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Camera ASA and FIlm ISO

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  • Camera ASA and FIlm ISO


    Forgive me if this topic has been beat to death previously but I'm having a hard time trying to find any info on this topic. I've started collecting 8mm cameras a couple years ago and I always run into the problem with the ASA setting on the camera being much lower than the sensitivity of the Film currently available.

    Here's a list of the cameras I have and film I've used, or plan to use. So far I have tested 2 of my cameras but I'm having a hard time understanding the fundamentals of ASA/ISO compatibility and how to get the best exposure with todays films.
    • Bell & Howell 134 (1939)
      • No ASA dial. No internal Lightmeter. I've used Fomapan B&W 100 ISO and Color Ektachrome 100D.
      • Mostly good results using the sunny 16 rule and a lightmeter. Some over exposure on sunny days
    • Bolex P3 Zoom Reflex (1964)
      • Light meter broken. Has ASA Dial 5-200. I've used B&W 100 ISO
      • Decent results. Looking forward to testing Color film, Ektachrome 100D
    • Sekonic Elmatic 8 (1960)
      • Light meter functional. ASA max is 40. Has "Haze" filter setting. Tested Fomapan B&W 100 ISO
      • Waiting for it to be developed. Not sure what to expect
    • Auto Carena (1962)
      • No Light Meter. ASA Dial 10-400. NOT TESTED ( I've heard the image quality of this camera is bad )
    • Bauer 88 E (1956)
      • Light meter functional. ASA max is 80. NOT TESTED.
      • Crank speed is inconsistent, gets slower after start. Anyone have experience with this camera?
    • Yaschica 8Elll (1959)
      • Light meter functional. ASA max is 40. NOT TESTED

    I have a couple different film stocks I plan to test with the remaining cameras. The question is what should I keep in mind when using certain films with certain cameras and their limited ASA dial setting?
    • CINE-X ORWO UN54 B&W ( ASA 125 Daylight )
    • Fomapan B&W ( ISO 100 )
    • Color Ektachrome 100D ( ISO 100 )
    • Color Kahl UT18 ( ISO 50 )

    I want to use the CINE-X B&W 125 ASA with my Bauer 88E but it has a maximum of 80 ASA. Will I be over exposing the film or under exposing the film? and how do I compensate to achieve a more even exposure when I dont have ND filters? do i ignore the internal light meter? Should I avoid using that 125 ASA film in this camera? Same question for the Yaschica but I guess seeing the results of the Sekonic film I shot at 40 ASA using B&W Fomapan 100 ISO will give me a general idea of how off my settings or judgement was.

    If anyone can provide some tips and tricks or have any experience with the above cameras I would love to hear your feedback.
    Thanks for reading!

  • #2
    Chris, I would have thought the "ASA problem" was only a super 8 cameras ones since the asa setting is (on most models) automatic when you insert the cartrige (that has a notch recognized by the camera). An independant light meter seems to be a solution to consider in your case, since you have several cameras.


    • #3
      Kodak introduced Super 8 in 1965, so I assume that all your cameras are regular (standard) 8 models which accept double run film on spools.
      There is no difference between ASA and ISO. They are exactly the same as regards film speed.
      I haven't shot any movie film for at least 30 years so very regrettably I can't help with any answers to your questions.
      Last edited by Maurice Leakey; April 23, 2021, 02:48 PM.


      • #4
        I shoot the new Ektachrome 100D (7294) in the Super 8 format about 4 or 5 times a year. I can tell you that with this newest stock it needs a bit more light to expose properly. It seems the box speed of 100 ASA is more like 80 ASA with this filmstock. When shooting with a camera that recognizes the 100 ASA notch I overexpose about 1/2 stop. With cameras that expose this at 160 ASA I overexpose 1 full stop. My results are usually perfect! With standard 8mm cameras it's a bit different I suppose. I can tell you I plan to shoot some of the new Ektachrome in my Bolex P2 with a working meter. I plan to set the exposure dial to 80 ASA. This seems to be the sweet spot with 7294.

        The Bauer 88E will overexpose the B&W 125 ASA film without the use of a ND filter. The difference between 80 ASA and 125 ASA is about 1 1/2 stops I believe. Higher ASA reversal films tend to overexposure and the highlights will get washed out without the use of ND filter. When it comes to aperture settings in the standard 8 and super 8 formats I find sharpness improves when the f stops are below 11. The sweet spot is F 8 in most cases. A 2 stop ND filter does wonders in this regard. I never shoot 100 ASA color film in sunny conditions without one. Even Kodak's Tri-X tends to wash out when not using a ND filter in bright conditions. But when the filter is used for both color and B&W the contrast and exposure is much much nicer. I project "only" when viewing my current home movies so I have a good understanding of what works and what doesn't work with these modern stocks. In the 1950's and 1960's most people were shooting color films at ASA's much lower than what we use today. 25 ASA and 40 ASA was common place, hence why so many standard 8 cameras only meter to say 80 ASA, and in many cases, much lower than that.

        The Yaschica 8Elll should expose the Kahl color film rated at 50 ASA correctly. That's a case were a 40 ASA camera can handle a 50 ASA film stock. Many people expose 50 ASA negative Super 8 film in 40 ASA only cameras with good results. Hope some of this helps. It's really about trial and error and finding out which cameras will work properly with which stocks. But it's also about understanding how film responds to light, etc. As you stated above the Sunny 16 rule works well in most situations but it also depends on your film being used. The old Kodachrome 40 ASA color reversal was great for using the Sunny 16 rule. Modern stocks are a bit more tricky because their that much more sensitive to light. But as I mentioned above the use of a good ND filter goes a long way in producing nice colors and sharpness on screen.


        • #5
          Fantastic insight Shane, thank you very much! I think I get the general idea now. But yes indeed, trial and error has been my process since i started but this becomes expensive. Regular 8 Ektachrome 100D is not cheap. Thankfully i was able to pick up a bunch of Kahl color film before my source ran out. Now I need to find some ND Filters that fit these old lenses!

          Thank you very much for your replies Dominique and Maurice. You are correct these are all standard 8 cine cameras. I prefer them over super 8 primarily because of the build quality. Most super 8 are made of plastic and require batteries. Of course there are a few S8 models i am looking for, like some of the Braun or Canon Super 8 cameras. I really want to find a Bolex 150 Super 8. Such a cool design.

          Thanks everyone!


          • #6
            Chris, yes Regular 8mm Ektachrome is way more expensive than it's Super 8 counterpart. I bought a roll of Regular 8 from the FPP website which was about $60 dollars. Regular 8 is cut down from larger film formats in small batches. Kodak no longer produces Regular 8 film, so it's only from smaller companies like the Film Photography Project. I haven't filmed yet but will some time this Summer. When I started shooting film in the Summer of 2005 I was able to send Super 8 out via Walmart for $4.88. Today processing at Dwayne's photo is $12.00 plus $5.00 for shipping. For a cart of Super 8 Ektachrome it's about $42.00 from the FPP website. Cost has jumped up quite a bit in 16 years. But it's more expensive for companies like Kodak to produce color reversal film. The chemicals alone are quite costly I'm told. For me shooting Super 8 or even Regular 8 is really for special occasions. Vacations, family get together's, etc. The end result though, when shot correctly, is amazing on screen! Friends and family can't believe how cool film looks running on a projector. And it brings back nostalgia for me personally. I remember watching my Uncle's films back in the late 70's and early 80's when I was a small child.
            I'm hoping one day when my son grows up he will see that these films are important to his family legacy. I'll try to start this process when he is old enough to watch Dad thread a projector, etc.
            Last edited by Shane C. Collins; April 24, 2021, 03:02 PM.


            • #7
              I'm sure you are paying for accurate re-perforating more than anything with that Standard 8. You wouldn't want that to be dodgy and have very unsteady pictures.