After a 110 SLR? Consider the Minolta 110 Zoom SLR

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When people think of a 110 SLR, they think of the Pentax Auto. However you cannot deny the fun and versatility of a zoom with macro capability.

The Minolta 110 Zoom SLR was the first true 110 SLR. What sets it apart from the few 110 SLR cameras and the later Mk II, is the shape. Rather than design it like a smaller 35mm SLR, the Minolta was squat and flat, more like the Kodak 110 Instamatics of the day, and the classic brick 110 point and shoots. Whether or not ergonomics was a deciding factor of the design, this makes it extremely easy to hold and operate, more so the more familiar 35mm SLR shape.

Credits: adam_g2000

The Minolta is fully automatic with aperture priority autoexposure. The light meter is a dial you twist mounted next to the lens. The camera can use film speeds other than the ISO 100 and 400 (so is perfect for Lomography Tiger) and is auto selected by the camera.

The lens is a permanent 25–50 mm f/4.5-16 manual focus zoom with macro focusing capability to 280 mm. This is the equivalent of 50–100 mm zoom lens on a standard 35 mm camera.

Credits: adam_g2000

Shutter speeds are 1/1000 second through 10 seconds, with a 1/150 second X-sync speed and bulb. The camera has a proper flash hotshoe and has a tripod screw.

This is one versatile little camera.

My favorite feature however is the Macro focusing. Twist the lens the right way and the most amazing close ups are possible. You can get truly, truly close and shoot the most amazing pictures.

Credits: adam_g2000

In use the viewfinder is not that bright, which makes it difficult to focus in any other light than daylight. You’ll see many of the images here (mostly indoors) and focussed to the wrong point. I ended up often relying on the focus distance marks on the lens to focus.

That aside is it a wonderful toy, and it felt great to be able to bring it back to life after sitting in someones garage for so long.

When you say 110 SLR, people say Pentax Auto. The Minolta might be a rough diamond, but it’s zoom means it is definitely a hidden gem.

written by adam_g2000 on 2012-09-13 in #reviews

20 Comments

  1. alex34
    alex34 ·

    I believe this is generally acknowledged to be the best camera ever made for 110 film-which in general does not have a reputation for being particularly good film. The Minolta was one of the few cameras available to demonstrate that it was the 110 cameras themselves, not the film, which was mainly to blame for this reputation. Nice article, though I would still never move into 110 film photography. Thanks for writing it up.

  2. 110isnotdead
    110isnotdead ·

    Great article, ive been wnteing to get one of these for a while now and im just waiting for one to pop up on ebay on the cheap. It always amazws me how nice 110 photos can be. Keep up the good work. and check out the article I did on my 110 micro camera www.lomography.com/magazine/lifestyle/2012/08/27/back-in-th…

  3. yogiabb
    yogiabb ·

    I still have my Minolta Zoom that I bought back in the 70's. I loved it then and would like to use it again. My only concern about reviving it is the film and the processing. I see where you sell the 110 film at a decent price but where can I get the film processed economically?

  4. 110isnotdead
    110isnotdead ·

    @yogiabb hey there. I live in Ohio and I get my 110 processed through Rite Aid- a drugstore with photo service. they send it out to the fujilab. it take about a week but it works.

  5. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    @110isnotdead filmphotographyproject.com are keen on 110 and have access to processing deals and all sorts in the US.

  6. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I am just enamored by the camera's design. It looks like a prop from the original Star Trek set, like Spock would have used to survey the planet.

  7. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    @neanderthalis I hadn't thought of that, you are so right. Could also be an ecto-spectrometor or something from Ghostbusters!

  8. joush
    joush ·

    i want one!

  9. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    @joush you know it!

  10. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    splendid photos! this camera is a gem!

  11. lokified
    lokified ·

    I remember looking up this 110 SLR on Google and thinking it was the least-svelte cameras I'd ever seen. My first impression was of a microwave with a lens bolted on. I then decided that if I even saw one, I would buy it immediately. Because we all need to support rough diamonds. :)

  12. sixsixty
    sixsixty ·

    Fun camera, just wished the focusing was slightly better.

  13. rbruce63
    rbruce63 ·

    Strange camera out of Star Wars and outstanding pictures!

  14. jricagno
    jricagno ·

    I want one,,,

  15. holgardo
    holgardo ·

    One of this cameras sleeps on my table. Fully functional, but have never used it.

  16. slow402000
    slow402000 ·

    I have one of these cameras Yes I would like to sell it. It is in great shape and condition. In case with all of it's booklets. Looks like brand new

  17. 110isnotdead
    110isnotdead ·

    Just ordered my Minolta 110 Zoom SLR on ebay today, can't wait to run some Lomo 110 through it :)))

  18. 110isnotdead
    110isnotdead ·

    ps thanks @adam_g2000 for the link, I checked them out and they are having a photo walk in FIndley, Ohio in April. Its a bit of a drive but not too bad for me so I might check it out.
    All the best :)

  19. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    @110isnotdead Excellent! From all the feedback I've heard their photowalks are very well received. Lot's of fun and incredibly knowledgable people turn up. Tapping Matt Marash's brains would be worth the trip alone I reckon.

  20. albaker
    albaker ·

    You know it's funny that I see this article now. :) I just picked up this camera at an antique shop. It's in perfect condition. No fungus on the lens or scratches. Just a little dust. Now to run some Orca through it. I also have a Pentax Auto 110.

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