Top Ten 8mm Camcorders/Video Cameras for Recording

There is still much to recommend when it comes to 8mm recorders, the look they give is unique, and for many projects can not only be suitable, but can actually make the project work much better than a pure digital capture route. It is easy today, with the right software, to get that ‘8mm look’ in any of your movies of course, but as good as some are, and they can produce some great effects, there is nothing quite like the real thing for that authentic retro style. So, if we know that a project needs that effect, what is the best choice of camera to use to have that wonderful 8mm look?

1. Sony CCD-TRV57

My number one pick for 8mm camera, this Sony model has a long feature set that includes everything you need for making the best quality movies possible. It starts off with a compact, easy to manage size and a clear, foldout screen that makes shooting a pleasure, a great anti shake feature that reduces the effects of handshake whilst filming, and adds in both a 20 times optical zoom and a 330 times digital zoom to an excellent lens to complete the picture. It also has a huge battery life of over 18 hours so you won’t be running out of power whilst you are filming. A really good product and the high point for 8mm video tech.

sony trv57

2. Sony DCR-TRV460

This one is a digital8 camera, recording digital video to a tape medium. This is a nice compromise as it allows easy transfer of recorded video to computers in digital format through it’s built in USB interface.

In addition it has image stabilization, long battery life, clear screen as well as 20 times optical and 990 times digital zoom facility on the high quality lens.


3. Canon ES8600

A well featured recorder from Canon offering a beautifully clear screen, 22 times optical zoom and a huge 800 times digital zoom, canon have added several other features to enhance the usability of this camera. Image stabilization is standard, and the ability to record still images to tape in Digital Photo mode can be incredibly useful as well. Canon’s autofocus system is probably the best one available on any recorder and it produces great looking footage whatever the subject. It is easy to use and comfortable in the hand.

4canon es8600

4. Sony CCD-TRV138

Another Sony, they have a history of excellent products here, this one can record Hi8 footage and stereo sound, and it has a 20 times optical zoom and a 990 times digital zoom from the high quality lens. The fully moveable screen is very clear and the camera fits comfortably into the hand making it easy to use. The extended range of Hi8 makes the output really stand out and the quality is as good as it gets for the medium. A well rounded package that offers plenty for the user with a consistent and high quality output, a great 8mm recorder.

sony trv138

5. Canon XL2

This one is a bit different, in that is hugely expensive to buy even today, and made for professional recording, rather than the previous products aimed at the enthusiast or home user.

However, it is important to include in a ‘best of’ list, as there are people who would want the very best 8mm tape recording camera out there regardless of cost. And this is it. Interchangeable, professional lenses, adaptable to widescreen or 4:3 format with a choice of 60i, 30p or cinema ready 24p frame rates, the Canon XL2 was designed from the outset to be a broadcast quality recording device. Overkill for many of us, but if you are a budding film maker and want the professional equipment that will survive in the field and produce the highest quality output possible, this is the camera to accomplish it.

cann xl 2

6. Samsung SCL810

A different manufacturer from the big 2! Samsung produced some quality products over the years, and this is perhaps one of the stand out ones, a great feature set that delivered at significantly cheaper cost to the other makes at the time.

A great screen, 22 times optical and 880 times digital zoom, a well-designed and easy to use interface makes this a great choice for anyone new to the medium, and a huge battery life prevents power worries when out filming.

A great package overall, and one especially suitable for anyone looking to experiment with 8mm for the first time, a product definitely aimed at helping the user get the best video they can out of the equipment.

samsung slc810

7. Sharp VLA110U

Another one from a different manufacturer, whilst Samsung took the basic concept and tried to add in usability for everyone, Sharp took a different road and created products that are distinctly different from the competition.

Apart from the physical differences, which some will love and others will get used to, the Sharp includes a large screen, 16 times optical zoom and even the ability to add in titles.

The layout can take some getting used to but it works well and offers a nice alternative to the range of identikit boxes we see normally.

sharp vla110u

8. Sony DCR-TR7000

Another of Sony’s excellent range of digital 8 cameras, this one has the usual 20 times optical zoom and adds a 330 times digital zoom and image stabilization on top, along with the ability to record in stereo from built in speakers and to connect high quality external audio recording equipment as well. With a slow shutter mode as well to add to the possible effects, in addition to the digital 8 benefit of easy transfer to computers for editing, the DCR-TR7000 presents a very well rounded package.

sony dcr trv7000

9. Canon ES8400v

A canon Hi8 camera that has 20 times optical and 700 times digital zoom along with image stabilization, it comes with a nice, bright screen and a black and white viewfinder to cater to various shooting styles, and its lithium battery offers a very long shooting time between charges. Also featured is the great autofocus found in other Canon cameras that really works well making the capture of video regardless of the subject an easy proposition.

canon es8400v

10. Kodak Brownie Movie Camera II

Our final choice is for anyone who wants to truly capture that authentic, retro 8mm look. And that is by using an authentic, retro 8mm recorder.

This is as basic as it gets, no sound, basic viewfinder system, but if you want that 50’s look, using a 50’s camera will certainly get it for you.

kodak brownie

No list is ever comprehensive enough of course, but here we have tried to include a few outside of the box choices for those looking for something different, whether it is the Kodak Brownie or, at the other end of the scale, Canon’s full on professional camera. What is clear is that there is an 8mm camera out there to suit any need and budget still, if you look.

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