Different Types of 16mm Camera

Posted By Richard Barker on 07 May 2014

Posted in Used Equipment Buyers Guides

There have been many developments from the standard 16mm cameras that have been around for decades, with some variations led by the increase of digital technology. 

Standard 16mm

Featuring either perforation down the frame line at both sides known as double-perforation, or just down one side known as single-perforation, a standard 16mm film camera is a popular choice for budget film making. Single-perforation allows space on the negative side of the film for a monophonic soundtrack. Picture size for the standard 16mm camera is 7.49mm by 10.26mm.

Super 16mm

Using single-sprocket film, the super 16mm film camera variation has a larger picture area that measures 7.41mm by 12.52mm, plus a wider aspect ratio measuring 1.67. On a super 16mm camera, the modified wider frame uses the space usually reserved for the soundtrack on a standard model. The emergence of digital intermediate workflow has meant that the picture can be digitally enlarged to 35mm with almost no loss to quality.

Ultra 16mm

The DIY ultra 16mm camera is a variation of the super 16mm, created by enlarging the gate of a standard model to create exposure between the perforations that are normally unexposed in the typical format. With a frame size that measures in between that of a standard 16mm film camera and a super 16mm, the ultra 16mm avoids the expense of modifying a standard model to create a super 16 version. It also eliminates the need for the Super 16 lens requirements and the sometimes problematic image vignetting that can be caused by traditional 16mm film cameras. Images filmed by an ultra 16mm camera convert to NTSC/PAL, HDTV and 35mm film.