Sunday, May 4, 2014


A customer writes: "I need the correct adapter to use with my antique Bolex L8 8mm camera. Can you help?" I have to answer, sorry - no. The adapters are quite rare. However, they do show up for sale on eBay, occasionally. You may however, have to buy a complete camera to get the adapter :(  
Fortunately, the cameras are NOT a popular seller, so the price may be affordable. Be sure you verify with the seller that camera comes with adapter.
I just looked on eBay (old and new sales). Of the 2 cameras I saw for sale, neither had the LUGOM adapter, although BOTH had D-mount lenses! So both were not usable for filming. Also, you can occasionally surf the net searching for the word: 
A lot of L8 cameras were sold in the UK, so you may find a camera dealer/ebayer selling a LUGOM adapter.
"This was a D-mount lens mount adaptor for use with L8 cameras. The L8 cameras used a non-standard lens mount. Although the thread diameter was similar to a D-mount (5/8" or 15.8mm), the setting was different (0.3075" or 7.8mm). The L8 Ring Adaptor (LUGOM) allowed normal d-mount lenses to be used by increasing the setting to 0.484" (12.29mm).
 It was simply attached to the lens mount; the desired d-mount lens was then screwed into the adapter. Although they're not rare, they seem to be difficult to find. It can be identified by the word "L8" stamped on the side of the ring."
The L8 is collectable if only given the fact that it is a Bolex. The camera is very complicated internally. So much so, services them by quote, only. Other, later 8mm Bolexs are typically the same internally and are much easier to service. The L8 is the "oddball". The need for a lens adapter didn't help, either.
Bolex 8mm cameras typically use a prime mount which takes a "D-mount" lens. Most D-Mount lenses will fit and work. Bolex sold 2 brands of their own: Yvar and Switar. Switars are the premium lenses. Both are difficult to clean and reassemble and, as necessary, collimate (align) the lens. Collimating a lens will most likely NOT be possible, so sometimes the only fix for a dirty Bolex lens is to replace it :(

Elgeet brand 8mm D-mount lenses are very nice. USA made with stainless steel bodies, these lenses fully disassemble to allow complete cleaning.

Japanese Yashica D-mount lenses are the same thread and focal size. However the body diameter is slightly larger and they can interfere with each other in multiple lens configuration. The L8 has only one lens mount, so the Yashica lenses will most likely work. 

The cost for lenses in very low compared to the high quality.  Typically a 3 lenses Yashica 8mm camera is about $25 to $50.00+ on ebay.


The limiting resolution factor of any 8mm lens is the film grain. All film has "grain" from the silver halide crystals used in the manufacture of film. The crystals are the same size, but are more noticeable as the film size goes down. 8mm film stock is cut from 16mm film stock which is cut from 35mm film stock. The sprocket holes are re-punched as necessary. 

Because of the grain of 8mm film, lens manufacture becomes less critical and/or noticeable. The grain could "cover up" lens deficiencies. Small imperfections in the form of microscopic air bubbles in both camera and projection lenses is common and not visually noticeable when projecting onto a screen. This is very different as compared to 16mm and 35mm lenses image quality (IQ) is "King". Cost is a factor, also. Better lenses cost more money. The Top-of-The-Line Switar f/0.9 lens sells for $300-$500, today!

A large number of Elgeet lenses are designed to be "fixed focus". Regardless of where the iris is set in these lenses, the image will always be sharp.Easy to set and use. Just meter the scene and dial in the required f /stop.


8mm lenses choice seems to be based on: 1) the finished film look and/or 2) the ability to clean the lens elements. I prefer Elgeet lenses (fixed focus or with focus ring). Some people prefer Bolex original lenses (Switars and Yvars). Some like a particular lens just because it "looks cool".

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