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New to Super 8, Just a Few Questions


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#1 Zach Merritt

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:58 AM

I think I am getting a Yashica Super 60E Super 8, decent camera or no?
Also, what kind of super 8 film will work with the camera? Any kodak kind or
only certain kinds?
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#2 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 11:49 AM

I think I am getting a Yashica Super 60E Super 8, decent camera or no?
Also, what kind of super 8 film will work with the camera? Any kodak kind or
only certain kinds?


I looked up about this camera at:

http://super8wiki.co.....28Electronic)

According to this, the camera has 24 fps and single frame, and +/- correction for auto exposure.

Since it has the +\- correction for auto, you can use any film stock with it, provided you have an external light meter to gauge exposure and you correct it accordingly. It looks like a very sturdy camera by looking at it.
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#3 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:15 PM

I think I am getting a Yashica Super 60E Super 8, decent camera or no?
Also, what kind of super 8 film will work with the camera? Any kodak kind or
only certain kinds?


Hi Zach, welcome to this place!

Sorry if I have to raise some counterquestions, but any kind of precision from your side would help us here to assist you even further, with Matthew having covered the essentials of this great looking piece of design already:

- Do you really want this specific camera (because of design, sentiment, whatever) or is it just an opportune purchase as it's on the market?

- Who sells it where for what: family, friend, colleague, eBayer on the other side of the planet?

- What is your budget?

- Are you prepared to invest money into the Yashica should it not work properly (which can be the case as it's a late 1960s, early 1970s design with potentially problematic spare part situation)

- Do you have any experience in photography, filmmaking or cinematography before entering the Super 8 sector now?

- Would you like to gain such experience with that camera?

- Do you just want to fool around with it for a summer, or are you really interested in what Super 8 is the hell all about?

- You do know that you need either a projector and editing combi or a transfer to video and non-linear editing to actually see what you shot with your S8 camera?
(sorry if that is an insulting question to you, but I met a guy who shot a cartridge of Super 8 and THEN asked which video recorder (!) could play it?)

- What kind of stuff do you think - just off the shot - you might want to shoot with it? Feature films, goofy spoofs, time-lapse, "nouvelle vague" B&W experimentals, skateboard flics, bunjee-jump the camera to death into the ocean, voyeristic high school stuff to impress someone, final year school project, application reel for film school, moody S8 inserts for a Hollywood studio production? A colourful dance sequence for Sha Rukh Khan? Or just start a career at Sundance?

(I think that covers everything that earlier "newbies" wanted to do when raising that question)
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#4 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 10:45 PM

I looked up about this camera at:

http://super8wiki.co.....28Electronic)

According to this, the camera has 24 fps and single frame, and +/- correction for auto exposure.

Since it has the +\- correction for auto, you can use any film stock with it, provided you have an external light meter to gauge exposure and you correct it accordingly. It looks like a very sturdy camera by looking at it.


First of all, you don't need an external meter, you can use the internal one (more likely to account for light-loss in the lens and viewfinder.) To use an external meter accurately you need to know the shutter angle, which you often don't know with super 8.

But this camera's +/- compensation is just one-stop either way (if my memory is correct) and therefore quite limited. You may find a lot of situations where you cannot easily get the exposure you want.

While this camera is quite sturdy, the auto-only exposure with limited compensation make it undersireble (in my view). You shouldn't have a problem getting something more versatile for little money.

But answer all the questions Michael posed above to help you determine what you really need.
Rick
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#5 Zach Merritt

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 11:24 PM

Hi Zach, welcome to this place!

Sorry if I have to raise some counterquestions, but any kind of precision from your side would help us here to assist you even further, with Matthew having covered the essentials of this great looking piece of design already:

- Do you really want this specific camera (because of design, sentiment, whatever) or is it just an opportune purchase as it's on the market?

- Who sells it where for what: family, friend, colleague, eBayer on the other side of the planet?

- What is your budget?

- Are you prepared to invest money into the Yashica should it not work properly (which can be the case as it's a late 1960s, early 1970s design with potentially problematic spare part situation)

- Do you have any experience in photography, filmmaking or cinematography before entering the Super 8 sector now?

- Would you like to gain such experience with that camera?

- Do you just want to fool around with it for a summer, or are you really interested in what Super 8 is the hell all about?

- You do know that you need either a projector and editing combi or a transfer to video and non-linear editing to actually see what you shot with your S8 camera?
(sorry if that is an insulting question to you, but I met a guy who shot a cartridge of Super 8 and THEN asked which video recorder (!) could play it?)

- What kind of stuff do you think - just off the shot - you might want to shoot with it? Feature films, goofy spoofs, time-lapse, "nouvelle vague" B&W experimentals, skateboard flics, bunjee-jump the camera to death into the ocean, voyeristic high school stuff to impress someone, final year school project, application reel for film school, moody S8 inserts for a Hollywood studio production? A colourful dance sequence for Sha Rukh Khan? Or just start a career at Sundance?

(I think that covers everything that earlier "newbies" wanted to do when raising that question)


Hey, thanks for the response. Ive always really been interested in film and im taking film classes now and i always wanted to buy just a simple super 8 to fool around with. To answer your questions:

- complete opportune buy, i got it off ebay (which yes i did buy it already), i felt like it was too good a deal to pass up. i paid 17.50 for the camera which looks to be in amazing shape, and a light gun which is pretty versatile for anything i want to do. the seller said that it was completely functioning and there is a roll of tape in there already that he took test shots with.

- like i said, i kinda just want to fool around for now, experiment a little, but i am definitely interested in Super 8 and when i have more time and more money i would like to learn as much as i can.

- i also did know that you need a projector, which is why im so interested in it, but i need to get one still. Someone was telling me about a place where you can send your film and have it processed and also but on a disk for digital editing? is that true / how much would that cost. i also need to purchase more film, which someone posted earlier i can use any kind? im not looking for the best of film or most crisp images.

- id probably be using this for experimental, and also for skateboard flics haha. Probably just anything the comes to mind.

- so what do you think? waste of money or good purchase?

thanks again for all your help
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#6 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 01:35 AM

First of all, you don't need an external meter, you can use the internal one (more likely to account for light-loss in the lens and viewfinder.)


Are you sure about that? Many Super 8 cameras don't recognize the notches on the new stocks. Many have had trouble with E64t, and if you choose to use Pro8mm stocks, you will most likely have to use an external meter. I know some people like to use the built in light meter because it supposedly compensates for the light loss, but I find it much better to use an external meter (assuming you know the shutter speed), and overexpose neg stock a bit or expose reversal stock straight up which should give you about 1/3 stop underexposure which most agree gives more contrast. I have followed these guidelines and have had pretty good success. Furthermore, using an external meter will give you a chance to experiment with different lighting schemes which is knowledge you can take to higher film gauges.
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#7 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:28 AM

Well, if you already got it, then a couple of aspects won't matter anymore...

Design-wise, it sure is Buck Rogers-ish retro-futuristic stuff and will be an eye-catcher whenever you get it out. The price seems alright, and I hope it works. If not, you can still keep it as a showcase item in your place or as a prop for that action-packed remake of "2001" you dreamt of doing. I would, however, not invest heavily into repairs.

But with the seller insisting it works, let's give him/her the benefit of the doubt. If there is a...

...roll of tape...


...(ah, folks, I knew that would come up) of Super 8 film in a cartridge in it already, you can at least start shooting straight-away. You'll have to come back here to state what kind of film stock it is so that we can help you to find a place for developing the film.

It sure is a camera suited for fooling around for 20 bucks. You have a good basic range of filming speeds with 18 fps (used mostly for silent projection), 24 fps (commonly used for sound projection and transfer-to-video). Single-frame is good when you want to do time-lapse shots (but you will have to do that manually; "better" cameras have a motorised intervalometer to preselect the intervals and does the work for you ? google it or have a stroll around onsuper8.org (other websites are available). Although, maybe invest in a little book on photo-stuff and filmmaking, either 2nd hand or new: Ansel Adams, Lenny Lipton, David Mullen (other author's books are available).

One problem might be ? as Rick pointed out ? the automatic exposure. I am not sure how much photography background you have, but the thing is that you cannot determine manually at what level the film should be exposed (to put it simply). Both Rick and Matthew pointed out that you can compensate via a knob plus/minus one f-stop (slightly over or underexpose, make light stuff in the picture darker and dark stuff in the picture lighter). But that's not alot given the exposure range you can pick and choose from.
For basic "fooling around", that won't be an issue. But for more advanced "fooling around", it might start to limit you at some point in time.
If you want to delve into what cine-film and cinematography is all about, a so-called "manual aperture control" will be important for any future camera purchase (feel free to come back at that time, there will be heated debates on what camera you should go for or not, I promise)

Things to discuss once you got the camera:
- is there a filter key supplied to this camera in order to remove the orange filter used when shooting in daylight? If not, safe a dime and do it like Alessandro Machi ? use it as replacement (you will know when you see it)

As you currently reside in "Nowhereland", it's difficult to tell which film stock you can easily get locally and where to develop it. I am in Europe, so might not be helpful on that level.

Enjoy!!
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#8 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:58 PM

Are you sure about that? Many Super 8 cameras don't recognize the notches on the new stocks. Many have had trouble with E64t, and if you choose to use Pro8mm stocks, you will most likely have to use an external meter. I know some people like to use the built in light meter because it supposedly compensates for the light loss, but I find it much better to use an external meter (assuming you know the shutter speed), and overexpose neg stock a bit or expose reversal stock straight up which should give you about 1/3 stop underexposure which most agree gives more contrast. I have followed these guidelines and have had pretty good success. Furthermore, using an external meter will give you a chance to experiment with different lighting schemes which is knowledge you can take to higher film gauges.


I should have elaborated more. An external meter is obviously a good thing but as Zach is new to this I didn't want him to think that he needed another piece of gear just to shoot. And since you often don't know the shutter angle or the light loss factor, the external meter can be an added complication for a newbie which could cause more trouble than it solves.

Having said that, I never use an external meter and I stand by my conviction that any stock can be shot with any camera, provided it has manual exposure control. The key is to know what the camera "thinks" is going on compared to what you "know" is going on. What I mean is a typical 40/160 camera, without a cartridge in it, will think you are shooting a 160 speed film. Take a light reading with the internal meter. Now, compensate, according to the stock you plan to shoot. If you are shooting ISO 250, underexpose a half-stop from the reading. If you are shooting ISO 500 underexpose by about a stop and a half. This assumes you have manual exposure to allow that much compensation. Zach's Yashica could handle the 250 but not the 500. But even then, the problem with auto-only even with compensation, is that the exposure is not locked, so may fluctuate during the shot. In other words, even if one had a +/- 5 stop compensation dial, it doesn't compare to manual control as the key to manual is you can lock it off so the aperture stays in one place.

If I was Zach I'd stick with Tri-X (which the camera will understand) and after a few rolls he will discover why he needs manual - to lock it off. He can also shoot 64T and turn the compensation dial to 1/2 or 2/3 under-exposure, but then the same problem will come up - you want to lock it off. Even if using an external meter, if you can't lock off, you can't lock off.

Zach, since you can't lock the aperture, avoid shots where the light changes significantly during the shot.

(A lot of super 8 shooters don't fully appreciate that the internal meter is giving you T-stops, whereas an external meter can only give you F-stops. This is one reason I prefer the itnernal meter.)

Rick
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#9 Zach Merritt

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:09 PM

man, thanks for all the feedback, all of this will definitely help me out. i should be getting the camera
Monday and i will report back here about everything. As Michael said, i really do love the look of the
camera which is somewhat of the reason i felt like it was a good buy. Hopefully everything works
out though.

About the manual exposure, whats going to happen on the film since i dont have it? like what could
happen i guess. wIll the film go completely black or white, or will the exposures just be off somewhat
or a lot?

Thanks again for the help.
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#10 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:07 PM

About the manual exposure, whats going to happen on the film since i dont have it? like what could
happen i guess. wIll the film go completely black or white, or will the exposures just be off somewhat
or a lot?

Thanks again for the help.


It depends on how your camera interprets the film speed of a given stock. It can overexpose or underexpose. It could be a little or a lot. So you could either be too murky and dark to discern an image or it can be blown out to where highlights get too hot. Regardless, it certainly isn't something you want to happen. Rick brings up an excellent point about the +/- compensation being utterly useless, and in most cases worse, in situations where light levels change (basically outdoors). You will find that the time will come when you want manual exposure, whether or not you choose to use an external meter. Like Rick said, you can just get an automatic reading, and manually adjust the stops based on the offset of your film speed. It's all up to you. For now though, enjoy the camera as it is.
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#11 Terry Mester

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 11:45 PM

Hi Zach, the HTTP Links below will provide further info. In addition to Kodak, you can buy Super8 Cartridges from Spectra Film & Video: www.spectrafilmandvideo.com.

INFO FOR SUPER8 NEWBIES
You can find useful information on Super8mm by clicking the Threads linked below. If you would like to record Sound with your filming, log onto the Website www.geocities.com/filmanddigitalinfo which provides info on recording synchronous Sound. Good luck to you.

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20597
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20645
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20939
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=20634
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=23249
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=21857
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=24482
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#12 Zach Merritt

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 03:58 PM

alright well the day has arrived. it came well wrapped in a leather box that included the sylvania sun gun and the camera. it did come with a key, which i have a question about. when i put it in or take it out, nothing seems to change thru the viewfinder? is it supposed to be that way or should i see an orange filter? the film inside is kodak ektachrome 160. but according to the film reader its on 35, so its more than halfway done. but everythign seems to be working really well and looks in good shape, so let me know what you think. it also came with the instruction booklet and some other papers
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#13 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 05:23 PM

alright well the day has arrived. it came well wrapped in a leather box that included the sylvania sun gun and the camera. it also came with the instruction booklet and some other papers. everythign seems to be working really well and looks in good shape


Hi Zach, great to hear from you again. So you got yourself a nice little set. That the instruction booklet was included will save you much trouble as tracking one down for this model would really be a search for a needle in a haystack. At least all the operational things should come clear from reading through it.

it did come with a key, which i have a question about. when i put it in or take it out, nothing seems to change thru the viewfinder?


That is as it is supposed to be. The orange filter, a so-called Wratten 85, is placed inside the camera. The filter key in or out disengages or engages it. That means that the filter is put in or out of the optical path that goes from lens through a beam-splitter, through the filter, onto the film; to put it really simple.
As the image that you see in the viewfinder is split-off from that optical path via that beamsplitter, bypassing the filter, you obviously don't see it in the viewfinder.
Nevertheless, there is a way to check if the Wratten is in or out of the optical path: open the cartridge chamber (where the Super 8 cartridge is in) and try to look through the film gate with the lens held against a light and aperture fully open (as your cam has an automatic, the aperture will close when you hold the lens into a bright light, darkening the optical path - the best is to play around with it, trying to get a balance between a dark spot and the light full-on in the lens so that the aperture is inbetween fully open on dark and closing down on light). Then you should see the orange flare of the filter.

Depending on the construction of the opening mechanism of the chamer, you might need a little mirror held at 45° against the film gate to actually see through it.
Also, be aware that taking the cartridge out (what you need to do to actually see the film gate) is likely to set the footage counter on the camera back to '0' or 50ft/15m, so that whenever a cartridge is inserted, the footage counter is ready to count down or up. As you have a cartridge already in, you might want to note down at footage/meterage position (i.e. 35 in your case) it stood.

As you probably know by now, tungsten film or artificial light film ('T' film) needs the Wratten 85 in when shooting with that type of film IN DAYLIGHT! When you have a daylight film ('D' film) in the camera, you don't need the filter in when shooting outdoors (but you will need an additional blue filter, a Wratten 80 put in front of your lens when you want to shot with a daylight film indoors or in artifical light).
So much for now.

the film inside is kodak ektachrome 160.


Ahh, good old E-160. It was discontinued in 1996. Can be developed in Europe at Andec in Berlin, DE and certainly at other places. Unfortunaltely, I can't help you "out-of-the-box" with a good and reliable lab in the US where I assume you reside. But others will help with out.

For info on current film stocks: http://homepage.mac....uper8/film.html

With your automatic expsure control camera, you can run any filmstock around the standard ISO 25/40 and ISO 100/160 range your camera is ready to read. If you can find out through the manual what the range of the exposure +/- knob on your camera is, we can find out what other films your cam can swallow and how to play around the automatic system of exposure.

Edited by Michael Lehnert, 01 October 2007 - 05:25 PM.

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#14 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:00 PM

[The cost of processing that old E160 film is probably not worth it. It will cost less to buy a fresh roll that is more readily processed.
Rick
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