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Film has played a pivotal role in art, entertainment, and culture. Two formats that have significantly contributed to this medium are the 8mm and Super 8 film.

They hold an esteemed place in the timeline of film history and continue to be used by filmmakers and enthusiasts alike. This blog post will delve into the origins, technical specifications, strengths, weaknesses, and practical applications of these two film types.

What is 8mm Film?

A Brief History

8mm film was released to the public by the Kodak Eastman company in 1932. This format, characterized by tiny frames of film eight millimeters wide, was introduced as a more accessible and affordable alternative to the existing 16mm film.

In contrast, Super 8 film made its debut in 1965. Also introduced by Kodak, this format sought to provide an easier, cheaper, and overall better option for home movies. The big reveal of Super 8 came at the World’s Fair and was an immediate hit.

Technical Specifications and Key Differences

The primary difference between 8mm and Super 8 lies in their technical specifications. Both formats have the same film width, but Super 8 has larger frame sizes and smaller perforations, allowing for a larger image area. Furthermore, Super 8 film comes with an oxide strip that allows for synchronized sound, a feature absent in the traditional 8mm format.

8mm film versus Super 8mm film

Strengths and Weaknesses

The strengths of 8mm film lie in its vintage aesthetic and simplicity. Its grainy texture and warm tones can create a sense of nostalgia, making it perfect for projects that aim to capture a retro feel. However, its limitations include the lack of sound and lower image quality compared to modern digital formats.

Super 8, on the other hand, is appreciated for its improved image quality and the addition of sound. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a vintage aesthetic without sacrificing too much on the technical side. However, it was more expensive and less readily available than 8mm film.

Tips for Shooting, Transferring, and Storing 8mm Film

When shooting with either format, it’s crucial to consider lighting conditions, as both require good light to produce clear images. For transferring, professional services are available that can digitize your film. You can also purchase an 8mm film or Super 8 converter and do it yourself. As for storage, keep your films in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to preserve their quality.

Choosing Between 8mm and Super 8

Choosing between 8mm and Super 8 largely depends on your project goals and budget. If you’re after a more authentic vintage look and don’t mind the absence of sound, 8mm is your best bet. However, if you want slightly better image quality and the ability to capture sound, Super 8 might be worth the extra cost.


Both 8mm and Super 8 hold their unique places in film history. Despite the rapid advancements in digital imaging technology, these analog formats continue offering a distinct aesthetic that digital formats need help replicating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do they still make 8mm film?

No, the production of 8mm film was officially discontinued by Eastman Kodak in 1992. However, purchasing 8mm film from private market sources is still possible. You can also find regular/double 8mm and super-8 film kits from online platforms like filmphotographystore.com.

As for the Super 8 film, its production was revived by Kodak in 2017 with the re-introduction of Ektachrome. Despite the discontinuation of Kodachrome, the Super 8 film continues to be available in the Ektachrome format.

So, while digital video has largely replaced 8mm film, there are still opportunities for enthusiasts and professionals to shoot home videos or other projects in these vintage formats.

Are 8mm films worth anything?

The worth of 8mm films can vary significantly depending on various factors. Generally, most 8mm films do not hold a high monetary value. 

However, certain factors can increase the value of these films:

Rarity: Rare films or those with unique content can be more valuable. For example, the 15 most valuable 8mm films of all time have been sold for prices ranging from $29.51 to $170.16.

Condition: The condition of the film and its packaging can also affect its value. A collector on a Disney forum mentioned being willing to pay between $8 and $10 for an original 8mm Steamboat Willie Reel, depending on the condition of the movie and the box.

Content: Films featuring well-known characters or franchises like Disney movies may fetch a higher price.

Market Demand: There is a market for 8mm films, with listings on platforms like eBay and Etsy. The price these films fetch will depend on demand from collectors and enthusiasts.

Transfer to Digital: Some sellers have successfully transferred clips of their 8mm films to digital format and included them in their listings.

While most 8mm films may not be worth much, there are exceptions. If you have 8mm films that you believe could be valuable, it might be worth having them appraised or researching similar items online to gauge potential value.

Does 8mm film have sound?

8mm film, also known as Regular 8, was originally a silent format, meaning it does not have inherent sound capabilities.

However, you might come across some 8mm films with a yellow or rust-colored strip running along the reel next to the film frames. This strip is a magnetic soundtrack that was added after the film was shot, allowing for the addition of sound.

On the other hand, Super 8 film, a later development, initially launched as a silent system as well. But in 1973, a sound-on-film version of Super 8 was released. The film with sound had a magnetic soundtrack that ran along the side of the film, allowing for synchronized audio.

How long does an 8mm film last?

8mm film can last for several decades under ideal storage conditions. It’s estimated that 8mm film can last up to 70 years. However, the exact lifespan of an 8mm film can be subjective, and there’s no guarantee.

Ideal storage conditions usually involve keeping the film in a temperature-controlled, low-humidity environment. If you bought a roll of Super 8 film and stored it in the fridge for about five years, it should still look fine.

Remember, even under ideal conditions, all films degrade over time. If you have old 8mm films with precious memories, it is worth considering having them digitized to preserve them for future generations.

How long does 50 feet of Super 8 film last?

A 50-foot reel of Super 8 film typically lasts approximately 3 to 4 minutes when projected at the standard speed of 18 frames per second (fps).

However, the actual runtime can vary based on the shooting speed. Some Super 8 cameras offer variable shooting speeds, from 12 fps (which extends the runtime) up to 24 fps (which shortens it). For example, at 24 fps, a 50-foot reel would last around 2.5 minutes.

Vincent Croos
About the Author: Vincent Croos

Hola Parceros,

I’m the founder of Aperlust. I enjoy web development and SEO and am into snowboarding and linguistics. In my spare time, you can find me destroying my opponents in chess across the globe.

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