Intro to super 8: The camera

Intro:

If you’re part of the ever growing creative community on Instagram or on YouTube then I’m sure you’ve seen something to do with Super 8 film. Maybe it’s the video that YouTuber Willem Verbeeck put out around a year ago about his experiences with super 8 or @super8_nyc beautiful footage on Instagram. Whatever you’ve seen I’m sure it’s intrigued you and made you want to experience this beautiful format for yourself. Maybe you’ve got an upcoming trip that you want to document or your client wants some of their footage to have a classic, vintage look to it. Or perhaps you just want to make a home movie with your friends. Whatever the situation, your first step should obviously be the camera! In this week’s blog we’re going to lay out three cameras that we think work for all three situations: a basic beginners camera, an intermediate and a professional camera. These might not fit everyone’s skill set, budget, style etc but we hope it just lays out a selection of cameras and shows you what to look for in your camera, no matter the skill set. Let’s begin!

The beginner camera:

So for our beginner’s camera I would recommend the Canon 310XL and here’s why:
With a compact body and folding grip, it’s a lovely, small camera for travelling with and it won’t take up much space in your backpack when folded up in its case.
This camera is amazing for low light scenarios with its F1.0 lens! You’ll be safe to shoot indoors without having to worry too much about adding extra lighting (as long as the room isn’t too dark). And even outside you’ll be able to shoot into the evening, again without worrying about carrying around torches and lights. And because the exposure is completely automatic you don’t need to worry about getting the exposure wrong as long as the meter is calibrated properly.
Basic design is perfect for any first time super 8 user. With just a few basic buttons and switches it’s not an overwhelming camera to first pick up. You have the main switch that just has three positions, off, on and single shot. The telephoto and wide autozoom switch is on the top of the camera and the filter switch on the film door side. There’s not much on this camera to confuse you or make the learning process harder. It’s a great basic camera to help you get used to shooting super 8 and even the more advanced shooters will still use the 310XL because of it’s features!

The Intermediate camera:

It was hard to choose a good intermediate camera but after a lot of thinking and research we finally settled on the Nizo 481 Macro for these reasons:
Similar to the 310XL it’s a fairly compact camera, although not as compact as the Canon it’s still a very nice size. It still won’t take up a lot of space in your backpack because of the folding grip. However because of built primarily out of metal and thick plastic it is quite a lot heavier! This is something to consider if you’re going for the light, compact travel experience. 
The build quality of Nizo cameras is, in my opinion, a huge step above similar cameras from other brands. The internal components are all built out of extremely durable materials and the external build is just as durable. I’ve repaired some of these cameras that are so badly scratched and dented up and all they’ve needed was a service to re-grease some gears and a small calibration to the light meter. You really can’t beat German engineering!
The 481 Macro has a whole load more features than the 310XL. It’s definitely a step up in the features but honestly just as easy to use if you want it to be be. It has an automatic aperture setting but the big step up from the 310 is that you can use manual aperture as well! Among the jam packed features of this camera is multiple frame rate speeds (18, 24, 54), autozoom, auto bulb mode, time lapse mode, fade to black, and a socket to use a remote trigger. This is, in my opinion, definitely one of the best cameras for the intermediate level of shooters.

The pro level camera:

This was probably the hardest selection to make as there’s so many great pro level cameras. The Beaulieu 4008 zmii is a favorite for many filmmakers, as well as the Canon 1014XL-S but we’ve noticed this next camera is quite popular with a lot of our followers on Instagram (follow us here). It also happens to be one of our favorite cameras too! The Nizo 801 Macro is one of the nicest cameras I’ve ever laid my hands on. It’s an amazing build quality, beautifully designed inside and out and will last forever if you treat it right. But here’s a little bit more of an explanation as to why we chose it:
This camera is the big brother to the 481 macro, they share a lot of features and in some ways are identical apart from a few things. The first is the size, the 801 is a fair bit bigger but this is because of the beautiful Schneider 7-80mm F1.8 lens! The lens is the main difference between the two cameras and the reason for the £200 price difference. If you want a camera with an amazing lens and very good pro level features but still easy enough to use if you’re just starting out and have the cash to spare. I haven’t spoken too much about this camera because all the features are exactly the same as the 481 apart from the lens and the fact it has a declutchable zoom.

However If you want me to do a whole article on other pro level cameras please let me know!

We’ll be posting the runner up cameras and some good alternatives on our Instagram story so go have a look there!

I hope you found this article helpful, if you did please share it with friends and let me know what you want to hear about next!

1 thought on “Intro to super 8: The camera”

  1. Jamie Noakes

    I think that these cameras are good choices.
    I used the Nizo 481 Macro for a trip to Oslo. It packs many great features into a small(ish) package. Some shots from my Oslo trip:-

    https://youtu.be/32NG6gp30lg

    I’ve also used the Nizo 801 Macro in many occasions too. I really love the silky smooth zoom. What l really love about these cameras, is the ability to lock the shutter wide open – this helps you to create some amazing in camera visual effects – some of which l achieved in this clip:-

    https://youtu.be/X0xF6Lx6Ey4

    Then we have the Canon 1014xl-s – a really excellent quality camera with very fine optics.

    I shot a music video with one:-

    https://youtu.be/RC7Tpi6WrOc

    All excellent choices for the many different applications you may need.

    Jamie

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