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CES 2018: Kodak Previews the Super 8 Camera

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When I got to CES, the last brand I thought would constantly surprise me was Kodak. The past few years have certainly been tough for the once renowned film manufacturer, but this year signaled the company is quickly getting back into the latest tech. This is evident in the release of new 360-degree cameras and even a brand new cryptocurrency called KODAKCoin. The manufacturer is definitely still feeling its roots, however, because its brand new Super 8 Camera is slated to hit the market very soon, showing off the company's long-standing skills in bringing photography and filmmaking to the masses.

The camera has been built from the ground up, for modern filmmakers who could've grown up with Super 8 movies or who have never seen a roll of film in their life. The gate has been redesigned to create a closer to 16:9 format that fits the ratio of most TVs these days. Also, it features a large flip-out LCD screen that makes it easy to change settings, and will even display a live view of your image since the camera is equipped with an image sensor to help you compose your shots. I must say after getting my hands on the camera that it feels great, and slightly reminiscent of the Bolex I used for some of my first films, albeit with many modern touches.

One of its upgrades is the ability to capture audio with the camera and save it to an SD card. The camera will also save data to make it easier to sync up later. There is a standard C lens mount, making it compatible with a range of glass, and there are rumors of new lenses being made available, as well.

What would a Kodak Camera be with Kodak film? Kodak is still producing many popular film stocks, including Tri-X black-and-white reversal and a variety of color negatives. One other stock is on the horizon, as well. Though not exactly new, Ektachrome is coming back soon, and will be available in the Super 8 format. Kodak was famous for making still photography accessible to the public by taking care of the hard stuff that is film processing and printing. This Super 8 revival fits into that legacy nicely because filmmakers will be able to purchase all-inclusive kits that include the film, and a mailer to send it off to a lab. The lab then handles the processing and scanning and you will receive a digital copy and your processed roll of film shortly after.

I am certain more information will be made available in the coming months—be sure to follow B&H Explora so you can be the first on your block to get your hands on a Super 8 Camera. Do you have any questions about the Super 8 Camera or format? Please let us know in the Comments section, below.

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Digital resolution after scan? Price? Operation cost? All big factors as to whether the return to Super 8mm film is feasible, practical, or just a way to get a sub-par film look at an astronomical price. First reports of cost for camera in the $2000-$3000 range is a killer factor before the camera gets out of the box. 50 feet of Super 8mm film gives you room for 3600 frames. At 18 fps that gives you 200 seconds per role - at 24 fps 150 seconds. Current market price of a 50' cartridge is around $38 without processing (1¢ per frame). Rumor has it that Kodak's 'the works' package (film, processing, digitizing) will exceed $75 (more than 2¢ per frame, 48¢ per second @ 24fps, 36¢ per second @ 18fps) plus you'll have to add into it shipping costs. Like inkjet printers, they could afford to give the camera (printer) away and live off the price of the film (ink). Though I would love to see Super 8mm come back - so far it looks far beyond my reach and I'm afraid 99.9% of the potential market. Being in the scanning business I scan Super 8 film and know that a properly exposed roll of film can look excellent but I also know that transferring from film to digital requires special procedures beyond just a straight scan. At best the market for using Super 8 is very small in the first place but putting it into a Rolls Royce price category will not help Kodak rise from its economical slump but will likely add another failure towards their doom.

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