Beaulieu 6008S vs. Canon 1014XL vs. Elmo 1012XL

From Super8wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Beaulieu 6008S vs. Canon 1014XL vs. Elmo 1012XL


IT WAS SORTA the tail end (not THE end, though!) of the S-8 golden era, with all sortsa whizz-bang S-8 cameras all trying to out muscle each other in features. So I figured, heck, why not do some real-life comparisons between some o' these cameras?

It so happened that while on vacation in the south of France one year, I was able to pick up a Beaulieu 6008S camera, with the Angénieux 6-90 lens, for about 1/3 of what was being charged for it at the time in the States (as I recall, I paid about $900.00, including haggling). My good friend Chris Law, an excellent cameraman in Western Montana, was the justifiably proud owner of the Elmo 1012XL, and another friend had the top o' the line Canon S-8 camera (the 1014XL, I think).

The test I ran consisted of taking the same convenient Super-8 cartridge, and shooting identical scenes with these three cameras, then projecting the results...(Gaudeamus igitur iuvenes dum sumus-let us rejoice while we are young- cause all to soon, you'll be gettin yerself a REAL job!) What I first noticed is that the Elmo and the Beaulieu footage was virtually identical in "bright-light" conditions, outdoors & sunny. Beautiful, crisp, nice colors and lack of refractions. The Beaulieu's panning motion had a peculiar quality to it, due to its guillotine shutter, and brief exposure time of 1/72 sec, if memory serves. Switching the Beaulieu's shutter to "LL" exposes the frame longer, smoothing the "strob-i-ness" a little. The footage from the Canon in these conditions was very nice too, though it didn't have the 'edge' of sharpness the other two cameras shared. What was a real revelation to me was the low-light test. Same scene, same single 60w light bulb dimly lighting one side of a darker complexioned friend in an otherwise pitch-black basement. Same cartridge of K40. All lenses were way wide open: but the footage from the Beaulieu was almost twice as bright as from the other cameras, and much sharper than either of them! Apparently the pellicle or 'half-mirror' used as a standard in Super-8 cameras to divert light to the viewfinder is using more than 1/3 or 1/2 stop light! So, as far as low-light shooting goes (the bulk of 'small movie' budgets often have the 'lack of enough light' option built in...), the Beaulieu is far n' away the best camera to use, both for focusing in all light conditions, as well as for the images burned onto the film. And since we're talking about a pretty small image-area, every eye-ota of shrapness really shows...

As far as other cameras, I was able to test the Minolta S-8's, very crisp images, good sound. A friend of mine's Bauer 715XL was a real beauty too, though as I recall, there seemed to be a few mechanical problems, sort of like the Nizo I owned for a short while. That Nizo made nice pictures in bright light, though I didn't care for the viewfinder, the grip or the image quality wide open. It too, used to break down on me a little too often. The Beaulieu gave me a few headaches until the factory did a free re-haul and update, after which it performed flawlessly. Of course, it was stolen soon after as well....

By Howard Phillips

Reproduced from with permission