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11-04-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
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The world's smallest SLR (1978)

Hello,

I wrote this little article for a local photo forum in spanish and thought you may be interested if I translate it. Let me know if this is useful of if there is any error or correction in my research.


Background History: In 1972 Kodak introduced the 110 format. The film was in a convenient and easy to use cartridge. The resulting negative was 13x17mm. Far smaller than 35mm but good enough for up to 8x10 prints, and sometimes pushed to 11x14. This format became popular in the 70's and it is still manufactured today, but getting hard to find.

In 1978 Pentax surprised everyone by launching the first and only interchangeable lens SLR in 110 format. There were other SLRs in the 110 format but with fixed lenses.

Presenting the Pentax auto 110: The world's smallest SLR.

Pentax launched this equipment as a complete system including the body, 3 available lenses initially (18mm, 24mm, 50mm), dedicated flash and power winder, along with other accesories like filters, hoods, cases etc. Due to its size and optical design, the 24mm was the "normal" focal distance, the 18mm a wide angle and the 50mm a telephoto equivalent to a 100mm in 35 mm film. The ratio was 2:1 compared to 35mm, similar to the 1.5~1.6:1 today in APS-C DSLRs.
All lenses were f2.8 due to the aperture blades located in the body, not the lens. The light metering was TTL and quite sophisticated for the time. TTL allowed the use of filters without any compensation needed. Shutter speed and aperture were automated via PROGRAM mode from 1s to 1/750s
In 1980 a smaller optional flash was launched but the original one remained the standard.
In 1981 3 additional lenses were launched: 18mm Pan focus, 70mm, and 20-40mm zoom.
In 1982 the updated auto 110 Super was launched with additional features like self timer and exposure compensation.
Production stopped around 1985.
According to some experts, this is the closest a photographic equipment can get to a real human eye in terms of size, aperture, FOV etc.


My specimen:
Thanks to ebay, I found this in a box of "Photographic junk"
Really dirty but seems to be complete. Fortunately the lens cap seems to be protecting the lens for years. The camera has a roll inside alredy by frame #15. I wonder what's in it!






After a good dose of TLC, I fixed the loose flash and it works perfectly. The winder had some corrosion in the contacts but after careful disassembly, cleaning and reassembly it works perfectly as well, but the battery cover is loose: a typical failure due to broken tabs. With the care of an archeologist the body was cleaned, removing years of grime.
At the end: A unique camera in perfect working order. Even the flash cover was found in the box.












The winder makes no sense to me. The manual lever is faster, quieter and simpler. It just makes it bulkier and heavier, detracting from its original purpose.




Some may think it is a toy or a scale model






What do you think?

Thanks,

11-04-2009, 12:02 PM   #2
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I don't know much about the auto 110 except that I do remember it when I was a kid and thought it was cool. I think I've heard it before but I'd love to have a digital version.
11-04-2009, 12:19 PM   #3
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Wow, it was beautifully restored. Funny enough that the first thing that came through my mind as I was scrolling through those pictures was, "Where can I find that wrist strap for my K10D?" LOL
11-04-2009, 02:07 PM   #4
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Quite by coincidence I have the October 78 Modern Photography mag with me - for light reading of the latest - which has a long Keppler piece on this camera. I'll have to scan it for you.

11-04-2009, 07:56 PM   #5
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Wow -- that's a pretty amazing-looking before and after transformation.
11-04-2009, 09:06 PM   #6
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I wonder where I've seen that before . . .
11-04-2009, 09:41 PM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
This format became popular in the 70's and it is still manufactured today, but getting hard to find.
Really? Please provide a link of any film manufacturer still making 110 film today.
11-04-2009, 09:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by J.Scott Quote
Really? Please provide a link of any film manufacturer still making 110 film today.
As far as I have read Fuji and Kodak were still doing it in 2009 for foreign markets. I did a search on eBay and found some offerings of rolls with expiration date 2010 and beyond.
I was surprised as well since personally, I haven't seen one in years, maybe decades.

Thanks,

11-04-2009, 09:59 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by J.Scott Quote
Really? Please provide a link of any film manufacturer still making 110 film today.
You can get if from Blue Moon. Ferrania Solaris. Used and New Cameras and Equipment for Sale: Blue Moon Camera Inventory

However, Ferrania stopped making it recently and when stocks are gone it is gone unless they make another production run.

Until earlier this year I was getting Kodak from Wally-World. Fuji still makes occasional runs for use inside Japan that show up occasionally in Europe but their regular production runs stopped in 2005. Apparently Kodak is the only remaining manufacturers. There are some people that rip film and reload their own.

Last edited by Blue; 11-04-2009 at 10:16 PM.
11-04-2009, 11:03 PM   #10
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The better question is where to get it processed!?!
11-04-2009, 11:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
The better question is where to get it processed!?!
Dewaynes and Blue Moon Camera and Machinery are the 2 best choices I currently know.
11-05-2009, 01:10 PM   #12
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tiny jewel from Pentax. thanks for sharing.
11-05-2009, 09:25 PM   #13
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My favorite lens of the 110 system is the 70mm.
11-06-2009, 07:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
As far as I have read Fuji and Kodak were still doing it in 2009 for foreign markets. I did a search on eBay and found some offerings of rolls with expiration date 2010 and beyond.
I was surprised as well since personally, I haven't seen one in years, maybe decades.

Thanks,
I like that camera, brings back memories. I remember seeing it in stores but did not
buy one. I did regret it but later bought two Super Program's instead.

I can still find the film around here. Estes makes a rocket camera that uses the 110 size
film. I have flown it with some success in getting aerial shots of good quality.

William
11-06-2009, 08:47 AM   #15
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Lovely!!
my dad bought one, just to have it stolen a few months later

You can still find 110 film Freestyle; frugal photographer; and other carry it
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