Digital Video Articles, Tutorials, Guides & Q & A

8mm Video, Video Conversion

How to convert 8mm Tapes to Digital without a Camcorder or without using a Tape to Digital Conversion Service

8mm Tapes to Digital Without a Camcorder

Updated 15.8. 2021

The best way to convert 8mm tapes to DVD is by playing them back from your Video8 or  Hi-8 camcorder a video capture device connected to a computer.

If you have a Digital8 camcorder you could connect it directly to your computer if it has a Firewire port (IEEE 1394).

What if your camcorder isn’t functioning?

You may have left your camcorder unused for a very long time so much so the heads have got dirty and show no improvement despite cleaning it. And you could not get the head replaced.

Yes, you could and should use an 8mm videotape to digital video transfer service if one is available in your neighborhood.

That’s fine if you have a tape or two to convert to a digital video format.

What if you have dozens of tapes accumulated over the years?

It wouldn’t be economical to convert your  8mm video to a digital video format.

That said, there’s only one way to convert  8mm tapes to digital without a camcorder.

8mm Tape Player/VCR to Your Rescue

Convert your 8mm tapes to digital through an 8mm tape player, also known as 8mm VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) or 8mm video cassette player.

This player is very much like a VHS player but reads only 8mm videotape(s).

Why Buy an 8mm Tape Player?

It’s easy to shoot video with your camcorder. However, it’s neither easy nor convenient when it comes to playing back, rewinding, or fast-forwarding your tape.

Most camcorders come with almost flat, small, sunken buttons to go with their compact designs. As such they aren’t finger-friendly.

Of course, there’s the remote. However, it’s not easy to operate either. You’ve got to correctly point it at your camcorder to get it working.

Compare this to an 8mm tape player with large, visible, finger-friendly buttons. You would be encouraged to use the player more often than you would with a camcorder.

Some even come with a Jog Shuttle which makes it super easy for you to play, stop, rewind and fast-forward your tapes. You know how convenient this feature is if you’ve used it on a VHS VCR.

8mm tape player vcr jog shuttle

8mm tape players are robust machines designed for long hours of tape playback compared to camcorders designed with shooting video in mind.

8mm video cassette players cost more than 8mm camcorders. However, it’s a worthwhile investment. You can conveniently sit back and watch your dozens of ‘priceless memories’ tapes with your family. They make excellent 8mm video cassette viewers.

8mm Video Cassette Converters

The tape players also make excellent 8mm video cassette converters. If you have a bunch of 8mm tapes accumulated over the years, the best way to convert them to digital is through an 8mm tape deck.

8mm VCRs are easier to operate compared to a camcorder when it comes to converting 8mm tapes to digital.

You’ll find yourself converting more tapes than you would with a camcorder.

Solution to DVD rot

If you’ve converted your 8mm tapes to DVD years back and your discs have become unwatchable because of DVD rot, you can use an 8mm video player to watch those videos that you’ve lost.

Use an 8mm Tape Player as a Dubbing Machine

8mm tape players don’t only play 8mm tapes but also record on them. That’s why they’re also known as 8mm VCRs.

If you have an 8mm camcorder and some blank 8mm tapes, you can make copies of your really important 8mm tapes and keep them as backups, in case you lose the original tapes or they get damaged.

You may also record from a VHS player or any playback device that you can connect to an 8mm tape player.

Watch Original Movie Releases on Video8 Tapes

You may not know this. There were movie releases on Video8 tapes.

Such masterpieces as 12 Angry Men, Godfather, and Annie Hall, among others, were released on Video8 tapes, just as they were on VHS.

Video8 Hollywood Original Movie - Godfather - freevideoworkshop.com

These movies were popularly used as inflight entertainment. First-class passengers were given an 8mm Video Walkman (see the section below) and allowed to choose selected movie titles.

Video8 Inflight 8mm Tape Movie

Some of these tapes are still available for sale online. It’s no big deal in these days of Blu-ray movies, but you would just want to grab your favorite movie on Video8 and watch it on an 8mm VCR just for the experience of it.

You can watch these tapes on a Video8, Hi-8 or Digital8 tape deck/player/VCR or video walkman.

Check out the list of movies on Video8 tapes.

Sourcing for an 8mm Tape Player

No brand new  8mm tape players are available in the market. The 8mm video format fell out of popularity especially after the emergence of the mini-DV format and also DVD camcorders.

You would have to shop for a used 8mm tape player online to get your 8mm video tapes converted to digital.

The good news is, depending on the models you choose, they support the playback of Video8, Hi-8 and Digital8 tapes.

Here is a list of 8mm videotape players you can find over eBay or Amazon.

Most of these models are NTSC types. They’re the perfect solution to transfer 8mm tapes to digital without a camcorder.

There are three types of 8mm tape players – Video8, Hi-8, and Digital8.

8mm Video Cassette Players on Amazon

Used and refurbished 8mm video cassette players are available over Amazon.

They’re sold mostly by companies specializing in repairing, overhauling and refurbishing 8mm tape players.

Feel free to read the reviews before committing to an 8mm video cassette player purchase.

Video8 Tape Players

Sony EV-C25 Video8 Hi-Fi 8mm Player VCR

This 8mm VCR provides up to 2.5 hours of recording on a single compact 8mm videocassette (using P6-150 in high-quality SP mode).

It has a space-saving thin design for easy placement on top of your home VCR inside your TV cabinet stand.’

Sony’s Flying Erase head for noise-free picture transitions when recording or editing.

Use the skip/scan function to drop in and view the picture during high-speed fast forward or rewind.

You can use the AV (stereo) line input for copying from any camcorder or VCR.

Check out the Sony EV-C25 Video8 Hi-Fi 8mm Player VCR.

SONY EV-A50 ( EV-C3 ) Video8 VCR 8mm Tape Player

If you’re having only Video8 cassette tapes to be converted to digital, then you could opt for this player.

This 8mm tape player will not play Hi8 or Digital8 tapes.

You transfer video from your Video8 tape via the composite or RCA outputs at the rear end of the player.

You’ve one video and one audio output. So, basically, it outputs mono sound and not stereo.

Learn additional Sony EV-C3 specs and features from the video below.

Check out the Sony EV-C3 Compact Video 8 VCR.

SONY EV-A50 Main Features

Here are the main features of the SONY EV-A50 Compact 8mm VCR

SONY EV-A50 Main Features
Sony EV-A50 Video8 Player

It’s a 4-Head compact 8mm VCR that comes with a Flying Erase Head and Auto Tracking function.

There’s also the Syncro Edit facility.

If you wish to record TV programs there’s a built-in Tuner, not to mention the Voice Boost Pause.

Like most VHS VCRs there’s also a Jog Shuttle and the unit comes with a
Remote (RMT-V124a).

On the rear panel you have:

  • Control L
  • Control S
  • Line In
  • Line Out
  • RF In RF Out

Check out this video to get a feel of the Sony EV-A50 8mm player.

To purchase this 8mm video cassette deck, head to Amazon

Sony EV-C20 Video8 HiFi Stereo VCR 8mm Tape Player

This Video8 8mm tape player boasts a compact, slim design.

It supports the NTSC format for Video8 playback and recording.

One attractive feature of the model is it automatically rewinds the tape when it reaches the end. This is certainly a handy feature.

It also has a built-in auto head cleaner and a flying erase head feature.

Made in Japan, its width is 17 inches, height 2 3/8 inches, and the depth is 10 3/8 inches.

Check out the video below for details.

Check out this Sony EV-C20 Video8 8mm video cassette player at Amazon.

Hi-8 Tape Players

Sony EVO-220 NTSC  Hi8 Video8 8mm Tape Player Recorder

If you have the budget, go for this Sony Video Walkman which was released around the year 2000.

This Hi-8 video cassette player will not play Digital8 tapes. It supports only Hi8 and Video8 playback.

So, if you have both Hi8 and Video8 tapes to convert to a digital video format, check out this model.

Sony EVO-220 NTSC  Hi8 Video8 8mm Video Cassette Player Recorder

This 8mm tape player has full composite outputs – one for video and two for audio,

Go for this model if sound is a concern when converting Video8 tapes.

Check out the Sony EVO-220  user manual for the full specs and if you wish to explore this model further.

Sony EV-C200 Hi8 Video 8 8mm Player Recorder VCR Deck

Sony EV-C200 doesn’t look like an 8mm player at all. It looks more like a VHS VCR. So, if you have a DVD player or a VHS VCR, you can place this model on top of them, without being noticed.

This model is a Hi-8 VCR, which means it can also play Video8 tapes.

This Hi-8 tape deck comes with S-Video and composite (RCA) connectivity.

Weighing about 5.8 pounds, it is equipped with an IR Remote Control

Watch this video for a good look at this 8mm tape player and recorder.

Sony GV-A500 Hi8 NTSC Stereo Video Walkman

If portability is what you’re looking for in a Hi-8 8mm video cassette player, this model may suit your taste.

This made-in-Japan unit when released had an MSRP of $1500.

As you may already be aware, it plays and records in the Hi8 and Video8 formats.

In case you don’t want to connect this 8mm video walkman to a TV, make use of its 4-inch color LCD screen.

This 8mm video cassette deck is powered by a 5-head system and outputs sound in Hi-Fi stereo. It is equipped with an audio monitor selector.

In case you want to use the 8mm videotape player to dub tapes, there’s the flying erase head feature.

For high-quality video playback, there’s the S-Video connection.

You can switch between the 16:9 aspect ratio and 4:3 with this Hi-8 VCR.

Playback and Recording can be carried out in the SP and LP modes.

The other notable features are time base corrector and Dolby noise reduction which can be turned on or off.

Sony GV-A500 Hi8 NTSC Stereo Video Walkman

Check out the Sony GV-A500 Hi8 NTSC Stereo Video Walkman.

Sony Digital 8mm Video Walkman

SONY GV-D200 Digital8 Hi8 Video8 8mm NTSC Player Recorder

This compact 8mm video player-recorder will handle the playback of all three 8mm formats Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 formats.

Get this player if you have a mix of Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 8mm video cassettes.

The 2-head 8mm video walkman records and plays back 8mm tapes in LP (Long Play) and SP (Standard Play) modes.

AV Connections

Analog and digital connections are available. The unit comes with a Firewire port (IEEE 1394 /i.LINK), S-Video in/out, Composite (RCA) in/out and there’s support for headphones.

What steals the show is the IEEE1394 or Firewire output.

If your computer comes with a Firewire port then you would not have to go through the hassle of buying a video capture card.

You could connect a Firewire cable directly from the player to your computer and import the contents of your 8mm video cassette into your computer via your video editing program.

Once the video is on your computer hard disk in a digital format, you may proceed to edit it and even burn it to a DVD.

Audio and Other Features

Sound is output in stereo mode with PCM audio available in 12bit (32KHz / 2 channels), 16bit (48KHz / 2 channels).

Other notable features include a timestamp, onscreen menu, time-base correction (TBC) and video noise reduction.

You can also use this Digital8 Video Walkman outdoors without AC supply, powering it with an InfoLITHIUM” battery pack (L series) which is an optional purchase.

GV-D200 Digital8 tape player recorder measures 5.8 inches in width and 5.3 inches in depth and 2 inches in height. It weighs 23.28oz (0.7kg).

To explore the player’s specs further, download the Sony GV D200 user manual.

Also check out a review of SONY GV-D200

To purchase the SONY GV-D200 Digital8 Hi8 Video8 8mm NTSC Player Recorder, head to Amazon.

Sony GV-D200E PAL Digital 8 Video Walkman VCR

Note that this PAL Sony Digital 8mm video walkman doesn’t support the playback of 8mm tapes recorded in the NTSC format.

It has the same features as the NTSC model discussed above.

Sony GV-D200E PAL Digital 8 Video Walkman Video Cassette Recorder

This PAL Digital 8 video cassette player is available for purchase at Amazon.

Sony GV-D800 Digital 8mm Video Walkman

The shape and the size of the Sony GV-D800 keep true to the spirit of a walkman. If you carry it around, nobody will suspect that you’re carrying a powerful 8mm cassette viewer cum recorder.

It measures 5,87 inches in width, 2.62 inches in height, and a depth of 5.38 inches. It weighs 2 pounds (0.9 kg).

This is an ideal portable 8mm video viewer if you would like to take your favorite 8mm tapes on the go.

You can power it with an InfoLITHIUM L Series battery pack. There’s also a Sony DC Adapter/Charger to use with your car battery.

If you’ve recorded your Digital8 video in the 16:9 aspect ratio, this 8mm video walkman allows you to play it back in that widescreen format.

The unit comes with S-Video and AV ports, not to mention Firewire in the form of i.LINK.

You can easily send 8mm video to USB digital video converters through these ports.

You can also record video to 8mm tape from a VHS VCR or other sources through the S-Video and AV in ports.

GV-D800 also allows you to watch your videos with special effects through its menu button. You get to watch your videos in sepia, monochrome (black and white), negative art and solarize modes.

Take look at the operation manual to learn more.

Check out the video below to get up close and personal with this 8mm video walkman.

Also, check out the availability of Sony GV-D800 (NTSC) and Sony GV-D800E (PAL)

A Case for 8mm Tape Players

8mm video players may have steep prices owing to scarcity. However, if you wish to easily convert your 8mm tapes to digital without a camcorder and preserve precious memories, price shouldn’t be an issue.

Also, think of the convenience of having an 8mm cassette viewer. You get to directly play your 8mm tapes to TV just like you would with a VHS VCR.

Not to mention the ease of converting 8mm tapes to digital without a camcorder.

Further Reading

Play Hi-8 Tapes Without a Camcorder: Quick Options

Is there an 8mm cassette adapter to play back your camcorder tapes?

List of 8mm Camcorder Models from Video8, Hi-8 to Digital8

How to Convert 8mm to DVD Yourself without Using an Expensive Video Conversion Service

Is there an 8mm Camcorder with Digital Converter?

Clean 8mm Camcorder Heads: The Easy and Safe Way

The 8mm Video Format Guide : From Heyday to Mayday

Ways to a Start Sony Digital 8 Camcorder Transfer to Computer


Leave a Reply

Free Video Workshop