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Quality: To have or not to have


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#1 Mark Day

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 08:01 AM

Hey guys, I'm looking for a decent Super 8.  I don't want to spend a fortune, simply because I don't have a fortune.  I like the Nizos and Beaulieus, but those run up into some money.  I'd love a Nikon R8/R10 or the Minolta Autopack 8-D10, but once again.....  So I purchased a Canon 814 in "like-new" condition and it came with the box and all accessories.  Well, after opening it up, I was very disappointed.  It was pretty much a cheap piece of plastic, so I turned around and sold it on e-Bay.  Not that there's anything wrong with a plastic body, this was just cheaply made.  Now, here's the question: what's the general consensus around her on cameras made by Bell & Howell, Chinon, Sanyo, Sankyo, Yashica, Elmo, GAF, Eumig, Bauer, and the like.  I know they all made cheap (as in cheap materials, lenses, and price) cameras and I'm intelligent enough to discern one of their better made units as opposed to one of their cheapies (although that Canon had me fooled).  I had one of those Yashica "Electros" years ago and felt that the build and optics were quite good. Built in meter, metal construction, decent lens -  everything.  I shot about 14 rolls through it and each film came out great.  Clear, colourful, etc...  Sooo....  Anyone feel I should steer clear those mentioned above?  Remember, I'm talking about their better made cameras.  NOT the junk everyone was producing around the end of the "home movie" era.  I think everyone of those manufacturers made a good camera, but their majority was probably cheap consumer grade.  I'm really interested in some opinions here.


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#2 Jay Young

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 09:14 AM

Well, the Canon 814 is one of the better cameras. You didn't like it because it felt cheaply made?

 

You could try for an 814 XL-S version, which will shoot 24 fps. Although that will still run you into some money.

 

All of the brands you mentioned made excellent cameras, with perhaps Sankyo, Tashica, and GAF being lower down on the list.

Bell and Howell tend to be older cameras, while the Bauer Nizo's are like unto the Canon 8 and 1014's. 

 

If you are going to judge a camera based on what it feels like, then I would suggest getting a Bell & Howell Double Super 8 system, which have a solid metal construction.

 

If you want to stay cartridge based, and have decent quality, but not spend 'best camera' money, you might have to fend for yourself.


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#3 Mark Day

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 09:34 AM

Thanks for the "heads-up" on the Sankyo, Yashica and GAF.  I sortta knew Yashica was down on the lower end and GAF.  Wasn't sure about Sankyo. I am wanting to stick with Super 8, since Kodak will probably produce that as long as they can (what with the introduction of their new Super 8 debuting this Fall).  I've got 3 Bolexes I'm trying to sell just because they are NOT Super 8.  No, I don't mind plastic bodied cameras, I just wanted to get some opinions on what some of you guys use.


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#4 Mark Day

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 11:48 AM

Actually, my research has led me to a few cameras I feel are quality Super 8s. Some of the brands may be on the "bottom-feeders" list, but the ones I've looked at (and owned) seem to be worth having: Beaulieu 3008, 4008, 5008; Canon 514, 814, 1014; Elmo 1012, C-200; Eumig 830, 880; Minolta Autopack 8-D10; Nikon Zoom 8, R8, R10; Any of the Nizos; Rollei XL-8; Sankyo XL-420, LXL-250; Yashica 600, 800; and the Zeiss MS-8.  I really didn't see any B&Hs I thought were too good.  Any others?


Edited by Mark Day, 20 June 2016 - 11:51 AM.

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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 10:43 AM

I've always had two levels of Super 8 cameras.

 

The first is the cheapest, smallest & lightest I can find for home movies where quality isn't the most important and I can hand off to the kids without worrying about it getting destroyed (about $20 or less).

 

The 2nd is the best quality for which I have a Beaulieu 4008 Jubilee edition with an amazing lens. I'll use that for home movies but only when I know it won't get hurt. I also just picked up a new Braun that seems to have great potential.

 

I have about 12 Canon AF310xl's (of which only half work now) which is probably just about the worst Super 8 camera ever, but it does have autofocus that works 1/2 the time. These are just point, pull the trigger and shoot which works great with kids and most adults that don't understand what focus means. Most I've purchased for under $20 each.

 

Here's an example of using both...should be fairly obvious which camera is used when. Under the right circumstances the out of focus footage kinda works on an emotional level.

 


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#6 Shawn Sagady

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 04:59 PM

I am really interested in getting a super-8 or smaller 16mm camera for capturing home movies.  I want to have real analog physical copies because I am more and more leery of the digital world.  Of course a concern is cartridge costs and such.  Will the Super 8 Cartirdges from Kodak work with most cameras? And is it easy to get 85b filters for super 8 cameras?


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#7 Heikki Repo

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 05:30 PM

Hi Shawn,

 

I have shot most of my home movies with a Bauer A512. It only supports two film speeds, 40 and 160 but I have adjusted its lighting meter to meter for a bit over exposed 50D/200T. I have received very beautiful results. It's relatively easy to find 85B filters.

 

The best solution would be however to get a camera that supports all film speeds. Higher end Canons do and they also have auto exposure, which certainly helps if one has small children... :)

 

Since you live in the States, you could try Pro8mm's Provia 100F, processing included. Despite the cost, that's probably the best option, since the only lab that can do super-8 prints from color negative is in Germany and those cost money as well (I estimate I pay for one cartridge of super-8 neg incl. processing and printing closer to 80 € which is some $90 USD. I try to buy film stock first and shoot it later. That way by the time I send my films in for processing and wait for the next invoice I have already forgotten how much I paid for the film stock!)

 

My experience is that super-8 is the best option for home movies, even if the price is rather close to 16mm. That's because the cameras are smaller, faster to load and have nice features such as the auto exposure. Not to mention that everything else is smaller as well: projectors, processed film to be stored, etc..


Edited by Heikki Repo, 22 June 2016 - 05:31 PM.

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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 10:06 AM

Shawn, when you say you want physical copies, do you mean you want to project films or just have them in the closet incase your digital copies disappear?

 

Both are great reasons for film. Super 8 is a little hard these days to get reversal film you can project while with 16mm you can still make prints from negative film to project...something that is actually very cool to do. Projected film will almost always look better than the digital scans on YouTube. Everyone should try that at least once.

 

Super 8 is the easiest film to get into so I'd suggest that first. There are smaller 16mm cameras out there, but it's a little like the early VHS camera days...they're much bigger than their Super 8 counterparts. You get a noticeable jump in quality for sure, but if the camera is too big and awkward to get the shot, there's not much point.

 

Try Super 8 for a while and in a few years you'll want to try 16mm and maybe even 35mm. I have a closet full of film from the last 15 years.

 

The best thing about "physical film" in a home movie setting is that you can go back and re-scan that film as scanning technology progresses. I just had 4k scans done of some 10 year old 16mm that I am very much looking forward to editing and comparing to my original SD scans from back then. I have a ton of old 8mm video cassettes that look like crap and will never look any better.


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#9 Shawn Sagady

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 06:58 PM

I would mainly like the physical copies in the closet, not necessarily to project, so id shoot color negative.

 

I am actually shooting my next Short Film on Super 16.  It will be my first narrative short on film so very exciting.  I have some old Rex16s that I am using to shoot 16mm for my wedding, but yeah just wanted something easy for home films. My big question I guess was if the current Kodak Cartidges will work for the older cameras like the higher end Canon Super 8 cameras etc or if you have to do custom windings or something.  

 

I know Kodak is going to release a really cool S8 camera in the near future with lab and scan costs built into the magazine price, that looks like it could be great with built in audio sync etc.


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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 10:16 AM

My big question I guess was if the current Kodak Cartidges will work for the older cameras like the higher end Canon Super 8 cameras etc or if you have to do custom windings or something.  

 

The current Super 8 cartridge has remained unchanged since it's first release in 1965. All Super 8 cameras can use the current cartridge. There used to be a sound cartridge that could only be used by a sound camera but that hasn't been made for many years now.

 

 

 

I know Kodak is going to release a really cool S8 camera in the near future with lab and scan costs built into the magazine price, that looks like it could be great with built in audio sync etc.

 

 

Should be interesting. The whole film/processing/scanning thing for one price will be interesting...might scare people away when they see how much it really costs. I usually shoot for a while, build up a critical mass of film for processing, send it out, then wait for a while before scanning. It's nice to spread the pain out a little.

 

The new camera will be fun, but keep in mind that a decent Super 8 camera can usually be found for $75 or less and the new one might be in the $750 range. I honestly haven't missed sound. An iPhone can do a decent job of recording sound if you need it; better yet a Zoom. This is of course in the home movie world.


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#11 Mark Day

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 05:00 PM

Well, I decided on the Minolta D-10.  It arrived yesterday.  It's like a tank!  I paid a bout $100.00 for it, and maybe $40.00 for shipping.  Anyway, total it was $140.00.  I got the Minolta carrying case with it which, believe it or not, is in damn fine shape.  Looks like it didn't experience a lot of use.  The camera is the same way.  Cosmetically, it's in pretty much "new" condition.  Never abused.  I checked all the functions and everything is operating 100% as it should.  Also got an Interval meter, Remote switch, two "eye cups", Manual, and the Tape Recorder remote.


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#12 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 10:01 PM

All good points presented here.  I like to have a few different cameras to use, and since many Super 8mm cameras can be purchased in decent condition at cheap or reasonable prices, why not.  First, a small carry all camera to use for travel or on the go.  Second, a camera for most home movie stuff or similar, Third, a high end camera for more advanced options and filmmaking endeavors, Fourth, and this can be either of the previous two cameras, one which has an XL 220 degree shutter and fast lens for low available light filming, Fifth, a camera for bright light filming (many of the older Super 8mm cameras only have F/1.8 lenses and typical 180 degree shutters so not really for low light levels.  And Sixth, a few beater cameras for risky shots, such as taped to the side of a car or bike or whatever so that IF it gets damaged, it's not a big loss, but still yields what you need.

 

As for GAF, they did make some good cameras, the triple digit series are built like tanks, and also the light meters (if still working) can read cartridges notches from ASA 16 to 500!  GAF had their cheaper cameras built in Hong Kong by Haiking, and there were some good fixed focus manual exposure metal bodied models [S-80, SC-90] and then cheap junk plastic ones [S-70].  Avoid the zoom versions or auto exposure only, since they used Selenium meters which are usually dead by now.  The made in Japan models are pretty good, with the triple digit number series built by CHINON being very well made.  Due to age, the glue for name panels, plastic cover and lens rings have dried up (as on many other Super 8 cameras) and might fall off or have fallen off, so be prepared to glue them back in place.  The ST-100 and up series are the best, all the way up to the ST-1002 (they're all built like tanks, and the ST-111 is one of my favorites, easy to use and lots of features.  It has a manual fader which works great even if the meter is dead.  The ST-111E is also good, but if the meter is dead, you have to use the manual exposure wheel to do fades, and this applies to the later models.  If you want to shoot at 24fps, then the ST-601 and ST-801 as well as the ST-1000, ST-1001 and ST-1002 will work fine).  CHINON released these under their own name with different nomenclature and some different functions, usually with a pistol grip design, compared to GAF's handle grip.  CHINON also made variations of these cameras and others under store brand names, REVUE, PORST, NORIS, BOOTS, SEARS, Montgomery Ward, and FOCAL, as well as making some of the last cameras for BOLEX, EUMIG, BAUER and some others.   BELL & HOWELL also made a couple of cameras for GAF, a couple low end ones as well as two XL types.  The GAF Sound cameras are also built like tanks, but they only film at 18fps and single frame (or at 20fps if no sound cartridge thus kinda ideal for telecine transfer at that speed).  The big issue on most GAF cameras is the eyecup, which by now has turned to a tarry goo and has to be removed and cleaned up.  The eyecups made for the BOLEX H-8/H-16 Reflex cameras is a good replacement.  Lastly, the capstan belt in the sound cameras will most likely be broken due to the quality of the rubber used.  However, it's fair to say, that this is a possible issue on many aging Super 8mm Sound cameras, so beware.  The belts are near impossible to replace except for the most adventurous.  This only applies to those that have some sound film saved up or buy some stock off eBay and want to experiment.  Even old film not stored cold can yield images, albeit mostly green now, or if processed in B&W Negative, in which you could use most any old filmstock out there then.

 

I suggest to anyone wanting to experiment, buy some cheaper Super 8mm cameras, and then use one cartridge to test several, just 'slate' the film so you'll know which camera the following shots were filmed on.  Five feet exposed in several cameras would give you an idea how 10 different cameras fair, or shoot 10ft in 5 different cameras.  That way, you're only out one cartridge of film and processing.  No need to spend a small fortune.   The higher end NIZOs were great cameras, but most of the sound ones have dead metering systems and dead or dying special functions due to the type of CMOS chip of early technology that these cameras employed.  Even so, many will still work in manual mode....but make sure they're usable like that.  I, like so many others, probably have nice looking paperweights lying around.  Despite having cheaper construction, I still like the SANKYO XL620.  A couple have died and aren't worth repairing since the two layered circuit boards are a royal pain to desolder and then reassemble.  Always check to see if a camera works if the price is higher than what you might find at a yard sale. Speaking of yard sales, always bring fresh batteries with you so you can try out any cameras IF there are any for sale.

 

Lastly, don't be discouraged by the higher ISO films, you can use these in bright light if you use Neutral Density Filters.  I always shot with Tri-X and Ektachrome 160 films in bright light, and filtered down they work great.  This applies also to the 'new' but somewhat grainy though nice AGFA 200 Daylight film that is available. It's still nice to have a color reversal film, and it's also available in Double 8mm, and is coming out in Double Super 8mm also, as well as 16mm.

 

Thanks for letting me share my two cents worth here.


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#13 Mark Day

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:35 PM

Well, my dream camera is the Nikon R10.  I'd gladly give up my D10 and Arriflex 16S for a "mint" R10. Until then, I'll stick with the D10 and Arri.


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