For the last 2 or 3 years I have been reading about the Pentax Auto 110. A real SLR but tiny. Something about miniature cameras really fascinates me. Reading all the reviews of how good the viewfinder is, and seeing some quite excellent images taken with one on Flickr finally convinced me that I really had to get one.
After a little while looking in eBay, I found a very nice little example with the standard 24mm f2.8 lens for a reasonable price – £33. I was considering buying a complete set with wide and telephoto lenses, but this seemed a sensible first step into 110 photography. To go with it I got 2 rolls each of mono and colour film from Lomography.
Initial impressions were excellent. I had forgotten how easily 110 cartridges are loaded (open camera, insert cartridge, close camera, wind a couple of strokes). The viewfinder really is bright and clear with a very usable split focussing circle. The 24mm lens (handily, 110 is almost identical to micro four-thirds in crop factor so that equates to 48mm) focuses down to 40cm. And it weighs next to nothing!
So I took the wee beastie out in the garden, and for a few strolls in the lanes around my house, loaded with the Lomo Orca 100 mono film, and afterwards sent the film off to the Silverpan lab in Bristol for dev/ scanning to TIFF files. It may not be the quickest service but it’s really good to to deal with and very good value for 110 processing. NB I usually scan negs myself, but without a 110 mask the results would almost certainly be rubbish.
Here are a few examples. All have had fairly standard treatment in Lightroom (shadows/highlights/sharpening). I’m quite impressed by how sharp the lens is, and the Orca film isn’t bad either, at least in good light, as you would expect with ASA 100. Some other frames showed a pattern of white dots which Silverpan reckoned are causes by light leaking through the Lomography film backing paper. To stop that, they recommend sticking tape over the frame counter window. We’ll see what effect that has for the next roll, which will be colour, using Lomo Tiger 200.
My other content on 35mmc can be found here