Super 8 broke onto the scene as an entry-level option for every back-garden film-maker of the 1960s and '70s. However, it soon fell into film-format purgatory when digital film spread throughout both the professional and amateur market as a more dominant preference. And after a long hibernation, it might be making a comeback thanks to a new camera that runs on Super 8.
Digital was the new, smart, sexy format that everyone wanted to use; film was the oft revered and expensive medium, kind of like the sofa in the living room that no one is allowed to sit on but holds huge aesthetic value. Super 8 unfortunately got caught somewhere in between and hasn't seen any new technology in over 30 years. Thanks to a Danish father-son team at Logmar, however, the dream of using hard to process, grainy, Instagram-like film is being kept alive, one negative at a time.
While Super 8 cameras are still around and even used by some professional film-makers, the cameras themselves are often old and rely on functionality that's pretty tenuous due to their age.
Tommy and Lasse, the duo behind Logmar, wanted to develop a relatively affordable camera that could run on Super 8, so they created the Logmar S-8. They were inspired to build a Super 8 camera because technology began to focus purely on digital film capabilities instead of other formats. They took an old Russian 16mm camera, the Krasnogorsk, as their model and expanded on each of its parts, rebuilding them for the modern era. The result is a sleek-looking camera that can produce nostalgia on cue. Although that seems to be the camera's only distinguishable feature. While it is admittedly very cool, I'm not sure if $3,500 (£2,080) is worth a built-in Instagram lens.
The camera is basically a hybrid of analogue and digital as it has all the specs and usability of a modern day camera but simply runs on an old medium. The camera itself also has some impressive hardware, eliminating many of the issues of using old film cameras. And Logmar has made sure to include a nostalgic look and feel to the camera, too, as the S-8 features a real locking claw. To eliminate the risk of fire, the film motor has a sensor that recognises when the film might break or run out, stopping immediately instead of continuing to dry-run.
The sound capture system also received a huge overhaul since the original Super 8 models of the 1970s, making sound recording with the S-8 comparable to most cameras you can find on the market today. The camera's firmware was also given a major update as most Super 8 cameras of yore didn't include a processor. The S-8, however, has an ARM Cortex M3 CPU equipped with all your modern day plugs and connections that make everything from metering to user interface pretty seamless.
And with a built-in pressure plate that prevents the film from jamming, Super 8 stands a chance of once again becoming a film format for the people. However, what's more exciting than the Logmar S-8 itself is the digital trend this may signify: affordable native film cameras made for the film enthusiast, not just big Hollywood blockbusters. [Reframe]