Earlier in the year I might not have presented this roll at all. I was excited when I finished Roll #46 in my Minolta Auto 110 SLR. It was an expired roll of Kodacolor 200 from who-knows-when. So excited I tweeted about it. . .
The results were frankly junk. It’s just too expired. These were the only shots I could salvage, and only one of them is even remotely good.
Here they are though:
I think I’m done with 110 format. Even with in-date film, the results are mediocre. When I was collecting every interesting camera I could find, 110 was a fun experiment. Now I would rather use a more substantial camera and get better results. (I may keep the Minolta Weathermatic A though, because it’s cool and fulfills a unique function.)
The Ektralite 10 is a nice snapshot camera. Kodak really hit the mark with this one. It’s not very special, but for quick and easy photos of the family, it just works. The 110 format produces a smaller, grainier image than I prefer, but this camera did a decent job with the conditions it was given. In the past I have achieved images good enough for my family’s annual photo calendar with this little gem.
There is a bit of technical confusion I must mention. I have seen a copy of a manual page stating the shutter is fixed at 1/170, yet others quote a pair of shutter speeds depending on which film was used. I don’t know if the specs changed during its long production run.
The Ektralite 10’s biggest strength is also its major weakness in my opinion: that big flash. It is always available to really light things up:
Yet it is also big and clunky and ruins the slim lines of the camera. Other 110 cameras fit in a pocket, but this one is only pocketable if you are wearing a flasher’s raincoat.
Overall, I’m not a huge fan of the 110 format, but I think this one does a decent job with it. If you find one for $5 or less, pick it up.
Introduced in 1978, the Ektralite 10 was the flagship of Kodak’s 110 film point and shoot lineup. It featured a 25mm f8 lens with fixed focus from 5 feet to infinity. Shutter speed was fixed at 1/170, and the large internal flash ran on 2 AA batteries. Production ran until 1994.
My example has a translucent sliding lens cover which also covers the viewfinder. In addition to locking the shutter release, this also makes it impossible to frame an exposure if the lens is covered.
I’ve loaded mine with Lomography Tiger 200 color film. I have had good results with it in the past. It’s a $4 thrift store find; I would recommend eBay, or you can buy a NIB example from the Film Photography Project for a wee bit more.
This camera was loads of fun, with a few quirks. Exposure is automatic based on the selected aperture. If the shutter speed is out of range, an LED triangle lights in the finder pointing in the proper direction to turn the exposure wheel to correct. If the shot is acceptable, no feedback is provided.
This disturbed me slightly, as there is no way to ensure that the batteries are functioning properly. A quick scan through the manual, however, revealed that the mirror will lock up and the shutter will not fire if voltage is too low. (This can be overridden in the X mode for fixed speed/variable aperture shooting with no batteries.)
Manual focus was smooth, and the zoom worked fine. I prefer a split-image focusing screen over the micro prism style, but I managed. The single stroke film advance lever added to the fun snapshot feel that goes along with many 110 cameras. As I was shooting 400 speed film in good light, there was not much opportunity to experiment with depth of field.
I'm very happy with the results.
Horse Show Zamboni
The sign says it protected the Bush compound in Kennebunkport until 1990.
Bunkhouse. The centerpiece of the Deerfield Fairgrounds was built as a dormitory for the Pawtuckaway CCC camp during the Depression.
I have an oddity this week, a Single Lens Reflex camera using 110 cartridge subminiature film. The Minolta 110 Zoom SLR (Mark I) was introduced in 1976. It is an odd-looking little pancake of a camera with a 25-50mm f4.5 zoom lens. Focus is manual with a micro prism finder spot. Exposure is aperture priority with a wheel located around the light meter to the right of the lens. LED indicators inside the viewfinder indicate whether the wheel should be rotated left or right to obtain proper exposure. Shutter speed ranges from 1/50 to 1/1000 and is automatically varied to match the selected aperture.
Shutter speed can be manually set to a fixed 1/150 by rotating the selector to X (for flash sync) or to B; otherwise it is set automatically and there is no way to know what the camera has selected. Film advance is via a single-stroke lever on the bottom of the camera. There is a hot shoe for electronic flash and a tripod socket on the left side of the body for portrait-only orientation.
As with many of my cameras, i dont remeber exactly why I bought it. It simply struck my fancy one day on eBay. I've loaded a roll of rare Fukkatsu 400 color film and set off for the long weekend with it.
Camera Wiki has a good article on both this camera and its Mark II sibling.
I actually have a paper manual for this one, but you can see the electronic version courtesy of Mike Butkus.
“If you want something to look old, use an old camera.”
In some cases this is true, although much of the 'look' of a photo is influenced by film selection and processing methods. In this case, the Weathermatic A & Lomography Tiger 200 film teleported me back into the 1970s.
It's an easy camera to work with, although I'm personally never completely comfortable with a zone focus system. I always wonder if I've guessed correctly. The control knobs worked smoothly, and the thumb lever film advance is quick and cool. The flash is appropriate for a snapshot camera, but I found it to be underpowered in some of the large spaces where I shot. Many of the shots also seem slightly fogged; I think I need to clean the outer waterproof shell.
I didn't dare attempt immersion, but I did have occasion to shoot a bit at an indoor water park.
Overall, a neat and rugged camera but for regular 110 work I still like my Ektralite 10 better.
The Minolta Weathermatic A is a weatherproof 110-film camera introduced in 1980. A friend of mine had one of these in hight school; I only knew it as a yellow camera. In fact it’s waterproof to 3 meters. It has a zone focus system and three different apertures all selected by the black knobs on top. The aperture knob also controls the built-in flash. A thumb lever on the bottom advances the film.
I didn’t test the integrity of the O-rings, so I didn’t want to try it out underwater. I did load a new roll of Lomography Tiger 200 color and carried it around for the better part of a week. The film leaves for the lab this afternoon.
I expected more attention from the third graders than I got. One asked me what the 33 was, while the rest seemed content to ignore me. I guess the chaperones are supposed to be weird.
Shooting the 33 was about what I expected, but the results were disappointing. The form factor is vintage 110 Instamatic, with a slide to advance the film and the shutter easily reached with the right index finger. Adding the flash unit makes the entire assembly a bit too long and cumbersome for my taste.
I think the shutter may be a bit sticky. Many of my shots were out of focus, but not all. As the lens is fixed focus and the shutter has only one speed, I attribute this to camera shake.
I developed my own negatives and scanned at home. I need to work with this film more and hone my process. The results were muddy and required extensive post-processing to be usable. I have had good luck with professional processing of Orca 100 before, so I’m sure the fault was mine.
Beth and I took a walk around the farm neighborhood a few days before the field trip.
In the end the 33 is not a bad camera, but I think I like my Ektralite 10 better.
This little gem jumped at me from the shelves of my local Goodwill store. I haven't owned many 110 cameras as they were mostly known as cheap snapshot cameras. What I first noted about the 33 was its metal construction.
While the metal is nice, what made me buy it was this:
A hot shoe! In addition to the Magicube socket. It also came with this:
$5.99 also brought a genuine leather holster for the whole rig. The combined camera is a bit weighty, but the flash is easily removable and useful on any camera with a flash socket. I've loaded it with Lomography's Orca black & white film and taken it on a field trip with the 3rd grade. The results should be interesting.
Camera Wiki doesn't have it, but they do have a brief listing for a sister JC Penney 11.
Manual? It has a film advance lever, a shutter release, and a power switch for the flash. There's not a lot to figure out.
If you want one, good luck. You could haunt eBay or your local thrift shops. I've never seen another.