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Regular 8mm Projector Recommendations for Archival Film Screening

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  • Regular 8mm Projector Recommendations for Archival Film Screening

    I am looking for advice as to which make and model of regular 8mm projector would be best suited for a public screening of archival 8mm film. The films in question are not only archival, but they are valued works of art and should be presented in their orignal form.

    To be clear, these films are preserved at another institution. Negatives and intermediates are therefore in safekeeping. They have already been professionally digitized, a process supervised by the artist and/or the estate. We are not planning to fill a theatrical theater screen. We understand that the audience will be smaller and more intimate.

    Naturally, I would like a bright image, a simple threading path, and reliability.

    For these reasons, I am less interested in Dual 8 projectors that could switch between Regular 8 and Super 8. Similarly, I would rather avoid sound projectors. Nevertheless, I realize that these more recent projectors benefit from decades of engineering improvements and can be quieter.

    One model that I am considering is the Kodak Brownie 300 which has a 300 W lamp and a simple threading pattern. I find the plasic guards on the single drive sprocket a little flimsy, though.

    The other model is the Bolex M8. Which is older, but more solid. The bulb is brighter at 500W. I am not a fan of the wire resistor present in some models that functions as a transformer. You can see it here: Bolex Collector | Projectors | M-8

    I have also received recommendations for the Bolex 18-3 Duo, the Eumig 822, and Elmo.

    I would appreciate your feedback on my reasoning as well as opinions and suggestions for these and other regular 8 mm projectors.

  • #2
    Hello Brian and welcome to the forum. Just a precision : the number of watts of the bulb doesn't make everything for the brightness : the kind of lamps is important, as is the lens and the design of the projector.


    • #3
      A projector using a halogen lamp is going to give you a much whiter light than projectors using incandescent lamps. I believe you would need a machine using 12 volt 100 watt halogen lamps that are about the best and brightest that were offered for the home market as far as standard 8mm film is concerned. A faster lens helps too with brightness. The lower the f number on the lens will give you a brighter image. For example a lens that is marked as f 1,0 is going to be much brighter than one marked f 1,6.

      You mentioned that there would be an audience but what you didn't mention is what size of image you are expecting to project onto a screen. There are limits on how large you can project 8mm film and still perceive sharpness of image, which means the audience will have to be moved further back from the screen as the image size increases to keep the illusion of sharpness. And also the larger the image the more powerful the projector lamp will need to be or the image will apear dim on screen. It is for that reason that projectors designed for use in homes are not very good for use in large halls without major modifications that use much more powerful lamps. Also without a truly dark room that has any ambient light while projecting will further reduce the perceived contrast of the image.

      The above mentioned things should be considered in addition to what projector you decide to use.


      • #4
        I recommend the later Eumig P8 projectors as these use lamps that are still available at a reasonable price.
        Here is one such model. it also has a zoom lens.
        Vintage EUMIG P8 Automatic 8mm MOVIE FILM PROJECTOR w/ Box Not tested | eBay


        • #5
          You should also bear in mind that whatever you buy, will need to be spotlessly clean and very well maintained, meaning that some work will most likely be required in all areas.
          Even then is quite likely the machine will run quite slowly when it is first turned on (each time), like the P8 mentioned above, so that would need to be factored in.
          The third important thing to bear in mind is who operates it. Its quite easy for someone with no experience of handling film, to totally destroy it within seconds, with no second chance on offer.


          • #6
            Yea, what Maurice linked to would be perfect for showing silent film. It uses the very bright FCR 12 volt 100 watt lamps that are very inexpensive and are still being manufactured. And the added plus is that this machine is equiped with a faster f 1,3 lens than many other older machines, which translates into more light on the screen. But most importantly is Eumig machines are well known for NOT scratching film!


            • #7
              Originally posted by Martin Davey View Post
              ...some work will most likely be required in all areas...

              I agree with Martin. The P8 will no doubt need a new motor drive belt and general lubrication.

              I can recommend a printed Instruction Book from Oldtimer Cameras. I have used them for years and their work is very good. You will see that they can also offer a printed copy of the Repair Manual. These are printed on paper and are not any kind of download to your computer.

              Eumig P 8 Automatic Printed Manual (

              HLX 64625 FCR 12V 100W GY6.35 Osram – specialist lighting online (


              • #8
                A Eumig 610D would be my choice. Very gentle on film. Mine has never damaged a single frame. There is a Lux version with a faster lens if you can find one.


                • #9
                  If buying online request the sender pack the inside of the case in Maurices link and pack underneath so that the feet don't cause impact. Double box with the lable the same way up as the projector!
                  Check facebook for a local one you can collect and see running.
                  Good luck.


                  • #10
                    Thanks, everyone. This gives me a lot to go on. You have thought of everything from transportation, maintenance, and documentation to the theatrical set up. The comments about bulb type and lens speed are useful, too.


                    • #11
                      Still 2 unanswered (and VERY important) questions.
                      - How many audience expected to attend?
                      - What's the screen size? More info about the viewing condition would be very useful also.

                      Most, if not all, regular/dual 8 projectors were designed for home viewing. That translates to 3-5ft screen for no more than 5-10 people. That could be stretched to 5-10ft max screen size (and in ideal viewing condition) for 50 people - a very stretched condition. May have to keep this in mind too.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for reminding me of those questions, Nantawat. I will get back to you soon with specifics.

                        In the meantime, does anyone have experience with the Eumig Mark 8? It has the 12 V 100 W bulb that Joseph mentioned and an Austrovar f 1,4 lens f=15-25.


                        • #13
                          Another question should perhaps be what is the type of showing/event? I think what I mean is, would an old silent projector with all its antique looks, be more aestetic for showing historic films and become part of the show itself, rather than say a square plastic box? Is the film the show or is the show the show?

                          The old silent projectors have very little to go wrong, they were designed to do this job and still do it well. However the older machines tend to have a fair bit of glass in the light path, Reflectors, Condensors, Lenses,Heat Filters etc. Once this glass is removed, the 30-40 years of smoke detritus etc removed and the cleaned glass replaced, the lamp cleaned and the hotspot set correctly, projector suddenly becomes as bright at is was designed to be. For instance some of the Specto 500 w and 750 w machines have about 6 individual pieces of glass between the lamp and screen most of which is ignored during normal cleaning.

                          I am not too much of a fan the later Eumigs, that is my own view I would like to point out, Its just not what I personally want from a projector although some of the older models, the P3 P25 & P26 I do have and am happy with them. The Spectos I like, solid reliable machines, I also like Paillard Bolex G816's, great engineering throughout. Have you thought of the Bolex 18-5 Silent 8mm machine.

                          Of course the old favourites such as the Kodascope Model C (Hand and motor cranked) and the Kodascope Model D are still out there. Lot of those hard working well engineered machines still around to choose from.


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                          • #14
                            It's a dual gauges projector so you have to make sure the standard/regular 8 parts are not missing.


                            • #15
                              Like Dominique pointed out make sure the gate and sprockets are there for standard 8 as this machine is indeed a dual 8 machine. Also make sure it is running as this series uses the notorious friction drive system, which means there are no drive belts. But it is usually pretty easy to get them running after replacing the often cracked or disintegrated motor mounts which are available or can be made pretty easily. There are many postings here on this forum regarding that problem and the fix so I won't go into that.

                              The Eumig Mark is very close to a dedicated machine once you swap out the gate and sprockets for standard 8. But since it is a dual 8 machine there will be just a single pin on the claw instead of two which probably won't affect you much if your film has no damage to the sprocket holes.

                              I like that particular lens you mentioned and prefer it to the slightly faster and more standard f 1,3 zoom lens that Eumig often used. I mentioned that screw type f 1,4 zoom lens recently here on this forum as being a favorite of mine. I like the very white light it projects and the excellent contrast it produces...a highly underrated lens in my opinion!