Black and White and 110 all over

Posted 2012.08.23 21.15 in Photography

So a few months back, the Lomography folks announced that they were reviving the 110 format film.

Also known as Pocket Instamatic film, 110 film comes in a little plastic cartridge. It uses a narrow strip of film 16mm wide, and you could get it in 12-shot and 24-shot sizes. The negative image was only about 17mm x 13mm, or a quarter of the size of a 35mm film negative.

I’ve got a handful of 110-format cameras in my collection, and until now I’d only been able to use them with out-dated (very expired) film. The results I’d been getting were quite poor.

Even when new the 110 format was not known for fantastic images – most of the cameras were cheaply made, with less-than-stellar lenses and inadequate exposure controls (or none at all). This resulted in grainy, fuzzy negatives that couldn’t be enlarged any more than small snapshots.

I think I’ve read that the last factory making 110 film closed up in 2009. Now, three years later, the Lomography people have brought it back. When they announced their new ‘Orca’ film, 110 format in black & white, I immediately ordered a couple rolls.

I’d never used B&W in 110 format, and was interested in trying it out. I also wanted to try out ‘fresh’ 110 film to see if I’d get noticably better results over the 10+ old stuff I’d been using so far. I loaded up my Pentax Auto 110 (an SLR system camera with interchangable lenses) and this past weekend I shot off a roll.

The results were pleasantly surprising. The camera is one of the best ever made for the 110 format, which helps of course. The film though came out very crisp with good contrast and a nice range of tones. Using a jeweler’s loupe, the film really looks fantastic.

The first six shots were taken in Eldorado Park, the seventh was shot from the car on the way home, and the last shot was taken at home, with a different camera. I moved the film from the Pentax into a Lomo Fisheye 110, to see how the Fisheye would work.

Film was processed at home in old T-Max 1:4 developer for 8 minutes. The scanned images are not as good as the film – my scanner seems to not be able to get a good read from 110 film. Perhaps because I’m trying to scan it from a 35mm carrier…

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