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Jeremy Saint-Peyre

Canon 814 XL-S : Crystal synchro + Max 8 gate

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Hello folks,

I just got an email from Pro8mm that they do not offer the 24fps crystal synchro and max 8 film gate modifications.

Do any of you know how/where I could get both done at once or separately ? In Europe if possible...

Thanks very much


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I would try to find one but the prices of those seem to be on par with pro level s16 cameras so I would go with s16 or 16 even. I love and shoot s8 for its texture and painterly quality but I wouldn't spend thousands for a max 8 camera for a marginal increase in resolution

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Not sure who would do that Max 8 conversion on this camera.  The common method is just filing out the gate, but then the lens is not optically centered over the film.  As for crystal synch, I wouldn't bother.  This is a late generation Super 8mm magnetic sound camera, which uses a quartz crystal synch reference internally for accurate running.  You will find that in use, it will work quite well the way it is.  Since most post film making is done digitally in the computer, any slight variations can be adjusted in software to line up audio and picture should there be any significant drift. I have gotten quite accurate matches with audio on shots with durations up to one minute...and that is long for any film sequence.  Hopefully someone else knows of a conversion source.  You might consider buying a camera already converted to the Super 8 Wide format, since that could cost less than getting yours converted.  Just a thought.


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Hello Martin !

Thanks for your answer, I'll give it a try this way with the crystal synch of the camera. My main problem is I want to shoot documentary, so I can expect segment with more than 1min. But, I can take an other artistic direction to cheat that issue. 

How would you proceed to fill out the gate ?

Many thanks,


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The gate is readily removable from the film chamber, however it should only be done by someone able to this.  If you file out the gate for the Super 8mm Wide format (Max 8) then the viewfinder image will not be centered, also the zoom effect will be off center in your images.  I recommend considering shooting anamorphically using with the 1.33x lens which will yield the 16:9 format ration, or a 1.5x lens which will yield a 2:1 aspect ratio from which you can either crop to 16:9 or keep it in that format.  The ISCORAMA lens design, allows allows you to only have to focus the Anamorphic lens, not both of them.  In actual use though, focus adjustment on both lenses has never been a problem for me, but then I use the 2x Anamorphic lens, KOWA 16-H [same as the 8-Z] which yields a 2.66:1 aspect ratio.  This might be too wide for you, but is actually closer now to the 4K digital aspect ratio.   Only you can decide for yourself if it's worth having zoom that you can't actually use, except to adjust for different set focal length settings, or film via an Anamorphic lens which will allow use of the zoom.

[Zoom will work only out to the image cut-off focal length, often somewhere in the 10mm to 15mm range....but remember to divide the cut-off focal length where the lens would vignette by the A-lens factor to get your true effective focal length.]  The actual cut-off point varies with different A-lenses due to physical size and matching to the camera lens.  For example, using my SANKYO XL-620 Super 8mm camera, my KOWA 16-H lens will allow a minimum of 15mm.  Divided by the 2x factor, this actually becomes an effective 7.5mm focal length on the horizonal axis of the image filmed.  Some huge lenses, such as the ISCORAMA 54 have a rear lens element of 54mm, thus allowing almost full zoom range with most Super 8mm cameras.  The lens is very expensive though, very heavy, and even heavier since you truly have to have a full support rig for it. 

There are plenty of Russian Anamophic 2x lenses on eBay in the under $100 price range, more with shipping costs of course [much less than any Iscorama or Kowa A-lens].  Then you would just need a rig setup to hold the lens.  One can be made out of plywood which you can affix to the tripod socket under the camera, or the more popular Lollipop type design, which has a small metal block that fits to the tripod socket, and is drilled out for a long horizonatal metal rod, which fits into an elbow, to which a vertical rod fits, secured with an Allen screw, and on top of that is the "Lollipop" lens holder which has threaded screws to hold the lens, or even allows the lens to be screwed into the front of it.  This unit is all easily adjustable to sit on the camera and hold the Anamorphic Lens so that both lenses can be easily adjusted to film with.

Anyhow, some things to look into and consider.  I wish you best of luck whichever direction you decide for your Super 8mm film work.

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