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#1 Ed Tapia

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 12:16 PM

Hey fellas,

As the title states, i finally got my hands on a couple Super 8 cameras.

- Kodak M4 Instamatic

- Canon 814 Autozoom

Both of these cameras are pretty much in mint condition and been tested with batteries. They both are in working order. Ive been reading online about how they work, history, film care..pretty much the basics, but i was left with one questioned unanswered.

Brace yourself for a total noob question...


What kind of film can i use for these cams?

Ive seen Ektachrome 64T 7280, Vision 2 200T, Plus-x Reversal 7265 and the list goes on.


If this was posted in the wrong place, please point me in the right direction.
Thanks alot.
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#2 Ira Ratner

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:01 PM

Look here:

http://www.spectrafi...o.com/Film.html
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#3 Ed Tapia

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 07:26 PM

So all the films under the Super 8 list are compatible??

Edited by Ed Tapia, 26 October 2008 - 07:28 PM.

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#4 Ira Ratner

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 06:15 AM

Yep. You have Super 8 cartridge cameras, right?
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#5 Ian Cooper

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 07:25 AM

Yep. You have Super 8 cartridge cameras, right?


Just be aware that not all cameras are capable of automatically detecting the full range of film speeds. Not much fun when the common speeds they can sense aren't available anymore!

I don't know the details about the Kodak (although have my doubts it can correctly identify current film stocks),
but according to the Canon instructions (available to download online). The 814 Autozoom can automatically detect the following range:

Tungsten: ASA 25, 40, 64, 100, 160, 250, 400
Daylight : ASA 16, 25, 40, 64 , 100, 160, 250
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#6 Ed Tapia

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 06:59 PM

Okay. So ive looked at some film all over the web and have noticed the most commonly used is the ektachrome 64T.

What do you mean not being capable of automatically detecting the full range of film speeds?
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#7 Ian Cooper

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 03:03 AM

Okay. So ive looked at some film all over the web and have noticed the most commonly used is the ektachrome 64T.

What do you mean not being capable of automatically detecting the full range of film speeds?



The film cartridge has a series of notches cut into the end which correspond to the speed rating of the film inside - details of which can be found at this website.

In an ideal world all cameras would be capable of reading all possible combinations of notches. However, at a time when the most popular film was "Kodachrome 40", with the possible alternative higher speed option of "ektachrome 160", a fair proportion of camera manufactures built cameras with a simple one pin detection system. These assumed if 40T film wasn't inserted, then it must be 160asa. Other manufacturers designed cameras with a few more sensing pins and were able to identify two or three different film speeds, but not the whole range, whilst some manufacturers designed their camera to identify all possible speed notches. Whilst Kodachrome 40 was still available (and still the most popular filmstock) this didn't cause a problem.

The effect of putting a speed film in a camera unable to detect that particular notch is incorrect exposure, depending upon the camera it could assume the speed is higher or lower than it actually is. If you're using negative films this might not cause a noticable problem, indeed many recommend negative films are overexposed slightly anyway to tighten up grain. If you use reversal film (eg. 64T) then exposure errors are obvious.

With the withdrawal of Kodachrome 40 a couple of years ago, it left many cameras unable to automatically detect the cartridge film speed for the remaining stocks available. This website gives more detailed information on the situation.

Unfortunately it appears most Kodak Instamatics are unable to automatically read the correct speed and do not have any form of manual override or aperture controls. However, all is not lost as the Canon 814 Autozoom DOES correctly read all the speed notches, so if you use that camera you don't need to worry about the type of camera food you feed it on!! :rolleyes: Although I don't have personal experience of either camera, I suspect you'd find the Canon gives a better/sharper image than the Kodak anyway, so you won't be loosing out! ;)
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#8 Ed Tapia

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 09:29 PM

Words of encouragement. :D

thanks.

Ehh..I really wanted to use the Instamatic..BADD..i guess im still going to have to look for compatible film..ugghh..
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#9 Ian Cooper

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 03:16 AM

Words of encouragement. :D

thanks.

Ehh..I really wanted to use the Instamatic..BADD..i guess im still going to have to look for compatible film..ugghh..


Depending upon how the camera does sense the film speed, you might be able to get away with using the Vision2 200T negative filmstock.

If the camera senses this as 160asa then the small difference isn't going to be noticable. Even if it exposes it at 40asa, the 2-1/3 stop overexposure will probably still produce an acceptable image - not ideal or perfect, but if you want that use the Canon!

Of course using negative film means you can't project the processed results, and you can't get it transferred to video using the cheap highstreet "transfer old home movies" service either. But if you particularly want to try the Kodak camera then it might be a possibility.

The other avenue to investigate might be Fuji Velvia 50. Many people prefer Velvia film exposed at 40 or even 30 asa, so the exposure issue shouldn't be a major problem. The difference here is that the old Kodachrome 40T film was tungsten colour balanced.... Fuji Velvia is Daylight colour balanced.

I doubt the Instamatic has a manual switch to add/remove the internal colour correction filter inside the camera, so you're relying on the camera automatically detecting the type of cartridge fitted and moving the filter aside itself. The link I gave regarding cartridge speed notching also mentions the filter notch, and it's a subject that has cropped up fairly frequently, so a quick google should show what you need to look for.

Personally with the cost of film I'd tend to put the Kodak on a self to look at, whilst using the Canon to purr through celluloid! :rolleyes:
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#10 Ira Ratner

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 04:32 AM

What, for example, would the Kodak do if you put 100 in it? Would it think it was 40, where a 2 ND filter COULD make it work?
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#11 Ian Cooper

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 05:31 AM

What, for example, would the Kodak do if you put 100 in it? Would it think it was 40, where a 2 ND filter COULD make it work?


It would depend what, if any, speed sensing the camera has, and how the camera meters the light.

The ability to put a ND filter in front to "confuse" the camera will only work if the light meter is seperate from the taking lens. If the camera has a TTL light meter then that trick won't work: You'll reduce the light hitting the meter AND the light hitting the film by the same amount, so the net effect and exposure error is unchanged.


...wanders off to google for more Kodak Instamatic info......

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#12 Ian Cooper

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 05:57 AM


...wanders off to google for more Kodak Instamatic info......


...and returns again from his research...


It looks like you might be in luck! I found the following webpage which shows the M4 and also the M2. The only difference between them was the M4 having an internal CdS light meter.

Having looked at the photo I'd guess the "lens" on the bottom right, below the main film lens is the light meter. This means you can do as Ira suggested and use external ND filters to tweak the exposure.

If we assume for a moment the camera doesn't sense film cartridge speed and treats everything as 40T film (probably not unreasonable given the basic nature of the camera). Then the following corrections can be made:


Film.........Filter:
64T..........2/3 stop
100D........1-1/3 stop (and disable camera colour correction filter)



The ND filter needs to be infront of the filming lens rather than the light meter because the film stock is faster than the 40asa the camera light meter assumes is being used. You need to reduce the effective sensitivity of the film down to 40.

To remove the colour correction filter may need a special key to insert in the slot on the top of the camera, or the camera may automatically detect and remove it by sensing the cartridge notching.



Good luck with it all, but personally I still wouldn't get my hopes up about the image quality produced by the Kodak!
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#13 Ed Tapia

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 06:58 PM

I used the stock ruler and there is two pins at the top.

the top one is at 0.8 in.
the second one is at 0.6 in.

Now im just leaning more at putting the Instamatic aside and using the 814.
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