Super-8 cine cameras are very popular with amateur
film-makers. The Beaulieu range includes the only Super-8
cameras to have a C-mount allowing the cameras to accept
a wide range of cine lenses more usually seen on 16 mm.
cine cameras. The cameras typically have an Angenieux
lens which will give excellent performance and the camera
specifications are good.
So why do I dislike them so
The answer is simple - batteries. The
best of the range are the French-made models with
interchangeable lenses, but these require special
rechargeable batteries which are difficult to replace and
which can be very costly. There is no alternative;
standard batteries will not fit. Fully charged, the
batteries are supposed to be good for about 10 films at
18 f.p.s. but this performance is seldom
I understand that there are both
camera repair facilities and replacement battery
suppliers for Beaulieu cameras but I do not know where
they are to be found and, as I have not used any of these
services personally, I cannot make any
Even though I dislike Beaulieu
cameras, I have to admit that many film-makers do use
these cameras and are very happy with their
The Beaulieu cameras
first appear in the UK soon after the introduction of
Super-8. The 2008S is not a sound camera., despite
the 'S' designation. Like all of the Beaulieu cameras, it
has t.t.l. metering and a reflex viewfinder. It offers
speeds from 2 to 50 f.p.s. plus single frame using a
cable release fitted to the single frame socket. Several
lenses were offered and the camera has a variable
shutter; the Angenieux 8 mm. to 64 mm. f/1.9 offers fully
automatic exosure as well; in 1967 the camera with this
lens cost over £320. Alternative lenses include an
Angenieux with semi-automatic exposure and two f/1.8
Schneider Variogon lenses.
In about 1970 the
Beaulieu 2008 was superseded by the 4008ZM. The
specification is very similar to that of the 2008; the
speed range is extended to 70 f.p.s. and the camera has a
power zoom and macro focussing device. With the Angenieux
8 mm. to 64 mm. f/1.9 lens, the 4008ZM cost £475 in
The 4008ZM was soon superseded by a
Mark II version with provision for sync. pulse. In 1971,
this model cost almost £500. Alternative lenses for
this camera were introduced; the Schneider 6 mm. to 66
mm. f/1.8 for example, and the Angenieux 6 mm. to 80 mm.
The 5008S is
a sound camera; it has a similar specification to the
4008ZM but has 8, 18, 24 and 45 f.p.s. Single frame
requires a special accessory. In 1976 it cost over
£800 with the Schnieder lens and over £900 with
the Angenieux lens.
The 3008MS is
another sound camera. It has a Schneider 8 mm. to 50 mm.
f/1.4 zoom lens, and offers 12, 18, 24 and 36 f.p.s.
Single frame requires a special accessory. Unlike the
5008S, the 3008 has a single speed power zoom. In 1977,
it cost almost £700.
Japanese-made Beaulieu to appear in the UK was the
1008XL, a sound camera with a Beaulieu 7 mm. to 45
mm. f/1.2 lens with two-speed power zoom. It gives 9, 18,
24 and 36 f.p.s and single frame. Unlike the French-made
cameras, the 1008XL is powered by six AA batteries housed
in the grip. It has automatic exposure with manual
override (in which case an LED in the viewfinder
illuminates), and fade for both picture and sound. In
1979 it cost about £350.
Compare the price
of the 1008XL with the £900 required to buy the
5008MS, a silent camera with synchronisation
facilities. The 5008MS has a 6 mm. to 70 mm. f/1.4
variable speed power zoom and offers 8, 18, 24 and 45
f.p.s. as well as single frame.
sound camera first appeared in the UK in 1980, when it
cost about £950. It has a 6 mm. to 70 mm. f/1.4 lens
focussing down to 1 cm. using the macro facility. It has
200 ft. film capacity, time-lapse facilities (1 f.p.s., 1
frame every 10 seconds and 1 frame every 30 seconds),
variable shutter and electric reverse wind (up to 90
frames in the standard Super-8 cartridge, the whole film
if using 200 ft. reels). Filming speeds are 4, 9, 18, 24,
36 and 56 f.p.s. The camera will do fades and lap
dissolves, fading sound and picture.
A silent version,
the 6008PRO, appeared the following year with a
very similar specification to the 6008S. Among the
changes, the 6008PRO has an extended range of filming
speeds, with the 56 f.p.s. being replaced by 80 f.p.s.
and a quartz oscillator to control the filming speed.
This camera cost about £775.
This is not an exhaustive list of all
Beaulieu cine cameras; there were other Japanese-made
cameras for example, as well as variations on the main
models which I have not tried to list for the sake of
Note: I like to give price information in both
sterling and American dollars. However, this information
is not always available to me, in which case I use
whichever I can get. I do not convert from one currency
to the other; market conditions vary and camera prices
were often very different in the U.S.A. and Britain, so
conversion would not give an accurate picture.
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