Re: looking for super-8 camera in NYC

From: D. Mark Andrews (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jul 15 2008 - 17:21:20 PDT

I've been hesitating to respond to this post since I'm afraid I'll just get
into rant mode, so let me say calmly: friends don't let friends buy super-8
cameras, they encourage them to buy regular-8 cameras. Super 8 SUCKS!

This point comes from a newbie to film. I'm currently editing my second film
and shooting my third, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. But I
truly wished I had done more research into this subject before starting out
in small gauge filmmaking. Over the past 8 months I have been utterly
frustrated with super-8 cameras, projectors, processing, etc. and the
significant decrease of funds in my bank account attests to it. It wasn't
until I found a pristine Bolex B8L regular 8 camera for 20 bucks that I
found jesus. Let me tell you why:

Economics: Regular 8 (r8) is significantly less costly than Super 8 (s8)
* High quality cameras are more plentiful and less enticing to most
filmmakers thereby keeping the costs down. I'm currently dedicated to Bolex
D8Ls, three of them in fact. A sweet camera with a three lens turret,
variable shutter, multiple fps settings, built in light meter, lap dissolve
crank, pistol grip. I paid less then $50 for two of them and just shy of
$100 for another. They came with multiple lenses, filters, cable releases,
and even a few rolls of 50 year old film. Both my B8Ls with everything
mentioned here except the lap dissolve function cost less than $20 bucks
* R8 film is less costly. I pay about $10 for BW and $16-18 for color (50ft)
* Processing is either the same price or cheaper than s8, depending on the
* R8 projectors are also plentiful and cheap. My current favorite is the
Bolex M8. Have two, paid less than $40 for each. Sold a nice Keystone this
morning on CraigsList for $20 ($15 more than I paid for it).
* R8 film editors plentiful and I haven't paid more than $20 for any of
them, a couple off CraigsList for $5 each

Creative: Creative potential is significantly higher with R8 (unless you can
afford a $500-2000 S8 camera)
* My second film is almost entirely double exposed. Easy in a R8 camera,
just run the film through twice. Nada for S8, even the high end cameras
limit the number of frames you can do this with.
* Manual aperture, fps, variable shutter etc. give me creative control. This
is huge for me and will be for anyone who wants to control the look of their
film rather than leave it up to happenstance.
* Manual filters, rather then a built-in "daylight" filter let me change the
look of my film--red, yellow, blue -- all good.
* Fades are a breeze with r8. Even if you don't have a variable shutter, you
can open and close your aperture for the same effect.
* Lap dissolves
* Don't split your film when processing and you can project your film as
16mm, 4 frames simultaneously
* Etc.

This post is getting long so I'll stop here, but this list could go on and
on. In short, get your friend to buy a Bolex B8L (try to find one with
variable shutter) or Bolex D8L. You'll get all the trappings of a high end
super-8 for $50 bucks, most likely less.

BTW, I would be remiss is I didn't mention the downsides to R8.
* You have to wind the camera, most are not battery driven. I actually like
this, but everyone doesn't. They continue to work in central american
jungles and antarctica, however :-)
* You get more image in terms of real estate on an 8mm frame of S8. Only in
rare circumstances will this make any difference in the finished product.

  -----Original Message-----
  From: Jim Carlile [mailto:email suppressed]
  Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 2:38 PM
  To: email suppressed
  Subject: Re: looking for super-8 camera in NYC

  DuAll Camera Repair-- most reliable but not cheap-- guaranteed though. All
rebuilt before sale.


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