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Angular 'shadow' in frame. Any ideas on what's causing it?

Chris Erickson

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Hello community!

New member here, hoping to get some intel from any experts out there about this mysterious 'shadow' that's appearing on all my super 8 frames. I'm shooting with and without the the C-8 wide angle adapter, but it doesn't seem to make a different whether the lens in on or off, which leads me to believe its something within the camera itself? 

Nothing appears in the viewfinder either.

I'm shooting with a Canon 514XL.

Any thoughts or ideas on how to fix would be greatly appreciated! Huge bummer to spend time and investment into these rolls only to get back this big shadow over all my frames.


Screenshot 2024-07-10 at 9.28.32 AM.jpg

Screenshot 2024-07-10 at 9.29.03 AM.jpg

Screenshot 2024-07-10 at 9.30.37 AM.jpg

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I'm sorry you're having such problems.  Since the "shadow" appears identical in each frame....it is not a processing problem. This is most likely being cause by something in the camera.  It could be a beam-splitter prism issue where the prism block is cemented together, the cement is staining/separating/or developed a fungus.  This would not be necessarily visible in the viewfinder since the split wedge of the prism is diverting lens imaging rays to the viewfinder...and the remainder, the bulk, are passing thru the prism to the film plane.  However, some later XL type Super 8mm cameras used a tiny prism or fiber optic to pick up the image to the viewfinder. This design doesn't rob light from the film path.  I can't remember which design your camera uses, and am unable to locate my CANON 514XLS which uses the same viewfinder setup optically as the silent 514XL. - - - - What you can do, is shine a bright flashlight thru the viewfinder end of the camera and look into the lens and see if the visible light is offset from the center of the lens. This is one clue, another is to shine the light into the lens and examine carefully if you can see an off-set prism or fiber optic.  Lastly, or maybe firstly, shine the light thru the camera's film gate while running the camera. Do this on a tripod with the camera setup near a white wall or tape some white sheet paper to the wall.  Focus the gate outline image via adjusting the focus and zoom until it's as clear as can be and examine that for that odd effect you were getting.  Whatever is causing it...should be visible this way.  You might have to adjust the flashlight so it's not as bright [many small modern ones allow you to click them for brightness variety].  Also, while shining the light thru the film plane gate.....look into the viewfinder to see if the light doubles back into the viewfinder....if it does....the design uses a beam-splitter.  If not....try the light from front and compare.  IF the problem is not a beam-spitter, it could also be a small piece of film fragment stuck somewhere and causing a glint of light to create this image on the film......or....if the camera uses a built in UV Filter as part of the optical path, which replaces the #85 Daylight Filter when that's moved out of the way.....it could have an issue.  With so many cameras that I've repaired over decades.....I frankly can't recall which setup this camera uses without examining one as outlined above.  Either way...DO NOT use this camera since film, developing, and scanning are SO expensive these days!  Use another camera.  Once you either discover what the problem is....either way, you'll probably want to use another camera. Repair costs to fix this issue, is way more than the camera is worth. And...there are zillions of Super 8mm cameras out there!  Good luck!

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Could this be some coating issue (lens, filter or semitransparent mirror/beam splitter)?

As it’s close to the perforation, it might be partially outside the „projectable area“ - and the viewfinder might show an even smaller area or might display  some additional information in this area (f-stops, film transport indicator, …) that distracts from the problem. 

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As Martin said, whatever the cause it’s unlikely to be repairable for less than a replacement camera. It’s most probably the filter or an optical surface inside a prism or doublet somewhere, which are very hard problems to fix. Unfortunately you just need to get another camera.

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Yes as Martin said, my commiserations.

Having dismantled only two non-running Super 8 cameras and examined how they work, and having afterward decided to abandon any plans I might have had for repairing old Super 8 cameras because of how complicated they are .....

Could it be a small fragment of ND filter, that's become dislodged/degraded, and broken off near the the corner of the film gate? These cameras apparently have a tiny bit of ND gel filter in them, for when changing between 9fps and 18fps. See this video:

At about the 4:20 mark.

If it was a simple fix like this you might be able to see the edge of the filter if you look into the gate as Martin described. It should be on the right hand side of the gate.

But I second what everyone else said. If you can't fix it easily, give up and buy another camera. Best of luck.

Edited by Jon O'Brien
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