The reference numbers of the controls are repeated below with a brief definition of each control, followed by advice on how to start filming without delay. If you adjust all controls to the red dots, you need not bother about the ‘technical’ aspects for your first film.

Get to Know Your Nizo

1. Cartridge CompartmentHere you insert the film cartridge. The label must be visible. Otherwise the cartridge compartment cover will not close.

2. Film Indicator WindowHere you can check at any time whether your camera is loaded and with what type of film.

3. Film Footage IndicatorAutomatically returns to the starting point whenever the cartridge is removed.

4. Aperture ControlCan be set automatically or manually. Also voltage tester for the batteries in the handle.

Battery checking:

Turn the switch to the ‘control’ position. It is spring-loaded. You will therefore have to hold it in position. Look through the viewfinder. Beside the aperture scale on the left-hand edge of the image a green light must come on. This means you can start filming. White indicates ‘battery change.’ Before filming set the switch to ‘automatic’ again. If you now see a red signal the light is either too bright or too dim for filming.

5. Frame Speed SwitchThe red dot at 18 (frames per second = f.p.s.) indicates normal frame speed. Slower frame speeds are time lapse, higher speeds are for slow motion. 9 f.p.s. provides a time lapse of x2 and – most important – a gain of one stop in dim light. The setting ‘1’ is used when single frames are to be taken by hand with a cable release or the Nizo remote control release. 24 f.p.s. provides a slight slow motion effect and 36 f.p.s. x2 slow motion (one second shooting will occupy two seconds during projection).

Set to the red dot for normal speed.

6. Time Lapse Switch(Automatic single frame setting).

Here you will find three more time lapse speeds: 6 frames per second, 1 frame per second and 1 frame every five seconds.

Set to the red dot whenever you do not film time lapse

7. Flash Synch. ConnectionTime lapse or trick shots at the maximum automatic single frame setting or by hand using a cable release can be illuminated frame by frame by flash. Details under 

Filming with your Nizo.

8. Filter SwitchThe normal Super-8 mm. film material is designed for the colour temperature of artificial light. Your camera has a built-in filter for conversion to daylight.

Set to to the ‘sun’ symbol. Even when you are using black and white film. Or will you be making your first experiments by artificial light? Then the ‘lamp’ symbol must be visible on the switch.

9. Electrical Master SwitchSet to red dot. Do not forget: reset to 0 after shooting. This cuts off the current supply.

10. Eyepiece AdjustmentAdjust the optical system of your camera to your eye like binoculars.

Turn until you see a sharp picture.

11. Lens Focusing RingTo focus the Nizo 156 XL, turn until the vertical lines of the subject appear to coincide at the point of intersection with the horizontal dividing line of the circular focusing area in the viewfinder, that is to say they appear continuous. For this purpose, set focal length to 56 mm. To focus the Nizo 136 XL or Nizo 148 XL, turn the ring until the double outlines coincide. For this purpose, set the Nizo 136 XL to its longest focal length (36 mm.) and the Nizo 148 XL to 48 mm.

If you have no time for focusing, take advantage of the considerable depth of field for pictures requiring quick reaction. Set to the red figures on the focusing and focal length scales: range 4 metres, focal length 15 mm.

12. Zoom ControlPower operated or – before shooting – manual. Note: if you exceed a focal length of 25 mm. you should steady your hand (support it or lean it on something firm). A tripod ensures absolutely steady shooting.

13. Release triggerEasily accessible with the index finger of the left or right hand. Do not jerk when operating.

14. Connection for Electromagnetic Remote Control ReleaseYou can connect a remote control release (accessory) here and operate the camera by means of a built-in magnet.

15. Connection for Cable ReleaseIf you want to trigger the camera by means of a cable release from the panning lever of a tripod or for trick shots on the single frame setting using a cable release.

16. Hand Grip CatchWhen you press this button you can remove the hand grip for carrying or mounting the camera on a tripod. On the camera base you will find two tripod sockets for the tripod screw.

17. Exposure Correction ButtonWhile this button is depressed the automatic exposure control operates at a wider aperture (e.g. f/8 instead of f/11). By this means it is possible for example to expose automatically for the shadows with backlit shots.

Filming with Your Nizo


The camera mechanism is driven by four 1.5 volt AA batteries accomodated in the hand grip of your Nizo. These batteries also supply the CdS exposure control of your Nizo with the necessary power.

You can open the cap in the base quite easily by hand or with the aid of a coin. The correct position of the batteries is clearly indicated in the battery compartment of the hand grip.

To test the battery voltage, set the filming speed to 18 f.p.s. Then turn the spring loaded aperture control knob into the ‘control’ position and hold it there. In the viewfinder a green light must come on in the window on the left of the aperture indicator (or a larger aperture than f/2.8 must be indicated). If a white signal is visible in this window (or if an aperture smaller than f/2.8 is indicated) the batteries should be changed immediately. In all cases, remove the discharged batteries from the handgrip immediately.

If you make a habit of resetting the electrical master switch to 0 during all prolonged idle periods, you will save considerable battery power.

Film Loading

Press the button on the rear narrow side of the camera. Open the cassette compartment cover.

Insert the cartridge in the cassette compartment with the round recess facing downward ( that is to say with the maker’s label on top). If this is not done the cover will not close. In such a case do not use force. In the cartridge compartment cover there is a window through which you can check at any time whether the camera is loaded and with what type of film.

The film footage indicator shows the amount of film available in metres and feet. It returns automatically to the starting position whenever you remove the cartridge. Remember this when you change a cartridge before the film footage is completely used up (e.g. when changing from colour to black and white film). The film in a cassette is completely exposed when the footage indicator is at 0 and the word ‘exposed’ is visible in the film opening of the cartridge.

Built-in Filter

Since Super-8 is designed in fact for the colour temperature of artificial light, a built-in conversion filter (orange) is necessary for daylight shooting. In this case the filter switch should be set to the ‘sun’ symbol for all daylight shots.

For shooting under artificial light the switch must be set to the ‘lamp’ symbol, whereby the filter is moved out of position.

Automatic Exposure Control

The automatic exposure control of the Nizo is designed for Super-8 cartridge films with the following speeds:-

40 and 160 ASA [17 and 23 DIN] with artificial light colour film

25 and 100 ASA [15 and 21 DIN] with daylight colour film

40 and 160 ASA [17 and 23 DIN] with black and white film

Intermediate speeds are not taken into account by the automatic exposure control. When the film cartridge is inserted, the exposure control is set automatically to the film type used.

After metering through the lens, the exposure control automatically sets the lens diaphragm to the correct aperture. For checking purposes the aperture set is indicated on the left of the viewfinder image. If you see a red signal in the window beside the aperture indicator this means that the light is too bright for shooting (e.g. when shooting with high speed film in dazzling sunlight on the beach). You will therefore have to use a neutral density filter. Or it means that the light is too dim and you will have to use a movie light.

If you see a green signal this means that lighting conditions are right for shooting.

The white signal indicates very limited depth of field and tells you that you must focus exactly. This is particularly important if you want to shoot with focal lengths above 30 mm. or at short subject distances in relatively dim lighting conditions.

The green signal appears for apertures from f/2.8 to f/22 and the white signal from f/1.8 to f/2.8.

Exposure Correction Button

If you wish to shoot at a wider lens aperture without having to do without automatic exposure control, press the Plus 1 button on the left of the frame speed switch. As long as you keep your finger on this button the exposure control will operate at apertures one stop wider than normal (e.g. f/8 instead of f/11). In this way you can expose automatically for the shadows so that backlit subjects do not appear as silhouettes on the projection screen.

Manual Aperture Control

You can switch off the automatic exposure control and set any required aperture stop manually. For this purpose the aperture control is turned away from the ‘automatic’ setting. The aperture indicator in the viewfinder now reacts when the control knob is turned.

In this way you can correct automatically set values, if for example the principal subject area is considerably brighter or darker than the surrounding area. The subject to be taken should then be metered as accurately as possible either with the automatic exposure control at short range or by taking a meter reading of a more accessible subject of similar brightness. The aperture thus obtained is then set manually.

An example: when taking a picture of the ‘man at the helm’ of a boat the automatic exposure control indicates f/11 on water reflecting the sun. If the scene is taken at this aperture the person will appear too dark and the reflecting water correctly exposed n the screen. Exposure should therefore be corrected.

Under certains conditions fade-out and fade-in is possible using manual aperture control. If one slowly and continuously reduces the light falling on the film while shooting fade-out will take place, and vice-versa a fade-in.

For this purpose you must read off the appropriate aperture and set it with the aperture switch (before shooting: read off aperture. Note. Set aperture switch to ‘manual’. Then turn until the indicator in the viewfinder shows the aperture noted). Now while shooting turn the aperture switch so that the reading slowly descends to the smallest aperture (f/22).

Under normal lighting conditions yu will obtain effective fade-out between f/5.6 and f/8. At smaller apertures (f/11, f/16) fade-out is not possible as the range for stopping down is too limited. Larger aperture settings on the other hand will make fade-out even more effective.

This applied in exactly the same way to fade-in. Here as well you must read off and note the correct shooting aperture. Then with the aperture switch set to ‘manual’ slowly open up to the correct shooting aperture starting from f/22.

After special effects shots of this type or after aperture correction do not forget to reset the aperture control to ‘automatic’.

What XL is

The letters XL are an abbreviation for ‘existing light’. If you want to shoot with existing (dim) light without additional illumination by floodlight or other lights the Nizo offers you two devices for getting more out of the existing light. The shutter has a sector aperture of 225 degrees and provides an exposure of 1/28 second for each frame at a speed of 18 f.p.s. This is 50% more than possible with normal shutters on conventional cameras and means a gain of half a stop.

The lens aperture closes down by a whole stop when you select 9 f.p.s. time lapse. If this extra light is important to you, you can also set the frame speed switch to 9 f.p.s. instead of 18 f.p.s. (also for time lapse shots with the automatic single-frame setting).

Zoom Control

The zoom lens offers you two advantages. You can literally change the focal length and thus the angle of view before shooting. If you use this facility rationally, your films will appear as if they were taken with several cameras, although you have hardly changed your position. For this purpose (and also if you wish to save battery power) set the focal length just before shooting by operating the zoom ring.

You can also change the focal length during shooting and will then obtain scenes which look as if the camera was moving towards or away from the subject, although you have not changed your position.

During shooting, zoming can be carried out – without moving the camera out of position – just by operating the rocker switch on the camera body. Only depress one end of the switch, do not press in the middle.


It is essential for focusing through the lens to adjust the optical system to your vision (Eyepiece adjustment). For this purpose select the shortest focal length and set the lens focusing ring to the infinity mark. Now look through the eyepiece and turn the knurled roller in the camera body (next to the eyepiece) until the viewfinder image of an object over 10 m. away appears sharp.

For actual focusing select the longest focal length.

Focusing with the Nizo 156 XL

If when focusing the vertical lines of the subject appear out of coincidence at the point of intersection with the horizontal dividing line of the circular focusing area in the viewfinder, turn the lens focusing ring until the lines of the subject appear continuous. It is unimportant if one half of the circular focusing area appears slightly unsharp or darker than the other.

Focusing with the Nizo 136 XL and the Nizo 148 XL

For actual focusing select the longest focal length (Nizo 136 XL: 36 mm. – Nizo 148 XL: 48 mm.) Now turn the lens focusing ring until the double outlines of the object, as seen in the viewfinder, coincide.

You can now select the required focal length and start shooting.

Accurate focusing becomes all the more important the longer the focal length selected for shooting is, the dimmer the light is (that is to say the wider the aperture set), and the shorter the subject distance is.

If you wish to measure the subject distance with a tape measure, place the end of the tape on the film plane mark (between aperture control and time lapse switch). Only for close-ups with supplementary lenses should the tape be placed on the edge of the lens.

If you have no time for focusing the lens you can without hesitation make use of the very considerable depth of field at short and medium focal lengths. The 4 m. mark on the lens focusing ring and the 15 mm. mark on the focal-length scale are marked in red. With this combination even in relatively dim light and tat f/4, the depth of field will extend from 1.74 m. to infinity even at a relatively dim illumination. The shorter the focal length the more extensive will be the depth of field.

The Frame Speed Switch

With this rotary switch you can set the film transport mechanism to the standard speed of 18 f.p.s. (red-dot) or to the slight slow-motion speed of 24 f.p.s. or the x2 slow motion of 36 f.p.s. On the other hand the Nizo provides a x2 time lapse of 9 f.p.s. with this switch. You will find three more time lapse speeds by the automatic single frame setting marked ‘Timer’. The Nizo thus has 7 frame speeds with electronic speed regulator.

Set the required speed so that the switch engages under the corresponding mark.

Note: intermediate settings are not possible.

The exposure times at the various frame speeds are as follows:

9 f.p.s = 1/14 sec.

18 f.p.s. = 1/28 sec.

24 f.p.s. = 1/38 sec.

36 f.p.s. = 1/54 sec.

The automatic exposure control sets the lens aperture accordingly.

The position ‘1’ on the frame speed switch must be set when manual single-frames are to be taken.

The Manual Single Frame Setting

The manual single-frame setting using a cable release or the Nizo remote control release works in the same way as the three time lapse speeds of the automatic single frame control –

1. extreme time lapse shots


2. animation shots (bringing objects ‘to life’ in trick shots)

Example of time lapse: the slow movement of clouds can be made visible by shots taken at intervals of seconds.

Example for animation: dolls move, waving their arms if the latter are moved a little at a time between shots.

For this purpose the camera is best mounted on a tripod and a cable release (as long as possible) screwed into the socket on the camera base. You can also use the electro-magnetic remote-control release for single frame settings. The plug for this purpose is inserted in the socket on the camera base next to the screw socket for the cable release. In each case set the the frame speed switch to ‘1’.

If you do not have a cable release or the remote control release available at the time, you can take single frame shots with the release trigger as well. This should, however, be regarded as an emergency measure, as considerable care is necessary not to move the camera out of position during the film sequence. Absolutely rigid camera mounting is essential for successful trick or special effect shots using this device.

Time Lapse Switch (automatic single frame setting)

With this rotary switch you can set the film transport mechanism to three different time lapse speeds. Important: the frame speed switch must be set to 18 (red dot). If you now turn the time lapse switch to the three dot mark it will engage there and the camera is set to a frame speed of approximately 6 frames per second. The mechanism will start to run as soon as the switch engages. If you hold the camera absolutely still you can dispense with a tripod at this speed. When projected at 18 frames per second all movement filmed will appear 3 times faster than normal.

When the switch is turned to the two dot mark, the camera is now set to a frame speed of approximately 1 frame per second. When projected at 18 f.p.s. this will produce a time-lapse effect of 18:1 on the projection screen. Absolutely firm camera mounting during shooting is essentiual for good results. It is best to mount the camera on a tripod. This also applies to shots at a speed of 1 frame approximately every 5 seconds. In this way you can take shots with a time lapse effect of 90:1. For this purpose the switch must be turned to the 1 dot mark. This frame speed allows you to illuminate each individual frame by electronic flash. The interval of five seconds is sufficient for recycling of the flash unit. Further details are given in Time Lapse Photography with Flash Illumination.

If during time lapse shots you depress the release trigger of the camera you can change over directly to the standard speed of 18 f.p.s. (Do not however try this at 24 f.p.s. This would result in incorrect exposure). If you now remove your finger from the release trigger, shooting will automatically continue at the time lapse setting selected.

The direct change in frame speeds is also possible when using the electromagnetic remote control release or the cable release. Time lapse ceases when you turn the time lapse switch to the red dot mark.

Time Lapse Exposures with Flash Illumination

Electronic flash is similar to daylight, in that it generates no heat and has constant colour temperature. Thus it is the only way of filming objects sensitive to heat (e.g. plants).

Check the recycling time of your flash unit. It must be less than 5 seconds so that full power is available when the automatic time lapse mechanism of your Nizo takes the next shot (recommended flash unit: Braun 2000 VarioComputer).

Set the time lapse switch to the 1-dot mark (the other two time lapse settings are not suitable). Connect camera and flash unit with a camera bracket and mount the whole unit on a tripod. To attach the camera to the bracket you can also use the socket behind the hand grip. This socket is extremely useful if you wish to couple a movie light to the camera by means of a bracket. Connect the plug of the flash cord into the socket on your Nizo.

You must set the lens aperture by hand with the aperture control to the correct stop for shooting. The apertures applicable to similar conditions for still cameras should be corrected by opening up one stop (e.g. set to f/5.6 instead of f/8).

Tripod Shots

If you want to mount your Nizo on a tripod, move the hand grip out of position and let it hang. On the bottom of the camera base there is a tripod socket into which the tripod screw will fit.

Shooting from a tripod is always worth while because of the improved picture stability during projection and particularly during pronounced camera movement, zooming by altering the focal length, trick shots with the single frame mechanism or using time-lapse speeds, and when using long and maximum focal length (tele).

Electromagnetic Remote Control Release

You can also operate the camera mechanism by means of a magnet built into the camera combined with the Nizo remote control release cable. A reel with 30 ft. (10 m.) of 2 mm. cord, push-button release and connection for extension by a further 10 metres of cord is available as an accessory. Up to ten reels can be combined.

The remote control release permits shots with the camera concealed or shots in which you yourself appear in the picture without having to worry about finding an ‘assistant camera-man’. Set up the camera on a firm mounting – ideally on a tripod – in front of the subject and set the aperture control to ‘automatic’. Push the remote-control release plug into the left-hand socket on the camera base. When arranging the cord ensure the camera is not pulled out of position or even pulled over.

Connection for the cable extension by means of a further reel is located beside the push button switch on the reel.

Extreme Close-ups with Supplementary Lenses

Among the accessories for every Nizo camera are three supplementary lenses for extreme close-ups. In combination with the long focal lengths of the camera, these lenses permit picture areas only centimetres in size and scales of reproduction which penetrate far into the microcosm.

Detailed information on diopters, scales of reproduction and picture area sizes are outside the scope of these instructions as all these factors are determined by the focal length of the the lens used and can only be reproduced in tabular form. Each Nizo close-up lens is supplied with accurate tables giving subject sizes, ranges and depth of field.

Close-up filming with Nizo close-up lenses requires no aperture correction, but exact focusing. A tripod is very important.

Close-up lenses for the Nizo 156 XL and Nizo 148 XL:

Supplementary LensFocusing Range
Nizo NL 11.00 – 0.47 m. (40 – 20 inches)
Nizo NL 20.50 – 0.32 m. (20 – 14 inches)
Nizo NL 30.33 – 0.24 m. (15 – 11 inches)

Close-up lenses for the Nizo 136 XL:

Supplementary LensFocusing Range
Nizo NL 3011.00 – 0.47 m. (40 – 20 inches)
Nizo NL 3020.50 – 0.32 m. (20 – 14 inches)
Nizo NL 3030.33 – 0.24 m. (15 – 11 inches)

Extreme Wide-angle Lens for the Nizo 136 XL

A super wide-angle supplementary lens is available as an accessory for the Nizo 136 XL only. It is screwed onto the main lens, using an adaptor, and changes the focal length by a factor of 0.38. (Example 0.38 x 12 mm. = 4.56 mm.) The shortest focal length of 9 mm. is thus reduced by this supplementary lens to 3.42 mm. The lens produces a horizontal picture angle of 77 degrees and multiplies the depth of field by seven. The shortest focusing range is approximately 20 cm.

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