Second hand, buyer beware!
In all but the most exceptionally rare cases, your Super 8 camera will be second hand and will have been used before by someone else. Like any piece of complex machinery, a Super 8mm camera needs to be cared for and maintained on a periodic basis. Considering that most Super 8 mm cameras will be in excess of thirty years old, some are bound to be in better condition than others.
Whether buying from a dealer face to face, or buying long distance or via eBay (see below) here are a few fundamentals in making sure you aren’t buying a brick.
- Is it in good external condition?
- Is the battery compartment clean?
- Does the motor work when the trigger is pressed?
- If it has a zoom, does it work?
- When you look through the viewfinder is it clean?
- Is the lens clean and free from mould?
- Does the lightmeter work?
- Does it use standrad batteries
- With the film door open and the motor running, can you see the shutter flickering through the lens?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above, you might have found a good camera. If you can see it for real, all the better. Whilst going to a dealer may be more inconvenient and expensive, you stand a much better chance of getting a good Super 8mm camera that will serve you well.
eBay is a great source of vintage equipment and fantastic bargains can be found for Super 8 cameras. The usual caveat of ‘buyer beware’ applies and with that in mind here are our top eBay camera purchase tips:
- Only buy from those with good feedback, read comments on previous sales
- Focus on sellers who provide good descriptions for their items
- Do not buy anything where functions are said not to work
- If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions
Reburbished, as good as new?
A well repaired or refurbished camera may well yeild results as good as or if not better than the day it was built. Whilst you may pay a premium for such cameras, you will at least have a fully serviced and lubricated machine and if you’re lucky a guarentee as well. Many professionals use such cameras to give them 100% reliability on a shoor where time is literally money. Pro8mm have a number of such rebuilt and refurbished cameras – [click here].
You’ll also need the manual…