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#1 Ciaran Butler

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 10:37 PM

I'm looking to buy my first Super-8, but I'm stuck. I've got 3 in mind, and all have been found in good condition, regular but light use, mold free, and reasonably priced so there's no problem there.

The first two that were offered to me were the Bauer A512 and Nizo 4080, both seem to be excellent in their own right, but which is better I'm not sure. Everyone seems to have their favourite and so I haven't really made up my mind which is the one for me. The A512 has a great lens but not the build quality of the nizo range is about all I'm getting from people.

The 3rd camera, has just fallen into my lap recently but it'll be a while till i get it and I would like to have something for this project I'm doing sooner than later, and that is the Beaulieu 4008 MKII. It seems in mint condition, but worried about how the batteries will hold up. It's at a great price though and so am almost tempted to pick up this one up in addition to one of the other ones. Or is that just a wee bit mad so early in the game.

Initially I just wish to experiment, I'm design a title sequence at the moment for a movie and had an idea that call for a super-8's touch, but eventually I'd like to do something for myself, a few shorts, the option of stop motion as well.

If anyone can shed some light on the situation I'd be well grateful.

phew.. a wee bit of an essay there for yeh.

Anyway thanks for any help on the matter and any opinions.

C.
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 10:48 PM

I'm looking to buy my first Super-8, but I'm stuck. I've got 3 in mind, and all have been found in good condition, regular but light use, mold free, and reasonably priced so there's no problem there.

The first two that were offered to me were the Bauer A512 and Nizo 4080, both seem to be excellent in their own right, but which is better I'm not sure. Everyone seems to have their favourite and so I haven't really made up my mind which is the one for me. The A512 has a great lens but not the build quality of the nizo range is about all I'm getting from people.

The 3rd camera, has just fallen into my lap recently but it'll be a while till i get it and I would like to have something for this project I'm doing sooner than later, and that is the Beaulieu 4008 MKII. It seems in mint condition, but worried about how the batteries will hold up. It's at a great price though and so am almost tempted to pick up this one up in addition to one of the other ones. Or is that just a wee bit mad so early in the game.

Initially I just wish to experiment, I'm design a title sequence at the moment for a movie and had an idea that call for a super-8's touch, but eventually I'd like to do something for myself, a few shorts, the option of stop motion as well.

If anyone can shed some light on the situation I'd be well grateful.

phew.. a wee bit of an essay there for yeh.

Anyway thanks for any help on the matter and any opinions.

C.


Decide if shooting sound, sync dialogue is important to you. If it is, go with the Nizo 4080. If however, you plan on doing single frame, the Bauer A512 has more flexibility because of the time exposure capability. Time exposure can come in real handy in single frame low light situations. Lets say you were to build a minature set or do cell animation or down shooting work in single frame, you can go with a lot less light and easily do one second exposures at F5.6 which will ensure less heat on your set and yet you will get a nice sharp image. I think the Nizo 4080 actually does single frame also, but it does not do time-exposure single frame.

The 4008 is an interesting option as well. If the only reason you aren't interested is because of the battery, there are aftermarket super-8 places that sell re-celled Beaulieu batteries. You probably will have the most filming speed options with the Beaulieu (perhaps 2 to 70 frames per second???), but single frame I think is more difficult to do.
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#3 Ciaran Butler

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:10 AM

Excellent, thanks. Thinking I might go with the A512 as really sound isn't that important to me for what I'll be doing.

But if anyone has any personal favourites, either from the ones I mentioned or even ones they think would be good to look out for, for what ever reason, I'd love to hear them too.
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 12:05 PM

Excellent, thanks. Thinking I might go with the A512 as really sound isn't that important to me for what I'll be doing.

But if anyone has any personal favourites, either from the ones I mentioned or even ones they think would be good to look out for, for what ever reason, I'd love to hear them too.


Make sure to check the plastic manual exposure wheel located on the top of the camera, make sure it works the way it is supposed to work and isn't flimsy.
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#5 Ciaran Butler

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 05:41 AM

Make sure to check the plastic manual exposure wheel located on the top of the camera, make sure it works the way it is supposed to work and isn't flimsy.



Alessandro you've been a great help!


Actually one final question, what would be a good price for an A512 (mint cond.), just to gauge if I'm getting a god price or not.
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#6 Ciaran Butler

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 05:47 AM

Make sure to check the plastic manual exposure wheel located on the top of the camera, make sure it works the way it is supposed to work and isn't flimsy.



Alessandro you've been a great help!


Actually one final question, what would be a good price for an A512 (mint cond.), just to gauge if I'm getting a good price or not.
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#7 Richard Tuohy

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:30 AM

Note that this Bauer, like the majority of Bauers, is a 40/160 asa only camera. Its light meter won't read 64t or 100d or plus-x, etc on auto. Just 40 and 160 asa stocks (tungsten or daylight - it doesn't read daylight speeds as it has no filter notch reading pin).
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#8 Bengt Freden

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 05:35 PM

Cead Mile Failte, Ciaran,


My recommendation to you is to look once more at the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II camera, especially if it´s got the precious Schneider Optivaron 6-66mm Macro zoom lens. This is a true macro-zoom design, which lets you film from the surface of front lens element to infinity, at all focal lengths.
Furthermore, it is the only Super 8 camera with a true sector shutter (like ARRI or Panavision), which reflects 100% of the light to the film and 100% to the very large and bright viewfinder, which makes accurate focusing on the fine-grained ground glass very easy. This means that the image 'flickers' as the camera is running but so does a professional Arriflex BL. Another thing that I consider a great advantage with the Beaulieu range of cameras is that you can fine-tune your ASA/ISO°-setting, in 1/3 stops, to suit your film type and personal way of exposing your color negative, for example - you are not hindered by the fact that your camera 'reads' the plastic speed notches in the film catridge, which in some cases might give you under- or over-exposed footage.

I am of course very biased here (I´ve got four of them but also a Canon and a Chinon) but the reason that I am advocating this camera is that you have full C-mount lens interchangeablitity. This means that you have an enourmous amounbt of lens options open to you, from really superwide prime lenses (like the Century, Fujinon or Angeniueux lenses) to almost any 35mm SLR lens made, via an adapter (Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Pentax, Leica M and Leicina Special, Leicaflex R, etc, etc), for extreme telephoto, microscope or macro work.

It is also a camera with a very good image stability (precision-machined gate) and an impressive range of speeds, 2 - 70 fps slo-mo plus 1 frame exposure with a threaded cable release. I have re-calibrated my cameras for the European standard TV PAL sync speed, 25 fps.

Regarding battery cells:
Yes, the old NiCad cells are usually dead but they can be re-celled with new, fresh NiMH 450 mAh 7,2 Volt cells. This is rather expensive but if you take good care of your new re-celled battery, it will last you a very long time. I usually re-charge mine about once a month, whether I have used the camera or not, because they shouldn´t be left to 'dry out'. You couldn´t do that with the old cells, as they had a 'memory'.

Well-known and world-wide reputed Beaulieu specialist technician Bjorn Andersson here in Stockholm can re-cell your battery and also look over, clean and lubricate your camera, if you want it to run perfectly for ages. If the camera has been 'shelved' for a long time, the internal 85A gelatine filter may be dirty or fogged. If that is the case, you could have it taken out. You would then instead use a clean multi-coated glass filter in front of your zoom or prime lens, which can be inspected and cleaned at all times, ensuring that you will always have the best possible contrast in your footage. For this to work, the mount on the camera body will have to be re-calibrated slightly (the flange focal distance has to be shorthened), to compensate for the loss of the internal filter, which in turn is a carefully calibrated part of the whole optical system of the camera. This is why Beaulieu footage most of the time is so sharp and contrasty, providing you have a good lens hood.

If you choose the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II, you will never be sorry. That´s a camera to 'grow' with. Did I complicate things for you now? Sorry about that . . .

All the best from Sweden,
your friend in arms
Bengt
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 05:38 PM

Alessandro you've been a great help!


Actually one final question, what would be a good price for an A512 (mint cond.), just to gauge if I'm getting a good price or not.


Thank you, Ciaran. Super-8 prices on lesser known cameras such as the A512 can be all over the place.

In my opinion, the camera should be in the 300 to 450 dollar range, but in reality they probably can be found for between 100-250 dollars.

(Well, that pretty much covers my ass, doesn't it, ha ha).
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#10 Jim Carlile

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:55 PM

Go for the Beaulieu. No question about it. It's twice the camera of the others. Easier to repair, more robust, more parts availability, worth more money. No comparison.
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#11 Ciaran Butler

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:01 PM

Tack själv Bengt,

hope I got that right, may be I should stick with what I know... go raibh míle maith agat a chara. And Lads thanks a million for the advice.

I'm actually well pleased with it, and I'm glad you've suggested the Beaulieu, because actually since my last post I had changed my mind and decided to go for the 4008 MKII. I'm getting it sent to my girl's place in Lyon and I'm picking it up in a couple of weeks. I had my brother take a look at it (as he's over in France and I'm still in Dublin) and it's in beautiful condition. I haven't finalized a price but I'm getting it for about ?170 - ?200. As far as I can tell that's a steal, but I'm not sure. I Didn't bother checking out Ebay too much for a better deals (there's a few on there) but the quality of them is dubious at the best of times.

The main reasons I was holding back on the 4008 was it's size and weight. I was thinking about doing some filming on my travels around India this Aug-Sept, and later a trip I'm taking on the Trans-Mongolian rail. But I might look into a second more portable model later (Nizo pro?) that might fit the bill. But still only learning, can't get ahead of myself. But ?50 - ?400 for the A512 (Good man Alessandro ;) ) might be another travel option lol.


I'm telling you, this site is bloody marvelous!! Can't believe I didn't find it earlier lol.
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#12 jacob thomas

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 12:13 AM

The main reasons I was holding back on the 4008 was it's size and weight. I was thinking about doing some filming on my travels around India this Aug-Sept, and later a trip I'm taking on the Trans-Mongolian rail. But I might look into a second more portable model later (Nizo pro?) that might fit the bill. But still only learning, can't get ahead of myself. But ?50 - ?400 for the A512 (Good man Alessandro ;) ) might be another travel option lol.


I think you might be surprised by the small size of the 4008, especially if you recell the internal battery it's quite compact.
A better option might be to buy a small c mount prime or two for minimal size. I think I remember one of the forum members using a 10mm Angenieux prime.
Once you've used the 4008 you might not want to use anything else.
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#13 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 03:49 AM

I think you might be surprised by the small size of the 4008, especially if you recell the internal battery it's quite compact.
A better option might be to buy a small c mount prime or two for minimal size. I think I remember one of the forum members using a 10mm Angenieux prime.
Once you've used the 4008 you might not want to use anything else.


As much as I like the Beaulieu, for my purposes minimal to no time-lapse and time exposure options would not make Beaulieu my first choice. However, the real answer is that owning a couple super-8 cameras may be the ideal scenario, then you decide which camera to use based on what your priorities are for that particular shoot.
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#14 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 01:39 PM

Wow, I am very late for contributing to this thread that is kinda "my kind of town" topic. For a yet unclear reason, my account here was in "validation hell" for nearly a week, so I was unable to post at all.

As I pointed out on many earlier posts and my Top Camera list posts here, the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II is arguably the best production camera for the Super 8 format ever made.
In my "Top Camera Gear" Super 8 Today article series, however, I put the Leitz Leicina Special, the Bauer A 512 and the Nizo professional in the same "top-of-the-market" league. And in some aspects that Alex pointed out, the Beaulieu looses out to these three or some top Eumigs, the cameras Alex uses for his outstanding exposure work (how is your Nizo pro coming along, Alex, after I "wax-lyriced" over it, if you remember :) ? Am i still worthy of your blame :lol: ?)

I would prefer any of these production cameras over the later universal cameras that appeared in the late 1970s around the commag technology, such as the Canosound-models, Nizo sound cameras or the Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series for many reasons that will fill some further articles.

I mainly use a Beaulieu 4008 ZM II as A camera, and a Bauer A 512 as B camera. Although I agree that the Beaulieu 4008 ZM II is probably the most professionally designed camera for Super 8 that also reaches those expectations with regard to build quality, I found myself confined to solely using the Bauer A 512 for two current projects. And I must say that this camera betters the Beaulieu in many respects as long as you can work around the lack of mirror reflex, interchangeable lens option and the exposure index setting of Bauer cameras mentioned above (as regards the exposure index issue, the "40/160" rule is not that easy: I recommend reading this post here that discusses what I mean).
I also have to say that due to the sophisticated construction of the Beaulieu's, I often approached working with them with a slight anticipation that something might go wrong during filming..., that a mechanical or electric malfunction might occur under rough handling or just out of the blue. I never had that sentiment with the A 512 or any other camera for that matter. The A 512 is a camera that I learned to trust blindly and I never lost footage to it, either using reversal or negative film stocks.

In that respect, I also challenge anyone who propagates the urban myth that Bauer cameras are placed below Nizo cameras in respect to status, reliability, quality and repairability. Today, for some odd reason, Nizo is regarded as a "better" product than Bauer. I think the "silverling" image and Dieter Rams' exquisite Braun design now help propagate that myth, and in Europe particularly, you have a stong Nizo superiority lobby effort. But in the 1970s, it was actually the other way round: Bauer always had higher price tags, more status, was more "rough-handlin'"-taking but was also more advanced in respect of innovation and features. When the Bauer S 715 XL microcomputer came to the market, Nizo was essentially still in silent era mode and Beaulieu just ditched the ill-designed 5008-series. Bauer also offered the Angénieux 15x6mm on that cameras nearly half a decade before any other company, notably Beaulieu, offered this top lens on the 7008-models.

I would not recommend having gone for the Nizo 4080, as optically, technically and feature-wise, this universal camera cannot rival the Top 4 production cameras. The only Nizo I would consider for serious filmmaking is the Nizo professional, unless you absolutely require the "sound of silence" of the belt-driven Nizo sound cameras - but those belts are a time bomb, and you find that the "series 2" Bauer S 715 XL microcomputer is also belt-driven and hence almost equally silent to a Nizo 4080 or 6080.

The money you paid for the ZM II is a steal, Ciaran, so you should be smug to get a cameras and also Schneider 11x6mm lens that great for it. However, I might definitely recommend shooting a test cartridge first to see if the camera is fine before you start on a project (I am always surprise how many people don't do that!). It might well be that the complex guillotine shutter mechanics or the variable shutter or indeed the transportation needs adjusting: Like Bengt above, I recommend Bjorn Andersson for a check ( bjorn.andersson@brevet.nu ). I never bought a Beaulieu without it needing some sort of service post-purchase, but we regularly get Bauer or Nizo cameras that work perfectly out off eBay or private hands.

I congratulate you to this purchase and would love to see some of your India and Mongian footage when possible. :)
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#15 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 01:44 PM

By "Mongian", I obviously meant "Mongolian" :rolleyes: !
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#16 Jim Carlile

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 11:26 PM

Michael makes a good point about the Beaulieu. It is rather featureless. But man, that much money for the Bauer 512-- wow!

Check out this place. Recommended. Good prices (at least for Americans):

http://super8arena.c...x.php?cPath=2_7

Michael, you don't like the 5008? Why is that? I have one (not the Multispeed) and it has been fine.
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#17 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 03:23 PM

If anyone's interested I've just put my mint Nizo Professional with accessories on ebay... It was serviced just before I bought it and I've only put three rolls of vision stock through it...

http://cgi.ebay.co.u...1QQcmdZViewItem
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#18 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 06:19 PM

But I might look into a second more portable model later (Nizo pro?) that might fit the bill. But still only learning, can't get ahead of myself.


I don't have the Nizo professional at hand here in London (it's at my brother's place in CH), otherwise I could have done a digital still of it next to a Beaulieu 4008 ZM II and a Bauer A 512.

Such picture would have shown that these three cameras are all pretty much the same size. Although the ZM II looks bigger because of the sizeable Schneider 11x6mm, the body is much smaller then the one found on the A 512 or the Nizo pro. Bear in mind that large parts of their lenses are just incorporated into the body. This is also why the Angénieux 15x6mm looks so smaller on the Bauer S 715 XL microcomputer than on the phallic Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series.

Buying a Nizo pro would not get you a smaller camera. If you want a B camera ideal for travelling but with all the functionality you could wish for apart from interchangeable lenses, mirror reflex, variable shutter and time exposure features, I never grow tired of recommending the Bauer C 700 XLM or Bauer C 900 XLM with their great Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 6-51mm or Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 7-45mm respectively.
Best "expedition gear" made in the 1970s, and they look the part, too. Myriads of beared geography teachers in Germany swore by them, and bored their pupils to death in class with their self-made education films.
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#19 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 12:13 PM

Michael, you don't like the 5008? Why is that? I have one (not the Multispeed) and it has been fine.


Sorry for the tardiness in answering your question ? non-ciny.com business...

As the author of a post here and particularly here that polemically (! - please read the entire thread to get my angle on this topic right B) ) stated that the Beaulieu 5008-series could be regarded as the worst Super 8 camera ever made, I think you are right in assuming that I am not the greatest fan of it - particularly the Beaulieu 5008 S.

The Beaulieu 5008-series of 1974 set out to be the greatest Super 8 camera ever built - it was to be Marcel Beaulieu's swansong. Kodak's Ektasound gear aside, it was the first to incorporate Commag and was the first to move away from production camera designs of the early 1970s to the universal camera designs of the late 1970s to early 1980s (a broader move that I see critical for the quality of camera gear in the Super 8 format, but that's just me, I guess).
And because it was an early adopter of loads of new technology that engineers had not yet fully grasped ergonomically and usability-wse, that's why it lacked so many important features that made the Beaulieu 4008-series so great and actually only found their way back into Beaulieu cameras nearly a quarter centurly later with the final Beaulieu 9008 Quartz-series.

Now, if you are shooting in today's world with an entirely digital post chain, i.e. 24 fps forward at a steady 1/60sec in-camera with the readily-supplied and phantastic Angénieux 13x6mm at the front, and everything else is up to telecine and FCP, then this camera is as good as any other. As I think that this is the way you and most other today work cinematographically, the 5008-series is a fine tool.

However, from a technical and camera-comparative point of view, the 5008-series lacks plenty:
  • - multiple film running speeds only usable with Ektasound cartridges (this broader issue was addressed with the MS-model later on)
  • - reverse winding only usable woth Ektasound cartridges
  • - no variable shutter, which should be a dealbreaker for any serious camera operator!
  • - overall lacklustre system integration of the Kodapak cartridge, which is what counts today
  • - no swing-out ground glass - why Beaulieu abandonned that pioneering S8 feature is a myth to me!?
  • - ground glass has divided grain structure and not fine grain structure found in 4008-series, thus obstructing viewfinder viewability in darker lighting:f/stop ratio situations.
  • - operational ergonomics are rather off-balance and required extensive retrofitting in 1975 and 1976 (esp. release button, release hook extender, cable-releasing, remote socket, power switch; not to mention the Commag operations which where ludicrously complex)
  • - idiotic tripod base construction that was totally unncecessary (unlike with 4008-series where it made sens)
  • - very heavy construction, using 4008-series material (good) but in a too-big form factor (bad - there was a reason why Beaulieu went for Lexan with the following camera generations)

As I said, the 5008 is not a bad camera, it's better than most gear due to its mirror reflex system, good related exposure times and the interchangeable lens option and supplied Schneider 13x6mm, but it was such a regress from the 4008-series that it broke Beaulieu's design edge for the rest of the companies existence, and made cameras like the Bauer A 512 or Nizo professional or Leitz Leicina special a really good alternative - before that, those companies weren't even close to be considered a rival for a Beaulieu.

Cheers,

-Michael
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