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New Super 8mm-Style Digital Camera with Interchangeable Lenses is Coming from Japan

02.26.14 @ 8:31PM Tags : , , , ,

Bellami HD-1 MainWhile the Nolab digital Super 8 cartridge concept designed to get digital footage out of film cameras may never see the light of day, if you’re looking for something in a similar style, a new camera from Japan looks like it will at least partially fulfill the promise. Chinon is showing off what they are calling the Bellami HD-1, a new camera which will apparently shoot 1080p and be capable of taking all sorts of 8mm lenses. Click through for more on this interesting-looking camera.


Thanks to Wide Open Camera for the heads up on this, here is a little bit from Personal View user IronFilm:

About US$830 (80,000 Yen), which puts it too close to a BMPCC in price I think for this to be a competitive choice (unless Chinon manages something unexpected). Am hoping it at least has a CCD global sensor like the D16 which is its main competition? But I would take a guess it is more like to have a typical compact point and shoot camera sensor in it instead. Perhaps we should instead be expecting something more along the lines of the C mount modded GoPro in terms of what this Bellami HD-1 will be like?

Other info: Will go on sale in just a few weeks (mid March). Says D, C, CS, and M42 mount is supported? (with adapters)

Bellami HD-1 Main

Chinon actually used to make these kinds of cameras years ago, but they have had an interesting past, and were actually owned by Kodak at one point. It seems to be a new company now that just shares the same name, but they are still involved with camera products — with the Bellami HD-1 being a return to the company’s roots.

Who knows if this will actually be released outside of Japan. The answer just might be no, but if you’ve got a ton of these lenses sitting around, it could certainly be a fun toy to play with. People are going to make fun of the design and call it ridiculous, but if you’re shooting video with a tiny camera, this makes a lot of sense (and it looks like the handle is removable). You’re going to get much more stable footage as you increase points of contact with your body — and this design actually lets you operate in a way similar to the trick that can get you steadier GoPro footage.

Check out the links below for more information.


[via Wide Open Camera]


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  • It looks really nice. That hoop near the trigger is pretty huge though but maybe it allows Japanese hipsters (as in the illustration) to hang it from their fixie’s handlebars or something.
    Japan puts out thousands of cool products every year that never get sold outside of Japan. This may be another of those. It’s a lot of work to sell to other countries and someone has to make a decision that it might be worth it.
    The only way I’d want one of these is if it recorded to ProRes or equivalent. I can get something that records to H.264 for $100 right now if that’s all it’ll do.

    I once owned an old Beaulieu 16mm camera that had amazing styling. The grip was clear amber plastic even.
    But I like to think I’m more into function than looks. Really I do.

  • It is not a Super8 but an 8mm camera, as you can see on the Superheads website. So it is an even smaller format. Which makes sense, given that back in the day of 8mm there where lots of interchangeable lenses around and a lot of them don`t cover Super8 or Single8 for that matter. Unlike in the days of Single8 / Super8, where most (not all, Beaulieu for example had interchangeable lenses) cameras came with a fixed zoom lens.

  • Has anyone bothered to contact them and asked about worldwide availability????

  • Anthony Marino on 02.26.14 @ 9:55PM

    Idk, looks neat but here in Philly you’re likely to get shot using a camera like this. Just look at the Japanese guy, from the picture it looks like a gun, can’t imagine what it looks like from 30 yards away.

    • Hahaha, I was thinking the /exact/ same thing, including Philly (I’m nearby).
      With this and the Digital Bolex, I’d be legitimately worried about police and other people thinking it’s a gun. Maybe if they had a version in bright neon orange and without the shiny trigger guard, I’d consider it…

    • A friend of mine had the cops pull their guns on him when he was shooting super 8 once. No joke.

  • HEY JOE!

    I know this is sort of off topic, but I think you might want to write about THIS! Some of your readers might be interested in this SILENT FOCUS apparatus. It might just change the way many filmmakers approach their rack focusing during filming. You might not need a FOCUS PULLER anymore. Time will tell though! :)

    Check it out here!:

  • LOL @ Anthony……ain’t that the truth!!

  • Ohhh!! That is *me*. Pretty exciting to see my name “IronFilm” on one of my favourite blogs. ;-)

  • There’s a technology called QuantumFilm that alleges to combine the best of film and digital by coating the CMOS type sensor with a lead based “film like” substance to give better colors and higher sensitivity to light. Unfortunately, the Invisage (the manufacturer company’s name) public announcements have been going on for about four years without any of their products reaching the market.

  • Elsewhere on the planet but relevant to the digicams – ““The momentum in the camera market has shifted emphatically from digital still cameras to mobile devices. The market for image sensors in the mobile device segment was $4.9 billion in 2012, and is forecast to grow to $8.7 billion in 2017, and Aptina’s AR2520HS sensor is designed for this segment,” said Brian O’Rourke, senior principal analyst of consumer electronics at IHS.”
    And what exactly is Aptina’s AR2520HS, you might ask?
    “The Aptina AR2520HS leaps ahead of existing sensors with high-performance video capabilities that capture full resolution and 4K video at 30 frames-per-second, as well as delivers super slow motion capture of 120 frames-per-second for 1080p HD video all without sacrificing full field-of-view. Coupled with stunning still photo clarity and Aptina MobileHDR™ (Mobile High Dynamic Range) technology support for great images in challenging environments, the AR2520HS creates an ultra-high-performance category for smartphones and tablets.
    So, get some clip-on lenses and go to work.

  • I doubt it will do 4K, and *IF* it does I bet it will be cellphone level quality!

    I don’t care for that kind of 4K, rather have quality 1080p instead.

    • What happens is that the mobile technology forces others to adjust to it – and not vice versa – due to it being the most dominant current trend. So, even if these smartphones offer a low/er bitrate 4K, it’s going to be tough for the camera and the camcorder manufacturers to be selling anything at the same price point with similar level of performance. And that’s why the P&S market is way, way down and the camera makers are shifting their attention to the higher end … which, of course, then becomes the meat of the market once the production catches up with the R&D. Going into the 2014 Christmas season, the upper half of the smartphones will have 4K. What will the camera folks do to compete with that?
      BTW, the Newsshooter has a great piece on the “iPhone Journalism”. Once properly rigged, the iPhone becomes more than sufficient for the general docs and news pieces.

  • Beautiful body design. It looks so cool. The thing I don’t like about the handle (and this goes for the Digital Bolex as well), is that you can’t do ground level / very low angle shots; which I do a ton of.

    But yeah, hipsters will be all over this thing.

    • Thyl Engelhardt on 02.28.14 @ 9:30AM

      The grips on both cameras can be removed. In case of the d16, there is a second trigger on top of the camera. For the Chinon, I don’t know.

  • great to see some aesthetic back in camera design. I don’t know if I’ll spring for this, but man it looks great!

  • From ––finance.html

    “How to give a super-thin smartphone the power of a DSLR camera that can capture moving images with clarity is a key challenge for the likes of Samsung, Sony, Nokia and LG as they try to differentiate their offerings in a crowded handset market. Their efforts to make smartphone cameras more powerful have taken a toll on the compact, point-and-shoot camera market, but catching up to the high-end cameras used by professional photographers had appeared a far-fetched ambition.

    The gap is getting narrower thanks mainly to improvements in camera software and other technologies, but may never close completely.

    Instead of touting their smartphones as thinner, lighter or bigger screened, Samsung, Sony and LG were boasting how their latest mobile gadgets can record ultra-high definition videos known as 4K, take big-pixel pictures without a second of delay and capture clearer images even at a low-light settings and when a subject is moving.”
    A worthwhile read.

  • I have an old Chinon super8 camera – back in the day Canon and Bolex made the good stuff and Chinon made the junk with the plastic bodies and lenses, this could still be fun.

  • Looks cool, but I wonder if anyone is concerned, as I am, about police and others being kill-happy these days, and mistaking this for a weapon? The ad photo of the guy head-on looks like he’s taking aim with a weird handgun.

  • Definitely interested. However, I have images of the police shooting some unfortunate camera-person using this at a demonstration, or some other “everyday incident” of police brutality. And with a camera that actually looks like a handgun, the bugger would not even get a slap on the wrist.