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What to Look for in Vintage Projectors for Watching Old 8mm or Super 8 Films

The earliest home movie making formats date back to 1898, but most likely you have some old family films from the mid-twentieth century that shot on 8mm or Super 8 film. This was the most widespread family film medium before the camcorder's invention in the 1970's. In order to watch these old silent films in their original format, you will need a reel-to-reel 8mm projector and screen.

What Are Some of the Basic Models of Bolex Vintage Projectors Available?

Whether you just want a display piece for a window display or you want a usable projector, here are a few models from this classic Swiss brand of projector that you can look for.

  • Pailliard 18-5 Super 8mm Cine Projector - This Dual-8 film projector manufactured from 1965 to1966 for use with Super 8mm film and used any of the following manufacturers' lenses: Hi-Fi f: 1.3 F: 15mm, 20mm, or 25mm. It also works with SOM-Berthoit lenses f: 1.3 F: 35mm and 17-28mm. For this projector to work, you will need a 50 W, 8 V, CXR lamp.  It has a reel capacity of 120 m and has forward and rewind projection but no sound. 
  • Pailliard M8 Movie Projector - This model largely marketed in 1950, and it has a reel capacity of 120 m. It is compatible with a BTL Lamp, P28s, 120 V, 500 W, and uses the Hi-Fi 1:1.3 f 20mm lens. This projector also does not have sound capabilities. Early models were olive colored with a slightly textured finish. In 1956, the style came with a redesign, featuring a two-toned silver and grey finish.

Can You Find Replacement Parts?

You can find replacement parts for old projectors.  Here are a few of the current sources for some of the everyday parts that you will need to watch your old family movies.

  • Lens - You can find the used lenses separately. In order to make sure you are choosing the right lens for your projector, consult the manual that came with it or search for the manual online. PDF versions of common manuals are available.
  • Motor and Belts - While it may be a bit harder to replace the whole motor, replacement drive belts are readily available for many old projectors.
  • Light Bulb - Dr. Fisher, BTL, Phillips, and Osram still manufacture projector lamp bulbs. Please consult the manufacturer website for details and compatibility. 

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