First impressions of the Kodak Super 8 film camera
The Kodak Super 8 camera was first teased in 2016, promising to mix new tech with the old. For eight long years, all we got were small bits of information regarding this strange camera. Now, we finally have our first look at the Kodak Super 8, thanks to the good folks at B&H. This is an interesting camera, but I wonder if it’s worth the $5,495 price tag.
The Kodak Super 8 camera
The Kodak Super 8 camera isn’t your traditional Super 8 camera; and it is almost a Franken-camera hybrid combining old and new features. While the heart of the camera is still a film cartridge, this Super-8 has many modern features: it features a 4-inch LCD screen that doubles as a live-view monitor and a menu system. It even lets you record audio digitally to an SD card. You can almost forget the actual video recording is based on analog technology from 1965. A 2024 release does mean that it runs on rechargeable (and replaceable) batteries.
Kodak made sure that using film would be easier than ever on the Super 8 camera. You load the camera with pre-wound cartridges, so there is no need for a dark room or a loading bag. Each cartridge is packed with 50ft of Kodak’s own high-grade film, and there are currently five available film stocks:
- VISION3 50D / 7203
- VISION3 200T / 7213
- VISION3 500T / 7219
- TRI-X 7266
- EKTACHROME 100D
Here is a short video that explains the different types of film that you can use on the Super 8.
The Extended Super 8 film format
One interesting detail about the film recording in the Kodak Super 8 is that it’s recording in a larger format than typical Super 8 cameras. Even though the film keeps the Super 8, traditional Super 8 cameras had to utilize a portion of the film to store audio data. The Kodak Super 8, on the other hand, records audio to an SD card, and that allows you to record a slightly larger image on the film itself. This extended image is about 11% larger than normal Super 8, so Kodak dubbed it “Extended Super 8”.
Here is some footage taken with the Super 8, where you can see this format. I have not decided yet if I like it or not, but it will definitely be more convenient if you plan to scan the film and share the footage on modern devices, as it is closer to a 16 by 9 ratio than a standard Super 8 capture.
The Kodak Super 8 comes with an included 6mm f/1.2 C-mount lens from Kodak. The crop factor on standard Super 8 film is about 6.2x, so the kit lens is equivalent to a 37mm lens on a full-frame sensor. That said, the small gate and tiny c-mount make it pretty easy to swap lenses.
Modern features on an analog camera
The LCD display on the Kodak Super 8 camera does exactly what you would expect from an LCD on a camera, but that’s precisely why it is so weird. The Super 8, as its name suggests, is a Super 8 film camera, not a digital one. To get a live image displayed on the monitor, you can’t just connect the monitor to the film; of course, that wouldn’t do anything. Instead, Kodak implemented a CMOS sensor within the camera that shoots a “screening” of the image on frosted glass. You can think of it as a separate, idle digital camera within your film camera. The tradeoff is that the monitor will display the slight pattern that you’d get from shooting frosted glass.
Here is how B&H explains it: When light passes through the lens, it is bypassed and then projected onto a frosted ground glass, and only then does the CMOS sensor capture the light. This design allows you to see what the image would look like, even when there is no film inside the camera. The only downside is that the digital image is damaged due to this complex path, showing an unchangeable texture in the digital preview. Not that it really matters, as you aren’t actually recording to the CMOS sensor but onto the film.
Lastly, when you’re filming, the LCD keeps you informed of your film counter, cartridge number, frame rate, battery life, and even an integrated light meter to adjust your exposure properly. Hey, wait, most of these sound like the info you would find on a digital camera LCD!
Kodak Super 8 – somehow, an HDMI port on a film camera
Honestly, the weirdest thing about the CMOS sensor is that it enabled Kodak to include an HDMI port on the camera. Well, a micro-HDMI port. For any other piece of gear, I’d probably complain about the existence of a non-full-size HDMI Port. But here, a better question would be, “Why does a Super 8 has an HDMI port at all? It’s a film camera, after all”. (I know that It’s there to attach a monitor, sure, but it’s wild to think that a film camera would have an HDMI port). So let me ask you this: which one is weirder? Having an HDMI port on a film camera or crafting a special beer specifically to develop 8mm film.
Kodak Super 8 specs
|Kodak Super 8 Cartridges (50′ / 15 m)
|Extended Super 8 (6.3 x 4.2 mm)
|18, 24, 25, 36 fps
Crystal Sync on 24 and 25 fps
|6mm f/1.2 (C Mount)
|Minimum: 11 mm
|Built-In Light Meter
|10.2 cm Articulating LCD Touchscreen
|Memory Card Slot
|1 x SD/SDHC (Up to 32GB)
|Inputs / Outputs
1 x Micro-USB (Charging Only) Female Input
1x Micro-HDMI Output
1x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm Line Input
1x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm Mic Input
1x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm Headphone Output
|1x Internal Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
|Bottom: 1 x 1/4″-20 Female
|Material of Construction
|175 x 175 x 82 mm (Without Lens & Pistol Grip)
|1430 g (with Lens and Battery & Without Pistol Grip)
Price and availability
After a long wait, you can finally purchase the Kodak Super 8 camera. Keep in mind that this camera is more expensive than what you would expect for a Super 8 film camera, with a price tag of $5,495. It comes with a 6mm f/1.2 Lens, a Kodak Tri-X Black and white reversal film cartridge, lens caps, a lens hood, a pistol grip, and a custom case.
Interestingly, if you look back at previous data released from Kodak, the price point increases with every set of new information; in the CES 2016 announcement that we linked above, Kodak estimated $400-$750, and two years later, they were talking about a $2,500-$3,000 price point. And yet, here we are looking at a $5,500 camera