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A good Super-8 camera to invest in?


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#1 Liam Howlett

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 07:55 PM

I've been mostly shooting with DSLR, and while I can easily manipulate the digital to resemble film in post - I really want to invest in a Super-8 and shoot on actual film. This is one territory I haven't covered yet and am greatly interested in.

What's a good camera to invest in for a newbie who's looking to learn the foundations with actual film? I'd like something that will also be able to shoot in 16:9 as well. Will Super-8's take on those widescreen converters ? I sound like a newb, that's cause I am. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you
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#2 Niall Conroy

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:49 AM

I've been mostly shooting with DSLR, and while I can easily manipulate the digital to resemble film in post - I really want to invest in a Super-8 and shoot on actual film. This is one territory I haven't covered yet and am greatly interested in.

What's a good camera to invest in for a newbie who's looking to learn the foundations with actual film? I'd like something that will also be able to shoot in 16:9 as well. Will Super-8's take on those widescreen converters ? I sound like a newb, that's cause I am. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you


Super-8 cameras do not shoot 16:9 - they shoot 4:3 - you should embrace this different aspect ratio and abandon the horrid 16:9 ratio.

However, if your reaaaally needed the image to be 16:9 - it is possible to achieve it if you scanned the film at 2K and and just cropped into the frames - but, you'll be losing picture on an already tight image

If you have the cash - a Canon 1014 xls is probably the safest best camera money can buy - but they are rather expensive - otherwise I'd recommend you do what I did, go onto ebay everyday and search through the super-8 cameras that are listed, see which ones are popping up - google them for more info - check youtube/vimeo videos to see what sort of images you get with them - and then start looking for some bargains - I got my Elmo 1012xls for €50 when i've seen some people list it for €180 - so just keep looking and wait for the perfect auction.

at the end of the day, one camera wont give you extremely different results in comparison to another standard super-8 camera - its all down to the film stock you use and the scan (i recommend full HD telecine) so maybe start with a relatively cheap camera and work up from there
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#3 Niall Conroy

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 09:10 AM

also - I once bought a Canon 814 XL for 0.99p on ebay - so these bargains do exist!

(also beware of some cameras that only shoot 18fps(like the canon i mentioned) - if you want to record sync sound you'll need a camera that shoots 24fps)
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#4 Liam Howlett

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

also - I once bought a Canon 814 XL for 0.99p on ebay - so these bargains do exist!

(also beware of some cameras that only shoot 18fps(like the canon i mentioned) - if you want to record sync sound you'll need a camera that shoots 24fps)


Niall, so then a Canon 1014 xls not shoot 24fps... I definitely want a camera that shoots 24fps, so if Canon 1014 doesn't - that isn't for me. I saw some videos as well where Super 8 had an anamorphic attached to them, that is what I meant, sorry for the confusion. What you also described about how to best find one that suits me, I usually do research, I just wanted some input from guys who have shot film and have experience in Super-8 so I could have at least a baseline to compare all the others to. Is the 18fps ONLY, an issue with Super8 cams? Are there a lot that don't shoot at 24fps? I'm anal about the frame rate, I want to be able to shoot as close to actual cinematic frame rate as possible, hence 18fps doesn't suit me. But I will definitely now keep this in mind.

but could you list a few "good" cameras that I should be looking into (24fps, if Canon 1014 is out of the question?)

Edited by Liam Howlett, 30 April 2012 - 10:39 AM.

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#5 jacob thomas

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:35 AM

Niall, so then a Canon 1014 xls not shoot 24fps... I definitely want a camera that shoots 24fps, so if Canon 1014 doesn't - that isn't for me. I saw some videos as well where Super 8 had an anamorphic attached to them, that is what I meant, sorry for the confusion. What you also described about how to best find one that suits me, I usually do research, I just wanted some input from guys who have shot film and have experience in Super-8 so I could have at least a baseline to compare all the others to. Is the 18fps ONLY, an issue with Super8 cams? Are there a lot that don't shoot at 24fps? I'm anal about the frame rate, I want to be able to shoot as close to actual cinematic frame rate as possible, hence 18fps doesn't suit me. But I will definitely now keep this in mind.

but could you list a few "good" cameras that I should be looking into (24fps, if Canon 1014 is out of the question?)


The canon 1014 XL-S definitely shoots 24fps as does the 1014 AutoZoom. Niall was referring to the 814 XL Electronic which only shoots at 9fps, 18fps and 36fps.
There are a lot of Super 8 cameras that only shoot 18fps but most of the higher end cameras will do 24fps too.

I have a 1014 XL-S and really like it, apparently the 814 XL-S (which does 24fps) is equally if nice.

If I was you I would look for a Canon. Depending on your budget something like a 518 SV, 814 Autozoom, 1014 Autozoom, or 814 XL-S or 1014 XL-S.
There are heaps of nice camera's out there it just depends how much you want to spend and what features you want.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:46 PM

Canon 814 Autozoom shoots 18 and 24 for sure... maybe 9 too? Great camera but very heavy.
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#7 Matt Stevens

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

The CANON 1014 XL-S and Nikon R10 and the outstanding, sure-fire cannot lose cameras to buy, if you ask me. Each has it's good points. I think the R10 is superior in low light. The Canon is amazing when you get to its sweet spot of 5.6.

Both can have their gates widened. It gives you a bit of extra room, but in the end, I haven't done it and usually crop to 1.66:1 for my stuff. I love that ratio.

There are some very nice Beaulieu Super8's out there that are more affordable than the pricey Canon 1014 XL-S and Nikon R10.

All of the above do 24 fps.
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#8 Liam Howlett

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:09 PM

Ok that's awesome! some misunderstanding. I'm relieved because I'm really liking the Canon 1014 xls. I'm a Canon person myself, my DSLR is a T2i.

If I was to purchase a 1014, would I be able to mount anamorphic adapter? or how about the lenses from a DSLR? (I mean, I'm sure you'd need an adapter ring for that though)

Another question, what do you think of the Leicina Special ? is that something that's worth it if I got that way?

Thanks again !
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#9 Matt Stevens

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:43 PM

With the Canon, all you can do is use the telephoto or wide angle adapters. That's it as the super8's are all fixed lens deals.

The Leicina is very 'special' :lol: , but 25fps. Not 24, so you have deal with that.

Edited by Matt Stevens, 30 April 2012 - 09:43 PM.

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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:20 PM

If you are "investing" you might want to consider a Beaulieu 4008. It has a manual ASA setting which is very helpful with the ever changing film stock situation.

They also come with some of the best lenses ever made for Super 8. It's C mount which will allow you to get adapters for your Canon SLR lenses if you wanted. I have three different Canon Super 8 cameras and love them all when I'm having fun, but when I want something to look really good on Super 8 I pick up the Beaulieu.
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