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Low light camera options

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As I'm still waiting for my 1014 Auto Zoom E to arrive, I find myself already thinking ahead to snagging a low-light camera to shoot 500 speed film indoors and outdoors. Thinking out loud, the Canon 310XL seems like a pretty good option. I know it only films at 18fps, but it's an f 1.0, and I figure if there is not a lot of movement in my shots, that might do the trick.


Along those lines, I'm wondering if something like the Nikon Super Zoom 8 might work as well, or even better. I know the shutter angle isn't nearly as wide, but that tells me the frames will be a little sharper, and it does film at 9fps (as well as 18 and 24), so each frame will have a longer exposure time, am I right? So, for static shots or shots with minimal movement, can I get away with shooting at 9 fps and have clean, sharp images (well, as sharp as can be expected from the format)?


A 514XL perhaps? Other suggestions? A very confusing issue (for novice me, anyway), and I would really appreciate any feedback.

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Or you could attempt to light your scene properly? This comes up literally every day on reddit.


What are you shooting in low-light?


At ASA 500, you only need like 2 foot candles of light at f1.0.. two "standard candles" will give you this output. But the image won't be as sharp as if you stop down to somewhere in the 4/5.6 range.

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The 310xl has just about the fastest lens on a Super 8 camera...but it's not exactly top-notch glass. You can pick one up on eBay for under $50 so I'd give it a shot and see if you're happy with the results. Very easy to use!


Watch out for the AF-310 as the newer autofocus version is notorious for poorly focused footage. It focuses when you first pull the trigger and remains fixed until you stop and pull it again. Still is a fun camera to hand out to kids on vacation however.

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So I read on another thread I may get better low light images using faster film with a non-XL shutter vs. an XL shutter with a finer grain film. Any experiences with that?

As far as I know, the fastest film available today is the Vision3 500T you're already planning on using. Which is plenty fast for most applications.


In my experience, a 220 degree shutter (in my case I used a Sankyo LXL 255) will give better low light performance than a 155 degree shutter (Canon 814 Autozoom Electronic). It will give weaker performance everywhere else. Low light in my case meant I lit for f2.0 with Tri-X, for both cameras.


You probably will get better images with a faster film in a 155 degree camera than a slower film with finer grain in a 220 degree camera. The 220 degree lens will let in about 15% more light. But 500T is 233% as sensitive as 200T. So all other things being equal, the shutter angle is not the deciding factor. The film sensitivity is.

Edited by Zac Fettig
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