Super 8 camera: Bauer A512

We interrupt your regularly scheduled cowboys to bring you this gear porn post.  As it’s the time of the year when I try to get another short made I’m thinking about super 8 film and cameras again.

I’ve been lusting after one for a while, thanks to Ignacio Benedeti’s blog.  In fact a year ago just after I finally took possession of my S609XL I’d bought one off the ‘bay, but it ended up being broken.  So I kept looking at others waiting for the right deal and finally pulled the trigger.


Say hello to my little friend!

I’m so happy to finally have this one.  It will be going to Andre Egido for CLA and modification, but it is fully functional and ready to shoot.  In fact, it looks like it just came out of the box!  There were a few dusty spots and it’s probably been in someone’s attic since the early ’80s, I don’t think it was used much.


Made in Germany.  Deutschland uber alles!

So what’s different about this model compared so my S609XL?  For starters, it has a slower lens.  Actually from what I’ve read is has a sharper lens.  It’s all metal, and unlike the 609 which was made to a certain price point in Bauer’s Malaysian factory with a lens made in Japan, the A512 was made in their German factory and I’m sure the build quality is second to none.  It has a variable shutter, ostensibly for creating fade ins/outs but can be used as an exposure compensation, or to create some really strange motion if the shutter angle is closed way down, a la Gladiator or Saving Private Ryan.  I won’t be able to take full advantage of that until I get a manual ASA selector installed, but it’s coming at this summer.  The shutter angle is at 150 degrees (sometimes erroneously listed as 180 degrees) so it automatically gives sharper images over any of Bauer’s XL models.  I suppose it would have been nice if they had given us a variable shutter opening to 220 degrees, but I wasn’t asked.  The last interesting feature is an automatic bulb setting for very low light–the camera will expose every frame for as long as it needs to, and changes with the light, allowing for some great timelapse shots at night.

There’s no such thing as a best super 8 camera but this one is another great tool to have for most applications.

Please discuss!

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