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07-09-2008, 11:25 AM   #1
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Pentax Auto 110

Here's a question, then. Bear in mind that I'm asking as someone who's only really grown up with digital photography...

What's a Pentax Auto 110 like to use?

I ask because I keep seeing them on ebay. They're not that expensive, it seems - a tiny little SLR system that fits in your pocket. I know it would mean using film (shock horror) which means a slightly different mentality regards getting too trigger-happy, but, presuming the film they take is available and places still develop it, what are they like.

Do they really have anything to recommend themselves over compact digicams, for instance (I know that's comparing apples and oranges). I just like using my dSLR very much (having finally got one after a few years of saving - student here), and the idea of having a tiny pocketable one to mess around with is interesting. The idea of manually winding film doesn't bother me, but I don't know how they are on image quality, etc. Are they any good, as it were?

Have googled them only a little, to be honest, will do more so, but thought I'd ask here directly first. Thanks!

07-09-2008, 11:57 AM   #2
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Good luck getting film for 'em.

Some places might have NOS rolls of 110 lying around, and I think there's a place in Italy that still cranks it out (Ferrania?) but it's basically non-existent nowadays, practically speaking.
07-09-2008, 01:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Good luck getting film for 'em.

Some places might have NOS rolls of 110 lying around, and I think there's a place in Italy that still cranks it out (Ferrania?) but it's basically non-existent nowadays, practically speaking.
There are several sources in the US. Just do a search on Froogle.com (Google's shopping site) and you will find many sources for various prices, Adorama being one. That is not to say that this film will be available forever... Then again, that can be said of all film if you listen to some.
07-09-2008, 03:31 PM   #4
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I've been considering one for a while

One of the coolest looking cameras ever!

I think if you want high quality pics this is not the camera to get. Having said that, given the ridiculous price some plastic lens "toy" cameras are being sold for these days, and the fact the 110 makes a cute collectors album I think the prices are very cheap.

To actually get photos from it for a decent number of years to come though you need to think outside the box a bit (you can tell I've really ummed and ahhhed about bothering with one). I think the only way it will be viable is to buy a fair number of casettes. Open them and reload them (google shows a few sites which explain this). Get a knackered old 35mm camera to DIY make a "film" splitter to cut normal film down to a 16mm strip. Then load in old casette (with window back taped over). All this would need to be done in a changing bag; difficult but I reckon doable with practice; just get some digustingly cheap rubbish film to practice on in daylight first.

Then you have to untape the casette (in changing bag) and somehow find a 110 reel to load it in, then probably develop yourself (even for colour I reckon this is going to be cheaper than the few specialist places that will eventually develop it, plus you keep the casettes). Again a bit of a faff.

Then you need to scan it. Best results would probably be with dedicated 35mm film holder, perhaps glueing the film strips to some acetate or something to fit them into the holder. Finally you could make some prints.

Not for the faint hearted but for a bit of a hobby project could be good fun. I reckon you'd turn heads using the thing; be great fun for parties etc.

As I am currently so nomadic I can't aquire developing chemicals or tanks, I can't really give it a try.

On the subject of small good quality cameras, my biggest regret was selling my espio mini (35mm). The photos I got from it were as good, if not better than my Contax TVS (although admittedly the contax has more features) at a tenth of the price and way more pocketable. The contax is just not small enough for a carry everywhere camera so I'm going to get rid of it. I really want to get another one (or two) espio minis but they are quite hard to find (and the build quality is pants).

I'm also considering a mobile phone camera as they are getting better and at least you always have it with you.

07-09-2008, 03:39 PM   #5
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film future

NB I think 35mm film will be available for quite a few years to come but become a specialist thing produced by a few specialist manufacturers for "retro hobbyists". It will be correspondingly more expensive with less choice. I think the days of mass market film are rapidly dying though.

110 film will undoubtedly die. Just as some strange medium formats did (and some people get round this by cutting 120 film to the correct size and spooling it themselves).

Websites like flickr do show there is a crowd of people who like to be different and use old technology for the fun of it.

Last edited by pentaxkat; 07-09-2008 at 03:40 PM. Reason: missed word out
07-09-2008, 05:06 PM   #6
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OK the Pentax 110 is now a museum piece.
If you can find one like mine then you should put it behind a glass wall.
I can still find 110 film around, its not so hard to find but next year?? the year after??
But the quality of the pics for a 110 camera is amazing.
07-09-2008, 05:37 PM   #7
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This was my first camera. I used it in Junior High and High School. I took some good pics with it and a lot of mediocre pictures with it. I need to get those negatives out and scan them. Out of the hundreds I took, there were about 3 that were special considering they were taken with a 110. I don't know where mine went because I never sold it or anything. I was looking at some on KEH the other day. I don't really miss it though.
07-10-2008, 11:12 AM   #8
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I wasn't worried about more than a few years ahead, honestly. I read recently somewhere quite recently in fact that they are still making cheapo cameras for the 110 film, so it (perhaps) won't dry up that immediately.

I suppose these days, you have almost as much control (aperture etc) over a manual digicam as such a simple slr - although am not sure that p&s lenses always go down to f2.8 (research required...).


QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I don't really miss it though.
I see. So more cool gadget value that interesting piece of kit value... ?

QuoteQuote:
I'm also considering a mobile phone camera as they are getting better and at least you always have it with you.
Yeah, you see, I know what you mean. It's the convenience thing, plus the desire to actually be able to stand a chance of getting the shot.

Part of me is really waiting for a camera company to release a camera with a phone in it, though, rather than a phone with a rubbish camera stuck inside.


I can't deny that part of my POV is that as a student, there's a difference between spending 25 on ebay and getting a bargain camera to play with, and spending 150 for a P&S digicam to do basically the same thing. Just casually considering it all, y'know.

07-10-2008, 11:17 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
. . .

I see. So more cool gadget value that interesting piece of kit value... ?
Something like that. I don't think I ever used it once I got a k1000.
07-10-2008, 11:22 AM   #10
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Pentax Auto 110

Kodak still makes Kodacolor Gold in 110 size. Who knows how much longer it will be available.

Walgreens sells it in their house brand, which I believe is made by Ferrania in Italy.

I don't go to Walmart very often, but, the last time I was there, I believe I saw Kodak 110 film.

I doubt if you will find anyone to develop it locally, even though it is a standard C-41 process. You will almost certainly have to send it away.

I bought an Auto 110 on eBay, just because I collect Pentax cameras. I used it once, just to make sure it worked.

IMHO, they're strictly for collectors now. Sure, you can pick one up for a song, but film choice is extremely limited. Availability stinks. Processing is slow. In 1979, the camera was revolutionary. In 2008, its a curiosity. It can't compete in image quality with even a mediocre 35mm camera, which still has a pretty wide range of film to choose from.

If I were looking for a pocketable daily user camera, I'd get a basic digital point & shoot. You can load the images onto your PC and manipulate them with cheap or ever free software. You can have the images printed almost anywhere.

All that having been said, its still a very cool little camera.
07-10-2008, 11:53 AM   #11
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auto 110 metering

also the auto 110 doesn't have exposure compensation, has auto program exposure only and you can only set film speed to 80 or 400. If you wanted 80 speed you'd probably have to tape a little switch thing in the back.

Some of the mobile phone cameras now have flashes and better lenses (sure carl zeiss have been doing some). I don't normally spend much on a phone but if you got a decent camera and it had an mp3 player as well I can start to see the point as I don't have digital compact or ipod anyway and to buy all three could be expensive.

I still think the 110 would be a fun camera project for those who like to develop their own film.
07-13-2008, 07:39 PM   #12
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Love my A110. Have two kits. Each with three lenses (18, 24, 50). Film can be purchased at Walmart. Our Walmart also develops it on site. Does take them a day to do it (not 1 hour). It takes good pics and is pretty versatile. Can it beat a P&S digital? Hmmm. Good question. The pics will look different. Film looks different. Its more fun to use than any P&S digital. When you pull the camera out and change lenses in front of a bystander... you sure get their attention.
Haven't tried reloading 110 carts. Used to do it with Minolta Qt16 (took 16mm carts not interchangeable with 110). It wasn't to bad to do, but I don't think its hard to load IR film into a Leica III, in total darkness either.
If the camera isn't to expensive buy it and enjoy it. Fuji also still makes film for 110. Have to get the Kodak Carousel 110 projector out and look at some slides!
thanks
barondla

Check out POINT & SHOOT CONTEST #8 in P&S forum. Enter #9. Any type camera except 35mm, aps c slr. Any brand. Any subject.
07-19-2008, 08:18 AM   #13
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My 110:

07-21-2008, 11:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Good luck getting film for 'em.

Some places might have NOS rolls of 110 lying around, and I think there's a place in Italy that still cranks it out (Ferrania?) but it's basically non-existent nowadays, practically speaking.
I was at Walmart yesterday and they still have 110 film! I was surprised to see that, though maybe I shouldn't be since I was looking to see if they had any 120 film.
07-21-2008, 03:10 PM   #15
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MrA's in the UK - the US is notorious for overstocking everything, hence Walmart, and you've got a large enough consumer base to do so. Er, hence Walmart, again.
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