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Nikon Action-8 Camcorder [May. 8th, 2009|07:38 pm]


I was trying to find a community for "amateur filmmakers" or something like that, but nothing came up...so I'm going out on a limb to post this here.

I just got a free Nikon Action-8 Video Camera (a relic, I'm sure...I'm guessing early 90s?) Before I plunge into research, does anyone know if tapes are still available, if they can be converted to digital (and what's required to do that), if it's worth my time, etc.?


From: koh4711
2009-05-09 08:58 am (UTC)
Ironically, I got an 8mm video camera free not too long ago myself, so I've gone through this.

Yes, you can still find the tapes at stores like Target and Walmart, as well as electronics stores. What I'd recommend doing is getting a single tape, shoot some test footage and make sure the camera's working well. I'm not too familiar with the Nikon, but I know some older Sony camcorders had an issue with diodes that would blow out and render the camera useless. Check out the test footage on your TV and you'll get a good idea of how it'll turn out.

If you want to digitize the footage, it can be done. You'd just need a little extra hardware for your computer. If you're on a desktop, you can get cards that will allow you to hook in the cables. Another option, particularly good if you have a laptop, is a USB device. Dazzle is a pretty common one. I got one for my laptop and it does pretty well. You might run into some issues with dropped frames if your computer isn't real fast, especially with the USB device, but it's a good option. Not sure about the cards, but a new Dazzle runs about $85-95, and also includes some video editing software and other goodies. I'm certain some eBaying could find one cheaper, as well.

Is it worth it? Well... I'd have to go with that all encompassing answer, it depends. The camera might be older and not produce the picture of current products, but if this is your first time working with video and editing software and all that, it doesn't matter. You can learn all the techniques and gain experience with the general concepts, and they'll be the same when you work with higher end stuff. Also, an older camera with less settings can be less intimidating. I actually did the same thing with still photography, learned on a real basic digital model and have been slowly upgrading over time. The video quality on a 8mm should be good enough for YouTube as well, if you wanted to go that route.

Long story short, if you're looking to play with video for the first time, you could do so for a very small investment on the whole. Otherwise, it might not be. There are lots of great books, how to videos and classes that can help you learn more about making amateur films, but nothing will teach you like having a camera you can work with, so you've won half the battle right there.

Hope this helps!
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[User Picture]From: glamrocktiger
2009-05-09 08:04 pm (UTC)
It helps very much...thank you for the in-depth response, it sets me well ahead!


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