P1 vs P3

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P1 vs P3

Post by ipam » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:19 am

I want to buy to my boyfriend a Bolex 8mm Camera fortis birthday. He wants to start filming again professionally.
A while ago he was telling me about the P1 being really good but searching online I've seen the P3 as an updated version of the P1.
Can someone please tell me if it's better the P3 or the P1.
At the beginning I was going to buy a H8 RX but I'm scared is going to be heavier and not that good for portable use.
Can you please give me some advice? Where I can find the film as well?
Many many thanks,

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Andreas Wideroe
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Re: P1 vs P3

Post by Andreas Wideroe » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:56 pm

Hi Pamela!

Those are beautiful cameras. Bolex had its unique style and look. Great cameras that last a long time. I have a R16 which I enjoy.

I can't really comment on the P1 vs the P3 cameras (I'm sure someone else can?!), but one source for Regular 8mm films is through John Schwind at International Film Brokers.


Best of luck!


PS! I moved the topic to the Small gauge film forum which is the correct forum for this kind of question.
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Re: P1 vs P3

Post by sciolist » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:13 pm

The P3 has a power zoom that the P1 lacks. There's useful information about the P3 (and the P1) here - http://www.bolexcollector.com/cameras/p3.html. Repair services for these cameras are offered by http://bolexrepair.com/.

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Re: P1 vs P3

Post by BAC » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:03 am

I prefer not having the power zoom. I have the P1 and P2, the P2 is the lower end of the three P models. Like sciolist said the only difference between the P1 and P3 is the power zoom, they both have the same lens and the rest of the functions are the same. The P2 has a SOM Berthiot Pan Cinor 9-30mm f/1.9 zoom lens where the other two have a SOM Berthiot Pan Cinor 8-40mm f/1.9 zoom lens. The thing you want to look for with these is a working light meter. You can use it without the light meter, you would just need a handheld meter (or a smart phone light meter app). If you are going to get a P3 make sure the power zoom works, otherwise there is no point to getting it over the P1. I would suggest that if you find one where the buyer says the light meter works get that one whether it's a P1 or P3. Most often on eBay the person selling the camera will make no claim that anything works.

I have an H8 RX and I find that I use the smaller cameras much more often. Though the H8 models can be shot handheld it's better suited for tripod use. If he's looking to build up his arm strength an H8 my come in handy. Other options are the B8, C8 and D8 models. Usually the light meters don't work on them but they have interchangeable D mount lenses so there are many lens options available. The downside to them is the lack of a reflex viewfinder which makes focusing more difficult. The P models all have reflex viewfinders.

A few places you can get film:

John Schwind is a member of this forum, I usually get my film from him.

Dwaynes does mail order for film and processing and scanning.
https://www.dwaynesphoto.com/common/new ... r_Form.pdf

Spectra Film and Video sell film and do processing and scanning.

Wittner is in Germany, the others listed above are in the US.
http://www.wittnercinetec.com/epages/Wi ... 20Filme%22

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Re: P1 vs P3

Post by alexmuir » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:42 am

I have a P3. It has been in storage in my shed for 22 years. I dug it out about two weeks ago and it all works. It has a simple manual zoom lever if the power zoom fails. The lens has survived well with no sign of fungus or haze. I would look for examples of both models, and pick the best one you can find. Another model to consider is the K1. It has an excellent viewfinder and is nice and portable. The later K2 has power zoom. I only have a K1, but can highly recommend it.
One thing to bear in mind is that these cameras (P1, P3, K1 etc) all used Mercury batteries for their meter and auto-exposure functions. These batteries can be difficult/impossible to find depending on where you live, so you may need to source alternatives, or work with a separate meter and manual exposure. There are always solutions, however, and I hope you find a suitable camera. I would be extremely pleased if my partner got me something like this as a present!

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Re: P1 vs P3

Post by Krasnogorskistan » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:11 am

Another vote here for what Alex says above, the K series models are not to be discounted, the K1 is 18fps but has a wider range of film sensitivities than the 24fps K2. Having said that, just been checking out some YouTube videos filmed in period with a D8L and its some of the best 8mm I've ever seen transferred, and that was one camera that was completely off my radar until recently. Probably more important than which Bolex model you go for is the condition of the actual camera you buy. Bolexes in general almost always look stunningly seductive, but many today will need at least a check over and lube....factor that into your 'purchasing plan'... Good luck with it.

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Re: P1 vs P3

Post by Ostroff » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:04 pm

I would definitely go for the P3 over the P1 if you can.

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