What is the difference between Digital8 and Hi8 / Video8 formats?

The Digital8 format is a digital format that gets recorded on the tape (think 1s and 0s), whereas the Hi8 and Video8 formats are analog videos that record waveform information from the tapes. Digital 8 also records using the DV codec which results in 720×480 resolution, where Hi8 and Video are much lower resolution.

Both Hi8 and Video 8 are analog formats recorded onto a Hi8/Videotape and recorded at a rate that 1 tape lasts 2 hours in SP mode. Hi8 is just a higher quality video format than Video8. Digital 8 is a digital format (think 1’s and 0’s) that also gets recorded onto Video8 and Hi8 tape but is also very different from Hi8 and Video8.

The tapes themselves are simply the media that the video gets recorded onto, it’s the information that gets recorded onto the media that is vastly different between Hi8/Video8 and Digital8.

Since Sony had so many consumers out there using these 8mm tapes they decided to develop a format called Digital8 that would use the same tapes, and most of the initial camcorders were developed to be backward compatible and could also playback Hi8 and 8mm tapes.

Then additional newer (and not always better) models of Digital 8 came out that could only record and playback Digital8 tapes, and could not playback any tape originally recorded in analog format.

This is why if you are going to convert old tapes and want to find a single camcorder that can do the job it is essential to choose the correct camcorder from the list below.

Can Hi8 or Video 8 Camcorders play back Digital 8 Tapes?

Nope – Hi8 and Video8 camcorders record information in an analog format and the tape runs at 1/2 the speed of a Digital 8 camcorder.

As the name suggests “Digital 8” is a digital format (1s and 0s) not analog so an old analog camcorder will not understand the data recorded onto a tape by a Digital 8 Camcorder.

Can Digital 8 Camcorders also record in Hi8 or Video 8 format?

Nope – Digital 8 camcorders can only record in digital format.

And as the list above shows not every Digital 8 Camcorder can even playback a Hi8 or Video 8 tape.

And not that you want to use these camcorders to record any new video since your phone will do a better job and be easier to deal with.

8th Jun 2022

Recent Posts