I don’t know about you, but I always find it fascinating to see current events shot on old cameras. Whether it’s stills or motion, it’s an interesting insight into how differently it sees the world differently compared to the cameras of today. And on April 20th, 2019, Nick Shirrell saw the world differently when he shot a car race through the viewfinder of a Canon 1218 Super 8 camera from 1968.
The footage includes some fantastic shots, and the old commentary really sells this as an older film. If you weren’t watching closely, you might be forgiven for thinking this was shot longer than just a couple of months ago. Nick writes that it was shot with Kodak 50D and 200T film, and it does make for a pretty cool final look.
The Canon 1218 Auto Zoom was produced from April 1968 until some time in 1974. It featured a 7.5-90mm f/1.8 lens for a 12x zoom. It could shoot at 18 or 24 frames per second and had a street price of £382 when it was introduced to the UK. It weighs around 2kg and is operated by five AA batteries, plus a couple of PX625/PX13 mercury-based batteries for the light meter.
About the camera, Canon writes…
More and more families were enjoying TV around this time. This required lenses for TV cameras to have higher zooming ratios for more powerful zooming and close-up effects. Canon also developed high-zoom TV lenses and started development of a 12x zoom lens to introduce the attractiveness of high magnification zooming to the home movie world. Automatic design using a computer reached the level for actual design work around this time, and Canon used it for the first time for development of this lens. This new technology could achieve a compact and comparatively affordable 12x f/1.8 zoom lens with 19 elements in 13 groups for 8mm movie cameras. A “multi-layer coating” was applied for the first time on an 8mm movie lens, and it could supply high-contrast images.
Although the event is recent, the old tech definitely makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Of course, if you want to have a go at this yourself and don’t want to splash out the ~$350-400 this camera fetches on eBay today, not to mention the cost of acquiring and developing the film, then you can always have try faking an older look in post.
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