This may not seem like big news, but it is! A large group of 16mm submini users have been severely limited when it comes to B&W film. First, the film needs to be of "pictorial" contrast. While there are plenty of 16mm B&W films out there, they are mostly high-contrast, micro films that require special handling and processing. The selection of normal-contrast 16mm B&W movie films is very limited. Second, the film needs to have a fairly high ISO/ASA speed rating. Microfilms are typically very low. Even the B&W movie films are pretty low. Third, the film needs to be of the single perforation (or unperforated) type. This is the biggest problem. Movie films are usually double perforated. While these movie films will fit in all 16mm cameras, in many models the useable image size is reduced significantly due to the double perforations. The only option for these particular submini users has been to slit 16mm film strips from 35mm B&W films. Needless to say this is a real pain, and beyond the capabilities of many users. In sum, many 16mm submini users have been frustrated by B&W film that has low ISO, high contrast, and double perforations.

The Chicago office of Studio Film and Tape has just secured a small supply (4 rolls each) of Ilford FP4 Plus (ISO 125) and HP5 Plus (ISO 400) in the 16mm single perforation format (sometimes called Super 16). It is only available in the 400 foot roll. If you are interested, talk to Max at (800) 467-0070 (and please tell him you're grateful -- he went to a lot of trouble to get this stuff!). The New York office has a small supply of 100 foot rolls. You can call them at (800) 444-9330. We have no idea how long this film will be available. If this is a particularly important film to you we suggest that you fill up your freezer with it while you can -- it should last forever in the fridge. Better be safe than sorry. It's funny how manufacturers spend thousands to annouce the production of a new product, but we are always in the dark when our oldtime favorite products are discontinued.

For those of you who don't need 400 or 100 feet, we have an alternative. Check out the Swap Meet for shorter lengths of film from 5 feet to 25 feet. Try out a short roll for a few bucks. I know you'll like it so much, you'll want to get more.

You won't be disappointed with either of these films. FP4 is an exceptionally fine-grained, panchromatic film suitable as a general use film. Enlargements are easy with this film's fine grain and fast speed. HP5 is an even faster, panchromatic film (pushable to speeds of 3200!). It's just the thing for you low-light and clandestine 16mm photographers.

Both films call for regular B&W processing. Use whatever developer you currently use for 35mm Ilford (or Kodak) films! This is truly a rare opportunity for Minolta, Gami, Yashica, Kiev and Vega owners (among others). There is no way to tell if Studio Film and Tape will be able to obtain any more of these fine films, so grab 'em while you can!

To find out more about "rolling your own" 16mm film for your submini camera, check out the Darkroom section of this web site.