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Canon 310XL 24fps Modification


Jack Amadon
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I've been on the hunt for my perfect super 8 camera, and the Canon 310XL nearly checks off all my boxes. The size of the camera and lens speed are both exactly what I want, however the only downside is that it's stuck shooting at 18fps. 

While 18fps may have been the standard shooting speed back when it came out, I need it to shoot 24fps for my purposes.

So here's my question, does anybody know of any technicians who could modify a 310XL to do 24fps? Would any savvy tinkerers know what would need to be done to achieve this?

I imagine if the standard 18fps can be tuned, then it could be sped up. Curious to hear what other people's thoughts are on this.

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That's a tough one. Most of these cameras are stuck to certain speeds due to the voltage and motor they choose. Giving it more voltage, may not actually get what you're after outside of a burnt motor. So I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Maybe easier to shoot 18fps and simply use frame blending tools in post to get 24fps. 

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Likely it has a trimmer to set the speed properly. The question is if the 24 fps is in reach of the trimmer. Otherwise things get more difficult. When opening this camera isn't enough difficulty 🙂 .   Other cameras have been modified from 18 to 24 fps simply by adjusting the speed-regulator. No need to swap the motor or to soup up the power of the batteries 🙂 

Edited by Andries Molenaar
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Jack's problem may be the XL shutter. I noticed with my XL that it could be pretty blurry at 18.

I'm sure someone knowledgeable here will chip in with a procedure if it's possible. If they don't you should probably conclude that it's not a good idea.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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it is often possible to make simple microcontroller based speed regulator systems for various camera types ("simple speed regulating" meaning that it measures the fps by some means just like a rpm meter would do, then corrects the motor speed up or down when needed to keep the set 24fps speed). These are not very accurate and can generate some noise but one could get about +/- 2fps accuracy with them in the best case if tuned right which may be enough for the application. The motor speed is adjusted with a digital pwm signal and the operating voltage raised by couple of volts to get enough headroom for the speed corrections. this kind of simple system should be possible for an individual to do in about half a year if knowing some arduino programming and being persistent enough to do hundreds of tests with it. The main issue is how to open the camera and modify it mechanically without breaking the whole thing which is a serious concern with Super8 cameras which are often fragile and frankly speaking not meant to be opened for service at all. The old double8 cameras were relatively durable but the  newer plastic super8 ones generally not and you should be able to purchase at least one spare camera body in case you break the first one in the process and can't repair it. Building the "simple speed regulating system" may be a OK hobby project (from 200 to 400 work hours I think depending on how difficult the camera is to modify mechanically) but it will cost a lot to get someone else to do it (I expect from 1.5k up) so one might need to either do it by oneself(if interested in programming and tinkering and spending a lot of time on tech and learning instead of shooting with the camera) or give up the idea.

Another possibility is to make the camera real crystal sync but that is way out of the scope of a regular camera person's capability by my experience.  If being very very persistent and using tons of time on it with the side goal of becoming a professional programmer some day, one MAY get it working OK in two or three years if working on it full time but it will not be as good as something made by a tech specialized in crystal sync systems and one needs to still spend thousands of work hours on it and it is a very expensive learning experience.  If comparing to the "simple speed stabilizing system" I described earlier, the real crystal sync is at least 20 times harder to do even in the best case and it is much much cheaper to get someone else to do it for the camera if real crystal sync is seriously needed. Probably the camera body is not worth it because it will probably cost about 2k to 3k to make it real crystal sync by a technician or might be a little less than 2k per camera if more than one ordered (but still much cheaper than spending 10k or 15k and thousands of work hours to learn to do it by yourself which is just insane) .

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I would probably recommend getting another exactly similar camera body. Then choose which one is in worse condition and open that to see what is inside and if you can get it adjusted to 24fps right away without burning anything. battery voltage can usually be raised by 1V or 2V without burning stuff right away but it depends on lots of things so do it at your own risk and be prepared to destroy the "practice camera body" in the process if something goes wrong.

If you get it working with the practice camera you can use the same technique to modify the actual camera you want to shoot with.

This is how I work too: having a bad condition cheap practice camera to destroy and then another much better one which I want to shoot with in the end. These modifications and tests are always risky so I would always have at least two camera bodies on hand if trying any modifications by yourself, no matter how simple they are like adjusting a potentiometer or centrifugal switch tension etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

hi

quick question for you 310XL experts on here...

the 85 filter is not moving out of place with the switch. the mechanism moves, but using a mirror cartridge i can see that the orange filter is always 'in'. 

i'd rather remove is completely and use an external 85 if ever required, but i can't see where to get to it. 

any tips gladly received!

thank you.

ed

ps - i know this photo is from the wrong side!

IMG_1705.jp2

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