After various prototypes and limited series of movie cameras and projectors, Paillard S.A. of Switzerland introduced the first bolex h-16 type camera in the early thirties. No one remembers today what the letter "h" stands for, but it has become synonymous with a versatile, compact, high-quality camera around the globe and in the years to come it outsold all other 16mm cameras ever made.
All of the basic features of the original bolex h-16 were so well selected and designed that they withstood the test of time and all of these features are present without significant change on the most modern bolex spring driven cameras of today. Outstanding quality of selected materials and fine swiss craftsmenship speak for themselves, as many of the original bolex cameras, which are now almost 50 years old, are still in circulation and faithfully serve their owners all over the world.
This list was prepared to assist you in identification of various models and to illustrate the development of bolex h-16 series cameras.


  1. carrying handle/strap
  2. critical focuser with eye cup
  3. turret guide with positioning click stop
  4. parallax correcting viewfinder
  5. three-lens turret
  6. film plane indicator
  7. i and t lever for instantaneous or time exposures in single frame mode
  8. front release
  9. tripod fastening thread
  10. side release with lock for continuous or single frame exposures
  11. winding handle
  12. speed dial 8-64 fps
  13. rewind shaft
  14. automatic, geared footage indicator
  15. clutch for disengaging spring motor
  16. holders for eye level viewfinders.

other features not visible in this illustration:
automatic threading * removable pressure plate * built-in film trimming knife * audible length-of-scene signal * fully removable lid with lock

major modificationmodelyearser. no.
introduction of camerah-1619337,500
addition of external frame counterh-16194115,000
built-in frame counterh-16 leader194733,191
addition of trifocal viewfinderh-16 leader194835,000
addition of eye level focus v.f.h-16 standard194950,000
addition of octometer v.f.h-16 de luxe195055,000
built-in filter sloth-16 supreme195494,201
introduction of zoom lenses (first in u.s.a.) 1954 
introduction of stereo system 1954 
new registration claw, pressure padh-16 supreme1955100,401
introduction of bolex h-16 reflexh-16 r1956116,001
new style turret with folding leverh-16 supreme1956121,401
introduction of anamorphic lenses 1957 
introduction of bolex th-16 t1958148,000
introduction of bolex mh-16 m1958153,000
introduction of rex-1 (var. shutter 145°)h-16 rex-11959162,306
h-16 rex-2 new vf (var. shutter 130°)h-16 rex-21963
h-16 rex-3 built-in flat baseh-16 rex-31963202,501
introduction of automatic exposure zoom lens 1963 
h-16 m-3 built-in flat baseh-16 m-31964203,001
introduction of bolex sh-16 s1965203,551
h-16 rex-4 1:1 ratio shafth-16 rex-41965210, 601
h-16 m-4 1:1 ratio shafth-16 m-41965212,501
h-16 rex-5 400' magazine saddle, clapperh-16 rex-51967226,001
h-16 m-5 400' magazine saddleh-16 m-51967234,401
h-16 rex-5 new vf, magnification 13xh-16 rex-51971253,020
h-16 sbm bayonet mount, 400' magazine saddleh-16 sbm1971300,001
h-16 sb bayonet mount, 100' capacityh-16 sb1971300,201
h-16 ebm built-in electric motorh-16 ebm1971300,401
h-16 el built in elec. motor, exp. meterh-16 el1975310,001
introduction of aspheron attachment 1976 
h-16 rex-5/tv tv mask in vfh-16 rex-5/tv1978??
h-16 el/tv (series ii) tv mask, x-synch-16 el/tv1978??
h-16 sbm/tv tv mask in vf, 13x magnificationh-16 sbm/tv1978??
h-16 el/tv (series iii) 1600 asa exp. meterh-16 el/tv1980??

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