120studio.com
Aug. 4, 2014


Some readers will remember the Michael Landon advertisements for Kodak 110 cameras.  A whole generation used these 110 pocket cameras all through the Seventies, Eighties, and even into the Nineties.  110 film was easy to load, and the cameras were easy to shoot. 

It doesn't have to be strictly nostalgia, though.  Today you can still shoot 110 film!


A Quick Note

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Your help to keep this site going is much appreciated.


In This Article


They're Still Making 110

Why Shoot 110 Film

That Darned K Battery

Cameras That Don't Use the K Battery

Vintage Models

More Vintage Models

Current Production Cameras

The Best 110 Camera

Choice of Film

Where to Get 110 Film Developed



They're Still Making 110 Film

Starting in 2012 this format was revived.  You can buy the film new.  Later in this article I'll talk more about that.


Why Shoot 110 Film

It's not about resolution, because film vs. digital is about more than that.  110 has nowhere near the detail-resolving power of 35mm, and maybe that's part of the charm.  Here are some reasons to use it:

   - It's fun
   - It's yet another "paint brush" in your artist toolkit
   - The cameras are small, portable, and generally inexpensive
   - You're less likely to get mugged for a cheap camera that looks like a cereal box prize
   - Some of the most treasured family memories of the Seventies and Eighties were recorded with 110 cameras
   - 110 film is cute!
   - Did I mention it's fun?



The Statue of Liberty

Liberty Island, NY
1983
Kodak Trimlite Instamatic 18
(Or was it the Kodak Winner?  They're really the same camera.)

More 110 photos here.


Before we jump into the films and cameras, let's get one thing out of the way...

That Darned K Battery

Some of the Kodak and Minolta 110 cameras required a "K battery". 

This was a unique battery type with an odd shape, thanks to a special casing.  It could not be replaced with any other battery type. 

K batteries are not made anymore and haven't been made for many years.  You can rebuild old K batteries, but it's kind of a chore and requires some soldering.  Basically, you split the plastic casing down the middle, take out the old button cells, and solder three new ones in series with short pieces of fine wire.  (Soldering to any battery is a risky proposition... you do so at your own risk.)  Some people have rebuilt K batteries with great success.  I had a K battery that I planned to rebuild for one of the Instamatics, but I never got around to it. 

Don't worry, there are tons of 110 cameras that don't take K batteries. 

A few of the K-battery cameras will still function without the battery.   The flash won't work, but the shutter will, as long as it's mechanical.  However, certain 110 cameras had electronically-controlled shutters.  These won't work at all without that special battery.  This includes the Kodak Pocket Instamatic 30 through 60.  These are great cameras, but unless you can rebuild a K battery they are useless.

So, if you want to shoot 110, you'll probably want....

Cameras That Don't Use the K Battery

If you count all the promotional ones and re-branded models, there are probably a hundred or more.   We'll just stick with some of the major ones here.


A Group of 110 Cameras and Film


Photograph taken with a 110 camera and 110 film

Cropped from larger image
(You can't focus very closely with most 110 cameras...)


Here's a sampling:

Vintage Models

Here are some 110 cameras that don't use the K battery.   These are ultra-basic models with fixed aperture, fixed focus, and one shutter speed.
 
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     - Agfa Autostar Pocket
     - Fujica Pocket 200
     - Halina 110 Auto Flip
     - Kodak Pocket Instamatic 10
     - Kodak Pocket Instamatic 20
     - Kodak Pocket Instamatic 100
     - Kodak Trimlite Instamatic 18
     - Kodak Ektra 1 / Tele-Ektra 1
     - Kodak Ektra 100
     - Kodak Winner
     - Velveeta Shells & Cheese Dinner 110 camera
     - Vivitar 402
     - Vivitar Point 'n Shoot 110

Most of these don't have their own flash and don't use any batteries at all.   They cost very little, both then and now.  Through those links, you can often find them for five to seven bucks.  Sometimes even less.

Single-speed mechanical shutters are pretty reliable.  They worked well in the Seventies and Eighties;   most of them still work today.




If You're Going To Dry Some Shirts, Why Not Save Electricity

Kodak Trimlite Instamatic 18
Kodak 400 film (expired 1987)

Gallery of 110 photos here.


More Vintage Models

Here are some more that don't take the K battery.   These are more sophisticated models that tend to have adjustable focus and other features.

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Aperture
Battery
Built-In Flash?
Film Speeds
Focus
Shutter Speeds
Canon 110ED

Adjustable f/2
PX28
Yes
100
Rangefinder
Auto
Canon 110ED 20
Adjustable f/2
PX28 Yes
100 and 400
Rangefinder
Auto
Fujica Pocket 350 ZOOM

Adjustable f/5.6
None
No
100 and 400
Zone
Fixed 1/125th
Kodak Ektralite 10
Fixed f/8
AA x 2
Yes
100 and 400
Fixed
Fixed according to film speed
Kodak Pocket Instamatic 300
Adjustable  f/5.6
None
No
?
Fixed
Fixed 1/80th
Kodak Pocket Instamatic 400
Fixed f/11
PX28 No
?
Fixed
Auto
Minolta 110 Zoom SLR
Adjustable f/5.6
A76
No
100 and 400;  more speeds via EV dial
SLR Manual Focus
Auto (10 sec to 1/1000th sec.) + Bulb
Minolta Pocket Autopak 430 E
Adjustable
AA x 1
Yes
80-400
Zone
Fixed 1/200th
Minolta Pocket Autopak 440 E
Adjustable
AA x 1
Yes
100 and 400
Zone
Fixed 1/200th
Minolta Pocket Autopak 450 E
Adjustable
AA x 1
Yes
80-400
Zone
Fixed 1/200th
Minolta Pocket Autopak 460 T
Auto
AA x 1
Yes
100 and 400
Zone
Fixed 1/200th
Minolta Weathermatic A
Adjustable
AA x 1
Yes
100 and 400
Zone
Fixed 1/200th
Vivitar 700
Fixed f/7
AA x 2
Yes
100 and 400
Fixed
Fixed 1/250th
Vivitar 702
Fixed f/7
AA x 2
Yes
100 and 400
Zone
Fixed 1/250th



Current Production 110 Cameras

- Lomography Diana Baby 110...... Looks like a smaller version of the Diana Mini.  Takes square pictures on 110 film!

- Holga Micro 110........ Yields surprisingly good pictures for what it is;  at least as good as my old Kodak Trimlite Instamatic 18.

- Superheadz Ikimono 110..... Image quality comparable to the Holga Micro 110, but this camera is even smaller.  It's really just a lens and shutter assembly that fits over a 110 cartridge.  This and the Holga 110 are similar to the vintage Ansco and Halina micro 110 cameras.

- Lomography Fisheye Baby 110......... has a fisheye lens, giving about a 170-degree field of view.   The pictures are circular (because of the fisheye effect) and cool-looking.


The Best 110 Camera

Any of the modern ones are functional enough to take photos.   Toy cameras are fun, and there's no reason you can't use one to take beautiful pictures.

I already like the Diana Mini 35mm camera, so the Diana Baby 110 would be a natural companion to it.

As for the vintage models, I'm partial to the Kodak Trimlite Instamatic 18 because it was the first camera I ever owned.  It's durable and pocketable, though it's limited to full daylight unless you have the disposable flash units.

If you want the most capability, don't even hesitate;  just get the Minolta 110 Zoom SLR.  You can attach it to a tripod and shoot up to 10-second exposures.  And a max shutter speed of 1/1000th?  For 110, that's incredible.




Whale Watching

Cape Cod, Mass.


Choice of Film

For most of these cameras you can use ISO 200 color negative film.  Neg film can tolerate overexposure quite well;  one stop is really no big deal.   You can buy Lomography Tiger Color 200 film through this link.  Tiger 200 has very good exposure latitude.

ISO 100 film is also OK for a bright sunny day.  Lomography has the Orca 100 black and white film, which you can buy here.

If you want newly-manufactured 400 color film, you can get Fukkatsu 400.  It's not cheap, because it has to ship from Japan.  (Get yours through this link.) 

Why get 400 film?  Well, it's way better for indoor flash use.  100 and 200 film tend to give you dark backgrounds, with only your subjects lit by flash.   400 film will let you also see the background (walls, other people, etc.) because it can catch light that's dimmer.

If you want to shoot the ISO 200 slide film, try to pick a camera with variable shutter speeds, variable aperture, or both.  Or, use a Minolta 110 Zoom SLR and set the EV dial accordingly (-1 EV).

Or, wait until the lighting is right for your camera.  On a Trimlite Instamatic 18 with its f/11 and 1/90th, the 200 slide film would overexpose during bright sunlight.  (On a sunny day, ISO 200 slide film would require more like f/11 and 1/250th.)  You have two practical choices here... (A.) Hold a 1-stop neutral-density filter over the lens, or (B.) Find lighting situations where the sun isn't as bright.  Use an SLR / DSLR as your light meter and see when f/11 at 1/90th to 1/125th would be the right combination.


Where To Get 110 Film Developed

See this article and scroll down for a list of developing labs.  Any lab that does dip-and-dunk should be able to process 110.  If you're not sure, give them a call first. 


Scanning 110 Film

An inexpensive flatbed such as the Epson V550 will serve fairly well for 110.  Just lay the negatives on the glass and put another piece of glass over them.  (It helps if you use anti-glare glass. Use one from a small picture frame, if it has this kind of glass.)

If you're more serious about scan quality, here's how I do it.


Parting Thoughts

A lot of people said 110 film was dead, but it's made a comeback... and it's just as much fun as ever.  Actually I can't believe how cool this is.  There's a whole generation (or two) of people who used 110 film cameras back in the day.  Now there's a whole new generation that's into film.  Add these together, and you have a lot of current and future 110 shooters out there!

There's a huge number of 110 cameras on the market, and now you can buy new 110 film.  I have links directly to it at the bottom of this page. 

Please help me out by shopping for your stuff through the links on this site.  It's the only way I can keep this site going.  Much appreciated!

Have a good one,




              


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