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Matthew Buick

Sharpest Super 8 Camera and/or Lens.

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My Visual Instrumentation SP-1 250 fps "dual" pin registration Super 8 cartridge camera on my camera shelf...says otherwise.

 

You do realize that we are talking about super 8 here don't you? There is no such thing as a pin registered super 8 camera.

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You do realize that we are talking about super 8 here don't you? There is no such thing as a pin registered super 8 camera.

 

You have made some disparaging and idiotic comments about my level of expertise so what are we supposed to do when you throw up even more blatantly flatulent comments like the one above?

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I believe the Russian Reloadable Cartridge is pin-registered. It certainly has a decent pressure plate.

 

Matthew, a Super 8 cartridge cannot be pin-registered, under any imaginable circumstances and in any cinematographic belief system. I think Mitch and I slaughtered the topic of pin registration as far as the Nikon R10 is concerned (commonly yet still erroneously believed to feature that device) in the most extensive and civil way, at least in my view (previous threads here with Santo and similar threads "on the other forum" decended into less civil discussion rather rapidly).

 

The Russian reloadable cartridges have a metal pressure plate, but the construction is in principle idential to Kodak's plastic version. I bought a dozen of them from Kahl Media Art Film in the late 1990s when the paranoid scare of "Kodak kills Super 8" in Continental Europe even got hold of me - actually, I still have them in original packaging and will keep them, but I don't use them for my filmmaking on Super 8.

Tests with Kahl film stock (which was the only one available for reloading then) lead me to the conclusion that actually, frame stability isn't discernably better or worse as with Kodak's version. The outcome was hence similarly inconclusive as tests with the FrameMaster by Gottfried Klose which is sold through Andec in Berlin.

 

My Visual Instrumentation SP-1 250 fps "dual" pin registration Super 8 cartridge camera on my camera shelf...says otherwise.

 

Nick, thanks for posting that. This puts you into the spotlight: Can you provide some info regarding your Visual Instrumentation SP-1. Can you comment on how it differs from the Weinberger or Mekel high speed cameras that feature a similar design? Have you shot at regular filming speeds (24 fps) and could hence comment on your impression of frame stability or its variance in comparison other Super 8 cameras you might own or have practical experience with? Finally (just to be really on the edge of impertinence asking so many questions ;) ), can you describe or post pics of the camera and the transportation mechanism.

There was so many debate about these high-speed types of cameras that I jump at the opportunity - this and only a few other escaped our earlier mentioned cameras testing because we couldn't track one down)

 

Many thanks and sorry for being so bullish on that subject, feel free to ignore my questions if you don't find time for them.

 

-Michael

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I look forward to reading the article in Super 8 Today reporting the results of comparison tests of various cameras, even if those results demonstrate there isn't an appreciable difference. At least the question will have be answered with more than the weight of mere opinion.

 

I am working on it, Glenn! :)

 

By the way, this will definitely not be a one-off article, but a consecutive series of texts over the forthcoming issues, if Chris agrees with my proposal.

 

Why? The effort and amount of information that went into these test films and screenings, plus the complexity in not only determining objective criteria but to agree on (of course only) subjective evaluation, AND THEN think about the features and functions the cameras have as well in order to set up a "top camera guide" list, was quite significant.

 

The four or five top cameras/lenses that I have already listed and written about earlier in this thread were relatively clear-cut to determine (their results have appreciable differences that sets them visibly apart from the follow-up group, yet relatively few differences amongst themselves; its their "philosophy" and unique functions that distinguish them from each other).

 

The follow-up group of cameras ? mostly built during the "Super 8 zoom war", around commag sound and with XL feature ? are much more complex to assess, and have less appreciable differences indeed.

But this group also features cameras which have serious long-term reliability issues construction-wise that cannot even be solved with the imperative bi-annual CLA jobs, so buying those is in effect a ticking time bomb. I am just writing the texts on these cameras, and they are much more fun to read as you can throw in a lot of background history and context which I hope might be of interest for people who don't know the time when Super 8 cameras went over the counter.

 

Finally: that our results might spark a trench-warfare debate that can easily erupt around the eternal "Nizo/Bauer/Beaulieu-Bandwagon" vs "Japanozoom-Fighter" fandoms is something I want to avoid, because I have no time for this sort of discussion. So in order to make sure noone feels that his beloved camera was wrongly bashed, putting some more words into the texts to elaborate on the cameras as much as possible is probably a good thing to do.

 

I keep you posted as soon as I get feedback from Chris, who is surely working overtime for his great magazine.

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I am working on it, Glenn! :)

 

By the way, this will definitely not be a one-off article, but a consecutive series of texts over the forthcoming issues, if Chris agrees with my proposal.

 

Why? The effort and amount of information that went into these test films and screenings, plus the complexity in not only determining objective criteria but to agree on (of course only) subjective evaluation, AND THEN think about the features and functions the cameras have as well in order to set up a "top camera guide" list, was quite significant.

 

The four or five top cameras/lenses that I have already listed and written about earlier in this thread were relatively clear-cut to determine (their results have appreciable differences that sets them visibly apart from the follow-up group, yet relatively few differences amongst themselves; its their "philosophy" and unique functions that distinguish them from each other).

 

The follow-up group of cameras – mostly built during the "Super 8 zoom war", around commag sound and with XL feature – are much more complex to assess, and have less appreciable differences indeed.

But this group also features cameras which have serious long-term reliability issues construction-wise that cannot even be solved with the imperative bi-annual CLA jobs, so buying those is in effect a ticking time bomb. I am just writing the texts on these cameras, and they are much more fun to read as you can throw in a lot of background history and context which I hope might be of interest for people who don't know the time when Super 8 cameras went over the counter.

 

Finally: that our results might spark a trench-warfare debate that can easily erupt around the eternal "Nizo/Bauer/Beaulieu-Bandwagon" vs "Japanozoom-Fighter" fandoms is something I want to avoid, because I have no time for this sort of discussion. So in order to make sure noone feels that his beloved camera was wrongly bashed, putting some more words into the texts to elaborate on the cameras as much as possible is probably a good thing to do.

 

I keep you posted as soon as I get feedback from Chris, who is surely working overtime for his great magazine.

 

 

Any chance the Fujica ZC1000 single 8 camera will be included in the test, just as an outsider, for comparison?

Edited by Tony Hudson

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Any chance the Fujica ZC1000 single 8 camera will be included in the test, just as an outsider, for comparison?

It certainly should be. Are there just a few of us waiting for "permission" to try single-8 out? Film availability and long processing delivery aside?

Edited by John Adolfi

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In my experience the sharpest was shot on the Nikon R-10 on kodachome back in 1979. Then in 1997 I shot some sound kodachrome with a Nizo 6080 with impressive results. I'm still sad they did away with the sound striped film. I shot in 2004 on both a Nikon R-10 and Elmo 1012XL-S (not the same R-10 from 1979) on kodachrome with lousy results. I think it was the film and or processing. Slightly grainy and not sharp. Indoor and outdoor filming.

Edited by John Adolfi

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We did not include Single 8 cameras in the screenings. The camera pool available for Super 8 was already huge, and Single 8 is another system, emulsion-wise and construction-wise. Before the Waghäusel-initiative in Germany around Tak Koyama, just to get Single 8 film stock in Europe was a disproportionate effort that would have blown our budget (and sponsoring of film material came from Kodak and a private donor who loves Super 8). So no "legendary" ZC1000 and company. Sorry to disappoint there, but you have to draw a line somewhere. Otherwise, mission creep will just kill you.

 

On the other hand, you will both be glad to hear that the Bauer S 715 XL microcomputer with its Angénieux 1:1,4 / 6-90mm and the Bauer S 709 XL microcomputer with the Schneider Macro-Neovaron 1:1,2 / 6-51mm were included, of course.

And so where the the Nizo sound cameras (all of them exluding the XX48 models) with their Schneider Macro-Variogon 1:1,4 / 7-56mm and Schneider Macro-Variogon 1:1,4 / 7-80mm.

 

The Angénieux 15x6mm is a top lens and performed well, but shockingly enough not that well to visibly beat the top lenses I mentioned earlier in this threat. After we wrapped up our list, an article by Dr C. H. Hoefer (who I personally know as someone who wouldn't say stuff he wouldn't know about in detail) appeared that also stated something similar, and independently from us.

It's a great construction, but it suffers from its megalomanic approach concerning focal range and its sheer amount and number of (moving) glass elements. On the Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series, it also suffered from serious problems with the Beaulieu-Bayonett that fixes it onto the body. Beaulieu's cost-saving strategy to use a case construction made out of Lexan and its idea no longer to use the C-Mount for its default lenses wasn't maybe the best idea after all.

 

With regard to the Nizo 6080, we were also astonished that we had to acknowledge from our viewings that the reports about it suffering from inferior optical resolving power (apart from the known mechanical and electronic issues that Nizo's then inexistent QC just let go through) when compared to the earlier Nizo 4080 are actually visible. Especially the Nizo 6080 series 2 we tested was all over the place. We asked a fellow filmmaker who owns an entire flock of Nizos to bring in shootings from one of her film projects she just wrapped in Jordan and Lebanon, and on those too, the Nizo 6080 was worse than the Nizo professional she used as well (note that the lens on the Nizo professional is indeed different from the 80mm-lenses on other Nizos. I elaborate on that in my article in greater detail).

 

The potentially top-level cameras we should have tested but couldn't get hold of were the Nalcom 1000 FTL, Minolta Autopak-8 D 10 and D 12, and Elmo 1018R.

Does anyone here own an Agfa Movexoom 10 MOS Electronic with the Variostar 1:1,8 / 6-60 mm? We did not test one either, and it is rumoured to be a seriously underrated S8 camera.

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Michael what magazine or venue will you be publishing your results? Looking forward to it.

 

John, thanks for you kind words. As a newbie on "ciny.com", a "veteran's" word of encouragment is always welcome :) .

 

Venue-wise, the screenings took originally place in Berlin, with additional ones for controlling purposes in Davos and then in our film group's premises in Basel (to triple-check with personal films and equipment). The Berlin one was in theory public, but not advertised. I don't think it would have attracted the crowd of an opening week-end at the box office anyhow. But I am sure if something like that could have taken place in California or even maybe here in London, turn-out would have been great. After all, I would love to do alot to see Daniel's "Halogenuros" projected here in London. Daniel, if you read this and I can be of any help, feel free to contact me.

 

I am halfway-through the white paper version of this project which will be ready for downloading from my website in October/November. I will post it in this thread, even if I have to reactivate it from oblivion then (if this is okay with the moderators :huh: ).

 

Publications-wise, I think I posted on page 2 of this thread ;) that I submitted the first four parts of the article series to Chris for Super 8 Today. These comprise the top-placed production cameras/lenses/lens-combinations so far (also mentioned on page 2 of this thread).

I got great feedback from Chris so far, but no green light or publication details as he is terribly busy with his day-job. I will keep you posted on that as well, if you want.

I would love to see it getting published there as I love Chris' work, like the way Super 8 Today developed from a fanzine-style mag to an industry/scene-review mag within a year. I also like the forward-looking editorial stance on Super 8 and the focus on filmmaking activities, because it's only this activity that keeps a format alive.

The articles will discuss all the leading cameras from top to bottom of the list. I hope there will be some great pics. I intend to give historical background and context for each camera, review and compare it with others, give critique of some fundamental flaws to-watch-out, praise what makes them unique etc.

It will take form of a camera review, too. For example, I just realised that for the first time, people can get hold of a complete description on how the Bauer A 512 works and is operated. So far, IIRC, there isn't still an English manual floating around in the "cloud" for that cam.

 

If anyone would like to give some feedback or suggest a different approach I should take with my articles for Super 8 Today, feel free to post them. I would also love to hear more elaborate user feedback on Super 8 cameras' "sharpness" (not just "this is the best ever") to keep this important thread busy as this will allow me to quadruple-check our own findings and discuss what many think is quite important for a mere 8mm-wide piece of magical chemistry. :D

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Hi Michael-

 

Sorry if I'm popping in here way late, but I'm curious how you account for the age and wear of the cameras and especially lenses in your testing. I absolutely don't want to sound critical of your efforts, but it seems kind of like testing cars that are 25 years old; some might have 250,000 hard-livin' miles on them some may have sat in a garage.

 

EDIT:

 

oof, I must be the world's laziest poster. I see now early in the thread where you mention refurbing your cameras before testing....even the car analogy...

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Hi Michael-

 

Sorry if I'm popping in here way late, but I'm curious how you account for the age and wear of the cameras and especially lenses in your testing. I absolutely don't want to sound critical of your efforts, but it seems kind of like testing cars that are 25 years old; some might have 250,000 hard-livin' miles on them some may have sat in a garage.

 

EDIT:

 

oof, I must be the world's laziest poster. I see now early in the thread where you mention refurbing your cameras before testing....even the car analogy...

 

Not at all, Patrick. Very legitimate question and glad that you brought it up. I am used to get sceptical questions thrown at me ? professional risk for me. Every scepticism helps me to doublecheck my methods and verify if we didn't make a mistake somewhere.

 

As you found out ;) , we tried to use cameras that had regular CLA, were in good ownership and were checked before the testing. For tests with the Beaulieu SD8/60 120 ft magazine on a Beaulieu 9008 Pro, we got one brand-new one from the Ritter company. The advantage of having made that experiment in German-speaking Europe (DE, CH, AT) was that there are plenty of "elderly Germans" organised in film clubs with gear in top condition eager to proof to the younger generation how great that format was and is. So we had very helpful suppliers :D . By the way, if the camera gave a shabby exterior impression, we asked for paperwork to proof the CLA/checking.

 

So yeah, the car analogy is spot on and very much to my heart ;) . If anyone here has a mint 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible in Chesterfield Brown he wants to part with, feel free to contact me, BTW.

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Michael when do you anticipate the results will be published? And did you test any with the "frame master"?

Edited by John Adolfi

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You have made some disparaging and idiotic comments about my level of expertise so what are we supposed to do when you throw up even more blatantly flatulent comments like the one above?

 

 

Alex baby, the difference between you and I is that I am a working professional in film and TV, with years of experience, and a great deal of knowledge, who nonetheless makes mistakes sometimes. You on the other hand, are what we call a "colorful character". A blend of paranoia, anti-social behavior, and martyr syndrome with a super 8 camera in one hand and a computer keyboard in the other.

 

When I make a mistake, what you are supposed to do is respond in self-righteous anger, use a malapropism or two, and see how long you can keep a thread alive with a discussion of all the ways in which I am a clueless, bumbling, idiot.

 

 

hugs and kisses

-Douglas

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Michael when do you anticipate the results will be published? And did you test any with the "frame master"?

 

Hi John,

 

rest assured I am now working as fast as I can on all this as I had to realise that the interest seems to be much greater than anticipated ? by far. I mean, had Matthew not started this thread, I might not have reported it at all...

 

The white paper is half-way ready, with the top 4 production cameras finished. These are also the texts that Chris from Super 8 Today received so far, which is why i won't publish them until I get some feedback from him. The following 6 top cameras/lenses I am going to write about will be finished over the next two months. Once that is done, the white paper will be totally finished. It should be downloadable in November from my website (which I now have to rebuild as well because of the interest). Obviously, I am going to post it here as well.

Please note: this will be the bare text, no pictures, just a lengthy PDF doc that people have to read through from page 1 to page... huh... 20 or so, as in college... :huh:

 

With regard to Chris and a serial publication in Super 8 Today, I really cannot comment at all. This is not in my powers. I would be already grateful if he considers this for publication at all. I mean, he can get DoP pro interviews, on set reports etc... Technical stuff is more the domain of Smallformat so far, yet I would be glad to help change that ;-)

It would be cool, though, if the next issue could already feature the first part on the Beaulieu 4008 with Schneider 11x6mm ? which is the starting point of this journey...

 

And did you test any with the "frame master"?

 

Yes and No.

 

For the camera tests, the idea was to show how the camera/lens works as it is supposed to work, without add-ons. Including the Frame Master into that part of the project would have meant that every camera would have needed to run a film through twice (!), one with Frame Master, and one without one. That would have doubled our exposed meterage (or footage, rather). And that wasn't possible for us then with regard to available film material as well as logistically: we used a parallel set-up of cameras that were started at the same time filming the same object. We would have needed several Frame Master to do this, and that was financially out of question, as the device is quite pricey. We were already happy to get Kodak sponsoring and financial assistance, plus a helpful crowd and good weather.

 

The Frame Master experience I mentioned earlier in this thread and to which you are probably referring has nothing directly to do with the "grand" camera test we did. It refers to a smaller film stock test that we ran as an after-thought on just a few cameras, a Beaulieu 9008 S with and without SD8/60, a 4008 ZM II, a Canon 1014XL-S and a Nizo professional.

It was not greatly controlled, and much more of an aesthetic shoot-out. Because the new film stocks like E-64, E-100 and V-50 plus regular K-40 (and K-25 stock on daylight reels for the magazine) were reportedly causing jams in the cartridge (material too thick or pressure plate to inflexible?), the Frame Master was advertised as smoothing problems of this kind out. As ardent readers of Cinematography.com, we knew that previous buyers reported inconclusive results, with some cameras smoothing things out, while others had even worse frame stability.

And as far as I heard (I was not part of that test, a colleague did that with his partner on a trip to France while shooting a short à la "The Perfume" in lavender-blossoming Provence), these tests were inconclusive as well, with the same cameras having one time better, one time worse framing.

As these problems could relate to so many parameters, it's really difficult to come up with an explanation: different film stocks from different batches, different remaining electricity in power packs from usage (esp. a Beaulieu gremlin). Then a basically prototype 9008 S which was anything but welcoming as early modifications for the SD8/60 were a half-cooked invention. Even the supposedly brilliant Single-8/DS8-style pressure plate on the inserted platine of the SD8/60 lead to different frame stability on the same film reel. Again: was it the film, the power supply, the camera mechanism, or incorrect or disjusting loops?

If someone asks me about the Frame Master, I resort to reply that it's a "philosophical" device: it might, or it might not help you. Nobody knows, not even inventor Gottfried Klose it seems, as he is no longer selling the device himself but offloaded that to Andec in Berlin, DE. And I don't know if Ludwig Draser there is happy or unhappy about that. He isn't pushing sales in adverts, though.

 

Maybe Gottfried Klose will incorporate the Frame Master design in his all-new Super 8 cartridge design that he currently develops and in which he wants to load his all-new Cinevia-labelled V-50 stock later this year, according to Jürgen Lossau in the latest "Schmalfilm"?

 

Do you own a Frame Master, John? If so, what were you experiences with it?

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Alex baby, the difference between you and I is that I am a working professional in film and TV, with years of experience, and a great deal of knowledge, who nonetheless makes mistakes sometimes. You on the other hand, are what we call a "colorful character". A blend of paranoia, anti-social behavior, and martyr syndrome with a super 8 camera in one hand and a computer keyboard in the other.

 

No offense Douglas, but HE is a guy who had enough money to upgrade his account here to a Sustaining Member and YOU are the "working professional in film and TV, with years of experience, and a great deal of knowledge, who nonetheless" will not sport $50 to support this forum which you've been part of for quite some time now.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not taking sides, just thought it humorous to bring that up.

 

*Wonders to himself why Phil Rhodes hasn't upgraded his account yet after 5000+ posts?*

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I have a Beaulieu 4008ZMII with the Schneider 6-66, and it has a really bad vingetting problem at the wide end, so I usually use other C-mount lenses instead. I'm surprised it made the list of top super-8 lenses? Can anyone else tell me about their experiences with the Schneider and maybe how to troubleshoot the vingetting problem?

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Alex baby, the difference between you and I is that I am a working professional in film and TV, with years of experience, and a great deal of knowledge, who nonetheless makes mistakes sometimes. You on the other hand, are what we call a "colorful character". A blend of paranoia, anti-social behavior, and martyr syndrome with a super 8 camera in one hand and a computer keyboard in the other.

 

When I make a mistake, what you are supposed to do is respond in self-righteous anger, use a malapropism or two, and see how long you can keep a thread alive with a discussion of all the ways in which I am a clueless, bumbling, idiot.

hugs and kisses

-Douglas

 

You forgot to mention the Emmy that I won, oh yeah, it was only a regional emmy, I guess that doesn't count.

 

You've slandered me in prior posts so a chance to acknowledge your mistakes becomes difficult to pass up. In case you haven't noticed, you're about the only one on this forum that gets special attention from me, you stating that there are others is a bit henny penny, no?

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In case you haven't noticed, you're about the only one on this forum that gets special attention from me.

 

 

And I do so appreciate your special attention, because it makes me fell, well, so very special!

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