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Go Small or Go Home: About the 110 Craze

We've had a very hard time keeping 110 film in stock; It's a good problem to have! Local San Francisco shooters and visiting tourists alike have responded incredible well to the bite-sized darlings of the analogue photography world. Where do you stand?

Photo by explorette

It all happens in about five minutes. A stranger on the street passes by our shop, and the colorful cameras in the window catches their eye. As they stop to investigate, to wonder who and what in the hell Lomography may be, a large decal draws them in.

“Honey, I Shrunk the Camera!” And then they see it… The Baby Fisheye 110. Love at first sight, indeed.

110 cameras and films have been selling like crazy for us; All of the local labs and camera shops have been very supportive of the movement as well. So what’s the big deal? What’s the appeal? Those of you who are new to analogue photography may never have had the opportunity to shoot with a subminiature camera. Even some of our more seasoned vets are relatively inexperienced with the format.

There’s tons of information on 110 film out there on the web for you to search, but why bother when you’ve got us? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Give us a call or stop by the shop and we can tell you all about it! Until then, here’s a brief look at the pros and cons of shooting 110.

Pro: 110 Cameras and films are TINY! Enough to make me write in all caps! Almost all of them will fit in your hand. The world’s smallest film SLR would be the Pentax Auto 110. The Rollei A110 is a beautiful compact point and shoot with a glass lens by Carl Zeiss (Hassleblad, anyone?); With zone focusing and automatic exposure, it could be considered a bite-sized LC-A+. Of course, I couldn’t write this without mentioning the Baby Fisheye. How adorable is this guy, especially when compared to it’s big brother, the Fisheye No. 2?

Pro: 110 Cameras are stealthy. We are huge believers in shooting from the hip as it is. Getting those street shots is a breeze when you’re shooting with something so small and quiet.

Pro: 110 backing paper is awesome! Scanning the photo with the surrounding frame makes a very interesting end results. The numbers and arrows really lend themselves to the composition and make for truly analogue presentation!

Now, unfortunately, we must discuss the cons of shooting 110. This takes a little bit of explanation, but bear with me.

Con: 110 films won’t blow up as large. Most of us aren’t making 8×10s of our Lomographs anyway, but the fact that we’re starting with a smaller negative means that, ultimately, fine art prints or gallery presentations from 110 cameras would be difficult, if not impossible. Those of us who still shoot a bit of digital (shame on you!) may be familiar with the idea that cameras have sensor sizes and megapixel resolution. Larger sensors are theoretically capable of crisper shots. Film negatives are similar in that larger films will produce images that store more information and have more “depth”. Conversely, shooting a small film will limit our end results. 110 films may also have larger, more noticeable grain depending on the brand and type. I hardly consider than an issue, though; It’s just a part of the analogue aesthetic!

Con: 110 film processing isn’t as convenient as 35mm. Hey, I’m just being real! There surely aren’t any 1-hour options for getting it processed, but… Here in San Francisco, our local labs are outfitted with the proper tools for developing and scanning 110 film! And, as luck would have it, we can take care of that for you as well. We also offer LomoLab Loyalty Cards, rewarding you with free 3-packs of color negative for every 10 print and scan packages you do with us. Shoot often, get freebies. What’s not to love? If you’re not from around here, bear in mind that we also offer mail-in processing at the same price.

If you haven’t given 110 a shot, now’s the time. We have brand new cameras and fresh restock of great films for you to experiment with. Lomography lovers will definitely appreciate our Baby 110 camera; It’s seriously a blast! If you’re more a lover of vintage things and classic shooters, 110 cams are available in thrift stores across the country. Not everyone’s caught on about Lomography bringing 110 back from the dead, so you could get your next shooter for a steal! Keep your eyes on eBay for some of the greats as well. But please, don’t bid against me. I have an addiction to feed.

Want to try before you buy 110? Many of our workshops are open-ended and focus only on techniques, not cameras! If you ask, I’ll be happy to let you borrow one of our 110 Fisheyes for the day. Give me advance notice and you can also try something from my personal collection.

As always, I look forward to seeing your faces in the shop again sometime soon. Until then, Lomo on!

written by lomographysf

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