Point & Shoot

Minolta Riva Zoom 110 Mini-Review – The Perfect Camera for a New Dad – By Or Sachs

September 25, 2020

I’m now shooting a Minolta Riva Zoom 110 point & shoot film camera – I want to tell you the story of how I came to choose this camera, and how well it has worked out for me.

About 6 Months ago I decided I would photograph my daughters first year on earth. At first, I imagined black and white, 35mm equivalent field of view and medium format. So I bought the Mamiya M645 and a 55mm f/2.8. But that wasn’t right for the project. Quickly after birth I understood I need something quick and snappy that can devour any light situation and is fast. So of course, I chose a point and shoot.

By that time, I had a mju-I which I used to shoot the birth. I got 2 amazing shots, a lot of focus misses and the flash wasn’t strong enough. And so I went to out to look for better optics and a point and shoot that wouldn’t miss on focus.

I saw a Yashica T3 at a great price. This is one big camera – especially when compared to the mju-i. Its Big and heavier, it wouldn’t fit in my pocket. That was a big need of mine. Going to the doctor with a baby, a baby bag and a photo bag was not an option.

Around that time I dug deep into Ren Hang. I was looking for that snappy point and shoot strong flash and quick work. After some research I found out that Hang used an Minolta Riva Zoom 110 point & shoot zoom camera. The 110 Had the strongest flash of them all and different lens.

After two months of shooting with both the Yashica T3 and the Minolta Riva Zoom 110 I found out that the Minolta is the keeper. I did some shots to compare the two and the Minolta had the upper hand. Compared to the Yashica T3, it Never misses focus. The flash Is stronger, the lens is sharper (though slower) and colors are amazing too! And ? No Hype, and great prices. I now already have two of them.

Here are two comparisons between the Yashica (first image) and the Minolta (second image)

The Minolta Riva Zoom 110

So let’s talk about the Minolta. From the start, it’s obvious that the Minolta Riva Zoom 110 is a camera from the ‘future’. It’s silver, it’s slim, it has AF eye beam (yeah the red one – just like your dslr or ttl flash). The viewfinder is a ‘real image’ finder, and when you zoom in or out it moves and has a closeup correction frame too.

Minolta Riva Zoom 110

The Minolta Riva Zoom 110 has a 38mm-110mm zoom lens, 4 Groups and 4 Elements with a minimum focus range is 70 cm. At the wide end it starts at f/5.4 (YEAH!) and on the 110mm end is limited to f/10.5. I agree these aperture numbers are slow, but when using a 400 ISO film with flash indoors or on a sunny day you get images which are crisp and rich with good tones and colors. This camera isn’t super-fast – it takes it’s time between shots, but boy does she get it right everytime.

Some Sample images from the Minolta Riva Zoom 110 On Kodak Ultramax 400:  (some might ask ‘Hey new dad,  where is all the baby pictures? Well they aren’t being published online. But good Question.)

I was looking for a very specific camera. I wanted it to be snappy, small, precise, have good optics and have a strong flash – and I have found it in the Minolta Riva Zoom 110! It’s a true gem, and is exactly what I needed.

Thank you for reading!

You can find my work in Instagram and My Personal website.

Support & Subscribe

35mmc is free to read. It is funded by adverts. If you don't like the adverts you can subscibe here and they will disapear.

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of 35mmc and get access to exclusive content over on Patreon. Alternatively, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko-fi:

Become a Patron!

Learn about where your money goes here.
Would like to write for 35mmc? Find out how here.

9 Comments

  • Reply
    Neal A Wellons
    September 25, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Great article and great photos.

    When I first saw the title I thought if referred to the Minolta 110 Zoom SLR – 110 format cartridge cameras but the photo looked like a 35mm. I saw it wasn’t a 110 format when I saw the photos but looked it up anyway to be sure. Neat camera..

    I think you have an error on your picture caption, though.

    “Here are two comparisons between the Yashica (first image) and the Yashica (second image)”

    Looking forward to your next article.

    • Reply
      Or Sachs
      September 25, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      thank you! changed it

  • Reply
    Dana Brigham
    September 25, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Big shift from a 645 to a pocket 35mm point-and-shoot! But it works, it is convenient, and the photos look great — so that’s really what matters! But drat you — now I have another camera to add to my (too long) “need to find one of these to add to my ‘must use’ camera collection”!!!!! Thank you for sharing — and get all the pictures that you can of your children when they are growing up — don’t miss those opportunities!

    • Reply
      Or Sachs
      September 25, 2020 at 1:36 pm

      Yes it was a big shift, i was so sure that what i need is that m645 and wide lens, but i got it wrong 🙂 have fun with your new camera!

  • Reply
    rATRIJS
    September 25, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    With the birth of my children I also changed my shooting camera but in my case I went with rangefinders.

    I guess the reasoning was that most shots would be indoors where there isn’t much light and because I don’t really like flash photography I felt that it would be easiest to focus with a rangefinder and use a wide aperture to get reasonable shutter speeds ( and push film to 800 or more ).

    I would like to try some compact cameras as well but the prices have exploded and I can’t justify them yet. But this Minolta seems more reasonable so who knows!

    Interesting how similar circumstances can lead to different outcomes where both are still valid.

  • Reply
    Yair Sachs
    September 25, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    The mju-I is prone to focus missing because it auto-focuses on the center of the frame only. The mju-II is far better in this respect as it focuses on the close subject in the whole field of view.
    Nice examples! – I have always had much appreciation for Minolta and I own a couple of 35 mm. examples. I was sorry to see their demise in the digital era.

  • Reply
    Mats
    September 27, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I belive this one is actually just called Minolta 110 Zoom without the usual ‘Riva’ or ‘Freedom’ branding. It launched in 2003 and seems quite rare as I have problems finding any for sale.

  • Reply
    BG
    September 28, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Great article! I’ve always found it fascinating that there are these certain p&s families like the Minolta Riva/Freedom and Pentax Espio/IQZoom, where there are dozens of camera in the line, with overlapping zoom ranges and similar capabilities, and new ones got released like every 6 months.

    Congratulations on the birth of your son, btw!

  • Reply
    Peter Ryan
    September 30, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    I picked up the 150 version for £4 from a charity shop in wigtown in Galloway Scotland whilst on a covid holiday.its a smashing little camera,not finished the roll yet so dont know the results.i also have a couple of mju 1s and I love them,perfect for street work.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.