Help with Modern Video Technology Please


Active Member

We have a Sony 8mm video camera about 11 years old. Bought for the arrival of our first in 1994. We have used it regulalry to film bpoth our kids and there are lots of memories on the 8mm tapes. Few have been transferred to VHS tape.

It recently started playing back badly and there are lots of distorted lines on the TV and no sound playback.

Questions are:

1. How compatible are these 8mm tapes with modern cameras (we are thinking about a new camera and if we can view and record from these tapes no problem - that will be the way to go),
2. How easy is it to find a means of playing back the tapes and recording them on to VHS,
3. Is there any point in trying to get these tapes recorded onto CD or DVD. If so what do I need. We have a CD writer in the PC but I would be willing to buy a DVD writer. How would I connect the camera to the PC? Do I need a Firewire card?

Roy Mallard

Some companies offer a 8mm transfer to VHS/DVD service, if you have a fair few tapes it oculd be costly...

You could pick up a second hand hi8 or 8mm camcorder or possibly buy a digital8 camcorder by sony (the analogue playback on selected models is their only real use these days).

Yup you would need a firewire card, dvd is higer quality option..


1. Most of the modern digital camcorders will not play back the old 8mm/Hi8 analogue tapes. The most common digital cams are DV which use smaller tapes, but as Roy said Sony have their own Digital8 format that uses the same size tapes as you have. AFAIK only one of their latest D8 models can play back old analogue tapes, and this is the top of the range (ie most expensive :rolleyes: ) model. Because the tapes are bigger, so are the cams. DV cams can fit in the palm of your hand, but not the D8 cams.

2. As Roy also said, you should easily be able to buy an old second hand Hi8 cam that will play your tapes. This will have standard analogue outputs to connect to a VCR to record to VHS. Once copied you should be able to sell on the Hi8 cam for little or no loss of money if you no longer want to keep it.

3. I would say you may as well stick with VHS rather than putting the video onto a CD. However a DVD should be a little better and probably more convenient to play. Be aware though that putting the video onto a DVD will not improve the picture quality, so you may well be just as well sticking to VHS.
To get the analogue tapes onto DVD you could buy a standalone DVD recorder which could be used to replace your VCR as well. Recording to DVD would be the same as recording to VHS. The PC route would give more control with editing etc but takes a lot longer and can be a bit tricky with analogue tapes. If you do want to go the PC route then do a search on this forum as it has been asked a few times in the past.



Active Member
Thanks Mark and Roy

You have answered my questions. Time to start trawling for a 2nd hand video camera.

Presumably they will be a lot cheaper than a new digital camera (Sony Digi8 seemd to be about the £200-300 mark).

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