Underwater Housings

Bolex Product Code:- HAMAR

Bolex Underwater housing on dry landThe HAMAR Bolex underwater housing allows you to don your scuba gear, breathing apparatus and take your Bolex camera into uncharted territory under the sea! It will accept any round base or flat base Bolex cameras except the bayonet lens mount models such as the SBM, EBM or EL which had there own separate housings designed, some of which even included provision for using the 400ft magazine with take up motor.

However these bayonet housings are extremely rare and I have never seen one yet or there technical details so I will have to concentrate my discussions to the first and the most well known housing called the HAMAR underwater housing.

The Bolex Underwater Housing is designed for use with H8 cameras as well as with all the H16 C mount camera models. It is constructed so as to enable movie makers to shoot films underwater with utmost safety and ease. The Underwater Housing is absolutely watertight and can withstand water pressure to a depth of 300 feet.

The camera can be inserted or removed in a matter of seconds without any tools. The weight of the housing has been accurately calculated so as to ensure perfect stability for Underwater shooting, while giving the diver complete freedom of movement.

Fitting the camera in the housing

Winding handle replacementRemoving the turret leaverFirst unscrew the cameras winding handle from the camera by turning it clockwise till it comes off and then replace it by screwing in anticlockwise the cog (M) in it's place. This will connect with a cog on the inside of the underwater housing which will connect to the external winding handle so you can wind the camera when it is under water. If you have a turret C mount camera which has a turret handle attached remove it by unscrewing the screw (D).

Second decide which lens you want to use on the camera. Only wide angle lenses are suitable for underwater filming on account of the short filming distances and the reduced depth of field due to refraction's in the water. You have a choice of 3 lenses if using a H16 camera for 16mm filming which are :- Switar f=10mm 1:1.6 or Switar f=10mm 1:1.6 RX, Switar f=16mm 1:1.8 or Switar f=16mm 1:1.8 RX, Yvar f=16mm 1:2.8. You have a choice of 4 lenses if using a H8 camera for 8mm filming which are:- Pizar 5.5mm 1:1.2, Switar f=12.5mm 1:1.5 fitted with Hyper Cinor, Yvar f=13mm 1:1.8 fitted with Kern Paillard Wide Angel and Switar f=5.5mm 1:1.6.

10mm Switar RX lens with collar showing cog You cannot use any other manufacturer's lenses on the account of the fact that you would have to have a special collar manufactured.

The collars fit around the lens and have a cog which connects to a worm gear which enables the diaphragm of the lens to be altered under water.

Collars were only manufactured by Bolex to fit on the lenses listed above so you only have a choice of those to use with the underwater housing.





Underwater Housing baseplateThird you screw a metal bracket (P) into the bottom of the camera using screw (N). If you have a roundbase camera you use it in the one screw thread contained at the bottom of this camera or if you have a flat base camera you screw it into the rear of the the three screw threads. Then you gently screw the two screw threads labeled (Q) into the side of the camera which have plastic heads which do not damage the metal on the side of the camera.

Now decide on the fps rate as this is something you cannot alter underwater, set the focus of the lens to one of two values either 6ft or 15ft based on the table below the lens you are using and how much light you think you will have available.


16mm Lens Set lens f stop to Set lens focus to Apparent depth of field (feet)
Switar f=10mm 1:1.6 and Switar f=10mm 1:1.6 RX 1.6 6 3 - Infinity
2.8 6 2.28 - Infinity
4 6 1.79 - Infinity
Switar f=16mm 1:1.8 and Switar f=16mm 1:1.8 RX 1.8 6 4.29 - 11.08
1.8 15 7.28 - Infinity
2.8 6 3.67 - 20
2.8 15 5.64 - Infinity
4 6 3.11 - Infinity
4 15 4.44 - Infinity
Yvar f=16mm 1:2.8 2.8 6 3.67 - 20
2.8 15 5.64 - Infinity
4 6 3.11 - Infinity
4 15 4.44 - Infinity
8mm Lens Set lens f stop to Set lens focus to Apparent depth of field (feet)
Switar f=5.5mm 1:1.6 for H8 RX 1.6 3 1.60 - Infinity
2 3 1.44 - Infinity
2.8 3 1.18 - Infinity
4 3 0.91 - Infinity
Switar f=5.5mm 1:1.8 1.8 3 1.45 - Infinity
2.8 3 1 - Infinity
4 3 0.89 - Infinity
Pizar f=5.5mm 1:1.2 2 - 1.54 - Infinity
2.8 - 1.23 - Infinity
4 - 1 - Infinity
Switar f=12.5mm 1:1.5 + Hyper Cinor 1.5 6 2.43 - Infinity
2.8 6 1.55 - Infinity
4 6 1.17 - Infinity
Switar f=12.5mm 1:1.5 + Hyper Kern Paillard 1.8 6 2.43 - Infinity
2.8 6 1.55 - Infinity
4 6 1.17 - Infinity
Yvar f=13mm 1:1.8 + Hyper Cinor 11 up to s/n 892.032 1.8 6 2 - Infinity
2.8 6 1.55 - Infinity
4 6 1.17 - Infinity

Top view of housing with camera in itNow place the camera on its base plate at the bottom of the underwater housing and lock into place using lever (E)

Use of the Underwater Housing

There is little difference between filming underwater than on dry land, except that the camera is operated by means of the controls on the housing instead of on the camera itself. Remember, however, that the lens is focused once and for all before diving to one of the distances that are listed on the taBackble above, this can be done because depth of field is sufficient, even with the wide lens openings The filming speed is also set before. The Diaphragm can be adjusted, however, according to the amount of light available.