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Super8 camera upgrade


Ivana Durkacova
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Hey there,

I want to upgrade my super8 camera from Elmo 108M for something with manual exposure, and more possibilities. I've been reading and reading and every-time I decide on a camera, one more thread in a forum and bam, not sure anymore. I am stuck on Agfa Movexoom 10 (Sound) MOS Electronic, which seems to be underrated but very nice camera. I find the sound option useless these days, so might go for soundless one. Anyone has some experience with an of them? Then there's Nizo Professional - 800 P or Nizo 6080 Sound. Supposedly very quiet cameras, but that seems to come with a price – the rubber belt gets damaged, plus silent cartridges are noisy in the camera. The pretty safe option I guess would be Canon Auto Zoom 814 or 1014 Electronic. But that seems kind of boring 🙂

Any experience with some of these cameras (ideally with more than one of them)?

 

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13 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Beaulieu all the way. I wouldn't bother with the Japanese cameras or the ones with built-in lenses. 

Any particular model in mind? I am looking at Beaulieu 4008 ZMII, crème de la crème supposedly, but it seems a bit too much hassle in the long term, with servicing etc. 

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Anything you buy now is 30-40 years old with deteriorating plastic and rubber parts long overde for servicing.

There's an argument for spreading the risk by buying a few inexpensive cameras that you know are in working order, then moving on to the next one when one of them breaks.

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13 minutes ago, Todd Pinder said:

Beaulieu's are probably the most serviceable of all Super 8.

Of course but as techs retire and the price goes up, several hundred £/€/$ is a lot for a student to find- likely more than the price of a replacement.

A Super-8 camera isn't a professional tool with maintenance built in to the cost of ownership to be set off against the money it earns. Not any more- if it ever was.

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It never was... A wedding here and there and some home movie moments in some projects or some backyard music video productions or some hipster fashion videos... I would get a 16mm camera. I keep seeing Arriflex S for 6-800 dollars on eBay. You will not be spending any less for a decent s8 camera. The image you get from any s8 camera will look worse than even shooting expired high speed stock on 16. With the Beaulieu cameras, you can change lenses but even with some sharpest lenses, don't expect much of a jump in image quality but maybe some marginal difference at best. The format itself doesn't yield sharp and stable images regardless of the lens etc. Oh and it will cost you just as much as shooting on 16. 

Edited by Giray Izcan
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2 hours ago, Giray Izcan said:

.... I would get a 16mm camera.

I agree. Every time I'm tempted to look at Super 8 I think to myself .. ah.. why bother. 16mm looks just as filmic and the cameras are easier to repair and no doubt they last much longer. But still, if you are determined to shoot Super 8, then I would just get a huge collection of cheap working cameras together. If you can afford it there is Pro8mm who refurbish old Super 8 cameras.

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12 hours ago, Ivana Durkacova said:

Any particular model in mind? I am looking at Beaulieu 4008 ZMII, crème de la crème supposedly, but it seems a bit too much hassle in the long term, with servicing etc. 

I have a 4002 and 4008 and neither works lol. Both have a very strange electronic issue that I haven't really bothered to spend much time sorting out because my Elmo works fine and I'm not in dire straights. 

What I will say for the record, is that the 6008 does look like my next big purchase super 8 wise, if I can find one. One just sold from Australia, but the shipping was crazy. Next time I see one in the US that's reasonably priced, I'm gonna jump. I'd love a crystal model as well because just having that would be wonderful incase I do need some sync sound potential. My Elmo is like 23.10fps whoops lol 

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9 hours ago, Jon O'Brien said:

I would just get a huge collection of cheap working cameras together

The problem today is that it costs well north of £€$50 just to film test a camera. When I last bought Super-8 in 1996 a cart of K40 was GBP11.25.

Though as you say you could buy half-a-dozen and swap one cart between them. That's a plan. But paying a few hundred to have each one serviced (which is what it should cost)? Not a plan.

Specifically, and remembering that I only ever owned two, I would not want an XL shutter unless shooting a lot in low light- the motion blur can be unpleasant at 18fps. Besides Beaulieu, which are very expensive, Canon and Elmo were good brands, likewise Eumig. But as I said they are all 40 years old.

Frankly, you have a working Elmo. If you can work around the auto exposure limitation, stick with it. It is only a tool.

Edit- filmkorn says the 108M has manual exposure.

https://www.filmkorn.org/super8data/database/cameras_list/cameras_elmo/elmo_super_108m.htm

This Elmo ad on super8wiki says so too. Maybe you just haven't found it!

http://super8wiki.com/index.php/Elmo_Super_108_M

Edited by Mark Dunn
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The main attraction of S8 is the small compact cameras available, easy to carry anywhere.  And the simpler S8 cameras I've found are less likely to fail.  Unless you get say a Beaulieu with a good c-mount lens, you are unlikely to see any difference with the images.  Both S8 and 16mm have their advantages, I'm a little surprised though,  you say S8 films are cheaper and easier to develop.   As I see it, S8 has become far too costly recently.

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It is not cheaper than 16. 16 gives you sharpness and film look as opposed to s8. S8 looks like a bad 16 at best on a good day. I like s8 but with these prices, it's a big silly in my opinion. Bolexes and Scoopics are almost just as portable as s8 cameras with image quality night and day between the two. 

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43 minutes ago, Giray Izcan said:

It is not cheaper than 16. 16 gives you sharpness and film look as opposed to s8. S8 looks like a bad 16 at best on a good day. I like s8 but with these prices, it's a big silly in my opinion. Bolexes and Scoopics are almost just as portable as s8 cameras with image quality night and day between the two. 

Worst part is, good S8 cameras are horribly expensive. So not only per foot is S8 expensive compared to 16, but the cameras are kind of a ripoff. If good ones were $50 bux, that'd be a different story, but it's not the case. You can get entry level for that much, but no more. 

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Sync sound Pro8 conversions cost 3-4 thousand dollars. I understand that they are max 8 which is a tad larger than s8 with marginal increase in clarity and resolution. Also, since you are a student, you could get one light 16mm prints to truly judge your skills and detect errors as photochemical finish is a lot more crude next to DI - you have to nail the look in camera for the most part. With DaVinci, you can fix most things but then how do you learn? You can't get s8 prints any more. I just saw a s16 NPR package for 4500... imagine. Sync sound with super 8 sounds silly in my opinion. S8 cameras are too loud with their short loads to do sync sound. You say you have a 16 camera, I would shoot on that.. save the camera purchase money to shoot something with your 16.

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9 hours ago, Ivana Durkacova said:

Thank you guys. I also have a 16 mm but still, kinda want to stick to super8. The films are cheaper and easier to develop (I do it myself) and I want to film on regular basis without bankrupting myself with each project (for now).

Lots to think about though 🙂 

I take it from your posts that you shoot either black and white or color reversal, right? If you were shooting color negative, having a 16mm camera with 400ft loads would definitely be the cheapest option €/mtr currently (though you'd also have to calculate the price of the new camera there...)

As it is, the cheapest way to shoot on film is Fomapan on either 2x8mm or DS-8 or DS-8 split and loaded on reloadable S-8 cartridges - and then processing it all yourself.

If you like the small gauge of 8mm, the economical side of Fomapan and self processing, maybe look at the 2x8mm or DS-8 cameras with 30 meters loads. At least those Bolex cameras are likely to get service in the future too. The downside is of course that they aren't quiet cameras, but I don't think any 8mm camera is...

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Hi, the ELMO 108M does have manual exposure. It's a nice camera. Although I feel that every Super 8 Filmer should have a few cameras:  one for low light, one for travel, one for more complex topics, and one with various special effects.   Many cameras can be purchased well under $100 or even under $50 on eBay, that are very well made.  Of course, the major fancy expensive brands such as NIZO, CANON, ELMO, BEAULIEU and some others will be costly.  CHINON made the majority of Super 8mm cameras in the world, under their own brand name and under various others [GAF, PORST, REVUE, SEARS, WARDS, BOOTS and others, even some for BAUER, BOLEX and NORIS].  Every Chinon version above models ST-90 that I have bought have worked and keep working.  Sometimes depending on the model, the removable battery pack is missing but a cheap alternative is the ones you can find easily to retrofit.  Most of the others, have built in battery holders.  Unless the camera has major battery corrosion leakage, they will usually run.  CHINON used heavy duty nylon, brass and other metal gears in their better ST-100 and above models, as well as in their own PACIFIC branding versions.  Features vary of course, with REVUE, PORST, CHINON and NORIS often having the addition of an Intervalometer Timer and also a Film Rewind Function for Dissolves etc, as well as a Macro focusing option.  Lens quality is very good and in my own tests they seem as sharp as most of the other Super 8mm cameras made.   I love my SANKYO XL620 Supertronic, but these later electronic SANKYOs are more fragile than earlier ones.  To compensate, I bought a few as backups.  I recommend that to everyone, as it will avoid costly or impossible to have done repairs.    - - - -  Lastly, since this IS the SUPER EIGHT portion of Cinematography dot com, may I suggest to those that love 16mm to keep their love for it on the 16mm sites.   Either help support Super 8mm here, or be quiet.   Everyone here knows that 16mm exists and many of us use it also, and some that don't yet, might.  But no need to keep bashing Super 8mm.  Yes, costs are crazy these days.  But thank goodness you can get excellent E-6 processing from Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas for only $12!   Costs for film keep going up, but in reality it has become a niche market and as any niche market fan for their various hobbies knows, stuff can get expensive.  If I were a billionaire and money was no object, I would build a factory to support the hobby in a dozens of ways.  But this is not the case of course.  So, Super 8mm only help on these pages, thank you everyone.

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55 minutes ago, Martin Baumgarten said:

Lastly, since this IS the SUPER EIGHT portion of Cinematography dot com

FYI, when you click on "active" discussions page, you don't know what group they're in unless you pay attention. So just assume people don't know what part of the section posts are. 

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On 8/16/2022 at 10:48 PM, Chris Burke said:

Nizo are worth a look. I have several laying around, all with power issues. I also have a Nizo 6080 in great shape other than the eye piece all blurry. 

Yes, I was almost getting one, until I've read about that belt issue, which stopped me from buying it.

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On 8/16/2022 at 10:01 PM, Martin Baumgarten said:

Lastly, since this IS the SUPER EIGHT portion of Cinematography dot com, may I suggest to those that love 16mm to keep their love for it on the 16mm sites.   Either help support Super 8mm here, or be quiet.   Everyone here knows that 16mm exists and many of us use it also, and some that don't yet, might.  But no need to keep bashing Super 8mm.  Yes, costs are crazy these days.  But thank goodness you can get excellent E-6 processing from Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas for only $12!   Costs for film keep going up, but in reality it has become a niche market and as any niche market fan for their various hobbies knows, stuff can get expensive.  If I were a billionaire and money was no object, I would build a factory to support the hobby in a dozens of ways.  But this is not the case of course.  So, Super 8mm only help on these pages, thank you everyone.

Haha, thank you for saying that, you've read my mind :)) 

I mean I love my Elmo, and I am sure I will keep using it, just wanted to have a piece that will feel less than point-and-shoot camera. I ended up getting Beaulieu, hope it will be as wonderful as they say 😄 

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On 8/16/2022 at 4:58 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

FYI, when you click on "active" discussions page, you don't know what group they're in unless you pay attention. So just assume people don't know what part of the section posts are. 

Do you think the thread title " Super8 camera upgrade "  might give away what section we are in?????

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