Cost-effective digitalization of Super 8 frames

Cost-effective digitalization of Super 8 frames

Various special lenses for 35 mm reflex cameras were offered “at the time” to photograph Super 8 individual images.

With these special macro lenses, the format-filling reproduction of Super 8- and/or 16 mm individual images on 35 mm film was possible. The connection is made via T2 thread adapters to the different camera mounts.

The Rondo Copy-Tube-8 is often offered on the internet
With this product from Fuji, Super 8 and 16mm individual images can be photographed using different long extension tubes and interchangeable film masks. Without a mask and with the 16mm extension tube, two Super 8 frames can be photographed including their sprocket holes (“Open Gate”)

I like to use individual images from Super 8 movies for handouts or movie covers. For editing on the computer with the usual image or layout programs, the analog 35 mm negative or slide is of course suboptimal.

However, when using these lenses on digital cameras with interchangeable lens mounts, there is the following problem: Only with expensive cameras with a full-format sensor, which corresponds in size to the 35 mm format, the film frame is completely captured. For all other digital cameras, only a cut-out magnification of the individual film image is possible with these lenses.

Also, these lenses are quite slow and require strong daylight for reasonably short exposure times.

I was therefore looking for a way to digitally photograph film frames or film strips with a sufficient quality for these purposes, or to be able to publish them on the Internet in a quick and easy way.

As a diehard analog photographer and filmmaker, I don’t own a “decent” digital camera. For a double-digit euro amount, I got the camera body of a slightly older digital SLR camera. In my case, this was a Nikon D100 — Nikon because my T2 adapter is intended for Nikon bayonet.

As a reproduction lens, I use a Hama slide duplicator with zoom magnification option, also available cheaply on the Internet. This duplicator was originally intended to make partial enlargements of 35 mm slides or negatives.

 

The slide mount with a matte glass screen is removed because it is in the way when inserting longer film strips.

An old Meopta enlarger serves as a repro tripod. For this, there used to be a special “repro arm” as accessory, which was screwed on instead of the magnifying head and to which the camera is attached.

The repro mount for Meopta enlargers — bought 20 years ago at “Foto Brenner”

 

As a light desk, I use a new but cheap model from “Dörr”.

Due to the magnifying factor of the duplicator together with the crop factor of the digital camera sensor, in theory, approximately format-filling images of Super 8 individual images are now possible.

Theoretically, because my “trial” setup shows a rather noticeable hot spot as of a zoom factor of about 1.6.

So I leave it with photographed film strips with an magnification to up to three Super 8 single images. It is precisely this series of individual frames in connection with the visible film perforation and possibly edge marks that also express the special aesthetics of the small format film in the still image. This representation seems, in a way, “authentic.”

Resolution is sufficient for publication on the Internet or for use for Handouts/Covers. For good enlargements in photo size, this combination of devices is not quite good enough. Here are a few more examples:

 

3D printed Super 8 cartridge opener

3D printed Super 8 cartridge opener

I opened my first cartridge in daylight with a saw…

Everybody developing Super 8 films on their own sooner or later faces the task of opening the Super 8 cartridge to get the film into the development tank. The latter goes with some practice, the Lomo tank and a turntable in less than 30 seconds. When opening cartridges, opinions differ: Some break the ratchet inside the cartridge by a counterclockwise 360° turn and then pull the film out of the cartridge. Others, (to which I belong) open the cartridge and take the film wind out all over, and load it into the Lomo reel.

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The built-in turntable

The built-in turntable

Everyone who works with the Lomo tanks probably knows the problem of film jamming and improper winding, often leading to double layers, which then do not get developed properly.

Using a turntable has been mentioned many times as a valuable help against these problems, since its much more uniform rotation makes it possible to easily load the Lomo reel within a few seconds.

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