Super 8 (film format)

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Developed Super 8 film, about half an hour long, with soundtrack and green leader film
Typical Super 8 camera, around 1968. The film in the camera takes about 3 minutes.

Super 8 is a cine - film format , which in May 1965 by Kodak was introduced. Like its predecessor, the normal 8 format, this Super 8 was mainly intended for private use, to capture family celebrations, vacations or public events in moving images. In this area, Super 8 was almost completely replaced by video technology in the 1980s . Since then it has only played a marginal role in professional film, where it is valued by some directors for its aesthetics (color, grain, resolution).

History of the format

Kodak Kodachrome 40, Super 8 film in film cassette, original box


The term “Super” in Super 8 referred to the larger image format compared to the 8 mm film available until then. This was made possible by a narrower perforation, whereby the holes were also in a different location, namely always in the middle of a picture instead of between two pictures. With the appearance of Super 8, the previous format was called Normal 8 (English: Regular 8). The image size grew from 4.9 mm × 3.6 mm to 5.69 mm × 4.22 mm and thus by about 36 percent.

The second difference related to handling. Previously, the loosely wound film had to be threaded in a laborious way, but the Super 8 film was delivered in cassettes that could be easily inserted. With this, Kodak continued a line that had been started in 1963 with the Instamatic system for photo cameras and which was later continued with the pocket film : photography and filming should also be made accessible to people with no technical knowledge with the simplest possible handling. One cassette contained 15.25 m, corresponding to 50 ft of film material, which resulted in a running time of 3 min 20 s at the normal Super 8 frame rate of 18 frames / s; the exact number of individual images (especially important for calculations of time-lapse recordings) is around 3,600 images per 15 m cassette (± 50 images exposure and cut tolerance at the beginning and end).


These improvements were basically based on the designs of a round table by the three international photography giants Kodak, Fuji and Agfa , who had set themselves the goal of developing a common format called Rapid 8 by the time of the Tokyo Olympics . However, Kodak left this working group prematurely and announced the results so far in 1964 as a proprietary invention under the name Super 8 , which was launched in 1965. Fuji fought against this ruse by Kodak with an additional further development of the previous plans, which came out at the same time as Super 8 under the name Single 8 . Single 8 was mostly based on a significantly thinner carrier material (polyester); There was space for 180 meters of Single 8 on a 120 m Super 8 spool. Single-8 films, however, are extremely rarely found in old film stocks.

As soon as the first announcement was made, almost all camera manufacturers began to change their program immediately so that they could offer Super 8 models immediately after the market launch. Super 8 caught on extremely quickly, especially since the ease of use actually won over a new group of interested parties.

The German company Agfa, which was now caught between all chairs, initially tried to offer film types in both formats, but surrendered to Kodak as early as 1967 and discontinued its single-8 production, so that the technically superior format was largely switched to Japan remained limited.

Of course, the new film also required new projectors, although for a long time switchable models were available for sale with which old normal 8 films could also be shown.


The sales figures of devices rose steadily up to the peak in 1974/75 and then fell again significantly; As early as 1980, due to market saturation, the level of new demand for cameras and projectors was so low that most device manufacturers could no longer produce profitably, which was an important reason for these manufacturers to switch from Super 8 to other technologies (e.g. camcorders or Printer, often the withdrawal to the core business of photography). As a result, there have been almost no new cameras or projectors for sale since around 1985. The “bottom lights” were Zenit and Beaulieu, who only stopped producing cameras and projectors in the mid-1990s. Only Classic Home Cinema brought a small series of Fumeo projectors onto the market again in 2002. Since then, the market on international Super-8 film exchanges (such as Waghäusel ) or eBay has relied exclusively on used equipment, e.g. In some cases, they can also be offered "refurbished".

The consumption of film material only peaked around 1979 and 1980 with 19 million Super 8 cassettes sold annually in Germany alone. Unlike the device manufacturers, most manufacturers of Super 8 film did not give up their production until the early to mid-1990s; Of these, Agfa endured the longest, where the in-house Agfa Moviechrome 40 was developed until 1996 . Only Kodak has never stopped production, and has since expanded its Super 8 portfolio to include two negative films (see below). Since the end of the 1990s, a few new manufacturers have been added, e. B. Wittner Kinotechnik, GK-Film and KAHL Film (see below), and since 2006 there has also been Fuji material in the Super-8 cassette for the first time.

The committed amateurs typically took the presentation of the Hi8 video 8 system, which is higher than the older video variants, as an opportunity to switch to it in 1988, with the longer recording time, the ability to transfer old recordings, the simpler sound recording and the easier recording among the poor The lighting conditions were decisive, but not the quality. Only a few enthusiasts are still filming with Super 8. The situation is different in the professional warehouse, where the new negative materials and the significantly improved digitization options have opened up new uses. As a result, Kodak has now also removed its Super 8 products from the amateur sector and subordinated them to the professional Motion Picture Film division .

Super 8 is still used today by some enthusiasts and art and experimental filmmakers, and the format also plays a role, albeit a small one, in the production of commercials and music clips . In January 2016, Super 8 inventor Kodak presented a new Super 8 camera for the first time in decades, which is supposed to operate this retro track.



Super 8 color films were almost always sensitized to artificial light; A built-in red filter ( conversion filter of the Kodak Wratten 85 type) was switched on for pictures with daylight . The idea: filming with headlights required a lot of light (the headlights had at least 1000 W power consumption), so the film should be as sensitive as possible. In daylight, however, the loss through the filter was less of a problem. And if Artificial and daylight films still existed in Normal 8, there should now only be one type in the interests of easy handling. The film speed was coded on the cassette for the same reason, although many cameras only scan the common sizes ISO 40/17 ° and ISO 160/23 °, in daylight operation the result was ISO 25/15 ° and ISO 100/21 °. Up until 1972, there were even only low-sensitivity films, because it was imperative to rule out handling errors by laypeople. The highly sensitive cassettes were not allowed to be used in bright sunshine as they could easily be overexposed. In addition, not all cameras sampled the sensitivity. The film cassettes were usually sent to a laboratory. Basically, the film could also be extracted and developed by yourself. At the height of the Super 8 era in the 1970s, a color film cost 10 DM at best.


Kodachrome 40, Type A (original packaging)

The Kodachrome 40 was of particular importance . Because of the particularly complicated development, this was basically only carried out by Kodak itself; the costs for this were always included in the price of the K 40 - unlike other film material. Kodak announced in May 2005 that it would replace the K 40 with new film material; the reasons for discontinuing the K 40 Super 8 film were, on the one hand, the reduced demand in the era of digital photography, and on the other hand, the now only few , hopelessly outdated developing machines for the special process. In the previous years, Kodak had only operated a single European Kodachrome laboratory, namely in Lausanne (Switzerland). Kodak had agreed to develop the K40 Super 8 films in Switzerland until September 25, 2006; then the machines were completely shut down there. Dwayne's laboratory in Parsons, KS (USA) was still developing the emulsion until the end of 2010. On December 30, 2010, the last coil was officially developed.

Double super 8

Double Super 8 films are 16 mm wide and are not packaged in cassettes, but on 30 m and 10 m spools. As is known from the normal 8-based double 8, the films run twice through the camera and are cut in the middle after the film has been developed and thus separated into two film strips with Super 8 format. The main advantage lies in the unrestricted rewinding for various trick effects, which the Super-8 cassettes (with S-8 cameras in higher price ranges) only allowed up to four seconds, but also in the camera-side pressure plate. Special double Super 8 cameras came onto the market in the 1960s in the western hemisphere for professional reportage use, but were not widely used beyond that. In the Eastern Bloc, on the other hand, the double Super 8 format was more widespread than the Super 8 cassette from Kodak.

The USSR-made cameras of the quartz type are easily available today. The more professional devices from Pathé , Bolex or Canon , on the other hand, are in demand and rare film cameras. The double Super 8 film is not least characterized by its favorable price-performance ratio.

60 m cassette

In 1979 a Super 8 cassette with 61 m (200 ft) film content, corresponding to 13 min 20 s running time, was presented. They asked for special cameras that had a flap that opened over the cassette compartment. This cassette had a large film supply box that stood freely above the camera and an attached part that looked like a normal Super 8 cassette but contained no film supply and was inserted into the camera. The coils in the storage box were moved with built-in coil springs. This cassette, in contrast to the conventional S-8 cassette, allowed unlimited film rewinding. It was only available with pre-tracked material. The production of these cassettes was discontinued in 1997, together with the discontinuation of the pre-tracked material, so that they have not been available since approx. 1998. Even then, it was not offered with untrained film material. There were later developments by small providers.

Other cassettes

SuperDrive SD8 / 60

After the 60 m cassette was discontinued by Kodak, the Beaulieu company presented its 60 m self-loading cassette "SuperDrive SD8 / 60". Although Beaulieu advertised that the cassette could also be used on other cameras, e.g. B. the Nizo 6056/6080 should work, this conversion was actually only available for the Beaulieu cameras from the 6008/7008/9008 series. The production of this cassette has now been discontinued, but films are still available from various suppliers.

Super mag 400

At the beginning of 2004 the first prototypes of the “Supermag 400”, a self-loading cassette for 120 m or 400 ft film, could be admired. It should work in any camera that could use Kodak's 200-foot cassette. However, due to the high price, the non-conclusion of contracts with Kodak and some production problems, the production and sales were stopped at the end of 2006.

Compatibility to Single 8

As an alternative, there was the single-8 system prevailing in Japan : Single-8 films can be shown without restriction with Super-8 projectors.

Sound film

Magnetic sound

Two-band process

The vast majority of Super 8 filmmakers made silent films ; Sound films were associated with considerable effort. In the early days, the sound always had to be recorded with a special reel tape recorder or cassette recorder , with a suitable camera emitting electrical impulses after each recorded image, which were recorded on a separate track. During playback, these impulses then controlled the presentation speed on the - also suitable - projector so that the image and sound ran synchronously. In practice, however, the film cameras often kept their speed so imprecisely that it easily caused problems when editing the film. Scoring without synchronization did not work; the synchronization was then so uncertain that you could only play background noises. Films could also be provided with a soundtrack afterwards, which could then be discussed with the help of a sound film projector. The tracing was carried out either by a laboratory or by a device costing around 200 DM.

Live tone

In 1973, Kodak introduced the Super 8 sound film cassette , which allowed relatively uncomplicated sound recordings with special live sound cameras. The sound film cassette contained pre-recorded film. It was larger and could therefore only be inserted into Super 8 sound film cameras. There was an additional opening on the underside into which the clay head could protrude. The sound was always shifted by 18 frames because the film was jerked in front of the picture window, but had to run smoothly for the sound to be played back. This offset caused great problems when editing, in general it was recommended to plan a sound film well and then not to cut at all. Liveton cameras were available from the middle class, corresponding to around 500 DM.

Today there are no more Super 8 sound film cassettes to buy, Kodak discontinued production in 1997. Sound film cameras can also be operated with silent film cassettes, although they are clearly superior to silent film cameras in terms of synchronism.

Light tone

In addition to magnetic sound, there were also optical sound films, which, however, required appropriately equipped projectors to play the sound. However, there were only a few models on the market. Only the 0.8 mm wide edge was available for the optical sound track, which, in addition to the low speed of 7.62 cm / s at 18 frames / s, was only sufficient for a satisfactory sound quality in terms of frequency response and dynamics, whereas one with the 16 mm format The audio track width is 2.5 mm and 18.29 cm / s at 24 frames / s. Super 8 optical sound films could not be produced by amateur film makers, but were distributed as mass copies of feature films, but also for advertising films. The great advantage lay in the inexpensive production of these mass copies, since the sound information could be copied in the same process as the picture and no additional tracing with magnetic tape was necessary in further work steps. In the case of optical sound, there was also no risk of it being accidentally deleted or overwritten, since sound film projectors for magnetic sound usually enabled recording and deletion of sound recordings in addition to playback.


Film speed

Super 8 camera Canon 1014 auto zoom
Super 8 camera "Bauer A512" / left operating side
Super 8 camera "Bauer A512" / right operating side
Canon 310XL Super 8 camera

Standard for Super 8 was 18 fps, simple cameras ran at no other speed. Somewhat upscale models offered slow motion, the film then usually ran about twice as fast during the recording, i.e. at approx. 36 fps, with even better cameras with 54 fps (e.g. Nizo 561-S-8- Camera), in rare cases even 70 frames / s. In this class, a time lapse was also common, with the film running at half the speed, i.e. 9 frames / s in the camera and the 24 frames / s known from the cinema. General work at this speed required a projector that could also be set to 24 frames / s, which was common. Then a Super 8 cassette was naturally only sufficient for 2 minutes 30 seconds. The advantage was a shorter exposure time, i.e. less blurred images of fast moving objects and better motion resolution. 24 frames / s occasionally also had a benefit if you played it back at 18, for example this made the bumps less noticeable in driving shots. Adequate lighting conditions or bright lenses (e.g. Schneider Kreuznach) were an advantage for recordings at 24 frames / s; slow 9 frames / s could U. allow indoor shots without good additional light (e.g. Kaiser headlights with 500/1000/2000 watts). Very few cameras had a special 25 frames / s setting. It was intended for films that should be shown on television. However, this only had a meaning for sound films, otherwise the film only had to be scanned imperceptibly faster. Even simple cameras had a single frame that was intended for trick shots. Only a single image was exposed using a wired or electric remote release. With more advanced electronics, there were also settings that enabled automatic triggering, for example every 60 seconds, as well as a self-timer; then the camera usually ran for 10 seconds. Some cameras also had a connection for an ordinary flash unit that would fire when taking single pictures.


Zoom lenses were standard among Super 8 cameras, only the very simple ones had a fixed focal length. With the cameras raised, zooming was done with a servo motor at two speeds. Simpler models could only zoom in with a motor while filming, here a gear wheel established the connection to the film transport at the touch of a button. For the comparison of focal lengths with lenses for 24 × 36 mm small picture cameras, the format factor 6.2 applies ; a 7-60 mm Super 8 lens therefore corresponded to a 45-370 mm 35 mm lens.

Pocket cameras

As early as the late 1960s, technical progress made it possible to build particularly compact cameras, an example of which is the Agfa Microflex . These pocket cameras were hardly bigger than a paperback book, so that they could easily be put in a coat pocket. Their small dimensions were due on the one hand to a particularly compact mechanism, but on the other hand also to some compromises in terms of equipment: The lens only had a small zoom range, usually three times, and they mostly did without overdrive so that they could get by with a few batteries. The compact cameras were expected to attract additional customers, which is why most manufacturers then added them to their range. The practical use of a pocket camera was limited, however, as its low weight made it difficult to hold it steady and a tripod was recommended for steady pictures anyway .

XL cameras

With the ISO-160/23 ° film, XL cameras also appeared in 1973, with XL standing for existing light and indicating their particular suitability in poor lighting conditions. Such cameras generally had a particularly bright lens, sometimes even with an aperture ratio of 1: 1 and, in addition, a longer exposure time. For this purpose, the sector diaphragm in the camera did not have the usual 160 ° –180 °, but up to 230 °. 180 ° means that the film is exposed half of the time and darkened the rest of the time so that it can be transported. At 18 frames / s the exposure time is 1/18 s × 180 ° / 360 ° = 1/36 s, in the case of the XL aperture of 1/18 s × 230 ° / 360 ° = approx. 1/28 s. The shorter darkening naturally required faster film transport and the price of the longer exposure was a higher degree of motion blur . XL cameras were already in the lower price range, i.e. with otherwise simple equipment. The special focus on night shots could be estimated as having an advantage of around 3½ to 4 f-stops, which was divided into ½ stop for the sector aperture, 1 to 1½ stops for the lens and 2 steps for the highly sensitive film.

Depth of field

A low focus range was important for committed filmmakers in order to be able to keep the background blurred for design reasons. Since the depth of field decreases with increasing focal length and the focal length for a certain magnification depends in turn on the image size, Super 8 cameras were superior to current video cameras with their 1/3 "or smaller CCD image converters. In addition, there were the extremely bright lenses, as the smaller the aperture values, the depth of field also decreases. However, 16- and even more 35-mm cameras are significantly superior to the Super 8 cameras in terms of shallow depth of field.


Many cameras were equipped with automatic exposure early on, which could often be switched off. Sound film cameras sometimes had a switchable automatic sound amplifier in order to always allow an optimal level of the recording volume. Some later models (from Bell & Howell , Bolex , Canon , Chinon , Elmo , Revue and Sankyo) also had an autofocus , which worked in the same way as with today's commercially available camcorders.


For the Super 8 format, in particular around 1970, numerous cameras appeared, both from pure film camera manufacturers such as B. Beaulieu, Bauer, Braun Nizo or Eumig as well as from those who also manufactured photo cameras, such as Agfa , Canon or Leitz . In total, the world market held over 1000 models, some of which, for example, B. were only sold in Japan or only in the USSR. The French manufacturer Beaulieu offered particularly sophisticated models, including those with unusual 80 frames / s for slow motion, interchangeable lenses and with a special cassette that took loose film and was mounted above the camera. Super 8 cameras were available from around DM 200. At the height of the era, mail order companies such as Neckermann or Foto Quelle even offered entry-level models for 100 DM.

post processing


Super 8 film viewer from Braun
Dry and wet glue press for Super 8 film

The developed film came from the laboratory on a small spool with a cap on and could be shown immediately with a projector. The usual way, however, was to look at it with a special viewer , cut into individual scenes, sort them on a clipboard (which was also illuminated) and then join them together. This required a glue press, in which the film could be inserted so precisely that it did not get stuck during projection. There were two methods, wet gluing and dry gluing with transparent adhesive films. For wet gluing, an inclined edge had to be created on the film, which was done with a plane or with a battery-operated grinding head, depending on the type of glue press. For dry gluing, a special adhesive film was attached to both sides of the film in such a way that mostly only the first, but not the second, sound track remained free. Dry adhesive films adhere to all film materials, while wet adhesive does not work with polyester material, e.g. B. not with the Super 8 films from Ferrania / 3 m or various feature film copies.


Manufacturers of photo accessories had special devices ready for film titles: climbing and running titles were created with lengths of fabric that were moved by two rollers and on which the letters were attached. If titles were to be superimposed on a moving image, the film had to be projected into a special trick device with the projector. Then you could record both the film and the title. Such a trick device also allowed the copying of films and thus the conversion of normal 8 to super 8 film. A simpler option was a macro holder, which, however, had to be used on site: the title was written on a pane of glass, through which the scene was filmed with a small aperture and thus a large depth of field .

Coil sizes

Coil size Film length Min. Mute Min. Tone
~ inch mm feet ~ m 18 fps 24 fps 18 fps 24 fps
3 74 50 15th 3.5 2.5 3.5 2.5
4th 93 100 30th 6.5 6th
5 127 200 60 13 10 11 8th
6th 147 300 90 20th 15th 16 12
7th 177 400 120 26th 20th 21st 16
8th 206 600 180 40 30th 32 24
9 3/4 248 830 250 55 42 43 33

The length dimensions are not exact conversions, but the usual information. The mm specifications for the reel sizes are quite exact, but they differ by a few millimeters depending on the manufacturer. The inch data are rounded nominal sizes. The maximum film lengths suitable for the reels are the nominal sizes usually used, feet and meters differ by up to 3 meters. With Super 8 there are 72 pictures on a film length of one foot. Due to the magnetic track of the sound film, it is a little thicker, which is why a little less film material fits on the spool.


Silent movie

Sound sample: film showing with a Super 8 projector

Super 8 projectors were available from around DM 200. Simple models continued to use a standard 50 W low-voltage lamp for a long time , while more expensive models used a halogen lamp with up to 100 W. A common feature was a double zoom, which made it easy to adjust the projector's location to the screen size. Silent film projectors, which were not intended for synchronization with a tape recorder, only kept the presentation speed roughly; for example, switching from 24 to 18 images / s was often done by friction elements braking the motor. The projectors also differ in the maximum coil size; some couldn't even take 120 m reels, others even those for 360 m film. Around 1972 projectors appeared for special film cassettes that contained the Super 8 film. There were two systems that were supposed to accommodate technically unskilled users, but were not able to establish themselves at all. With the advent of the self-locking reels, however, you only had to insert the beginning of the film into the corresponding receptacle on the projector.

Super 8 projector "Bauer T610" with stereo sound and microprocessor

Sound film

More and more sophisticated models of sound film projectors appeared. There were some with a built-in cassette recorder; but those who worked with spotted films spread increasingly. It was particularly easy to work with those who used two tracks. Then the background noise was on one track, for example music, and a comment could be made on the second track. During playback, the projector automatically decreased the background sound while speaking. With some projectors, stereo playback or recording could also be achieved by using both tracks.

Agfa Family / Elmo album

In 1979 Agfa and Elmo tried to revive the Super 8 film again with the systems "Family" (Agfa) and "Album" (Elmo). The idea was to be able to both film and photograph with one camera. For this purpose, Agfa had an extremely primitive camera, which was cheap for 149 DM and had two buttons: if you pressed one, the device worked as a normal Super 8 camera; if you pressed the other, a single image was exposed on the film and a mark was punched in the edge. Elmo's “C65 Album 3600” worked in a similar way, but was better equipped (including a zoom lens). There was a special device for viewing with a small screen (8 cm × 10 cm) and horizontal coils, which in a set with the camera cost 498 DM (list price). Later a resolution appeared for this, which enlarged the picture to 15.5 cm × 20.5 cm. The apparatus showed Super 8 films at 18 frames / s and stopped the film transport for 8 s as soon as a marker appeared. So the photos could be viewed.

Agfa introduced the Family Print from the start, but it was only available at the end of 1981. It could be attached to the side of the viewing device to expose still images on Kodak PR 10 instant film. The format was 6.8 cm × 9.0 cm. Previously, you could have a laboratory enlarge images marked with a thread in the perforation. The quality of Super-8-paper prints but was generally miserable, but had already Minox - miniature camera four times more negative. Agfa Family became a huge failure. A similarly conceived system, but without still images, was Polavision (see Polaroid ).

Historical manufacturers


Since you can still buy numerous unexposed, mostly even unpacked films on eBay (individually or together with technical equipment) at low prices second-hand, which are mostly still very usable despite the expiry date, here is an overview of the former film manufacturers and those of them produced varieties.

With every single second-hand film, the storage conditions are of course decisive for the quality in today's use; the cooler and drier a film was stored, the better. It goes without saying that films that are still in their original packaging in their original, unopened vacuum film are preferable. With films that have already been opened, there is no other way of determining how many meters have already been rotated apart from the letters EXPOSED at the very end, and you cannot rewind a Super 8 cassette.

Kodak continues to manufacture and sell Super 8 films to this day. Emulsions with the name Kodachrome could always be developed exclusively by Kodak. This had in part to do with Kodachrome's highly complex, patented development process, which allowed the developed film to have exceptional durability. Moving films of the type Kodachrome have proven this durability in the course of their 70-year history without the slightest loss such as color shifts, and scientific tests in physical laboratories (including Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. ) even indicate a likely, unchanged persistence of the Goodness of this particular footage after its development over hundreds of years. Once a Kodachrome film is developed, you hold in your hands a cultural testimony that in all likelihood will survive you intact.

  • Kodak had been selling Kodachrome II since 1935, and from 1965 also for Super 8. Today it can only be developed as black and white film in the USA at a very high price.
  • Kodachrome 25 , like Kodachrome II, was older than Super 8, but was also offered in this format. Color, daylight, 25 ASA . Like the K40, it was developed free of charge by Kodak's own laboratory in Switzerland until September 2006, and by Dwayne's Photo, Parsons KS (USA) until the end of 2010.
  • Kodachrome 40, type A
    Until the announcement of the end of production in May 2005,
    Kodachrome 40 was the classic and most widespread Super 8 film, with which the format was introduced , primarily because of its fine grain size. From 1973 to 1997 there was also a sound film with magnetic track. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA. Was developed free of charge by Kodak's own laboratory in Switzerland until September 2006 and by Dwayne's Photo, Parsons KS (USA) until the end of 2010. Today there is no longer any possibility of development because the effort involved in the development process is too great.
  • Ektachrome 160, type A
    Ektachrome 160 was a light-sensitive film, especially for indoor shots, which was only possible with films with 40 ASA using strong film lights. Since its introduction in 1973 also as a sound film with magnetic track, from the end of the 1980s only as a sound film in addition to the K40 with sound, in order to continue to enable both indoor (Ektachrome) and outdoor (K40) recordings with live sound. Color, artificial light, 160 ASA. Was to be developed in the M4 process, which is no longer available today, until around 1982/84, then in the more common EM26 process, which is still offered today by Andec in Berlin and Frank Bruinsma's S8 Reversal Lab in Rotterdam (Netherlands). If it lasts more or less about 20 years past the expiration date, it becomes increasingly yellower over the course of time until exposure, with a simultaneous increase in grain.
  • Ektachrome 160, type G
    Ektachrome 160G was sold parallel to the Ektachrome 160 from around the mid-1980s; was never very popular, as this so-called type G film was supposed to be somewhere between artificial light and daylight in order to enable recordings without a filter, but the result often has a strong green cast. Color, 160 ASA. Developed by Frank Bruinsmas S8 Reversal Lab .
  • Ektachrome 7240 VNF was introduced in 1997 and discontinued in 2004 as the successor to the Ektachrome 160G with more neutral colors; despite its unusual sensitivity, it can be exposed by most cameras without major problems. "VNF" stood for Video News Film, because it was actually an emulsion specially developed for television reporting in 16 mm. However, it did not sell so well that it could be bought long after production ended. Color, artificial light, 125 ASA. Developed by both Andec and Frank Bruinsmas S8 Reversal Lab. Loss of quality due to overlay has not yet been observed.

Agfa sold Super 8 films from 1965 to 1994, which were also developed in-house until 1996; Agfafilme were often sold under different brand names for Super 8 by other companies, such as B. from Revue (photo source) or the English company Boots. All of the film types for Super 8 from Agfa mentioned here are now being developed by Frank Bruinsmas S8 Reversal Lab.

  • Agfachrome 40 was sold until about 1982; there was also a sound film with magnetic track. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA.
  • Agfachrome 160 was the parallel, more light-sensitive variant of the same film, which was also available as a sound film with a magnetic track. Color, artificial light, 160 ASA.
  • Agfa Moviechrome 40
    Agfa Moviechrome 40 replaced the Agfachrome 40 from around 1982; Until 1994, four successive different emulsions were sold under this name. In red packaging with blue company logo until 1986; if it is used today, it has a coarse grain and a strong green cast in the darkest shades. In the red packaging with the white logo, apparently only in 1986; Of all historical film types for Super 8 has the greatest durability before exposure, so that recordings made today still look like freshly made film material from first hand. In the white packaging with a blue stripe alone from 1986 to around 1990; When used today, there is often a barely perceptible, very aesthetic bluish cast, which in its aesthetic effect is equivalent to a soft focus. In the white packaging with blue and red stripes from around 1990 until the end of 1994; when used today often nostalgic yellow tones, similar to yellowed paper. All four emulsions are also available as sound films with magnetic tracks. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA.
  • Agfa Moviechrome 160 was the more light-sensitive version of the Moviechrome 40, but only experienced the emulsion version of the red packaging with the blue logo; there was also a sound film with magnetic track. Color, artificial light, 160 ASA.

Revue, a subdivision of Photo-Quelle, sold only three consecutive film types for Super 8 until about 1992, developed today by Frank Bruinsma's S8 Reversal Lab.

  • Revue Chrome 1970s; Polyester film (recognizable by the note “Cannot be glued wet!”), Presumably Fuji Single 8 material in Super 8 cassettes, alternatively it could be Super 8 polyester films from 3M / Ferrania. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA. Red packaging with yellow stripes, black and white lettering. Condition not known when used today, major changes to be expected due to strong overlap (expiry dates around 1978).
  • Revue Superchrome RC-8 until about 1986; there was also a sound film with magnetic track. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA.
  • Revue Superchrome 40 from 1986 to around 1992, allegedly remnants of Agfa or identical in production to the Agfa Moviechrome 40 variety in a red box with a blue logo (sd), so that a similar color behavior can be expected when used today. There was also a sound film with a magnetic track. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA.

Photo Porst only sold one type of film for Super 8 until about 1990, development today by Frank Bruinsma's S8 Reversal Lab.

  • Under the simple name Porst , this film was available both as a silent film and as a sound film with a magnetic track. Even with today's use, they are still particularly nostalgic, bright, bright colors. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA.

Like Porst, Perutz only sold one type of film for Super 8 until around 1990, developed today by Frank Bruinsma's S8 Reversal Lab.

  • Perutz Peruchrome, mute and with sound, has a strong blue to turquoise cast when used today. Color, artificial light, 40 ASA.

Of course there were also other manufacturers, such as B. Technicolor , Ilford , Sakura, ORWO , Svema , Ferrania / 3 m, .... In addition, the above list is incomplete: At Kodak alone, the black and white films, the negative materials, the color film Ektachrome 40, ... are missing.

Purchase films

Finished films were also available for Super 8. This was of considerable importance for pornographic works. There were also documentaries and educational films , for example a summary of a soccer world championship. Even well-known feature films were available; often shortened to 120 m - this corresponds to around 20 minutes -, also spread over several rolls of film. Among them there were also black and white copies of color films, which could be offered more cheaply. T. film material from GDR or Eastern European production used. In 1975, for example, the catalog of the mail order company Foto-Quelle took up an entire page. Lengths of 15, 17, 33, 45, 66, 90 and 110/120 m were available, with many customers purchasing a few short films with their Super 8 equipment so that they could try the projector right away.

Some purchase films were offered with optical sound. They required a projector that could be switched from magnetic to optical, which only a few top models could do. The advantage lay in the cheaper production, because optical sound was transmitted at the same time as copying. The user himself could not produce a light tone, apart from the use of the very rare single-8 camera.

The companies Marketing (Bochum), Piccolo (Munich) and UFA-ATB (Essen) were the largest providers of Super 8 films for sale. They offered 15/17/30/33/45/50/55/60/66/70/90/110/120/180/220/240/300/330/360/440 and 480 meter frames. The aforementioned and other manufacturers also brought complete frames with a length of 600 meters and more in color or black and white and with sound on the market.

In the GDR, as in other CMEA -Staaten also super 8 purchase movies were available. In the GDR they were produced by VEB DEFA Kopierwerk and published as so-called " DEFA home films ". The very extensive range included films from DEFA production shortened to 33 or 66 meters in length , but also shortened versions of films from the rest of the socialist camp ( Gustav / VR Hungary, Hase and Wolf / Soviet Union, The Little Mole / ČSSR) and historical versions Movies. In addition, individual films were made especially for publication as DEFA home films. DEFA home films were always silent films, even if the originals were sound films. Some home films were available as color or black and white copies. DEFA home films had a uniform price, regardless of their content, which was based solely on the format - normal 8 home films were also offered - the length of the film and the design (black and white or color).

Super 8 today


Super-8 filmmakers today have to fall back mainly on used equipment, but many of them are offered at low prices. There are still a few small manufacturers from whom new Super 8 cameras can be obtained.

Available film emulsions

The 15 m silent film cassettes can still be bought for around 15 euros (plus development to be purchased separately) each; There are currently around 20 types of film material for Super 8 available across Europe. Some types of film are also available by the meter to enable self-loading cassettes to be filled.

Due to the unexpectedly high demand for the Velvia 50D alias Cinevia for Super 8 since its introduction in March 2006, supply and production bottlenecks have arisen for this film, which GK, Wittner and Frank Bruinsma have not been able to cope with together, as none of the three was prepared for global sales levels; to the extent that it could be foreseen, the word of mouth and the first test results available there via the web forum , also in comparison to Kodak's technically inferior and also more complicated to use Ektachrome 64T, had contributed to the interest in the Fuji material.

  • Kodak offers the Ektachrome 64T as a replacement for the recently discontinued Kodachrome 40 that was sold for decades. However, it must be checked whether the camera used adjusts itself to the ISO-64/19 ° film sensitivity of the new film, because color reversal films generally have to be exposed exactly. Ektachrome films are developed using the E-6 process, a widespread standard process for slide films that practically all photo laboratories still offer. The Kodak Vision2 also offers two negative color films for artificial light with high sensitivity (200 and 500 ASA) and with Plus-X and Tri-X black and white films in two sensitivities.
  • In the USA, some specialist companies (such as Pro8mm or Spectra Film & Video ) offer the manufacture and perforation of all 35 mm emulsions in Super 8 cassettes.
  • In Germany, Wittner Kinotechnik and GK-Film also offer a range of films that are much easier to expose with existing cameras. Both sell the Velvia 50D (a Fuji daylight film; "D" stands for daylight ), Wittner only the Wittnerchrome 100 D (contains Ektachrome 100D from Kodak) and the Wittnerchrome 40 T (contains remnants of the popular Kodachrome 40 ; the "T" stands) for tungsten, i.e. artificial light). There are rumors that Fuji will stop manufacturing and supplying the Velvia 50D to Wittner and GK-Film and replace it with a 100 ASA variant. In addition, Wittner sells remaining stocks of the reversal film Pro8 / 85, Ekt 100D (contains Ektachrome 100D ), the negative film Pro8 / 01, Neg 50D (contains Kodak Vision 2 50D ) and the ORWO UN in the 60 m camera spool 54, and already has the negative films Pro8 / 05 - ASA 250 Daylight Negative (contains Kodak Vision2 250D ), Pro8 / 12 - ASA 100 Tungsten Negative (contains Kodak Vision2 100D ), Pro8 / 22 - ASA 64 Daylight Negative ( contains Fuji Super F 64-D), Pro8 / 63 - ASA 250 Daylight Negative (contains Fuji Eterna 63 250D ), Pro8 / 92 - ASA 500 Daylight Negative (contains Fuji Reala 50D ), Pro8 / 53 - ASA 250 Tungsten Negative (contains Fuji Eterna 53 250 T ), and Pro8 / 73 - ASA 500 Tungsten Negative (includes Fuji Eterna 500T ) announced.
  • Frank Bruinsma's S8 Reversal Lab in the Netherlands offers the Velvia 50D under the name Cinevia , and also a newer version called Cinevia 64D with 64 ASA; both for Super 8 and Single 8.
  • The German company KAHL Film also offers a number of its own special films up to 800–1000 ASA for Super 8, but exclusively to business customers.
  • Recently, rumors also surfaced that a company called Kim Chek would produce and develop Super 8 films in North Korea , which were confirmed after consulting the North Korean embassy; these films are also said to be commercially available outside the country to a small extent in Southeast and East Asia (such as Taiwan). The only determinable film speed of these films so far suggests the adoption of an old color film formula from the former East German film factory ORWO from the Cold War era.
  • Sound film cassettes are no longer available at first hand, but the associated live sound cameras are still popular because they keep the film speed more precisely than most silent film models.


After the popular Kodachrome 40 was discontinued, which was the last Super 8 film to include development by Kodak in its own Kodak laboratory, the Super 8 community is increasingly adjusting to the decentralization of the market, which means that film production and development are increasingly divergent separate. Up until now, this was very unusual in the Super 8 area, as all the major companies in the Super 8 film market (e.g. Agfa, Quelle, Porst, Perutz) have Kodak's model of manufacturing, sales and development in the same house had taken over.

Two of the remaining development laboratories for Super 8 films in Europe are Andec in Berlin (run by Ludwig Draser) in Germany and the S8 Reversal Lab (Frank Bruinsma) in The Hague in the Netherlands . Further development laboratories for Super 8 film in Europe are Kahl Film & TV Service in Brühl, Fotocinema srl in Rome, Color City in Champigny / Marne, Todd – AO in London and in Slovenia.

Kodak operated its own laboratory until September 2006 for the free development of the Kodachrome 40 near Lausanne, Switzerland. After that, the films could be sent in to the American company Dwayne’s until the end of 2010 . On December 30, 2010, the final Kodachrome 40 coil was officially developed.

In the USA, apart from Dwayne’s , the aforementioned specialist companies, with the exception of Kodachrome 40, usually develop the films that they have made up on request. Rocky Mountains Lab is also a general photography laboratory that develops historical film emulsions for the customer, mostly at great expense and expense, including some that existed for Super 8; Besides Dwayne’s , it is also the only one in the world that can develop Kodak’s own Kodachrome emulsions (Kodachrome II from 1935, Kodachrome 25), but unlike Dwayne’s only as black and white film, so that the only reason to contact is due to the great amount of time and money involved of Rocky Mountain Lab is to develop different footage than the K40.

With the exception of the Kodachrome, you can also process almost all Super 8 films yourself. Color films form dyes with commercially available, readily available E-6 chemistry, which are not necessarily type-appropriate, which is not so important or may even be desirable with material that is usually massively overlaid anyway. All black and white films available on the market (and no longer available) can be developed into black and white positive films using the reverse kit from Foma, which is also easy to obtain. To develop Super 8 films yourself, you need a darkroom, a little patience or a willingness to experiment and a suitable developing tank that can hold the 15 m long films in addition to the chemistry.

Scanning and digitization

The digital revolution doesn't stop at Super 8 either. Contrary to popular belief, the format is even benefiting from the increasing digitization of moving images, not least because, on the one hand, the easier handling of your own moving pictures since the introduction of the camcorder in the early 1980s and, on the other hand (albeit to a lesser extent, the Super-8 -Preparation detrimental, since the majority of consumers had long since migrated to video) an almost TV-like quality has moved into consumer households by means of MiniDV , and thus these reasons for the decline in Super 8 filming have long had an impact.

The advantages of scanning and digitizing Super-8 films, especially for younger filmmakers, are much easier to handle, more manageable costs (compared to 16 mm and 35 mm), editing and other visual manipulation possibilities of the material, although the Quality advantages of film compared to video (including larger color, contrast and latency range without abrupt burnout, ie "overturning" the values ​​up or down for light and dark parts of the image, progressive full-image recording with lower shutter speed, higher resolution than PAL-SD video, as well as specific aesthetic characteristics of individual film emulsions) are retained undiminished at lower costs than with larger film formats.

In addition, scanning is required for the vision negative films introduced by Kodak in the 1990s especially for the Super 8 professional sector, which are now in the second, improved generation, and which cannot be projected but were developed specifically for digital scanning and therefore have a gamut of color and contrast that is easier to capture for video than traditional reversal material. Wittner Kinotechnik now also offers a number of other negative films from Kodak, Fuji and Pro8mm for the same Super 8 professional market segment.

Super 8 can be scanned to any analog or digital video format and in the subsequent digital processing it shows its clear advantages over original video material to the full.

According to Kodak, in order to scan a Super 8 image to the maximum extent using the format's own resolution, a scanning resolution of around 140 pixels / mm, corresponding to 3600 dpi, is required, so that a resolution of up to 1,120 image lines is possible. Super 8 is therefore not only suitable for PAL , but also for HD; Of course, the quality of every single shot, but also with Super 8, is based on the quality of the equipment used and the ability of the individual cameraman to use and handle it correctly.

It must be noted that HD is a widescreen format with an aspect ratio of 16: 9. This means that the film in the Telecine on HD is effectively cut off at the top and bottom, or there are black bars on the sides. To avoid these bars when playing back on a 16: 9 TV monitor, the picture can be stretched optically.

For these reasons, which also include the shift in the Super 8 market away from the amateur reversal to the professional negative area, which has been observed since the late 1990s, a decline in actual analog projection of Super 8 can be observed, so that the Be - and processing of filmed films as well as the consumption of Super 8 are increasingly shifted to televisions, computer screens and digital projection.

Professional scanning ( telecine or telecining ) must be strictly separated from the simple filming of Super 8 films , precisely because of the currently confusing market situation .

With simple filming , the film is usually projected onto a screen, room wall (hence the common term off-the-wall transfer for filming ) or a piece of paper, in order to then be simply filmed with an electronic camera . This process is responsible for a large part of the rumors circulating about the allegedly poor quality of the Super 8 format:

  • Since the image speed of the projector and the camera run completely separately and asynchronously, there are rapid, strong fluctuations in brightness, the notorious flicker ,
  • For optical reasons, the video result shows a strong darkening towards the edges and a much too high brightness in the center of the picture (the lamp characteristics of the projector become visible afterwards), which creates the so-called hotspot ,
  • the mostly fully automatically operated camera does not cope with changes in the brightness in the image (e.g. by panning the camera),
  • the autofocus is often misaligned, which leads to serious blurring ,
  • The fluctuating automatic white balance behaves similarly to the auto focus and the auto aperture ,
  • finally, any dirt and hair currently on the film is reproduced.

For these serious technical reasons, to which there are a few more (such as axis shift due to the position of the camera in relation to the projector), a professional scanning of Super 8 films is to be preferred, which is with devices other than analog projectors, i.e. H. works with professional film scanners and is usually available for 1–4 euros per film minute including prior cleaning.

Various methods can be used for cleaning:

  • Dry cleaning with microfiber cloth: The easiest way to clean the film. The film is inserted into the projector and cleaned in rewind mode (moderate speed) using a microfiber cloth.
  • Damp cleaning: On the one hand, pure isopropanol (99%) is used. In the case of aqueous solutions, drip-free and dust-free drying must be ensured. On the other hand, special means are used that can improve subsequent scanning by compensating for small scratches.
  • Film cleaning machines: work with a film cleaning tape or ultrasonic cleaning.

However, since the market, as mentioned, is not currently transparent, the advertising offers in this area usually do not say much even when the word scanning itself is actually mentioned. With mostly superficial descriptions of their procedures, providers often simply refer to the technology of their video camera with which they film projected films. B. LCD or lens characteristics are discussed.

Special skepticism is appropriate for offers in which providers want to justify the result of their services in advance by saying that Super 8 is lower quality, for example a lower resolution, than self-recorded VHS (which only reaches up to 300 image lines) or video in general.

In addition to scanning, there is also another method of digitizing narrow films (Super 8, Single 8, Normal 8, Double 8). This is the recording of the film in short sections using a high-quality flatbed scanner (at least 3600 dpi optical resolution and a dMax of at least 3.2, better 3.6 or 4.0). The individual images from which the video is then created are then obtained from these film strips by means of a program. This procedure brings very good results and is suitable to be carried out by amateurs in the home procedure, although it requires a relatively high expenditure of time, which is justified by the results. The procedure is described in detail.


  • Uwe Ney: Modern Narrow Film Practice. Falken Verlag, 1977, ISBN 3-8068-4043-1 .
  • Jürgen Lossau: Film cameras - The international standard work. Atoll Medien, 2000, ISBN 3-9807235-1-8 . (Bilingual (German and English), large splendid volume with many illustrations, contains, in addition to the very enjoyable to read company histories of all large and many not so large manufacturers, a list of all models ever made for Normal8, Super8, double Super8, 16 mm and 9 , 5 mm including technical properties)
  • Jürgen Lossau: The film camera catalog. Atoll Medien, 2003, ISBN 3-9807235-3-4 . (Contains only recent findings in the company section, but an expanded paperback version of film cameras in the list section)
  • Fridolin Schley : The Eighth World: fifty years of Super 8 . Edition Braus, Berlin 2014. ISBN 978-3-86228-098-8 (essay and film stills)

Web links

Commons : Super 8  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The return of the Super 8 film on
  2. ^ The manufacturer's website at the beginning of 2004 ... ( memento of January 26, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) ... and end of 2006 ( memento of September 16, 2006 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. "Fujica ZS400" . Muddy Orihara's website. Retrieved January 18, 2011.