Lomography Asia’s Cat Ong and Ron Lau are esteemed members of the Product Development team. We fastened ourselves to their desks, to steal this interview, with a workbench clamp as they were busy creating other top-secret designs! On to discovering more about this, not-so-secret anymore, design!
Tell us why Lomography is resurrecting the 110 film format? And why B&W?
Everybody at Lomography discussed this at length and we all, collectively, decided it had to be the 110. It’s because the 110 film format was, and still is, very popular. After all, it only completed ceased production in 2009. Since it’s an old-format, and since memories of things past are usually represented, in films and such, in B&W we thought it best to have the Orca 110 be B&W as it’s representative of something ‘former’ being made ‘present’ once more.
While there other dead film formats that we could have revived, the 110 is a darling format that’s unique, unlike the 126 which is quite similar to the ever popular 135, and exciting to shoot with as a smaller film format which, by the way, isn’t to be confused with the actual development size which is M4/3 and quite normal!
Why the Fisheye?
In keeping with the philosophy as outlined in the above answer, coupling two unique elements of photography – the ‘Fisheye’ and the ‘110 film format’ addresses the modern as well as the past. It’s a brand new camera as there aren’t any Fisheye’s in this format, but it’s a revival of something that’s come in to and out of existence.
You have to keep all the awesome camera’s a secret prior to launch – how easy was it this time around for you?
It’s tiny!!! There’s nothing to hide! Though it does gain a lot of attention. A lot of cooing and ooing and aahing from adoring crowds who are ready to pinch the cheeks of something solid, but cute in it’s miniature proportions!
110 cameras are thought of as “average” in terms of their make, from their lenses to the quality of the film they take. How’s Lomography going to dispel this myth?
(After a brief outburst) They’re thinking of the camera and the film as one which is where the problem lies. They’re separate entities. If you have a poorly made camera with a rubbish lens of course even the finest films would be grainy and uninviting.
Good 110 cameras, such as the Pentax Auto 110 Super, are top quality optics. The reputation of the 110 camera and film format is strong. What’s seen it fallout of favor with the masses is it’s old-worldliness which is something Lomography and her enthusiasts are all about reviving in this world of quick and shiny.
What was the design and conceptualization process like for the Fisheye Baby 110?
Well, before putting pencil to paper to sketch the initial designs it was an idea swimming around in our heads. As soon as 2011 rolled around we hit the ground running. Basically, there were many calculations, our ideas needed to be finessed and long meetings needed to happen at the HQs in Vienna. Once our ideas were presented at the end of 2010, it was all uphill from there.
Compared to Lomography’s other cameras, the Fisheye Baby 110 was average in terms of timing from conceptualization to product launch.
Was it an exciting run?
It’s still not over! The fruits of our labor will come after the launch, after the wider community has shot, experienced, and uploaded their 110 films to share with all. We’ll be celebrating and excited to see the lived results for a long while after the release.
Were you Subminiature photography enthusiasts from the very start? What of large format enthusiasts out there, will they likely become Subminiature photo fans and users with the revival of the 110?
I think it’s a great quality format. One of Lomography’s photographer friends works almost exclusively with large format film. When we whispered the fact we’d be reviving 110 film with the Orca 110 and a camera to match he was so excited and already visualizing photo shoots with the 110. It’s like candy, for any true photo lover, as there are many levels in photography if you think of it as a line with two extremes. A photographer who loves all things photography will visit both extremes in his lifetime.
Anything else to add?
The film cartridge is a cassette and inserting it into the camera couldn’t be easier! Even if we didn’t have opposable thumbs it’d be a piece of cake. So, beginners worried about feeding sprocket holes into the wind-up spool needn’t sweat!