Thoughts on a 16mm SLR system

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by Karim Ghantous, Apr 29, 2021.

  1. The point of using such a pitifully small piece of film from my view is always having a camera with me. While I would never be able to produce poster-sized prints, relatively sharp 4x5 prints are possible. Even a Leica ltm camera is bulky and heavy in a pants pocket for every day walking around. Minolta 16 and Minox take up little space and are reliable viewfinder cameras. I don’t see the advantage of a bulky SLR that takes a pitifully small piece of film. My next step up in portability is an Olympus XA. Minox 35s are just too unreliable.
    None of the above are meant to replace 35mm, MF, etc. just handy to have around.
  2. Isn't that what a phone camera is for?
    The original of this is 12 megapixels and would easily print grainlessly to 10"x8".
    The phone that took it is always handy in my jeans pocket. So why would I encumber myself with a 'real' camera that's only capable of far worse quality? Because no matter how small it was, it would just be dead weight, surplus to requirements and less versatile - you can't make or receive a phone call with a Minox!
  3. If the subject comes up and I have (usually) an SLR, film or digital,
    I call it the camera that you can't make phone calls on.
  4. I suspect that often enough you are diffraction limited, though.

    You might get grainless, but not necessarily resolving near that point.

    I just found an interesting comparison for diffraction limit and different
    cameras and sensors.

    Diffraction Limited Photography: Pixel Size, Aperture and Airy Disks

    Note that the phone is still a lot bigger than its camera.
  5. What purpose would a 16 mm film camera serve? Full frame 35 mm color is roughly equivalent to a 6 MP sensor, easily topped by a 5 year old cell phone. I'm more likely to don different colored socks than go out without a cell phone. Minox love derives from watching too many wartime spy movies ;)
  6. Kodak's data sheet for TMax100 goes to about 140 cycles/mm, which comes out
    closer to 60MP.

    But yes, color films are less, for many reasons, so 6MP is probably fair.
  7. Datasheet - Shmatasheet.
    Add a lens and camera and 100 cycles/mm is the max.... if you're lucky and the optical wind is behind you!

    Which, over the full width of a crappy bit of single-sprocket 16mm film amounts to about 2600 pixels. Or two tenths of naff all in terms of megapixels.
    ] likes this.
  8. Definitely not in any good quantity. Now a question for you as you probably say you will buy it but how much would you be wiling to pay for it?
  9. Where would all those spy movies be without a Minox?
    Gary Naka and glen_h like this.
  10. ]


    This is the answer. Does everything better than the 16mm concept, and takes standard 35 mm cartridges. Fun factoid, Rollei had a 16 mm, beautiful, jewel like in appearance. Slow but steady seller when the 16 mm ultra mini camera fad was an item, Sales for it suddenly fell flat, why, Rollei introduced the Rollei 35, which didn't have the 16 mm headaches, and again, took standard 35 mm cartridges. And was a sales success. Practicality and convenience wins out.
  11. What about the good old Minox subminiatures?
  12. ]


    For spy work, fine. For those who want headaches with film and processing not easily available in the mainstream, fine. Again, my Kodak Retina 1b is very pocketable, and uses easily avallable 35 mm in standard cartridges.
  13. I have used a Rollei 35 since the very first day offered for sale at MiniCam on 32nd st in NYC. Also use Retina and Contessa folders. And my XA has produced a couple remarkable pictures. All are Handy small cameras, but they are too heavy to always carry in pants least for me.
    The little Minox 8x11 cameras sit in pocket and are hardly noticeable. I have very good simple to use film slitters and find loading cassettes a much simpler task than rewinding 120 film on to 620 spools for my Medalist.
    Somehow, my phone and I become easily separated. And then, I have a negative rather than a digital file.
    These are all personal preferences, so not suggesting that this is only path, or best path, for every one, just what I like to do.
    As for 16mm reflex camera, that has already been done...the little Pentax. Small, but more cumbersome to handle than a viewfinder camera.
    Of course subminiature format doesn’t take the place of 35mm, MF, or least not for me. (There was a gentleman who made stunning 11x 16 prints from Minox negatives, but that’s way beyond my skill level.)
  14. ]


    Subminature is a PITA to deal with every day. Processing for those who don't do their own, major pain. Film a major pain (and you have to have the cartridges). And 110 is not much better (and today's film selection limited) .I'd rather carry a 35 mm compact scale focus folder or a Rollei 35, or Barnack Leica with a collapsible lens. My vest pocket has plenty of room for either choice.
  15. If the OP likes the images coming out of the 16mm then why not just use the 35mm and crop. The results are the same aren't they?
  16. You might find a wider angle lens on the 16mm camera. But if it is the same lens, then yes.
  17. SCL


    As a former Olympus FT owner I can attest to their outstanding qualities, even today I can readily make 8x10 prints of my 1960s Oly negatives which often fool people about what camera/lens combos were used. Would I do it way. My phone beats it hands down, and although I'm a Johnny-come-lately to the technology, the phone is always with me and a camera isn't...not even my Barnack Leicas or my Minox.
    ] likes this.

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