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  • What can you tell me about this projector?

    I am thinking about purchasing a Bolex SM 8 to add to my collection. I primarily use projectors for watching my silent home movies. I currently use a Elmo FP8-C that is a good working machine. I have that fitted with a Bolex "hifi" 1.3 prime lens. The 150 watt bulb is nice and bright. However I am not to keen on it's overall looks. It's probably my most reliable projector. I also have a Bolex 18-5L Super that is a great running machine but it's not as bright as I would like for large projection. So I got to thinking maybe the Bolex SM 8 with it's 100 watt bulb would give a better, and brighter image on screen. Also I am wondering whether or not the Bolex lenses from the 18-5L Super 8 line would work in the SM 8? The barrel size, from photos I've seen, seems to suggest they should work. Does anyone know for sure? Also what are the advantages and disadvantages to the SM 8? I would not be using the sound function on this projector so that option is not important to me.
    Thank you!

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    Last edited by Shane C. Collins; November 04, 2021, 04:11 PM.

  • #2
    I find this website very informative when it comes to Bolex technical info including dating from serial numbers etc.

    Bolex Collector | Projectors | SM 8

    Nick

    Bolex Collector | Projectors | SM 8

    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Nick Regan View Post
      I find this website very informative when it comes to Bolex technical info including dating from serial numbers etc.

      Bolex Collector | Projectors | SM 8

      Nick

      Bolex Collector | Projectors | SM 8
      Thanks Nick! Yes I've been to this website many times, and agree it's very informative. What I'm looking for is others who have this model, and their opinions on it, etc. Also if I can swap lenses from a 18-5L Super that would be great!

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      • #4
        Hi Shane

        I don't think the lens from the 18-5 L will work on the later SM8 but in case I have got it wrong I have measured the barrel diameter from a SM8. Its 1.276 inches or in metric 32.43mm.

        When I look at the focus groove on the 18-5L, there does not seem like there is much of it compared with the later SM8. The Schneider 1:1.3/12-30 lens the SM8 uses is good lens, easy and smooth to focus by rotation.

        I once owned a SM8 back in the 1970s and really liked it. There is one snag though, I know somebody a while back who I should add was very good at fixing projectors, telling me of the trouble with the SM8 regarding fitting another drive belt and the time spent trying to get the speed right, as you rotate the speed knob, the drive pully width will move in or out to get you either the 18fps or 24fps. Its a very simple thing, however getting the right belt is a must for it to work properly.

        I have been looking at a old SM8 the last few weeks seeing if its worth fixing. I have taken a couple of photos. What I do remember of owning one was the light output was good with the later 100 watt lamp. It was an easy machine to clean the gate, plus at the time bought some really nice Bolex 800ft reels for it. I should add the Elmo 800ft reels wont fit.

        PS The earlier SM8, the model with just the two knobs might be the one that lens from the 18-5l might fit, the later SM8 with the three knobs has the barrel diameter as measured. hope some of this helps
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        The later SM8 used this lens...the one on the right. the lens on the left is from the manual 18-5.
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        Last edited by Graham Ritchie; November 04, 2021, 11:22 PM.

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        • #5
          This is a closer look at the drive, in this case the drive belt is missing.

          You can see the lever on the right of the motor pully that will moves in or out to get the different projector speed.

          Also below is the use of the earlier SM8 projector lamp.

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          • #6
            Thank you Graham this is the information I was looking for. So maybe the earlier version would be best if I'm looking to swap lenses? In your last post here I didn't see any photos. The post before that does have photos.

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            • #7
              Your welcome, I think the above photos covers it, my good lady was rushing me at the time, as we were going out to "get off" the computer, so the posting was a rush job hence the possible mistakes

              I can see getting the right belt and adjustment might be a problem, One half of the motor drive pully does move in our out to vary its own diameter. For 24fps the belt is running closer to the pully center, for the 18fps the outer half of the pully is moved "in" the belt is pushed outward to slow the main shaft down.

              The SM8 projector is a nice machine and will worth getting if its been looked after. The one I had back in the 1970s I also used it for doing my own striping connected to the Rexette striper, that could be fun.

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              • #8
                Shane,
                I have a couple of 18/5"s and an SM8
                My SM8 is the later version with 3 knobs. The Bolex hi fi lenses from my 18/5 work fine in the SM8.
                I too am a big fan of the 18/5,best super 8 silent projector ive ever come accross.
                The SM8 is ok,but I dont think its in the same class as the 18,5.It was made by Silma in Italy,for Bolex.
                If its just for silent film,I would stick with the 18/5.

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                • #9
                  Found a 18-5L model today, The lens from the 18-5L is to small for this particular three knob SM8, likewise I could not fit the lens from the SM8 into the 18-5L, as the lens dia is to large.

                  Lens barrel diameter

                  18-5....24.92mm or .981 inch.
                  18.5L....27.90mm or 1.098 inch.
                  SM8....32.43mm or 1.275 inch.

                  I took some photos and measurements, as you can see nothing between any of those three lenses shown here are interchangeable. Its possible that the lens holder on the earlier two knob SM8 is smaller and might work, but certainly not with the projectors shown below.

                  Shane..... If you choose to buy the SM8, I would be interested to hear how you get on.
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                  • #10
                    Wow thank you Graham for all the work you've done to find out if the lenses are interchangeable! I was not expecting any of this so again thank you! Your photos, and measurements are a big help! I will let you know if I pull the trigger on a SM 8. I will keep an eye out for the earlier version. I some some for sale from the UK but they are all 50 HZ. I will of course need the 60 HZ version since I'm in the US. I'll keep everyone posted after I find a minty specimen!
                    PS: I expected the SM 8 to be much larger than the 18-5 machines. Looking at the photo, and they look similar in size.

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                    • #11
                      Your welcome

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                      • #12
                        As I said,my three knob later SM8 takes the 28mm barrel bolex hi fi lenses that also fit the 18/5 l that I have.
                        So it would seem there were variations in the spec of the later SM8.
                        The 18/5 standard 8 projector has a much smaller barrel.
                        Shane,if you find an SM8,just check it has a 28mm lens barrel.
                        It would seem that some are 28mm,and even later ones 32.5mm, as Graham has found.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by David Roberts View Post
                          As I said,my three knob later SM8 takes the 28mm barrel bolex hi fi lenses that also fit the 18/5 l that I have.
                          So it would seem there were variations in the spec of the later SM8.
                          The 18/5 standard 8 projector has a much smaller barrel.
                          Shane,if you find an SM8,just check it has a 28mm lens barrel.
                          It would seem that some are 28mm,and even later ones 32.5mm, as Graham has found.
                          Thanks David! I was wondering about that. So I wonder if there's an obvious way of telling the difference just by looking at photos? Another words if I'm looking at a listing, etc. Can you take a photo of your machine and show me here what it looks like? I could then compare between yours and Grahams.

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                          • #14
                            Shane,I dont know how you do a picture here,pathetic isnt it!
                            Before Grahams post,I had thought they were all 28mm.
                            The larger 32.5 was becoming the standard european barrel,Eumig,Noris etc all used it. So maybe Bolex thought they would fall into line.
                            Does your 18/5 l have the 75watt bulb with integral reflector? Mine does and I would say the SM8 is not much brighter.
                            My 18/5 standard 8 uses the 50 watt spaceman bulb,and this really isnt bright enough and these lamps cost a fortune.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by David Roberts View Post
                              Shane,I dont know how you do a picture here,pathetic isnt it!
                              Before Grahams post,I had thought they were all 28mm.
                              The larger 32.5 was becoming the standard european barrel,Eumig,Noris etc all used it. So maybe Bolex thought they would fall into line.
                              Does your 18/5 l have the 75watt bulb with integral reflector? Mine does and I would say the SM8 is not much brighter.
                              My 18/5 standard 8 uses the 50 watt spaceman bulb,and this really isnt bright enough and these lamps cost a fortune.
                              My 18-5L Super does use a 75 watt halogen bulb. I find it's pretty bright, overall, on screen. My problem lately has been the auto-threading in the first loop is curling the film as it's making it's way to the gate. It never use to do this but for some reason has decided to chew up the first few inches of leader film. I've tried everything to correct the issue but haven't found a solution. As a result I'm sort of mad at it and have been using my trusty Elmo FP8-C that's fitted with a Bolex prime. I'm just not that into the Elmo even though it runs, and always projects a bright stable image. I really want to be able to use my Bolex prime lens. That's my main goal. I've been spoiled by this prime lens and so have become picky about what I use to show my home movies to others. I've been disappointed with zoom lenses overall. I keep going back to that awesome prime lens. So I figured since the Bolex SM 8 has some of the same features as the 18-5L Super why not try one out. But I would be less thrilled if I can't use a prime lens. Although I understand some of the SM 8's came with prime lenses. It seems most that are for sale have zooms. So that's where I got the idea of maybe using a Bolex prime in this model.
                              Last edited by Shane C. Collins; November 06, 2021, 03:11 PM.

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