Long ago, on my eleventh birthday, I got my first photo camera, a Kodak Pocket B-1 camera. Recently it resurfaced, and I started to use this robust little camera for the 110 format again.
Over thirty years ago Kodak produced this box-shaped camera in the at that time popular 110 format, I learned from the Kodak Classics website. There I also found that my camera has a 25 mm lens, a fixed shutter speed of 1/50 and a fixed aperture of f11.
The build of the camera is just as simple: a large square shutter button on top, plus a socket for a so-called Flip Flash next to it. These were small flat boxes containing ten flashbulbs, which were consumed one by one. If you had used five you had to turn the Flip Flash around for the next five flashes, as I could remember vaguely.
At the front we find the neatly recessed lens, the viewfinder and a wheel to advance the 110 cassette . At the rear of the camera, we find a door to load the film cassette. This door is equipped with a translucent window where you can read the type of film and the counter.
In my younger years I shot both black & white and color film with this camera, and I found a whole photo album with old pictures. The quality of my photos of that time was mixed, partly by beginners mistakes and partly due to less than optimal lighting conditions. Due to the lack of a light meter, the film speed is the only variable, which ranges for 110 cassettes between 100 and 200, at most 400 ISO.
When I found back this little camera in the attic, Lomography had just introduced her new 110 film cassettes and 110 cameras. I was wondering how that new film would turn out in my old Kodak camera. So I bought and loaded a fresh roll of Lomograpy Color Tiger 200 in it.
The results were about as you can expect from the simple camera and the small negative format: in good light nicely colored and just acceptable sharp, and in lesser light conditions rather quickly becoming dark and grainy.
The box-shaped format of the Kodak Pocket B-1 is different from the mostly flat 110 cameras from that time, and it is somewhat larger and sturdier. Compared to the 110 cameras of Lomography, where the film cassette sticks out halfway outside the camera, it is certainly much more robust and easier to carry with you.
But the fixed values for aperture and shutter speed make this into a ‘nice weather only’ camera, just like the models of Lomography. Wouldn’t it be nice when Lomography expands the reintroduced 110 format with a little more advanced and robust 110 camera, with auto exposure as in the LC-A + and a better lens? And then using the whole, already not so large negative format of the 110 film …