Kodak's long-awaited "new" Super 8 film camera finally reaches production
Almost seven years ago, Kodak announced that it would soon be offering a digitally enabled movie camera that shot on good ol' analog Super 8-mm film. Well, it's taken a while, but prospective buyers can now reserve a Kodak Super 8 Camera of their very own.
A prototype version of the aluminum-bodied camera was first unveiled at CES back in January of 2016. At the time, it was touted as being Kodak's first new Super 8 camera in over 30 years. The company stated that it would likely be available by the end of the year … which turned out not to be the case.
"Initial announcement of the Kodak Super 8 Camera garnered even more interest and excitement than anticipated, requiring a pivot to identify the right development and manufacturing partners to scale the camera," Eastman Kodak's Director of Worldwide Communications, Kurt Jaeckel, told us.
"Then, amidst the global pandemic, Kodak had to pause the camera program. Kodak has remained committed to delivering a new camera to our dedicated customers, ultimately bringing its manufacture in-house."
The resulting commercial version of the camera is much like the prototype, in that it records on traditional-style cartridges that each hold 50 ft (15 m) of celluloid analog film – enough for about three minutes of footage – but it also features a new-fangled flip-out touchscreen LCD viewfinder. Besides being utilized to line up shots, that 4-inch screen also allows users to overlay different aspect ratios, view integrated light meter readings, adjust camera settings via onscreen menus, and monitor audio levels.
Speaking of which, audio is recorded separately on a user-supplied SD card, via a third-party hard-wired external microphone. Once the film footage has been processed and converted to digital video format, it can be synced with the audio in the editing process.
Included with the Super 8 Camera is a detachable wide-angle 6-mm 1:1.2 C-mount lens – other C-mount lenses can be swapped in as desired.
As an added bonus, the camera's extended film gate allows for a frame that is 11% larger than those of old-school Super 8 cameras. This means that users can choose to shoot at a 16:9 aspect ratio, so their shots will be the same size as those recorded by modern HD digital video cameras. And thanks to an onboard HDMI port, shots can be viewed on a connected monitor – along with on the LCD viewfinder.
One big thing that has changed since 2016 is pricing. Whereas the camera was originally planned to sell for about US$1,000 (with a lower-priced $400 to $700 version to follow), it will now set you back $5,495. That price does include a foam-padded Pelican carrying case, a detachable pistol grip with a trigger, and one cartridge of Kodak Tri-X black and white reversal film.
Should you still be interested, you can reserve a package for yourself via the product website. A report on The Verge states that the camera should go on sale in the US – in limited quantities – as of Dec. 4th.
You can see footage shot with the Kodak Super 8 Camera, in the video below.