Why is your Super 8 camera not automatically over exposing by 1 to 2 stops?

Consider my lovely Nizo 561 Macro.

At 24fps the shutter speed will be 1/60s

And at 24fps with 200ASA Tri-X in the camera and on a sunny day the f-stop is about f/16 (I just checked this).

So the Sunny 16 rule says to correctly expose a sunny scene with 200ASA film, we need f/16 @ shutter speed 1/250s and this is 2 stops under what my Nizo is actually doing, f/16 @ shutter speed 1/60s.

I’ve been puzzling over this and I think Ive found the answer in the November 1975 edition of American Cinematographer which I found on this webpage about Super 8 Sound.

On page 1255, The Case Against Professional Super-8, it says,

A Super-8 camera/lens using the beam-splitter system will lose better than one stop and sometimes as much as two stops in the lens/finder optics.

and thats it!

The two stops are lost in the viewfinder which splits off some light so you can see whats going on, and also in the optics and the light-meter.

So if your manually setting the f-stop on your Super 8 camera, you may well have to add between 1 and 2 stops to your f-stop to get an adequate exposure.


I’ve found this note on bracketing the above effect on the nano lab website.

Experiments In Exposure Value

Ive been playing with exposure value over the last month or so.

With a knowledge of the exposure value of a scene, you don’t need a light-meter to work out a good exposure.

I took the test shots below at night next to our local train track under sodium street lighting.

Interview With Me On The Awesome “no entry fee festivals” Blog

Ive been interviewed on the no entry fee festivals blog.

The no entry fee festivals is a blog listing film festivals from across the world, that have no submission fee to enter! Its a fantastic idea and everybody at Cambridge Cinema Shorts wishes them the best of luck.