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You want to buy a super 8 film camera? There are so many models and brands 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 explained

Super 8mm 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, tested and/or refurbished!

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.

Other good quality cameras, and sometimes cheaper, are the ones from Canon, like the Canon 518 or the 814 (XL-S), his bigger brother.

If you are on a tight budget, why not try out a vintage, cheaper camera first? If you get hooked, you can always buy a more expensive one with more features.

Professional cameras

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.

Indoor, outdoor, Low-Light subjects

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.

Want to film with sound?

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.

Process your own super-8 movies

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.

Links

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, and reddit/r/8mm/.

And don't forget to get a retro Polaroid camera to upgrade your super 8 kit!

Updated: 2 November 2021

Super 8 value and price guide

What's your Super 8 worth, or what would you expect to pay? Here are some recently sold items with prices.

Camera Title Date Sold for
all work n canon 1014xl s super 8 bm50 8mm movie All Work N Canon 1014xl S Super 8 Bm50 8mm Movie... 11/2021 $1 399.98
unused canon zoom ds 8 double super 8 film movie Unused Canon Zoom Ds 8 Double Super 8 Film Movie... 08/2021 $1 343.56
all works canon 1014xl s super 8 8mm movie film All Works Canon 1014xl S Super 8 8mm Movie Film... 09/2021 $1 299.99
canon 1014xl s super 8 8mm film movie camera box Canon 1014xl S Super 8 8mm Film Movie Camera Box... 08/2021 $1 099.99
beaulieu 4008 zm ii super 8 film camera serviced Beaulieu 4008 Zm Ii Super 8 Film Camera Serviced... 08/2021 $1 099.00
no pictureBrowse all sold items on eBay for more11/2021-.--
See also:
16mm camera 16mm projector 8mm film splicer Editor Lomo tank Super 8 projector Video transfer

Super 8 forum

Questions or stories? Share them here.



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Laura - June 9, 2021
Hi! I'm shamelessly here to ask for recommendations. I have shot 35mm film for a long time and would really love to get into video with Super 8. My budget is around $500, and I want something mostly for outdoor use that can handle some low light. I am around the ocean a lot. Would love any recommendation!
Adriana - January 17, 2021
Hello, I'm currently interested in shooting a super 8 film. For beginners what is a good film camera to start on, with an affordable price. Thank you, I hope to hear from you soon.
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JohnAdriana - January 22, 2021
Welcome to the world of super 8 :-)! Depending on your budget, I would recommend a Nizo S480, Nizo 481 or Canon 814.
Andrew - June 18, 2020
I recently purchased an Argus Showmaster 822 that was manufactured in 1967 and is tested, but not by me. I am interested if anyone in this forum has operated this model of camera in the past. I have read the operating manual and gone through the steps except for actual filming.
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JohnAndrew - July 2, 2020
It's very important to buy PX-13 or equivalent batteries for the light meter (see inside cartridge compartment). This camera doesn't have much functions, so check if it's capable of manually adjusting the exposure, in case the camera doesn't read the film stock you buy automatically.
Dominic - April 18, 2020
Hi, Love this site. I am looking for a super 8mm camera that as is tested and shoots single frame option with the regular trigger? Do you have some available?
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WebmasterDominic - April 19, 2020
I have a couple of Nizo cameras and a Canon 814 Auto Zoom Electronic. I'll have a look.
WebmasterDominic - April 22, 2020
Do you prefer a brand or special kind of camera? I have a Nizo 561 Macro, Nizo 481, Canon Auto Zoom 814 Electronic (so the 2nd series), and a Nizo 6080. Though I really love these two cameras because of their features, the Nizo 561 and 481 need separate light meter batteries.
Ryan - April 6, 2020
Hi, I hope all is well I have a canon canosound 514xl-s I am just looking to know where I could purchase film for it? and is that canon auto zoom 518 cine camera is it working?, Thank you
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JohnRyan - April 6, 2020
Hi, you can find more info on my page about the Canon 514 XL-S. I don't sell cameras right now, so I don't have a Canon 518.