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Super 8mm....is it worth it?


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#1 Yancey Franco

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 10:21 PM

I want to begin to learn with film now. So far I've been a vidiot and all projects I've had have been on video, MiniDV. I've been looking into getting a film camera and I'm wondering if I should try a Super 8mm camera or if I should just try to get a 16mm camera. I don't have that much money so I'm just really not sure.
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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 12:33 AM

I want to begin to learn with film now. So far I've been a vidiot and all projects I've had have been on video, MiniDV. I've been looking into getting a film camera and I'm wondering if I should try a Super 8mm camera or if I should just try to get a 16mm camera. I don't have that much money so I'm just really not sure.



The cost of entry into 8mm or 16mm is really about the same, they have different looks, what look are you trying to achieve? You can pickup a cheap Super8 camera or a old B+H or other non reflex spring wound 16mm camera for around $100.00. Super-8 stock and processing is a little cheaper than 16mm. At this rate you could pickup both a cheap 16 and a cheap super8 camera and try both out....


-rob-
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#3 Yancey Franco

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 03:02 AM

The cost of entry into 8mm or 16mm is really about the same, they have different looks, what look are you trying to achieve? You can pickup a cheap Super8 camera or a old B+H or other non reflex spring wound 16mm camera for around $100.00. Super-8 stock and processing is a little cheaper than 16mm. At this rate you could pickup both a cheap 16 and a cheap super8 camera and try both out....


-rob-



Well I want to be able to use it for a variety of looks...as far as I've seen there aren't many 16mm cameras that I'd be able to buy for about $400 or so....i've seen K3 cameras for about 250 or so and spring wound Bolex's for about 450 or more (this is just what i've seen so far). Also it depends on the film stocks. Are there Super8 stocks that are in reels like 16mm film or are they just in cartridges?
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#4 Tim Hawkins

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 05:35 AM

Super 8 is all cartridge based. It was designed for the average Joe consumer so the non-profesisonal cameras tend to be geared towards ease of use - the cartridge system is pretty straight forward to use and you don't need to worry about exposing your film while you're loading it. In this respect Super 8 can be a fairly gentle introduction to film, you can pick up a camera for not too much money and be shooting pretty much straight away - you just have to decide if the super 8 'look' is what you're after as you're not going to get much flexibility without spending a bit of cash on a decent camera
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#5 Yancey Franco

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 02:42 PM

Super 8 is all cartridge based. It was designed for the average Joe consumer so the non-profesisonal cameras tend to be geared towards ease of use - the cartridge system is pretty straight forward to use and you don't need to worry about exposing your film while you're loading it. In this respect Super 8 can be a fairly gentle introduction to film, you can pick up a camera for not too much money and be shooting pretty much straight away - you just have to decide if the super 8 'look' is what you're after as you're not going to get much flexibility without spending a bit of cash on a decent camera


hmmm...interesting...cause i've seen the Bolex H8 and it has the reels in it and its loaded manually. Would I be able to find any film like that or no?
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 03:51 PM

I want to begin to learn with film now. So far I've been a vidiot and all projects I've had have been on video, MiniDV. I've been looking into getting a film camera and I'm wondering if I should try a Super 8mm camera or if I should just try to get a 16mm camera. I don't have that much money so I'm just really not sure.



You probably want a high end Super-8 cameras since the high end ones seem to retain their resale value, assuming you don't drop the camera or otherwise abuse it while you are using it. Between the negative film stocks and the color positive and black and white positive (also known as reversal film) you can really pin down what it is you like to do.

Then if you ever expand your filming crew beyond more than a couple of people, you probably would look for a DP with their own 16mm or 35mm camera set-up.
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#7 andy oliver

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:06 PM

hmmm...interesting...cause i've seen the Bolex H8 and it has the reels in it and its loaded manually. Would I be able to find any film like that or no?


Hi, the bolex you saw was a standard/ regular/ double 8 camera, 8mm film different size sprocket holes/perfs compared to super 8. You sure can still purchase filmstock for the bolex H8, infact, imo, the h8 will teach you everying you need to know, film loading, manual exposure, etc...well i just watched 50ft of standard 8 kodachrome 40 i took at christmas, and quite frankly the images look better that certain super 8 stocks currently on the market. Here is a place that sells standard 8 film http://members.aol.c...ohnSchwind.html of course i am talking reversal emulsions, you'll have to go the super 8 route for neg stocks, or of course the 16mm route.
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#8 Yancey Franco

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 12:33 AM

Hi, the bolex you saw was a standard/ regular/ double 8 camera, 8mm film different size sprocket holes/perfs compared to super 8. You sure can still purchase filmstock for the bolex H8, infact, imo, the h8 will teach you everying you need to know, film loading, manual exposure, etc...well i just watched 50ft of standard 8 kodachrome 40 i took at christmas, and quite frankly the images look better that certain super 8 stocks currently on the market. Here is a place that sells standard 8 film http://members.aol.c...ohnSchwind.html of course i am talking reversal emulsions, you'll have to go the super 8 route for neg stocks, or of course the 16mm route.



hmm ok. I've also taken a look at the Bolex P1,2, and 3. But those don't have an interchangable lens. Should I mainly look for an H8 with a turret so I can have a varied collection of primes? or is that just up to what I want to achieve with the look?
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#9 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:08 AM

Super 8mm....is it worth it?


No, it's a total fukcing waste of time. The worst and totally ill-thought system ever.

S-VHS-C produces better images and higher cinematographic production value imagery than Super 8 ever will. I just checked Vision2 against my trusty JVC GR-S70, the best camcorder ever made! It's true!!
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#10 andy oliver

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 10:59 AM

Hi Yancey, hope you haven't been put off by Michael's reply!. Are you wanting the home movie look? The following ebay link is the same camera i know use for my home movies, simply because kodachrome is still available in the regular 8 format. http://cgi.ebay.co.u...1QQcmdZViewItem

This camera has d-mount lenses, a proper iris, in fact a minature 16mm camera. Master exposure and focus on this type of camera using reversal film and you'll be prepared for 16mm later on. Image quality is very good, using kodachrome 25 daylite stock ( sadly no more, outfit on ebay selling some at the moment ) and you'll get better looking images than any super 8 camera out there. K40 and 100d is available in regular 8, least the format will teach you the basics. If you intend buying one of these smaller bolex cameras, make sure the motor runs sweetly and constantly. If you can, avoid ebay, unless the seller knows and has used the camera, and says its in full working order. The clockwork drive tends to let these cameras down, given there age. Like i said in an earlier thread, k40 footage, looked better than footage using my beaulieu 7008 with 6-70 on 64t, even the k40 looked clearer and chrisper than the 2 carts of cinevia 50 i exposed over xmas too.
Bolex H8 are great cameras to, either the non reflex H8 which takes d-mount lenses or the H8 rx which takes c-mount lenses. Be warned the H8rx will only accept bolex h8 rx c-mount lenses, bolex h16 lenses although c-mount will not work on the h8. Only h8rx lenses i'm aware of are the 5.5, 12.5 ,36mm switar, also a collimated 75mm yvar with h8rx markings on the mount, 9-36 switar zoom and the 8-40 pan cinor. All of these i own or have owned. The switar primes being the best.
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#11 Jess Haas

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 04:38 PM

as far as I've seen there aren't many 16mm cameras that I'd be able to buy for about $400 or so....i've seen K3 cameras for about 250 or so and spring wound Bolex's for about 450 or more (this is just what i've seen so far).

You can get a Bell & Howell Filmo DL or DR(don't bother with the older models) for less than $400. This is an extremely reliable 16mm camera that was built like a tank. It is a spring wound non reflex camera. You will probably want to also get a light meter. A super8 camera in the same price range would have an electric motor and a built in light meter. The 16mm camera will give you a much wider range of film stock options and a larger image area which will give you the ability to shoot using faster film stocks without getting insane amounts of grain.

I own and use both. I also use professional level Super16 and 35mm cameras. It all depends on what you want to achieve.

~Jess
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#12 Marc Guerriero

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:58 PM

No, it's a total fukcing waste of time. The worst and totally ill-thought system ever.

S-VHS-C produces better images and higher cinematographic production value imagery than Super 8 ever will. I just checked Vision2 against my trusty JVC GR-S70, the best camcorder ever made! It's true!!

Michael, sometimes I don't know how to take you. One moment you seem like the biggest poponent of Super 8 and the next you make a statement like the above. Or do I just not know you weel enough to know when you are being sarcastic?
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#13 Emil Soderman

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:36 AM

I sence sarcasm in the air :lol:
The only answer i can come up whit to the question is: Yes, it is worth it! if it is worth it to you!
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#14 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 10:09 AM

I sence sarcasm in the air :lol:


B) ,
although I acknowledge that my humour is more deranged than a transmutation of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde ? gosh, imagine: I have to morph a German sense of humour (i.e. non-existent humour) with my acquisition of British humour (i.e. sharp-witted yet not-pointless one-liners)... go figure... ^_^

I actually share Emil's reply here: the only possible answer coming back from a Super 8 user forum about its worthiness can most probably only be yes. In that respect, the OP really is inviting this. All other attempts to reply to this question in a more seconding and assisting way ? as all other posters have attempted in this thread ? leads to replys that are all over the place and hence not really helpful to tacke the orgininal question... the poor OP has heard everything from Alex advice to go for high-end Super 8 gear (which I wholeheartedly subscribe to!) to ending up with a Normal 8 Bell & Howell from pre-WWII times or so... really, it can't get more diverse.

I had a chat with David Mullen in a 16mm thread recently, that was equally fundamentally flawed by a vague and in essence pointless question from the OP, and we two elaborated on our problem on how to blighmy heck reply to this?! Read the debated problem from here onwards, and David and my consense here and here.

I am always all-hands-on-deck when a clear question is raised, but occassionally, it just gets too frivolous for me...

Oh, and Marc, don't forget, the worst Super 8 camera ever is the Beaulieu 5008-series -_- ...

To apologies for my lack of helpfulness here, may I direct your interest, Marc, to this thread there, maybe?
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