Canon Zoom DS-8

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Canon Zoom DS-8

Double Super 8

Year: 1970

Type Double Super 8 type 8mm movie camera
Image Size 4.2 x 5.7 mm (Projection image size: 4 x 5.4mm)
Film Double width 100 ft. (30.5 m) Super 8 film
Lens Focal Length/Speed 7.5 - 60mm f/1.4 (18 elements in 13 groups, including 6 new type glass elements). Inner diameter: 58 mm, outer diameter: 65 mm. Mixed coating of amber, magenta and purple including multi-layer coating. Built-in lens hood.
Zooming Ratio 8x
Focusing Manual (Front lens group rotating method), 1.2 m to infinity
Zooming Manual zooming with zooming lever with rotation angle of 100 degrees.
Filter Size 58 mm
Viewfinder Type Single-lens reflex type, eyepiece shutter to prevent reverse incoming stray light. Two viewfinder eyecups.
Rangefinder Split-image rangefinder
Dioptric Adjustment -5 to +4 diopter
Viewfinder Information Aperture value, exposure meter needle, over/under exposure warnings, manual aperture mark
Exposure Control Type EE mechanism of fully automatic aperture control with servo motor control (iris aperture)
Exposure Meter Non-TTL outside CdS exposure meter. Light measuring angle: Vertical; 12 degrees, horizontal; 21 degrees
Metering Range Entire range of ISO 320 f/1.4, 12 fps - ISO 10 f/22, 54 fps
Film Speed ISO 10 - 320 (DIN 11 - 26) in 1/3 stop increments
Exposure Factor Compensation Four steps of 1, 2, 4 and 8x
CCA Filter None
Manual Aperture Setting Manual aperture setting is possible with master switch setting and manual ring rotation. "M" mark is indicated in the viewfinder.
Film Drive Type Power Filming
Film Loading Semi-automatic loading by power in which the film is inserted into the guide.
Filming Speed 12, 18, 24, 36, 54 fps and single frame
Power Source Eight AA alkaline or manganese batteries (contained in the battery magazine). Used for both exposure control and film drive. Sufficient power for approx. 10 film cartridges under normal temperature at 18 fps.
External battery box: Alkaline, manganese or nickel cadmium batteries adaptable.
Footage Counter Footage counter and zero position adjustable frame counter. Rotates in forward and reverse directions according to film transportation direction.
The frame counter indicates 72 frames (one foot) with every one rotation. Able to count up to the single frame. Automatic reset by opening of the side cover.
Battery Check Push button checking
Rewinding Mechanism Power rewinding. Depress the shutter button while setting the variable shutter control lever at "R". Overlap shooting possible with rewinding operation.
Shutter Shutter Opening Consecutively variable for 0 - 165 degrees. The variable shutter control lever positions of CLOSE, 4, 2 and OPEN set shutter opening of 0, 41.25, 82.5, 165 degrees respectively. Fading out is possible moving the lever towards CLOSE position.
Running Lock Possible with the lock ring
Sockets Three sockets for single frame, remote control and tape recorder
Remote Control Possible with remote switch
Others Built-in grip, two tripod sockets, built-in film cutter
Dimensions (W x H x D) 103 x 227 x 268 mm
Weight 3225 g (Body only), 3370 g (With batteries)

Made in Japan

Instruction manual: Canon DS-8 instruction manual on

Service manual: Canon DS-8 service manual

Original price in England (in the year of introduction): £382 Original price in Japan: 200,000 yen

Value: US$450 11/1999 private sale, US$810 02/2005 eBay, US$250 07/2005 eBay.



Technical specs from the Canon Museum: The Super 8 magazine developed by Eastman Kodak was a revolution in 8mm movie cameras because of its easy film loading. However, it could not satisfy requirements from professional photographers, who demanded Kodachrome film for conventional regular 8. Kodak introduced double-width 100-ft Super 8 film on a reel for professional use under the name DS-8.

The Zoom DS-8, developed to adapt to this new film, used the outer design of the 16mm Canon Scoopic camera for journalistic use, which had an ideal human-engineering design. This model had the shape of the Scoopic, but the contents were totally new. Film transportation with sprockets, variable shutter opening angle, Servo EE were applied to this model, achieving a serious 8mm movie camera with full specifications and high durability for use in the media, academic and industrial fields.

The zoom lens was based on that of the Auto Zoom 814 Super 8 marketed in 1967.


by geoval[edit]

In 1965 Kodak introduced double-width 100-ft Super 8 film on a reel for professional use under the name DS-8. Canon quickly adapted their pro Canon Scoopic 16mm camera for the new format and released it in 1970 as the Canon Zoom DS8. Inexplicably Canon hastily fitted this truly professional camera with what amounted to an enhanced version of the same 7.5 - 60mm f/1.4 lens that came with the consumer Canon Auto Zoom 814. Not a bad lens, mind you, but not world class performer either. So what makes this Super 8 tops? A professional built-in pressure plate for the steadiest images of any Super 8 camera I have ever tested! The lens may not be the sharpest of the bunch but the rock steady registration more than makes up for it. The Canon DS8 is built like a tank. You can go to war with it. But it’s quite heavy so bring a tripod. Canon DS8s are a little more expensive but they can save you money in the long run because one DS8 100’ daylight load equals four 50” Super 8 carts. Spectra sells 100’ DS8 daylight loads of Ektachrome 100D for $45 and processing at .45 per foot. That’s approximately a $50 savings. Do the math - geoval.

A Review from 2016[edit]

This is kind of an odd beast. It has the extended speed range of the later canon scoopics, but the same door/battery pinout design of the earlier canon scoopics. Unique to this camera however is the fully variable shutter, ability to put the camera in full reverse, that it has a tape recorder sync socket, and the fact that it takes standard AA batteries instead of the lithium ion cells. The lens is based off the Canon 814 E lens, so it is pretty good; it's sharp even at f1.4 and it gives really nice contrast in low-key lighting. I don't like the run-lock switch, I prefer the run-lock button on the later Scoopic models. Perhaps the nicest part of this camera is the solid registration, which will always enhance the quality your movies. It's a fairly rare camera, perhaps not as rare as a Sound Scoopic 200, but you may see 1 or 2 come up on Ebay per/year. The big question is, is it worth it to buy this camera over a Scoopic M/MS because you can run more film through it at 1/2 the price? I say no because I want quality > quantity. If you have the option of owning both though, go for it. It's a beautiful machine, take it to a film festival and you will be much the envy of Super8 and 16mm shooters.

eBay Auctions[edit]