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Video8 Camcorders

Relive Old Times Viewing 8mm Tapes on a 8mm Video Camera

If you are like many people who bought 8mm video cameras (camcorders) in the 1980s and 1990s when they became popular, you probably have lots and lots of tapes collecting dust in your house. In order to relive your most memorable events and enjoy viewing past family memories, you need a camera that is capable of playing 8mm tapes. Fortunately, there are still plenty of 8mm camcorders on eBay that can play your 8mm tapes for you to view or to convert to another type of media.

What media does an 8mm video camera record on?

8mm camcorders use 8mm magnetic tape that is held on two spools inside a hard plastic cassette. There are three different types of 8mm tapes, but they are very similar in size and appearance. The standard maximum recording times are 180 minutes for PAL camcorders and 120 minutes for NTSC camcorders, due to the different type of tape consumption for these camcorders.

Can you convert 8mm tapes to other media formats?

Due to the deterioration that data encoded on magnetic tape undergoes over time, you will probably want to transfer your 8mm tapes to some type of digital storage, such as DVD. Digital8 camcorders can usually play all three 8mm formats, and there are numerous methods to capture the playback from your 8mm camcorder through devices such as a DVD recorder/player or your computer with the correct input and output cords. Other options are to get special converters or get a professional service to convert the tapes.

What types of 8mm tapes are there?

There are three different types of 8mm tapes that were manufactured for camcorders, namely Video8, Hi8, and Digital8. Each new iteration of camcorder can typically play the previous, older 8mm format. However, since Hi8 and Digital8 media can be recorded onto Video8 tapes, this confuses the issue because a Video8 camcorder will not play Hi8 and Digital8. A Digital8 camcorder will play all 8mm formats. The three types of 8mm tapes are:

  • Video8: Video8 was the first 8mm format and is entirely analog. This size tape was introduced as a successor to the larger Betamax and VHS formats in use at the time.
  • Hi8: Hi8 was the next 8mm format and boasted improved resolution. Hi8 is analog, but some Hi8 tapes could store additional digital sound on a special reserved track.
  • Digital8: Digital8 is the most recent 8mm format. This format is entirely digital but can still be recorded onto Video8 and Hi8 cassettes. However, the data is encoded in the digital DV format.