One of the most common questions I get is: "How do I play and transfer my old 8mm or Hi8 video tapes to VHS or DVD if I don't have the camcorder any more?".
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as simple as just buying an adapter to enable your 8mm or Hi8 tapes to play in a standard VCR, as there is no such thing as an 8mm/VHS adapter. For specific details on this, and also how to play back and transfer your 8mm/Hi8 tapes to VHS or DVD, if you still have your camcorder, check out reference my article Where Is The 8mm/VHS Adapter?.
However, if you find yourself in the situation where you have a collection of 8mm and Hi8 tapes and no way to play them back or transfer them because your camcorder is no longer operational or you no longer have one, there are several options available to you:
1. Borrow a Hi8 or 8mm camcorder from a friend or relative for temporary use (Free - if you have access to one).
2. Take your tapes to a video duplicator in your area and have them transferred to DVD professionally (can be expensive - depending on how may tapes are involved).
3. Buy an inexpensive HI8 (or a Digital8 camcorder that has ability to also playback analog Hi8 and 8mm) camcorder to play your tapes back. (The best long-term and least expensive option if you have a lot of tapes -- and if you can't borrow a camcorder).
4. Buy a Sony Digital8/Hi8 portable VCR (only available used from third parties at this point - try eBay, Amazon, etc...).
If you only have a small number of tapes- I would consider options 1 or 2 as they would be the most practical and cost effective. If you have a large number of tapes, then consider options 3 or 4 - with option 3 being the most cost effective.
Lastly, at this point, I would transfer them to DVD and not VHS. However, you could do both, if needed. If you have them transferred to DVD by a service - have them do one -- and then test it to make sure it plays on your DVD player - then have the remaining ones done in the same fashion.