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Super8 technology -

Mike´s cams 

last modification: february 10th, 2012

Tips for users and buyers

check the reason !

If it is mainly a question of prestige -

  • a man must buy a camera with the biggest, longest lens and it must have every feature which is possible.
  • a women buys a smooth design and give this camera to a airbrush designer.......

But let´s have a look to real facts.....

THE ultimate, best camera of all is very, very expensive and not made as Super 8 camera until today. All cameras have their strength but also weakness.....

Which kind of lens? Which kind of mechanic?  Which camera should I buy?       I really don´t know! Actually my friend a filmmaker has 9 cameras in usage - all together they do exactly what he wants. But only for this moment.....maybe tomorrow he asks for another one....

Tips for

professionals: they knew better than I what they are doing but maybe something is also them....

students and learners:

Please, make a checklist of your wishes, of real technical requirements.... look into your wallet...... and read further on..

The reliability of a camera is dependant of the used material for mechanics and very often reciprocal dependant of the number of features. Only very few cameras are made totally from metal - which is normally more reliable. (older Beaulieu, silent Nizo, Bauer, Canon, Cosina, Revue, Fujica and of cause the russian Quarz / Zenith) But a well cared and stored camera made partly from plastics can have very interesting features and also very reliable still today (newer sound cameras)

Do you need absolutely plan filmsurface without flutter for highest sharpness and/or unlimited rewind feature? Than you have to choose Single8 (=Super8 filmformat) and Fujica cameras with seperate pressureplate or you can buy a Super8 camera (for the old Ektachrome 200feet cartridge) which fits to the new Supermag400. Another choice is to look for a rare Double Super 8  (DS-8) camera. Another chance to get better results in a Super8 camera is a new pressure plate for changing the original plasticpart of  a Super8 cartrigde. Some dealers sells this.

Choose a camera which allows you to set manual aperture, focus, different f/ps. Do you really need 1, 5,12 or xxx fps, plus slow motion......for what? ... of cause 18 or/and 24.. maybe single frame. Real slow motion begins upwards 48 fps and upwards a standard credit card.

Hopefully you know: film has much more advantage in fine grain and colour depth than every video camera! The quality of transfer to digital format is a question of the used technical equipment for this task. To do this with normal 3CCD cameras has never the real quality...If you want to fransfer to TV/Video/DVD fps of 16 2/3 or 25 fps can be  helpfull. See also....

Lightmeter settings must be adjustable (manual setting, better: + /- correction ) or do this camera have filmspeed manual adjustable? This is for using exotic filmspeeds or adjust your camera to your individual requirements.

Do you transfer your films to computer? Than you can do a lot of “tricky features” with a good software and maybe you do not need lap dissolve.(except you need the “real filmfeeling”)

If you make real production films for projection the function of fades and also lap dissolve can be very nice features.

Do you need manual rewind feature without automatic fade, or real backward filming? for Super8 you can get this only from few BAUER cameras and some Beaulieu. Unlimited rewind you can have with Single8- Fujca, .Supermag400 or DS8 cameras.

Extra lightmeter batteries (PX625, PX14 or others -1.3 or 2.6 Volts!) are only available as zinc/air types with lower capacity / shorter durability.  Its costly and often hard to find. Other cells with 1.5V are working wrong!.On the market exists voltage adapters but they have a loss of current. A modified camera is a good choice to avoid this (some NIZO, CANON; COSINA,..)

It´s better to have different cameras for different tasks. (THE camera for ALL conditions never exists) 

A cheap lens can give sometimes “incredible” but worthful results for effects and experimental shootings. With this you can also find your individual artiststyle.

Do you like moving objects, filming without tripod and sharp pictures? Choose a camera with small shutter opening or one with variable shutter (more expensive and sometimes not very reliable)

Be aware: fine grain films needs a lot of light! If you do not want to film with artificial light maybe a lowlight camera is a good choice. This camera  and lens normally did not need big zoomrange - in most cases you do not need more than 30 mm focallength. See more about: brightlight or lowlight cams...

Lowlight cameras with long shutter speeds have limited usage for fast moving objects if you need sharpness. See also the Truth about shutter openings and speeds

Giant zooms looks nice but are necessary only in very few  situations . There is a big internal  loss of light - even there is a openfactor of 1.4! But if you need to film from bigger distances or the special effects, this lens is very worthful but more expensive..A lot of people looks only for the “better” long zoomrange. But often the smaller lens has better results.

Do you need different, specialized optics? Than decide to buy a Beaulieu, Leicina Special or Fujica ZC1000 and some lenses. Or buy different cameras with different lenses.  Do not forget, there are a lot of fine proven cameras

If you have no money: sometimes you can get a good camera with defective electric zoom. This is a good choyce! It is nice to learn using the optics and zoom by hand. Also professionals do not  need this electrical feature, if anything else is fine!

Most cameras works only with 15m/30ft cartridges. Some few sound cameras are build also for 200ft sound cartridge from Kodak which is not available today.

Of cause sound film is not available from Kodak. But sound cameras are also usable for silence film. If you can get one camera with features you need and if you have a good feeling - buy it. There are some rumors that in spain its possible to buy manually prestriped Super8 and Single8 film.

Never buy a camera which has stored in a cellar, under roof or area of some humidity and warmth - mostly it will be not functional, have contact problems, fungus inside the optics.

Look for sealings and rubber: if its Made in Japan often the rubberfoam for sealings or eyecups are melted. It can be replaced with other eyecups, or sealings.

Tips for buying at

Ebay is a marketplace where a lot of cameras are offered, sometimes absolutely bargain. But very seldom you get a really usable camera from someone who has no knowledge about the items he sells. Most cameras are stored in a cellar, forgotten anywhere else under humid, cold, hot or dusty conditions. Materials, contacts, electronics have lost their properties. And fungus is anywhere inside the optical system. Even the seller  tells that the camera is running, mostly they can not check them. Ask them for warranty. If you have the chance to send back the item OK., than you can do this deal and lost only shippingcost. But otherwise the experience from thousands of other people show: often you loose you money in trash or worthless nonfilming equipment.

One example: another friend of mine bought in one year 5 cameras without warranty. He spend 628.00 Euro. 4 cameras are nearly trash, only for some spares. Only one camera is in the technical condition to run as wanted, but this has a lens with some scratches. Changing the lens from another camera costs again 80,- Euro. In total he has payed over 700,- Euro for a camera and some old spare parts. The same model is offered from serious dealers also sometimes at ebay  with limited  warranty in an excellent condition for 480,- Euro! 

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