How to shoot with Super 8 film

This post was initially included on Popular Photography.

Super 8’s rough, sentimental appearance is having a minute today, appearing all over from video to smash hit television programs. But even beyond popular culture, the consumer-friendly Super 8 film format is winning the hearts of beginners and the analog neighborhood. If it’s captured your eye, too, here’s whatever you require to understand about getting going shooting Super 8 film.

This format may simply be the king (or queen) of house motion pictures. Introduced in 1965 by Kodak, it was an action up from the 8mm film that came prior to it, both in regards to quality—thanks to its bigger frame size—and functionality. This led it to be placed as the brand-new movie-making format of the masses.

More affordable than 16mm or 35mm, Super 8 film is housed in low-cost plastic cartridges, so it’s much easier to deal with and pack, too. These cartridges likewise communicate to the cam crucial littles info, like the film speed along with filter info for B&W film. And in 1975, a magnetic strip was included to the cartridges to capture audio.

With its launch, Super 8 put the power of imagination in the hands of routine individuals. Suddenly, everybody was a motion picture maker.

Super 8 film today

Today, the medium is still quite alive—and by lots of indicators—both succeeding and getting steam. Aside from the lovers scooping up utilized video cameras to record their summer seasons, a few of the greatest names in home entertainment are turning to film—and Super 8 particularly—for their innovative tasks.

Harry Styles’ Watermelon Sugar, Katy Perry’s Daisies, Chopard’s brief film with Julia Roberts, Burger King, and more have actually utilized Super 8 video footage to develop a rough, classic, old-school result. Search for the medium on YouTube, and you’ll discover there’s no absence of videos flaunting the medium.

What Super 8 cam should I purchase?

How much should I spend for a Super 8 cam?

Options abound when it comes to utilized Super 8 video cameras. Major brand names still distributing consist of Canon, Nikon, and the king of Super 8, Beaulieu. Other brand names like Minolta and Chinon cost under $100, while Canon and Nikon Super 8 video cameras can run as low as $300, depending upon the design. But Beaulieu video cameras make sure to command a heftier (over $500) cost.

You can purchase Super 8 video cameras practically anywhere previously owned electronic devices are offered, consisting of Ebay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and utilized cam stores (like Pro8mm). But likewise understand that an astute searcher might discover luck befalls them at random garage or garage sale. The main point you desire to do when purchasing a Super 8 cam is make certain the motor works. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to advance your film.

What to try to find when purchasing any Super 8 cam

Some video cameras might have a crank and are totally manual. Others will need batteries. If possible, choose a film-checked cam and constantly ask to see the video footage and any CLA (tidy, lube, change) accreditation the seller might have. It’ll be more costly however conserve you the pain of squandered cash on the back end. Developing Super 8 film isn’t inexpensive any method you slice it, so much better to understand you’ve got a working cam in advance.

Best Super 8 video cameras under $100

If you desire to get your toes damp, there are Super 8 video cameras out there under $100. The Chinon 723 XL is a great alternative with its autofocusing abilities, therefore is the Minolta XL 400 with its Zoom Rokkor-Macro lens, which has 13 aspects. Both will shoot at 18 frames per 2nd (fps).

If you can’t discover those specific designs, think about likewise the Bauer C series (A512 in specific), the Minolta Autopak 8 D6, and the Chinon 213 PXL. The Bauer A512 particularly might run you a little over $100.

Best Super 8 video cameras under $500

The desired brand names live here: Canon and Nikon inhabit the leading end of this variety. Particularly, the Canon 310, 514, or 814 series are popular options and discovers. At the time of its release, the Canon 514XL had the world’s fastest lens at f/1.0. While the Auto Zoom 814, which is consisted of an all-metal mechanical style, was the very first Super 8 cam to have an 8x zoom variety with an f/1.4 lens.

There are likewise a handful of other Super 8 video cameras that fall on the lower side of the spectrum, too, such as the Sankyo Sound SL-60S and Elmo 1012S-XL. The Nikon R8 and R10 would be thought about the luxury of this variety.

Best Super 8 video cameras $500+

If you’re sure Super 8 is your medium, you may discover yourself fancying the fanciest of them all: The Beaulieu 4008ZM II. With stunning style and a credibility for being the very best Super 8 cam ever produced, there’s a lot to its name. Thanks to its integrated rangefinder, abundant shooting choices (you can change the frame rate from 2fps to 50fps), and interchangeable lens style, this French-made cam offers developers a lot of control over their vision. Expect to invest a minimum of $600, with mint sets adding to $5,000.

Also on the marketplace are the Beaulieu S2008 and the 5008S, the latter of which is thought about the expert design.

Several kinds of Canon video cameras can still be discovered on the utilized market. Connor Betts on Unsplash

Types of Super 8 film and where to purchase it 

Kodak is the primary purveyor of Super 8 film, and it’s readily available from significant merchants like Adorama, Amazon, and B&H. The choices are Kodak Vision 3 (color-negative 50D, 500T, and 200T); Tri-X turnaround 7266; and Ektachrome 100D color turnaround.

However, you can likewise discover B&W Fomapan R100 film, and Pro8mm plans their own, which you can purchase in a package to consist of processing. Film cartridges run about $40 ($27 if you’re opting for Fomapan) and can tape 2.5 minutes at 24fps and 3.3 minutes at 18fps. Expect to pay a minimum of $25 to procedure it.

If shooting Super 8 for the very first time, we suggest getting the Kodak Vision 3 50D and shooting in daytime. 500T and 200T are stabilized for tungsten light, and as a color-reversal film, Ektachrome is rather saturated. These may be much better to experiment with as soon as you’re more familiar with the medium.

Super 8 film is making a comeback. Here’s how to get started.
Though the precious Kodachrome disappears, there are still a lot of Super 8 film choices on the marketplace. Connor Betts on Unsplash.

How to utilize a light meter for Super 8 video 

Most video cameras will frequently come with an internal meter, however unless you’ve verified it works, an external light meter is constantly a strong financial investment, whether you shoot stills or video. I personally utilize a Sekonic L358, however we’ve likewise got a list of finest light meters for you to select from. If you’re not all set to start on a genuine light meter, there are some apps, like Lumu, that have a video mode.

To utilize the light meter, you’d best have a look at the guidelines, as each might vary somewhat in how to run the video mode. But, normally, you’ll desire it to remain in the f/s mode (frames per second), as opposed to A (aperture) or T (for shutter speed). Know that the frame rate you pick will impact for how long you can film—at 24fps, you won’t shoot as much video footage vs. 18fps.  

Where to get Super 8 film established

There are still a great variety of film processors that will establish (and scan) Super 8 film. An excellent bet is to see if there’s a regional area in your location that still procedures Super 8. If not, see the list listed below for where to establish Super 8 film.

Super 8 film is making a comeback. Here’s how to get started.
Super 8 film can be established in your home or at a laboratory. Processing in your home needs high in advance expenses and is finest fit to knowledgeable film designers. Thomas William on Unsplash.


Pro8mm has an exceptionally robust lineup of offerings, from selling/renting Super 8 video cameras to film advancement plans. They’ve processed film for Harry Styles, Drake, and Katy Perry, to name a couple of. Their plans consist of film, processing, advancement, and color correction. If you discover yourself actually bitten by the analog film bug, they’ll likewise do 16mm, double Super 8mm, and Super 16mm movies. 

Film Photography Store

The Film Photography Store has lots of movies available, from Super 8 to 35mm and 16mm, which they will likewise establish and digitize. 

Negativeland Film

Negativeland is a motion-picture laboratory that will process Super 8 and 16mm movies.

Color Lab

Working with customers consisting of National Geographic Channel, NBC, HBO, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Color Lab processes 35mm, 16mm, and Super 8 color unfavorable film and Super 8 B&W film.  

BB Optics

BB Optics concentrates on movie processing for Super 8, 16mm, Super 16mm, and 35mm, likewise using color grading services and post-production guidance. 

How to establish Super 8 film in your home 

This is a genuine dedication and needs to just be tried if you have previous experience establishing your own film. If you don’t, attempt 35mm very first prior to handling the (actually) enormous job of processing Super 8.

For those who desire to start, any old developing tank won’t do. You’ll require an unique drum that will accommodate the reel, which is normally 50 feet per cartridge. A Jobo Super 8/16mm drum set (drum, tank, and foot pump) will run you about $880—which’s prior to you’ve obtained the chemicals.

After you’ve gotten the drum, you’ll desire to seek advice from the store on the chemicals you’ll require to procedure the film. Then, you’ll require to make certain you have space. Practically, will you be able to hang 50 feet of film someplace while it dries? This video explores more specifics to think about.

How to transform Super 8 film to digital  

Digitizing film reels is typically consisted of or an optional add-on to the advancement bundle at laboratories. However, if you’re going to shoot a good volume of film and desire to conserve a little cash, you can scan it in your home—with less trouble than the advancement procedure.

Scanners are readily available from Amazon, B&H, and other merchants, and Wolverine Data appears to be the brand name of option. The Wolverine 8mm and Super 8mm Film Reel Converter retails for $299.95 and will digitize film at a resolution of 720 pixels. For $100 more, the Wolverine Digital Movie Maker Pro scans at 1080 pixels. Simply load up the film and the scanner does the rest, assembling the video footage onto an SD card (that you need to supply). This video uses a comprehensive tutorial on how to set yours up.

Further resources for Super 8

Feeling intimidated? Don’t be—at the end of the day, you just require 3 things: A working cam, film, and a location to establish. Should you be looking for extra resources, attempt the Pro8mm Super 8 Reference Library, which includes suggestions, a film calculator, education, handbooks, and more. is likewise a fantastic compendium of the medium. Happy movie-making.

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