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Canon Reflex Zoom 8 and battery replacement


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#1 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:09 PM

I have a background in super 8 and am interested in getting into the world of regular 8mm with a Canon Reflex Zoom 8. At least some of the time, I would be using an external meter for light readings but would like to get hold of a battery for the camera's meter so that I can perform some calibration tests (assuming of course that the Canon's meter has not gone defective with age!) I believe these cameras use the older type of mercury battery and I keep hearing about the inaccurate light readings that result from using some of the modern 'substitute' batteries. Many people online recommend certain batteries that could potentially be good substitutes but it's always a bit of a gamble with regards to accurate light reading. By the way, I am planning to shoot reversal so of course accuracy is important! I am keen on hearing from people who have successfully used certain batteries in their Canon Zoom 8 cameras with reversal film and got good, consistent results and the specifications of those batteries - eg battery type, voltage, brand etc.

By the way, I notice in photos online that the trigger hand grip of the Canon Reflex Zoom 8 is completely detachable. Most of the time, I would likely be mounting the camera on a tripod. With the handle detached, is there a trigger or a filming button found anywhere on the main camera body? I assume there would be a threaded cable release at least. Although it makes good sense to use a cable release for a tripod mounted camera most of the time, I prefer using a trigger when panning on the tripod (for following action / movement.) Using a cable release for panning is sure going to feel awkward for me but I guess I could get used to it if there is no trigger on the body.
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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 03:42 AM

Hi Patrick.

The first Canon Zoom 8 had a Selenium light meter, no batteries required. I've got one that is still quite accurate, though it's luck of the draw whether these type of meters still work.

The Zoom 8-2 and 8-3 models had CdS meters with a viewfinder needle and used the 1.35v Mercury cells. There are some good references on-line about various replacement options, eg:

http://rick_oleson.t...tt_adapt_us.pdf

But I generally haven't bothered with my Standard 8 cameras. External metering is always a better option, just takes a minute longer, maybe a bit of planning. I've put alkaline 1.5v cells in other cameras and adjusted the ASA sensitivity to match my external meter reading, and that has worked OK. The voltage dip over time doesn't seem to drastically change the reading. Some meter designs handle voltage changes better than others. Wein cells are probably the way to go if you want to really rely on it, but again, a 50 year old meter stuck on the top of the camera (or even a TTL meter) isn't the best method of judging exposure. In some ways all the effort of getting the correct voltage cell is like putting a highly accurate rifle scope on a sawn-off shotgun. :)

The Zoom 8s have a small run lever at the front edge of the body, and a cable release just above it. Single frame or continuous.

From the testing I've done so far, they are among the best for basic Standard 8 shooting - simple, durable, reliable, a steady image, a bright reflex viewfinder and very nice, fast optics (at the time the fastest zoom on the market at f1.4). Every one I've come across has purred like a kitten, despite their 50 years. They're not the cutest cat on the fence though..
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#3 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 05:21 AM

Thanks for the info.

External metering is always a better option, just takes a minute longer, maybe a bit of planning. I've put alkaline 1.5v cells in other cameras and adjusted the ASA sensitivity to match my external meter reading, and that has worked OK.


Oh yea, I was mainly plannng to use the camera's internal meter to check against an external meter to see how much I would have to compensate for the reflex viewfinder's beam splitter. Once that is sorted out, I would then have a good forumala to work with when using an external meter. Though let's hope that the camera I get has a decently working meter!


Every one I've come across has purred like a kitten, despite their 50 years. They're not the cutest cat on the fence though..


Great to know that they are generally reliable. And I have to agree with you - I find their specifications very attractive but I think the cameras themselves look a bit ugly!
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#4 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:34 PM

With the later two models that have CDS meters, I assume that would not be TTL metering? If that's the case, I guess all three variations of the Reflex Zoom 8 would have the same amount of light loss to the viewfinder's beam splitter prism? There is one guy who's worked out that he loses one stop of light to his Canon Zoom 8's viewfinder though I'm surprised that it would be that much. I thought about half a stop would be the norm.
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#5 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 01:15 AM

It's probably only 1/3 stop or less. The viewfinder prism is before the iris, so you always get the full f1.4 aperture in the viewfinder. Certainly no need to divert half the light which would be a whole stop loss.

I exposed according to the shutter speeds indicated in the manual -1/35 sec at 16 fps - and the exposure was fine. Think I added a third of a stop to the f numbers to approximate the T stop and err on the side of overexposure.
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