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#1 Jim Hoene

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 03:53 PM

What is a good Super8 Camera that can produce short films in b&w and color? What kinds of things can you do with a standard package as far as techniques/effects. What about recording and merging sound with the footage? Thanks.
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#2 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:22 AM

"What is a good Super8 Camera that can produce short films in b&w and color?"

Any super 8 camera can produce short films in colour and black & white. I think you should be looking at the film stocks rather than the camera if you want specifics about colour and B&W imagery. If you want to shoot B&W film, there are two choices from Kodak - Plus-X which is a 100asa fine grained stock and Tri-X which is a faster film with more visible grain. For colour, there is (or was) Kodachrome 40, a slow speed, fine grain reversal film which has recently been discontinued. However, if you are able to get hold of any recent and fresh K40 film cartridges, you can apparently get the film developed by Dwaynes in the US. Kodachrome 40 has been replaced by Ektachrome 64T which is supposedly lower contrast than K40 but has higher grain. There are other colour reversal films available in super 8 like Ektachrome 100D and Fujichrome Velvia 50 (both offering fine grain and intense colour saturation) though these are repackaged films offered by small companies in super 8 cartridges. Kodak also offers two colour negative film ? Vision 200T and 500T that are suitable for video transfer.


"What kinds of things can you do with a standard package as far as techniques/effects."

A versatile super 8 camera like a Canon 1014 or Nikon R10 for example will allow you to experiment with manual exposure control with the option of auto exposure, macro focusing, time lapse / animation, connection to a flash unit (for single frame shooting), slow motion and optical effects like dissolves, fades and superimpositions. Though such optical effects can be achieved in digital post of course. With the case of slow motion filming, some people comment that you can produce smoother slow motion with a movie film camera compared with the majority of video cameras, particularly consumer models.

Additionally with time lapse, the interval times offered by intervalometers on super 8 equipment will generally offer you multiple intervals from one second up to one minute. I have noticed that most video cameras with time lapse capability have fewer interval times that can be set and usually cannot be programmed for brief intervals. However, the newer video cameras that record directly to a hard drive may be more versatile in this respect. There are a small number of super 8 cameras such as some of the Nizo models that will allow you to keep the shutter open for several seconds, effectively doing a time exposure just like a still camera. There are also a few super 8 cameras like the French made Beaulieus and some Leicina Specials that have interchangeable lenses.

Perhaps some others can answer your questions about sound.
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#3 Jim Hoene

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 01:04 PM

"What is a good Super8 Camera that can produce short films in b&w and color?"

Any super 8 camera can produce short films in colour and black & white. I think you should be looking at the film stocks rather than the camera if you want specifics about colour and B&W imagery. If you want to shoot B&W film, there are two choices from Kodak - Plus-X which is a 100asa fine grained stock and Tri-X which is a faster film with more visible grain. For colour, there is (or was) Kodachrome 40, a slow speed, fine grain reversal film which has recently been discontinued. However, if you are able to get hold of any recent and fresh K40 film cartridges, you can apparently get the film developed by Dwaynes in the US. Kodachrome 40 has been replaced by Ektachrome 64T which is supposedly lower contrast than K40 but has higher grain. There are other colour reversal films available in super 8 like Ektachrome 100D and Fujichrome Velvia 50 (both offering fine grain and intense colour saturation) though these are repackaged films offered by small companies in super 8 cartridges. Kodak also offers two colour negative film ? Vision 200T and 500T that are suitable for video transfer.
"What kinds of things can you do with a standard package as far as techniques/effects."

A versatile super 8 camera like a Canon 1014 or Nikon R10 for example will allow you to experiment with manual exposure control with the option of auto exposure, macro focusing, time lapse / animation, connection to a flash unit (for single frame shooting), slow motion and optical effects like dissolves, fades and superimpositions. Though such optical effects can be achieved in digital post of course. With the case of slow motion filming, some people comment that you can produce smoother slow motion with a movie film camera compared with the majority of video cameras, particularly consumer models.

Additionally with time lapse, the interval times offered by intervalometers on super 8 equipment will generally offer you multiple intervals from one second up to one minute. I have noticed that most video cameras with time lapse capability have fewer interval times that can be set and usually cannot be programmed for brief intervals. However, the newer video cameras that record directly to a hard drive may be more versatile in this respect. There are a small number of super 8 cameras such as some of the Nizo models that will allow you to keep the shutter open for several seconds, effectively doing a time exposure just like a still camera. There are also a few super 8 cameras like the French made Beaulieus and some Leicina Specials that have interchangeable lenses.

Perhaps some others can answer your questions about sound.



thanks for the info. I've heard that the Canon 814 xl-s is very similar to the 1014 except for the zoom and a few "not critical" features. Do you think the interchangeable lens capability of the Beaulieus make them a better option than the fixed lens Canons? I've heard the Beaulieus may be more prone to break down and costly to repair. You mentioned a Nikon and Leicina. Most of the "buzz" I'm reading refers to the Canons and Beaulieus so I'd assumed they were more or less the best products. Thanks JIM
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#4 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 06:36 PM

I wouldn't say that interchangeable lenses is a necessity in super 8. A fixed lens 10x zoom like that on some Canon and Nikon models is quite a versatile zoom range and should cover your needs for most framing possibilities. Of course there are some super 8 cameras that have a 12x zoom. Having interchangeable lenses would allow you to use lenses designed for larger film formats which will give you extremely high magnification which is fine if you want to film subject matter like wildlife but such magnification does not suit everybody. However, the ability to change lenses would allow you to use prime lenses which are considered higher quality than zoom lenses. Then again, this difference in quality is very slight and very hard to notice and I have seen some excellent quality zoom lenses on some super 8 cameras.

You generally don't get much wide angle coverage in super 8, regardless if you use a fixed lens camera or one with interchangeable lenses. This is because the frame size is so tiny. Even an extremely short focal length like 7mm which is found on the wide end of the zoom on a number of fixed lens super 8 cameras will not give you an exceptionally wide field of view. And very few lenses (for cameras with interchangeable lenses) were made with focal lengths shorter than 6 or 7mm and they would be astronomically expensive anyway! Apparently, there is a 1.9mm fisheye lens made by Karl Heitz specifically for the super 8 format but this is an extremely rare item and I have no idea what lens mount it has.

I have heard that the Beaulieus break down more easily too. Though Ive never used one myself. Ive also heard that it's recommended to get one serviced (expensive) if you buy one...especially if it's been lying around dormant for many years. There is also the nicel cadmium battery issue to work out, and possibly the internal filter issue as well. It sounds like a lot of headaches and a lot of $$$.

Though on the other hand, the Beaulieus do have certain advantages over most other super 8 cameras, apart from interchangeable lenses. Some models can run as fast as 70 or even 80 fps for amazing slow motion effects. Most other top of the range super 8 cameras can go as fast as 54fps. Though unfortunately, I have heard that image stability is not the best in super 8 when running film at 70 and 80 fps. A lot of the Beaulieus also allow you to change the asa speed manually. Most other super 8 cameras sense the asa speed automatically which can be a hassle nowadays as there are some super 8 cameras that cannot recognise certain asa film speeds currently available. Beaulieus also use a mirror shutter as opposed to a beam splitter prism found on most other super 8 cameras with reflex viewfinders. A mirror shutter allows 100% of the light to reach the film and the viewfinder intermittently. A beam splitter prism 'steals' a small portion of the incoming light and diverts this to the viewfinder so the film receives slightly less light. This is not much of a problem anyway for most shooting situations. By the way, all these special features apply only to the Beaulieu models made in France. There were two cameras made in Japan by Chinon bearing the Beaulieu name which would be quite versatile cameras but lack the special features of the French made Beaulieus.

Don't restrict your camera choices to just Canon, Nikon, Beaulieu and Leica (Leicina Special.) Eumig, Bauer, Nizo, Sankyo, Minolta, and Chinon also made highly versatile cameras also.
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