You want to buy a super 8 movie camera? There are so many models for sale, which one is the best for your film projects?
If you're not a professional film maker it doesn't really matter! No kidding, it's all about what you do with it and want to film. Be creative!
Super 8 cameras were introduced in 1965 by Kodak for their new film format super 8mm, which replaced the regular-8mm (also known as double-8 or standard-8) film format which Kodak released in 1932. Most super 8 cameras readily available nowadays are used ones from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s! So be careful if you buy one, be it a Nizo, Canon, Nikon or Beaulieu, make sure everything is tip top!
There are some very good high-end super 8 cameras for sale, a lot of decent movie cameras, and a whole bunch that might be better avoided. Personally, I would recommend buying a Nizo 481, 561 or 801 if you have a modest budget and you don't need to record sound with an external recorder.
You want the best of the best, warranty and excellent services? It's true that finding a good camera on eBay can be a hassle and you have to spend a lot of time finding the right, reliable listings. It doesn't help if the camera is described as a 'perfectly functioning camera 30 years ago'. There are some service shops out there where you can buy overhauled movie cameras with warranty.
First of all: what do you want to do with your camera, film indoors or mainly outdoors? Sport events, fast camera work or will it be on a tripod a lot? Most cameras will shoot at multiple speeds but the cheaper ones tend to only have the 18 fps. option. At this speed, your precious super 8 film cartridge with 50 ft. (15 mt.) of film will last around 3 min. and 20 sec. Also good in low-light conditions since the slower shutter speed will let more light through. Most sound cameras have 24 fps. which means you can film approx. 2 min. and 30 sec. with one cartridge.
In the good ol' days Kodak and other film manufacturers like Agfa made sound-striped super 8 cartridges. These only fit in sound cameras, like the Canon 1014 XLS, 814XL-S or some Nizo's. Unfortunately these films are not produced anymore. If you want to record local sound, use a (digital) recorder for editing in post-production. Be aware that super 8 cameras which were not intended to record sound, can be more noisy, so buy a Nizo 2056, 4080 or 6080 or 1014XL-S or 814XL-S or any other super-8 sound camera, which are more quiet if you want to record external sound.
I really recommend processing your own film, it's incredible rewarding. It's not that difficult and all you need are some chemicals and a super-8mm developing tank like the Lomo tank.
Find out more about how to choose a 8mm camera on YouTube. Looking for places to discuss and connect with other movie buffs? Take a look at these forums: cinematography.com, reddit/r/8mm/, and this Facebook group.
Questions or stories? Share them here.