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Best Non-Auto Camera?


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#1 Tom Doolittle

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 01:24 PM

Hello All,

Looking for my next camera. The Nizo 206XL I currently own takes good pictures, but between the pin-hole viewfinder and awkward manual mode, I'm anxious to move on. These are the features I'm most interested in:

Big, bright viewfinder
An emphasis on manual operation.
An effective aperture index.
Simple needle-and-notch style TTL metering, with manual ASA control (or the ability to read 64T notches).

I don't mind having automatic features, as long as they are secondary to the manual ones. Making adjustments should be quick and easy, as with any 16mm or SLR still camera. Tiny knobs and vague aperture scales just won't do. An aperture ring on the lens barrel would be best, but I've never seen this on a Super 8 camera.

I've been considering the Nikon R8 and R10, and the Canon XLS series. Any comments on the manual controls on these cameras? How about their viewfinders, any good?

Appreciate your comments

TD
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#2 jacob thomas

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 05:04 PM

The Canon XLS series all have beautiful big viewfinders but it's only the 814 and 1014 that have any real manual control. The manual control on both of these however might fit within your "tiny knobs and vague aperture scales" description.

The camera(s) that you're actually describing are the Beaulieus (2008/3008/4008/5008/6008/7008/9008) or the Leicina Special both fairly expensive cameras however you should be able to pick up a 2008 or 4008 for less than the cost of a Canon 1014XLS. The Beaulieus and the Leicina Special have aperture control on the lens, fantastic viewfinders (I prefer the Beaulieu's full groundglass) and an "emphasis on manual control" both have user set ASA and if I remember correctly needle/notch meters.

My advice would be to get a 2008 if you're on a budget (or a 4008 or 6/7/9008 or Leicina Special if you're not) and a lightmeter nobody but super 8 and video shooters rely on internal lightmeters and using an external meter is the way to learn.

The drawbacks on the Beaulieu are the batteries, but it's not that much of a hassle to build your own or buy a new one. The ability to mount virtually any lens on your cameras c-mount more than makes up for it.
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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 05:32 PM

The ability to mount virtually any lens on your cameras c-mount more than makes up for it.


Actually, the Leicina Special is prefered for lens mounting as no adjustment has to be done. I have heard many cases of people having to have other C-mount lenses adjusted to focus correctly with the Beaulieu 4008. This could run into time and money unless you have knowledge of how to adjust it yourself.
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#4 Tom Doolittle

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:11 PM

The Leicina is a camera I have only recently become aware of. I will do a bit more research into this one.

I should explain that I am coming into Super 8mm with a fair amount of 16mm experience. What I am looking for is the 8mm equivalent of an Arriflex. This may turn out to be the Leicina. I always use an external meter, but I do like the TTL meter to compare readings. Interchangable lenses would be fantastic.

TD
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#5 Tom Doolittle

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:20 AM

...So I purchased an R10 this weekend. Not a Leicina or Beaulieu, but certainly a step up from the little Nizo 206. I've heard good things about this camera's optical quality, but I'll reserve judgement until I do some tests.

As far as it's "non-auto" handling goes, it's larger knobs and controls are certainly better than those of the Nizo. Still, I'll never understand why super-8 camera designers insisted upon using such awkward and convoluted metering/aperture control systems. Hate to say it, but my favorite in-camera meter is the one found on the Krasnogorsk K-3. Simple, effective, reliable. Paid $49 for my K-3. The optics suck and it shakes like an old woman, but I can look through the viewfinder and see in half-a-second where the exposure is without having to decode some crazy, wobbling scale.

Okay, I was ranting. Sorry. I'll post the results of my R10 tests, perhaps even a side-by-side comparision to the Nizo. In the meantime, my search for the perfect Super-8 camera continues.

TD
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#6 Rachel Oliver

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 12:59 PM

Hi;

I also have come to S-8 via the 16 and S-16 route, I'm using a Leicina Special which works compleately manualy but also has a reliable internal needle meter, not to mention it seems to have the best registration and stability I've seen in S-8 and also among the best glass, this combined with Pro transfers and use of the new stocks puts me close to the standard 16mm I was shooting in college 8 years ago, not the same but as "good" (whatever that means ;)). I can't stop raving about it....

Olly
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#7 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 01:38 PM

In the meantime, my search for the perfect Super-8 camera continues.

TD


My search continues as well. You posted that you are looking for the closest thing to an Arri that super 8 can offer. I am looking for about the same thing and purchased a Beaulieu 5008. There are things about it I don't like but interchangable c mount lenses, and full manual exposure control are beautiful things.

The 80mm zoom that came with the camera is pretty cool lens for the vairable speed zoom motor and the fact that its macro feature allows one to start out in macro and pull out to regular range without the need to hit a switch or anything. In the end though my canon 11- 117mm zoom lens produces sharper images. No problem getting other c-mount lenses to work on the Beaulieu camera body here.

Hey Rachel, how is your camera to work with, shooting wise? The eyepeice being at the bottom of the camera always looks akward to me, if its on a tripod are your eating the head or balance plate? What lens mount does the Leicina have?

Edited by Douglas Hunter, 09 October 2006 - 01:42 PM.

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#8 Andrew Means

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 02:09 PM

...So I purchased an R10 this weekend. Not a Leicina or Beaulieu, but certainly a step up from the little Nizo 206. I've heard good things about this camera's optical quality, but I'll reserve judgement until I do some tests.

As far as it's "non-auto" handling goes, it's larger knobs and controls are certainly better than those of the Nizo. Still, I'll never understand why super-8 camera designers insisted upon using such awkward and convoluted metering/aperture control systems. Hate to say it, but my favorite in-camera meter is the one found on the Krasnogorsk K-3. Simple, effective, reliable. Paid $49 for my K-3. The optics suck and it shakes like an old woman, but I can look through the viewfinder and see in half-a-second where the exposure is without having to decode some crazy, wobbling scale.

Okay, I was ranting. Sorry. I'll post the results of my R10 tests, perhaps even a side-by-side comparision to the Nizo. In the meantime, my search for the perfect Super-8 camera continues.

TD


Hi Tom-

I think you'll probably like the R10- I shot a ton of film with mine while I was in Japan and was definitely satisfied with the experience. I get the film back today or tomorrow!
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#9 Tom Doolittle

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:38 PM

Hi Tom-

I think you'll probably like the R10- I shot a ton of film with mine while I was in Japan and was definitely satisfied with the experience. I get the film back today or tomorrow!


Thanks Andrew. Saw the short you posted a while back. Looks like you had fun making it. Can't wait to see the Japan footage.

TD
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#10 Andrew Means

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:09 PM

I pick up the footage today!
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