Vario Switar 86 f2.5 18-86mm EE

Bolex Product Code:- VAMAT

Vario Switar 86 EE attached to a Rex5

This lens was the first from Bolex to feature automatic metering of the lens from a light meter attached alongside and parallel to the taking lens but not through the lens which meant it was only accurate for average metering of zoomed out shots. If you zoomed into something in the scene uncharacteristically brighter than the rest of the scene you may not get correct exposure.

In the picture above top left you can see a close up of the settings needing to be adjusted such as frames per second, film speed (up to 400ASA) and whether the variable shutter is fully or half open to allow accurate exposure. Bottom left in the picture above is the manual aperture selection and you can also alter this to switch between manual and automatic diaphragm selection.

Diapragm Pre Selection Cable attached to Mechnical Pistol GripThe lens can be used with the close up lens adapters discussed on the 86 Original page. It is also the first lens to be able to be controlled by use of a special cable called a Diaphragm pre selection cable from the mechanical handgrip. Why might you need to do this?

When automatic metering is enabled you may find when your trying to frame and focus a shot due to bright lighting conditions and when using high speed film the lens naturally stops down but this might not be great in helping you to accurately frame and focus a shot prior to its taking. On a Bolex camera where only 25% of light is going to the viewfinder anyway due to the prism further light loss due to the lens being stopped down makes it more difficult to see what your doing.

So a special cable was designed to go from the lens to the mechanical pistol grip. With no pressure its still automatic metering and might have the lens in a stopped down state but with further pressure automatic metering stops and the lens fully opens up to allow you to frame and focus your shot with a bight viewfinder image now press further and its automatic metering again press some more and the camera start button is pressed and takes the shot correctly metered. A nice innovation.Back


Vario Switar 86 f2.5 18-86mm EE Data Table
Front Filter Mounting size Yes Holds 1 Series 8 filter
Horizontal Field of View 34°
Relative Magnification 0.4x
Focusing Range 1.6 metres to Infinity
Lens Hood Comes as Standard
Year of Introduction & Discontinuation 1964-?