Soviet Super 8 Movie Cameras
By James Grahame
Filmmaking was a surprisingly popular hobby in the USSR. As with many things in the Soviet era, making movies required a bit of planning and forethought. Equipment and film was expensive, so many people belonged to film clubs and were able to obtain film at a significant discount. Two major film manufacturers - Svema and Tasma - produced color and black & white cine film, although the color stocks were usually reserved for motion picture and television production. Each new Super 8 camera shipped with a handful of reloadable Super 8 film cartridges, so all you needed was a supply of raw film.
Several cameras - such as the Quarz 2x8 Super-3 above - did away with the cartridge completely and accepted Double Super 8 film on reels. Double Super 8 (DS8) is a hybrid format that uses 16mm wide film to capture Super 8 sized frames. One half of the film is exposed, the reels are flipped, and the other half is shot. The 16mm strip is cut into two 8mm-wide reels after processing. It was a clever system.
Over 200,000 clockwork Quarz DS8-3 cameras were produced between 1971 and 1983. They require no batteries, thanks to a quaint windup motor and a solar-powered selenium exposure meter. Apart from having to wind up the motor every 20 seconds or so, the camera was fairly well specified with an f1.8/9-38mm Meteor zoom lens. It offered 12, 18, 24, and 36 frame per second shooting speeds, along with a single frame mode for animation.
These cameras appear frequently on eBay, sold direct from Russia. Purchasing one is a bit of a gamble: it might have lived in a damp shed for several decades. Instead, I recommend a fellow by the name of Olex Kalynychenko in the Ukraine. He services the cameras he sells, so you know that yours will be in good running order when it arrives.