The main reason I use submini cameras is that I can carry one everywhere and I hardly notice its there. But using it is another story. If I only have one camera, loaded with one type of film, how can it be used in every type of lighting situation that I might encounter during the day? I could carry several different rolls of film, but that would take up valuable pocket space, and I prefer to use what little space I have for a spare roll, in case I need it.

I call my solution the four f's: fast film-filtration fix. Whether I want to shoot black & white or color, I load the camera with a relatively fast film. ISO 1600 is my standard. This allows me to shoot indoors or at night with a hand-holdable 1/30 shutter speed with my relatively slow f2.8 lens open all the way. (I've found ISO 400 film to be too slow in many situations.) Then when I move out into the sun I slap on a neutral density filter to allow me to keep shooting. On a sunny day, ISO 1600 film is too fast for my maximum camera settings of 1/500 at f16. But with a neutral density filter I can get a correct exposure. For black & white, I have a 2X neutral density gelatin filter on the back of my standard yellow filter. This filter sandwich cuts out three f-stops of light, so I can shoot with ISO 1600 film in full sunlight and get a correct exposure. For color film, I use the neutral density filter alone. This works OK, since I usually use color film at ISO 800.

The results? Sure, they're grainy, but at least I got the shot. If I settled for ISO 125, or even ISO 400 film as my everyday film, I would miss a lot of pictures. Take a look at some of the pictures in the GALLERY section of the SUBCLUB. You'll see that some are taken with high speed films that could not have been made with slower-speed films.

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