// www.chrisgavin.com: Kodak Super 8, The positive and the negative.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kodak Super 8, The positive and the negative.


Anyone who uses super 8 film these days, might still be reeling from Kodak's double-edged announcement in December 2012. On the same day Kodak announced a NEW super 8 stock would become available (Vision 3 50T negative film); but also that their existing Ektachrome 100D would be withdrawn.

This is a really big deal for people using the format. 100D was the last colour reversal film from Kodak, so now only colour negative films are on offer. This is the end (at least from Kodak) of positive film that can be watched on a projector once processed. It probably doesn't bode well for Straight 8 and similar 'single cartridge' and 8mm festivals either. Undoubtedly colour reversal in super 8 format is the gateway stock (i.e. the cheapest and easiest to process and use) for anybody wanting to try and shoot some real film. It should also be mentioned that all existing cine cameras are rated to work with 100D speed film; very few are rated to work with the film speeds in the Kodak negative range.

Like it or not, anyone who wishes to buy Kodak film from now on will be buying negative film stock. For me, this is new territory, I'll need to find out how my camera might work with this stock. Also, processing and telecine options are greatly reduced too. In short, thanks to Kodak, super 8 just got a whole lot more difficult and inevitably more expensive to use.

There are apparently some advantages to negative film, we should expect better latitude, smaller grain and maybe even sharper pictures; the Vision 3 stock is the very same film used on professional motion picture production in the larger formats. For those willing to persevere (and spend more) there could be image quality benefits to be had.

I've just bought some Kodak 200T negative stock, and I'll try it out, maybe I'll try the new 50T too (when it becomes available here in the UK) but I can't help thinking that this change will on the whole reduce the user-base for super 8 film.

I'm thinking long and hard about the price implications of buying, processing and scanning film. I think this announcement will further hasten the demise of the format, so maybe it's time to enjoy using it while we still can.

What to do? I looked around online for some inspiration, then I found this...

I think this looks pretty sweet... Seems like we have fewer choices now, but just maybe there could be an upside to this negative...

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