What did my mother tell me about talking to strange men on the internet? That’s right, I shouldn’t do it. Did I listen? That would be a no. Social media is a strange place and you can end up chatting to many different people on a whole range of subjects, but I digress. On this occasion I made an innocent comment to one of the Film Photography world’s strangest men, Mr EMULSIVE himself.
This was it…
…a simple comment about realising that you could get slide film for 110 cameras. Why did this perk my interest, well you see I am a big fan of shooting slide film and a huge advocate for making sure it is processed in beautiful E6 chemistry so it can fulfil its destiny as beautifully saturated colours on slides.
The film is question was Lomography’s 110 format Peacock X-PRO Slide Film. It is a 200 ISO film that Lomography sells for those with 110 cameras and they suggest it should be processed in C-41 chemicals (cross processed / XPro.d), pfft.
Thus, the strange little man that is EM and I got talking and before I knew what was happening he was going to post me what he claimed was one of the best 110 cameras made..and I had purchased 5 rolls of the Peacock film. The plan was I would see if I could shoot it and get it processed in E6.
The Camera duly arrived and he was not kidding around, it really was something else: The Pentax Auto 110 Super and it came with so many accessories.
The camera, a choice of three lenses, filters, lens hoods, motor drive and a self-timer. The only time I had previously shot 110 film was as a little kid when I got a 110 camera as a birthday present. One of those Kodak Instamatic things. This was a whole other level of amazing and it was so small!!
Next up was a bit of research I needed to do before going out. I first had to find out who could not only process 110 film but also process it in E6 chemistry, the way nature intended. I am based in the UK and it turned out there were at least a couple of labs who could. Peak Imaging in Sheffield was one of them and the one I ended up using was MS Hobbies in London’s Putney. MS Hobbies’ website seems to have been updated now, but when I did this back in 2018 (Yes I have owed EM this article for all this time) the website was also a great resource on 110 films as well as their speciality of Minox.
It was there I learnt that although the Lomography film is 200 ISO, the Pentax will actually default to 100 ISO. I had to be prepared for one stop of over exposure and there was not a lot I could do about it, great for slide film! There are hacks for faster films which involve breaking the tabs on the film cassette.
I figured how difficult could it be, why not load up go out and shoot.
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Loading the film was pretty straight forward and the camera controls simple. It took a bit of getting used to the wind on the film advance as it took two strokes to be ready for the next shot. Out I went.
The small size of the camera was not a major issue but I had to remember to keep my fat fingers out of the way of the lens. The best part was the camera and two films fitted neatly into my jacket pocket: no need to carry around a heavy bag.
I shot two rolls of film, one in London and one at an American car show. Once complete, off it went for processing. The slides came back… Firstly considering the relatively lower quality of 110 film, they still looked pretty good to me and the colours, especially on the car shots, were amazing.
I thought you might like to see the 110 slides and how they compare next to 35mm and 120 slides.
Size difference is amazing isn’t it?
It was not all plain sailing there were a couple of issues. The Lomography film was 24 exposures, but MS Hobbies seemed to suggest I could have got more and thought that maybe there was a winding issue with the camera. I never got to the bottom of this. Also take a look at close the 110 slide above.
The slide is exposed in the centre but there is an area around it that also has an image, the scans are only of the centre exposed area. Again no real explanation why. The final issue and this seems to be common to Lomo 110 films are the red spots on some of the shots. Speaking of sample photos from the roll:
So to sum up. Did I enjoy using this camera? Absolutely. Will I shoot it again? No. This is solely because 110 film does not interest me long term. To the question of it being worth processing the film in E6, my answer to that question is always….always (except Rollei Variochrome and Rollei CR200 but that is a story for another day).
Remember kids, #SayNoToXpro.
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“The slide is exposed in the centre but there is an area around it that also has an image, the scans are only of the centre exposed area. Again no real explanation why.”
That’s the nature of all 110 films. For some reason it was designed to have exactly 24 exposures, with the holes in the film telling the camera exactly where to stop when advancing, so it lines up with the unexposed rectangles. The only reason I can think of for this design is to prevent wasted frames, which happens sometimes when I use microfilm in my Pentax Auto 110. It can just keep advancing and not stop without the sprocket holes.
Nice cars. I too had one of those cameras before. E-6 expert. A 1 stop overexposure does de-saturate the colours though. Kodak had a cool 110 slide projector!