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Canon 514 XL-S Question


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#1 Ray Noori

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 04:22 AM

Hi. I'm new to film cinematography, I've done most of my work up to now on DV and HDV. I'm trying to make the transition to film by moving to Super 8mm and looking for a camera. A friend of mine has found a Canon 514 XL-S, which appears to be in excellent working condition and is in a near-mint cosmetic condition, for $50 negotiable. It also comes with the BM70 microphone.

Is that a good starting point? Is the price fair?

Also, I have been told that Kodak Super 8mm stock has been discontinued for almost a decade now. Is that true? If so, what is a good source for stock? I have seen sealed stock being sold on eBay, but how long does Super 8mm stock last? What conditions do they need to be kept in?

Thank you all for helping me with these first steps.
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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 08:23 AM

Hello Ray,

there are a couple of notions in your post that indicate that your knowledge of S8 is patchy indeed, plus is also wrong in some ways: There are around 30 different Super 8 film stocks around today, newly-produced. What has been discontinued is sound-on-film or direct sound or commag film stock, where you were able to record the sound directly onto the film material. THis is why choosing a sync-sound camera or buying a microphone is obsolete.

Please allow me to suggest that you take the effort and respect knowledge that has already been accumulated here in this excellent sub-forum on Super 8, by reading through this thread first. It might take some time, but will leave many questions well anwered on what the state of things today is.

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=26088

The first hyperlinks discuss current developments, the next post introduces web resources like Alex or Giles Perkins website, and finally there are tons of newbie threads to understand cameras, gear, principles etc.

Someone with moderator rights here should make this thread a sticky. At least that would lead interest to it first...

Why does this S8 forum not have a moderator, anyway?
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#3 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 08:33 AM

as far as the 514 XL-S is concerned.

It is a good camera, and 50 USD for a mint and possibly working (do you know that for sure?) camera is not that much of a bad deal.

However, you can actually get a much better camera with a more interesting lens and crucial features that make cine-filmmaking so superior to consumer-grade videography ? such as manual aperture control (the 514 has only automatic exposure control) ? for the same amount of many, a little more, or even less.

I just bought a Agfa Movexoom 10 MOS for a grand total of 13 Euros (18 USD) on ebay.de, and that camera is by far superior.

Check out the following marques first: Beaulieu, Leitz, Bauer, Nizo, Canon, Agfa, Nikon, Eumig, Elmo on eBay.com, eBay.co.uk and eBay.de.

Important features would be: manual aperture control, a good focal range of the lens (starting with 6 or 7mm in the wide angle), macro, a rich array of filming speeds (24 fps a must, additionally 18, single and 36 or 54 would be good), some intervalometer features for time lapse, plus exposore compensation or manual EI setting.

Am sure others will add to that.
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#4 Fabrice Ducouret

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 09:25 AM

Look to have more than just one camera as the features (ranging from resistance to portability but also technical features) change drastically from a camera to another.
I'd add in the brand Chinon, that the previous poster hasn't mentionned, it's very overlooked, very often their cameras were made of very strong plastic cases and had a wide array of features.
Either that or Canon, some Bauer cameras are really resistant and often open to ƒ1.2. Some of the metal-cased Agfa ones are virtually unbreakable.
Don't worry too much about the microphone, check in this forum if you can process sound film Super-8 at all first.

And remember that switching from the DV world to the world of Super-8 will be interesting for you, but probably full of surprises, as when you have to focus each shot manually, and sometimes adjust the focusing manually during a shot (but maybe you were already doing so with manual DV cameras?).

Make sure you have a tripod as some Super-8 cameras will also be weighing a ton more than small DV equipment - but again, that's a generalization, and some of my Super-8 cameras (like the Agfa Microflex who are also very resistant and reliable) probably weigh less than some big DV cameras.

One last thing, if the portability/weight of the camera is an issue of capital importance for you, and you want to know what a camera looks like before you buy it, the visual encyclopedia at mondofoto.com is quite good (there is one on super8wiki.com as well, albeit less documented visually I think).

Edited by Fabrice Ducouret, 31 October 2007 - 09:28 AM.

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#5 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 09:40 AM

Fabrice makes a good point with Chinon, although they are now best remembered for manufacturing as OEM for Bauer in the mid-1970s to their designs, and later (when Bauer & Nizo combined their manufacturing efforts) being behind the ill-fated entry-level Beaulieu 1008-series.

As far as getting a grip on the differences behind cine-film cinematography and digital video videography, please have a look at Ken Rockwell's introduction. It is argued based on photographs versus digital still pictures, but that actually makes it all the more useful for us in this odd serial-photo-taking industry that is filmmaking ;) :

http://www.kenrockwe...ech/filmdig.htm

http://www.kenrockwe...lmgoingaway.htm
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#6 Ray Noori

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 10:29 PM

Michael, Fabrice, thank you both for your very helpful responses. I passed on the 514 XL-S, even when the person dropped the price down to $30, and now I regret it somewhat. But I agree with Michael, I was going to buy a camera that looked good and seemed to work without fully realizing what I would need in a film camera. I have been reading through the suggested threads and articles and ramping up on my shooting on film knowledge. Once I feel a bit more confident I'll start looking around again for good deals on a Super 8 camera and start experimenting.

Fabrice, I've been shooting intensively on HDV with a Panasonic AG-HPX500. I'm quite used to manual focusing and things like that. What I'm not familiar enough with and I would probably find most challenging is exposure: choosing the right film stock, using the light-meter properly, lighting my scenes, calculating f-stops, etc. I'm trying to read up on how to do things like that. The weight of the camera shouldn't be an issue, but I do need to get a tripod.
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#7 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 11:56 PM

I passed on the 514 XL-S, ... , and now I regret it somewhat.


That's normal. I regret not having purchased alot of gear which looked like a good proposition, but wouldn't have been in hinsight. Even though my film group's equipment is complete and ideal for our needs, I catch myself having one-hour-long phone conversations with my brother over whether to buy or not to buy "that special deal" that just came along, whether its S8, S16 or S35...

My tip: Don't regret it, Ray, as you can see from the online version of its manual, if you want to learn about...

...choosing the right film stock, using the light-meter properly, lighting my scenes, calculating f-stops, etc.


...the Canon 514 XL-S would not have been ideal, primarily because it does not have manual aperture control but only an automatic exposure control where you can lock the f-stop. As an example, 50 USD would buy you a rather clean looking Bauer Royal 10 E makro on eBay, which is a predecessor of the great Bauer A 512. The Royal does not have the A 512's outstanding and unique lens, but it has all the features and gimmicks, such as a variable shutter, manual aperture control, a B & T function intervalometer, plus lots more, making this a beginner's camera I wouldn't have even dreamt off when I started out. When this camera was new in the early 1970s, HM The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, owned one, shooting bikini-clad models from his yacht off the Marbella coast (as could be seen a while ago in a documentary about the Spanish Third Borbón Restauration).

(please beware: this is not a buying recommendation from me to you, and the camera might not be in working order ? but it can be repaired and CLA'd [cleaned, lubricated, adjusted] by service houses such as Du-All Cameras in New York (of you life in the US) ; that's the way Super 8 camera purchases go... a little bit of "frisson" accompanies you.)
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#8 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:38 AM

Check out the following marques first: Beaulieu, Leitz, Bauer, Nizo, Canon, Agfa, Nikon, Eumig, Elmo on eBay.com, eBay.co.uk and eBay.de.


You left out Minolta. They made a lot of fine S8 cameras. And I agree that Chinon's are worth looking at. Very underrated in my POV.

As for the Canon 514XLS, on one hand I hate them, because of the auto only/ee-lock etc, don't read 64 etc. and I think they are much over-rated in certain circles (way over-priced on ebay for e.g.) but they deliver nice images and for $30 if that's what was in front of me I'd take it. It's not going to be my "last camera" (you really do want something better) but as a first camera for someone who might other wise pass, I'd say grab it. And then get a few more. It's $30! (How much did you pay for your DVX?) Load it up, lock it on and throw it off a bridge. Maybe the most expensive shot in the film but you got it.

More seriously, while I hate the limitations of auto-only cameras and counsel people away from them, it's nice to have a few low-light cameras around (514 XLS would qualify) because in many circumstances you are wide open anyway and the manual aperture doesn't matter.

Rick
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#9 Ray Noori

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 04:07 AM

Rick, I totally agree with you, the only reason why I regretted not buying the 514 XLS is because it was only $30 and I could've had it around until I got something more substantial. I paid around $14,000 for the DVX and an extra AB battery set.

Michael, I looked at the Bauer Royal 10 E makro you had linked to in your last post. Quite interesting indeed. I have tracked down a few possible options and hope to make a decision soon:

Bell & Howell 2143XL ($25)
Comes with a f1.2 8.5mm - 24mm lens. I can't track down whether or not it supports manual exposure.

Canon 814 Autozoom ($100)
Comes with a Canon zoom lens f1.4 7.5-60mm. It supports manual exposure as well. Weighs quite a bit though, at 1.5 Kg.

Bauer C3 ($80)
Bauer Vario lens f1.8 10.5mm - 32mm. It's auto exposure though, and expensive considering that. Also, I don't believe it shoots 24 fps.

Sankyo EM-30XL ($40)
This one also doesn't shoot in 24 fps I believe. The shutter degree is advertised as being 220. Manual exposure supported. Rather light. Sankyo lens f1.2 10mm - 30mm.

Elmo 1000S ($25)
Has Elmo zoom lens f1.8 7-70mm. Shoots at 24 and 18 fps. Manual exposure supported. It weighs 2Kg though!

Nikon R8 ($140)
Quite expensive, but it's advertised as brand new old stock. Comes with Nikkor lens f1.8 7.5mm - 60mm. Supports manual exposure.

Bell & Howell SoundStar 4 XL ($25)
It's advertised as having a wide angle & a telephoto lens. Shoots 18 and 24 fps. Has B&H f1.3 8.5mm 34mm Macro Zoom Lens. It's autoexposure though :(


I've attached a few pictures. I'll attach the rest of them later tonight.

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  • bellhowell.jpg
  • autozoom.jpg
  • bauer.jpg

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#10 Ray Noori

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 04:10 AM

Rest of the pics.

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  • nikon.jpg
  • sankyo.jpg

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#11 Sander Ferdinand

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 07:11 AM

I paid around $14,000 for the DVX and an extra AB battery set.


Damn, 14,000 for a dvx and battery set ? How can that be so expensive ?

,Sander

Edited by Sander Ferdinand, 01 November 2007 - 07:12 AM.

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#12 Richardson Leao

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 11:05 AM

Rest of the pics.


i\d go for the canon 814

and today i'd avoid sound cams as they are extra bulky/heavy

if you wanna have a feeling on manual changing of aperture, zoom etc, there is also the quarz s8:
Posted Image
but
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#13 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 01:23 PM

I have tracked down a few possible options and hope to make a decision soon:

Bell & Howell 2143XL ($25)
Comes with a f1.2 8.5mm - 24mm lens. I can't track down whether or not it supports manual exposure.


I would pass on this

Canon 814 Autozoom ($100)
Comes with a Canon zoom lens f1.4 7.5-60mm. It supports manual exposure as well. Weighs quite a bit though, at 1.5 Kg.


Good camera. Reads 11 different film speeds!

Bauer C3 ($80)
Bauer Vario lens f1.8 10.5mm - 32mm. It's auto exposure though, and expensive considering that. Also, I don't believe it shoots 24 fps.


I am not a fan of the Bauer's. Plastic body.

Sankyo EM-30XL ($40)
This one also doesn't shoot in 24 fps I believe. The shutter degree is advertised as being 220. Manual exposure supported. Rather light. Sankyo lens f1.2 10mm - 30mm.


Not a great camera. Platsic body

Elmo 1000S ($25)
Has Elmo zoom lens f1.8 7-70mm. Shoots at 24 and 18 fps. Manual exposure supported. It weighs 2Kg though!


Definitely worth it, especially a that price. (Unless you are worried about the weight. I like the weight.)

Nikon R8 ($140)
Quite expensive, but it's advertised as brand new old stock. Comes with Nikkor lens f1.8 7.5mm - 60mm. Supports manual exposure.


Absolutely. Excellent camera. Good price.

Bell & Howell SoundStar 4 XL ($25)
It's advertised as having a wide angle & a telephoto lens. Shoots 18 and 24 fps. Has B&H f1.3 8.5mm 34mm Macro Zoom Lens. It's autoexposure though :(


Pass.

Rick
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#14 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:42 PM

I agree with Rick on most.

Out of your selection, Ray, the Canon 814 and Nikon R8 offer the best value-for-money and cover all features you would need. Both have comparatively good lenses, and neither of both lenses is distinclty better than the other, so you could base your decision on ergonomics, size and price.

I am not sure why weight is such an issue. Feel free to elaborate. 1 to 2kg is not the world?! If you make a film, those devices will probably be the least heavy on set or on location. And for documentary filmmaking. Also not that a weighing-down camera leads to a certain degree of gravitas in the shot imagery, which moves your pictures away from the feather-light pan-around-quickly-while-zooming look that haunts even higher-grade video cameras, let alone video camcorders.

The Elmo 1000S would not be my first choice, but is very attractive at that price. A good cam to do first-time rough'n-tough experiments.

To be quite honest, although I brought the Bauer Royal only up to show you alternatives you the Canon 514XL-S, I would not eschew that one. It as features that both the Canon and Nikon lack (T, 0°-150° variable shutter, variable intervalometer, very flexible semi-automatic rewind features).

If I had to choose, I would either go for the Nikon R8 or the Bauer Royal out of that choice, with the Bauer Royal offering better value-for-money if you can get it below 100 USD. Above that, go for the Nikon R8, as its lens is arguably better.
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#15 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:48 PM

Sorry for the typos in the above post. I posted it accidentally too early, and the edit window-of-opportunity was already closed when I wanted to rectify the linguistic jibberish.

I am not a fan of the Bauer's. Plastic body.


Having said that, Rick, about this model's generation ? which was OEM-built by Chinon for Bauer ? please allow me add that the later Royal models, C triple-digit XLM, and A triple-digit cameras by Bauer have full-metal casings and feature a metal-composite chassis that is extremely sturdy and robust.
Bauer cameras were readily used as Super 8 cams for geo-expeditions and have a very good reputation for being reliable and trustworthy.
The bodies of these cameras have superior rigidity to most Canon Canosound models (and those were already very robust), and anything Beaulieu built after the 5008-series (those Lexan plastic cases on the 6/7/9008 might have unbreakable, but they had a lot of play in the way they were assembled and devalued the cameras' rigidity significantly).

Edited by Michael Lehnert, 01 November 2007 - 02:50 PM.

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#16 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 11:12 PM

Having said that, Rick, about this model's generation ? which was OEM-built by Chinon for Bauer ? please allow me add that the later Royal models, C triple-digit XLM, and A triple-digit cameras by Bauer have full-metal casings and feature a metal-composite chassis that is extremely sturdy and robust.


I'll stand corrected then. I guess I have only handled some of the older lower-end models.

Rick
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#17 Ray Noori

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 03:45 AM

Rick, Michael, Richardson, thank you so much for your insightful and prompt input. I'm sorry I didn't respond earlier, I was dragged off to Hong Kong for the weekend and didn't have much time to get to the board. What it also meant was I missed the boat on most of the cameras I had listed! But it's no problem, I think opportunities come along thick and fast and what I needed to get out of this was a deeper knowledge of what I want in a Super 8 Camera and which cameras have them. Thank you all once again for your invaluable advice. Once I set my sights on another few cameras I'm sure I'll be back for advice.

Regards.
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