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What Are Vintage Super 16 Movie Cameras?

Bolex, a Swiss camera company that began in 1924 and was known for its cameras, launched the Bolex H16 format back in 1935. This camera is still successful and is used frequently to teach students at film schools.

What Are Some Facts About the Super 16?

Super 16 actually refers to a conversion of the H-16 design. You can either convert the unit to the Super 16 format yourself, or you can purchase an already-converted model to enjoy all of the benefits and features of this format. In addition, the company does convert the cameras itself via special order from consumers, photographers, and camera buffs.

  • The conversion began happening in the early 1990s, as there is a way to convert or purchase a converted model that allows you to switch between the regular and the Super format, giving you more versatility when filming.
  • The "16" in the model name refers to the film size, which is 16mm.
  • There are two different types of cameras: the older-style SBM design and newer, more modern and digital EL cameras.

What Features Do These Models Offer?

There are some features that make the Super 16mm format stand out. When you're a photographer or a collector, these are some exciting and inspiring features that still motivate shutterbugs to continue using the H16 format today regardless of conversion.

  • Some designs of these 16 mm options come with as many as three interchangeable lenses to give your shots some variety.
  • The eye-level focus viewfinder allows you to effortlessly focus in on your subject.
  • A rewind crank lets you hand-crank the camera to rewind the film.

What Do You Need to Create a Super 16?

When you're looking for a Bolex camera that is an H16 camera that you'd like to convert, the conversion process is fairly streamlined as long as you have both the camera itself and the lens. There are some additional items that you need to perform the conversion that can give you two models in one to use for multiple creative endeavors.

  • The process only works when you own a model called the H16 Bayonet mount model.
  • You'll also need the Vario Switar 12.5 to 100mm lens. You must adjust the eyepiece and viewfinder for compatibility with the new format.
  • As one option, you can attach the Aspheron wide-angle lens to shoot wide-angle images using the Super 16 format. Then, you can switch between the regular and Super options whenever you choose, bringing a vintage camera into the modern age with ease.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Bolex.