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Best super 8 under $500


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#1 Yvette Hej

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:42 PM

Hi all,

I'm wondering what are some of the best super 8 cameras under $500? I want to use it for music videos and i want to have the 1 frame rate option.

Any suggestions and reasons why you think it is the best will help. THanks!
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#2 andy oliver

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 06:12 PM

Hi, given your budget, plus i always like a camera with good auto iris, just incase of run and gun situations. I recommend a canon 814 or 1014xl-s, thats if you can find one under $500.00. If your planning to shoot all footage on manual exposure, bauer cameras are great too, look out for the 715xl, though be warned these camera cannot read most of the filmstocks on the market, so basically the cameras auto iris is useless. I really cant think of any other cameras to recommend, leicina special, but they're fetching high prices.
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#3 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 07:57 PM

Salut Yvette, and welcome to this forum. Based on this ranking here which is based on optical and mechanical quality, features and operability and ergonomics and serviceability, PLUS your budgetary requirement of $500 and single frame / timer feature, I would say you can pretty much start at the top.

(Gosh, this sentence above, really this is like a déjà-vu experience with this thread here :P )

The Beaulieu 4008-series and the Leitz Leicina Special are definitely above 500$, and also do not feature single frame or timer functions incorporated into the body (they require accessories).

However, the next two best things, the Bauer A 512 and the Nizo professional are well within your budget. Super8Arena and Super8CameraShop which seem to be very trustworthy (as you can read in the hyperlinked post above), sell both cameras CLA'd with warranty around that level.

If you want well-thought-through intervalometers (i.e. single frame / B and T-style timer ; read more about that starting with this hub post here) with a great lens, then the Bauer A 512 and following up the Nizo professional are the cameras to go for: The Bauer's Schneider 12x6mm is crisper than the Nizo's Schneider 11x7mm. Both cameras have a variable shutter and a manual aperture control, which are two must-haves anyhow for professionally-minded cinematography. But both also have automatic exposure controls which work well. There are plenty other functions one could discuss here, but to cut it short, my recommendation would be A 512, then Nizo pro.

The Canon 814 & 1014XLS models are much heavier and were less clearly constructed for sepmag than for commag. The timer is not as tricked-out as on the Bauer & Nizo, but I acknowledge that especially in the US, Canon is very popular and hence highly regarded (despite that the lenses Canon used were actually not all produced by Canon themselves; so the "Canon's optical marvel "argument is ambivalent with this marque).

I hope that helped a bit. Feel free to come back to me if anything is unclear in my scribblings.

-Michael
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#4 andy oliver

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:03 AM

Say Michael, you mentioned that the canon lenses were not manufactured by them, who was responsable for making them??. Funny, as a few years back i asked the same question, on another forum, and i sorta got laughed at. The reply was of course theyre made by canon, blah, blah, blah. Anyhows the lens on the 814xls, 7-56 f1.4 i've seen on, i think either chinon or sankyo cameras.
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#5 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:40 PM

This is actually something I came across just recently, and I will have to do some more research which I intend to post in a month's time or so in this thread here, which is still not yet fully wrapped up, content-wise.

The thing is that my brother stumpled over some spec sheets while cleaning out our archive in CH, and double-checked their validity with the works by Jürgen Lossau (which is tricky as there are unfortunately several inconsistencies throughout his works). Again, some more research needs to be done by us as this is quite an issue that may lead many people who are more brand believers than cinematographers into rage and anger.

Essentially, this revolves around the Taiwanese Sun Optical Trading Company, which went through several iterations and had two major subsidiaries, the Bauer & Sun Optical Co. Ltd. and later the Sun Optical Int'l Co. Ltd.

Sun produced the lenses for several S8 camera manufacturung companies, and they also held several patents for "tele-macro" options, i.e. when the macro function can be applied throughout the entire focal range as found on Bauer Macro-Variogon lenses or indeed the Schneider 11x6mm, which, however, was indeed built by Schneider Kreuznach.
Sun for example built the lenses for almost all Bauer cameras apart from the A 512 and S715 for sure. They also built lenses for Minolta which then found their way onto the Agfa Movexoom-series, which ironically has the lenses labelled "Made in Germany"!?! Apart from that odd circumstance, they also calculated and/or built lenses for Chinon, Sankyo and indeed some Canon models. It is still unclear which one and most crucially, whether this involves the Canosound top models so cherished by many.

But what is clear already is that not every famous optical manufacturer, like Minolta, actually built the lenses themselves, but outsourced to companies with names many buyers wouldn't like to touch. I don't think anyone would buy a Sun-labelled super 8 camera, if you gather what I mean. Apart from the outrageous Chinon-Beaulieu connection many Beaulieu aficionados would like to forget, one could also mention Zeiss which manufactures lenses both in Germany and in Japan, yet Zeiss lenses "made in Japan" fetch lower prices than "made in Germany", despite the standartisation of the manufacturing process. And anyhow, the true manufactuiring power behind T* and the Zeiss lenses is Schott Glass AG anyhow, with Zeiss being more of a ordering company than a mnaufacturing company, despite what the German marketing propaganda proclaims (and I say that with a German passport in my pocket, BTW)

What is certain so far is that indeed Canon outsourced lens manufacturing for its Super 8 gear to Sun in the 1970s and early 1980s, and some Canon lenses are not what they seem to be. Only Nikon truly manufactured their lenses themselves. That much is 100% proven.

Anyway, enough off-topic writing, as this is Yvette's thread!
(sorry Yvette)

-Michael



EDIT: Never ever type a technical post in a hurry, Michael, as reputation-destroying mistakes sneak in: in this post, it should of course not read "Bauer Macro-Variogon" but "Bauer Macro-Neovaron"! Please accept my apologies!
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#6 andy oliver

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:45 PM

Michael, that was very interesting, you should write a book:) !!!! and apologies to Yvette for hijacking your thread. Another option of course is the nikon R10, make sure the auto iris is fullyy operational, i've heard once the iris gives problems, ite un-repairable. Also, Yvette, if you are considering a beaulieu or any camera, apart from checking the shutters firing, auto iris working etc, make sure there's no haze or fugus on any of the optics of the lens. Worse culprits for haze on the inner elements, that i've seen are on the schneider 6-70 lens, i'm sitting on two at the moment. Easiest way to observe haze is shine a torch into the lens, if the lens is removeable you can look both ways thru the lens, haze is sometime difficult to spot, its easier if you have a known good lens.

Edited by andy oliver, 16 January 2008 - 04:48 PM.

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#7 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 08:01 PM

VERY GOOD TIPS!

I am to squeamish to open up lenses, but my brother has started doing this and cleaned out lenses with amazing results. Nizo lenses particularly suffer over time and overly generous use of oiling and lubrication during manufacturing, and hence improve most visibly with a cleanout. But I must tell you, when my bro' told me over the phone that he dismantled the Schneider 11x7mm of a brand new Nizo professional, I nearly fainted... :lol: !
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#8 Jim Carlile

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 01:57 AM

I agree with the Canons.

If you're in Manhattan you're in luck. Check out Du-all on West 29th St. They have a good number of great, professionally rebuilt Super 8 cameras that they guarantee and fix -- themselves. That's what they do-- they repair professional motion picture cameras and are very good.

http://www.duallcame..._Super8mm.shtml
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#9 Marc Guerriero

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 07:24 PM

I am very certain that any outsourcing for lenses that Canon may have done would have been for their lower end and possibly a few middle end cameras. Top models like the 814/1014, silent/sound, models had glass specificly designed by Canon. Even the literature that comes with these camera models specifies that.

Edited by Marc Guerriero, 19 January 2008 - 07:26 PM.

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