure. The small difference between ASA and DIN scales is usual industrial tolerance. UN 54 and N 74 are classical negative films. They have quite some margins on exposure. If you want to reverse the images on them, expose for ⅔ less sensitivity like ISO 64 instead of 100. Naturally, image quality changes when you leave optimum conditions. To push a film means to prolong development. Since the film is underexposed, else you wouldn’t need to extend developing time, more silver is accumulated on a thinner image. The result is increased graininess and more contrast together with muddy shadows. One can push by raising developer temperature, too. I recommend to develop negative films to negatives. Projection of reverse images on such grey-base materials can be disappointing. In America it’s gray base. Positive or print film is available from Kahl in Germany. A true reversal film for nice projection is Fomapan R.

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That type of battery is fine, it's the one that was used in the past with that lightmeter, now no longer on the market for for mercury pollution. As long as it's fully charged is fine, then you'll have to look for alternative solutions.
I feel good with the Orwo UN54, I development (at lab) it in reversal and not in negative, without pull or push, I like the "basic" effect.
I never use UN74.
The dynamics of digital post production are really endless, even with a scanned 8mm film.
The Fomapan R100 is also a great film, and the film, apart from development, it's cheap.
I write you on email!

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