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Transitioning from S8 to 16mm...


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#1 jmpatrick

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 02:21 PM

Well, it looks like my Sankyo S8 camera will shoot the newer Kodak stock, but it will be a pain. I've been thinking about trying 16mm, and this may be the perfect time. I'm very much a "home movie" kind of shooter. I want to capture my kids while on vacation traveling around the country. I've got a couple EIKI 16mm projectors that were given to me years ago, and both seem to work. The question now is which camera to purchase? I realize that the simplicity of the S8 cartridge isn't going to be possible with 16mm, but is there something will come close as far as ease of use? Basically, I need a decent tourist 16mm camera. The K3 looks ok to me, the size is close enough to that of my Sankyo, and the footage I've seen looks very nice. The wind-up drive is sort of bothersome, as I'm sure it's a lot louder than my S8 camera, but I could live with it. Is this camera full-manual...meaning I have to adjust the exposure for every shot myself...or there an "auto" setting? Is it a user-friendly camera? I've never shot a bad roll of S8 with the Sankyo, and I'd prefer a 16mm camera that is going to be pretty forgiving if possible.

I realize that moving to 16mm will cost more for film and processing, but for as little shooting I do it's not a big deal. When I look at the beautiful footage of my 10-year old that I shot on S8 when he was 4, it was worth the hassle and expense. I imagine shooting 16mm will be even better...

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#2 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 05:12 PM

I must say you are pretty unique shooting home movies on film, but I can see your reasoning behind it - something as special as watching your children grow up shouldn't be captured with something as 'harsh' as DV.

Plus the fact you shoot less, means re-watching short little moments rather than hours of boredom. A lack of sound is good too, there's nothing worse than hearing your own voice, well except for as I experienced recently watching old vhs-c footage - there's nothing worse than hearing your own voice before it cracked!


To answer your question, if your experience has been in super 8, I would forget the K3 - the hand-crank will drive you insane and its at time unforgiving in run and gun situations. This is a fully manual camera too, you will have to set the exposure and 'Warning, Warning, Will Robinson!' the internal light meter often doesn't work.

Firstly consider the Canon Scoopic - the 16mm camera made like a super 8 camera - its motorized and can operate with an automatic exposure. The lens is fixed so you are stuck with it, but this is perhaps as Super 8 a camera you will get in 16mm - I really recommend you research it.

The second option to consider is an Arri S, they were an old documentary camera, which are perhaps the most ergonomic 16mm cameras made, fitting your hand like a glove and have the addition of a very bright viewfinder. They seem to be a lot more available than the Scoopic too. The only issue here is they are generally not fitted with a zoom, but rather three removable (and swappable) primes on a turret, so you will have to get used to focus with that in mind. I can't remember if this camera has an internal light meter, but you will definitely have to set the exposure your self - but that may actually improve the quality of your footage.

I would fully research both cameras and try to get an opportunity to hold and operate one before you buy - as they will be considerably more than a K3.

Best of luck,
Andy
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