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Trying to find a camera model


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#1 Daniel Meier

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 05:46 AM

I'm a complete rookie regarding Super8.

And despite the rising prices for development and telecine, I still want to give this format a try and dive into the topic.

I've never worked with analog film for cinematography (only 35mm film for photography). And it seems very compelling to me.

 

I read some threads on this forum to get some information, however it's still hard for me to choose the right camera model that suits my purposes, since there are so many different out there. Maybe you guys can help?

 

I'm looking for these features/requirements:

- 18fps or 24fps and 48fps

- manual exposure (since I'm using a sekonic lightmeter for correct exposure readings)

- wide variety of accepted stocks (particularly negative)

- price limit: 200€ / 220$

 

Nice to have features are:

- interchangeable lenses (could you name some common lens mounts?)

- adjustable Shutter Angle (if this is excisting for Super8 cameras after all)

- Servo Zoom

- Autofocus

 

I'm also worried about the conditions of used cameras. Are there dealers out there that offer guarantee for working cameras?

What should I look out for when buying a camera, that is supposed to work fine.

 


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#2 Zac Fettig

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 08:35 AM

-18fps is standard. Pretty much all cameras can do this.

 

-If you're manually metering, then any camera can take any stock. The cameras have built in light meters and will auto expose, but they have limitations. Most cameras will let you manually meter.

 

-If you look around, and are patient, you can get almost any camera (except the Logmar or the VIC cameras) for that kind of money.

 

-Interchangeable lenses for super 8 cameras are overrated. A few cameras come with C mounts, and the Leicina Special comes with an M mount. There isn't a lot of pro lenses that make a small enough circle to be really usable in super 8. For example, there were only 2 lenses made for the Leicina Special. And even in C mount, most of the lenses are for 16mm cameras, and will heavily crop the lens. This can be good if you have a large selection of 16mm lenses sitting around.

The results are often better with interchangeable lens cameras, but mostly because they were the most expensive options out there. The higher end Canons/Nikons/Nizos with built in zooms often have very good performance.

 

-Adjustable shutter angle is common, but highly overrated. Mostly used to do fade ins/fade outs. You can only approximate what the shutter angle will be. If you're trying to recreate the first five minutes of Saving Private Ryan (with the small shutter angle)... you'll need something more accurate.

 

-Servo zooms on super 8 are also overrated, but common. It's not like a servo zoom on an ENG camera. Most of my cameras have them, but I never end up using them.

 

-You don't want autofocus. Almost no cameras have it, and I don't know of any good autofocus systems made for ANY camera (including still cameras) until the 90s.

 

It sounds like you want a Beaulieu 4008. C mount interchangeable lens. Frame rates from 1 to 70 fps. They did make a servo zoom: Schneider Kreuznach Optivaron f1.8 6-66 mm. Mostly go for a little more than your budget. It was a cinematographer's super 8 camera. Mirror reflex, not prism. Not the best if you want to hand-hold it, on sticks it's pretty good. Batteries are the biggest problem with the Beaulieus (weird size, dedicated battery), but there are several options for external power.

http://super8wiki.co...ulieu_4008_ZM_2

 

There are places that sell verified working cameras. Be prepared to pay for it though. Du-all is a place to look. But they're not cheap.:

http://www.duallcame..._Super8mm.shtml

 

I've actually had really good luck with buying cheap cameras off ebay. I set a low limit (say $40 not counting shipping) and bid on a few unqualified cameras. About 1/2 work as-is. 1/2 of the other cameras can be fixed with small stuff (like cleaning corroded contacts). Most of the cameras are quite old these days, so I expect them to need some work. I bought a Beaulieu 4008 ZM2 for $35 last year. Worked fine, except the grease got dirty and had gummed up the works; it badly needed to be cleaned. I got a Nikon R10 for $60, where a wire had broken in the handle (should have been an easy fix, but it's not). 


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#3 Mark Sperry

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 12:34 PM

Look at the Nikon R10 or R8.  If you're handheld metering stock types won't matter.  I also think the Nizo 481 Macro is a great camera.  Again, that's assuming you're doing manual.  Yes to everything the above poster has said.  The 4008 is the best, but I paid $1,500 for a Pro8mm version and it's a dream Super 8 camera.


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#4 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 02:00 PM

I was in your boat like 8 months ago. I'm still new to the Super 8 game. With that said, I've researched far too much and spent too much while toiling away hours at work and here's my relatively uneducated opinion.

 

For ~$200 you should probably go for one of these models which all have manual aperture control and servo zoom although I've almost never used power zoom on any of my cameras. Also slow-mo will almost always be based off of 18fps (so 36fps for half speed of 54 for 1/3 speed). And any AF S8 camera is bad. I believe it locks the focus at the beginning of the shot and there's no way to change it.

 

As said above, if you're patient on eBay you can get a steal.

 

Nizo 801 Macro/Nizo Professional/Nizo 561 Macro - These all are top notch German cameras and very common where you are in Germany. I've met a German filmmaker who bought a perfect Nizo Professional for 50€!! I have the Nizo 801 Macro with the UltraWide Lens attachment which doubles the view angle (i.e. 7mm to ~4mm). I have a couple other Nizo's as well like the S56 but they aren't as nice. Features 18/24/54fps, 150°/75° changeable shutter angle, Timelapse, servo zoom, and can read Vision3 50D and 200T and Tri-X natively and then 500T as long as you meter it yourself. There is the 481 Macro but at the wide end it's 8mm vs 7mm on the other models. It really makes a difference. Also all of these except the Pro need special cell batteries for the meter (both manual and auto sadly). Still available though.

 

Canon 814XL-S/1014XL-S - Canon's top Super 8 cameras and some of the best/sharpest out there. I don't have any experience with them personally because they were too pricey. Features 9/18/24/36fps, meters any Kodak stock natively (I believe), intervelometer, 220°/150° shutter angles. XL lens so with the 220° shutter angle can shoot in low light.

 

Nikon R8/R10 - Similar build quality to Canon's. Top of the line, especially the R10 with a super sharp lens. It meters up to 500T natively. 18/24/54fps. 160°/80°/40° shutter angle. Great camera.

 

Agfa Movexoom 10 - Sleeper hit! I got one for $40. Wide and sharp 6-60mm lens (wider than most S8 cameras which stop at 7mm unless using a wide angle adapter). Intervelometer. 18/24/54fps. 180° shutter angle. I don't think it meters 500T natively.

 

As said above, in my research, the Beaulieu's have interchangeable lenses but are expensive and high maintenance esp with the batteries. If you still want one, look for the 4008/5008/6008/7008 models. Same with the Leicina Special.

 

I think those are your best best. There are TONS of cheaper S8 cameras to be had if you're really wanting a cheap aesthetic. I love my Canon 514XL. So small and light.

 

Also do you research on film cost, development, scanning and you can try and minimize costs. If you're in Germany, I can't really help you with that but it's worth the effort in my opinion.


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#5 Daniel Meier

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 05:35 AM

I can't thank you enough for your contribution!

You guys are awesome.


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#6 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 01:02 PM

I can't thank you enough for your contribution!

You guys are awesome.

I would just get a cheap used camera and wait until September for this

http://www.kodak.com...era/default.htm


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#7 Daniel Meier

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:40 AM

Are there Super8 cameras that can be operated on a steadicam? Or is there only the possibility to trigger it handheld or while having the switch pushed down?

What's the most common way to trigger the film transport ("record button")?


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#8 Zac Fettig

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:25 AM

Most can be used on a stabilizer, if you can find one that can be balanced with such a small camera. Easier now than back in the day. I figure any DSLR stabilizer should be able to handle a Super 8 camera.

 

Most commonly, you use a cable release. It was easily available, and well understood back then.

 

Some cameras can be triggered with a simple electrical switch. I know the Canon 814 AZE and the Leicina Special can.


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#9 Freya Black

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 12:03 PM

I've actually had really good luck with buying cheap cameras off ebay. I set a low limit (say $40 not counting shipping) and bid on a few unqualified cameras. About 1/2 work as-is. 1/2 of the other cameras can be fixed with small stuff (like cleaning corroded contacts). Most of the cameras are quite old these days, so I expect them to need some work. I bought a Beaulieu 4008 ZM2 for $35 last year. Worked fine, except the grease got dirty and had gummed up the works; it badly needed to be cleaned. I got a Nikon R10 for $60, where a wire had broken in the handle (should have been an easy fix, but it's not). 

 

THIS! The only time I bought a Super8 camera that I was assured was working perfectly and hence paid extra for it, was the one camera that was the most knackered I ever came across.

 

I find it's better to just pick up something cheap and if it isn't working at first then see if you can get it working by cleaning the contacts and changing the speeds etc. If it still doesn't work then just buy another till you find one that does. Surprisingly I find a lot of them are working or can be coaxed back into action.


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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 12:12 PM

18fps - I'm not keen on this frame rate but YMMV.

 

The trouble is that to get to 24 or 25fps on video you have to have some kind of cadence in the frames so that sometimes there are more and sometimes there are less which affects the motion. I much prefer 12fps as you can just double up all the frames to get 24fps. It's not the most common frame rate tho. The Canon Autozoom 814 AutoZoom has it but not the Autozoom electronic and other similar named models. More common is 9fps which is also better than 18fps as 3x9=27 which you can then slow down to 24 or 25 which will be a tiny bit slow-mo but still nicer than 18fps. Of course both have more motion blur than 18fps which you may not like.


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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 12:14 PM


I think those are your best best. There are TONS of cheaper S8 cameras to be had if you're really wanting a cheap aesthetic. I love my Canon 514XL. So small and light.

 

 

I also love this camera for the same reason, and it only needs two AA batteries to boot!

Very limited controls but then I picked mine up for £10.

Only exposure lock tho, no manual metering.


Edited by Freya Black, 09 March 2016 - 12:15 PM.

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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 12:19 PM

Don't forget the Super8 wiki if you need to check specs on cameras:

 

http://super8wiki.com


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#13 Daniel Meier

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 08:35 AM

What about 16mm these days? Isn't it nearly in the same price category for development, telecine and film stock (apart from camera purchase) as Super8?


Edited by Daniel Meier, 12 March 2016 - 08:36 AM.

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#14 Zac Fettig

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:57 AM

For a while it was about the same. It's a little more these days (since Kodak's been jacking up prices). But it does end up costing about 33% more for 16mm than super 8. Assuming you're shooting enough to make the lab minimum charges for telecine.

 

Assuming Kodak direct pricing, and current commercial rates at Cinelab, I figure super 8 will cost $58.96/50ft ($0.39/sec) and 16mm will cost $87.46/100ft ($0.52/sec). At 24 fps, you'll probably get about the same run time out of both. Your Mileage May Vary.


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#15 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:04 AM

16mm vs. Super 8: You'll pay more for the camera, more for the actual film, a little more for processing, but decent transfer will cost about the same so 16mm is certainly worth a look.

 

If you're just starting out in film, try Super 8 so you can go through the whole process saving a little money and seeing how light sticks to the media before jumping down the rabbit hole that is 16mm and 35mm. 


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