The first golden rule of Lomography is “Take your camera everywhere you go.” The third golden rule of Lomgraphy is “Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it.” 110 film makes it easy to follow these two rules.
A bit of technical background.
110 film is a 16mm format film. It was introduced by Kodak in the early 70’s. It’s actually very similar to Kodak’s 126 cartridge film except for the size of the film strip. The fact that it’s entirely enclosed in a cartridge makes it very easy to load and unload. There are lots of cheap 110 cameras out there, but nearly every major camera manufacturer of the time sold expensive high-quality 110 cameras as well. Pentax made a 110 camera with interchangeable lenses. The Canon 110ED 20 that I have features aperture-priority automatic exposure, a true rangefinder, and a fast, excellent, glass lens.
The Kodak specifications included the ability to indicate the speed of the film with the presence or absence of a plastic tab on the side of the cartridge. Unfortunately, it could only indicate whether the film was “fast” or “slow”. They didn’t specify exactly what “fast” or “slow” meant. It was up to each manufacturer of cameras and film to determine that. Most cameras ignore it.
At one point Kodak produced a Kodachrome 110 slide film and made miniature slide projectors specifically to work with them!
Last year Lomography released Orca Black and White 100 ASA film to go along with their Baby Fisheye camera. Later they released a color negative 110 film – the 200 ISO Lomography Color Tiger 110, a redscale 110 film – Lobster, and an X-Pro 110 film – Peacock.
I’ve only had a chance to try the Orca and I loved it. I like to develop my own film so I have to get a 110 reel to get consistent results.
I’ve shot lots of 110 film in the past with older cameras. I’ve even found some old 110 camera with film in them that I managed to get some usable images from. These shots are from a 110 key-chain camera I found with some film in it. It was the simplest possible 110 camera with generic 110 film. I didn’t eve know if the shots would come out, so I just shot some stuff around the house.
This picture is from the same roll. I digitally stitched several shots together to get a panoramic image.
I took the following pictures with a Vivitar T1 110 camera. The T1 is very interesting and unique. It’s shaped like a compact 35mm camera and has a built-in flash. It also has a red-eye reduction LED. I think I used some Kodak 110 film that was on clearance at Walmart.
I took the following shots using Lomography’s Orca film. It’s very interesting because it’s a true black and white film that requires black and white processing. It’s a very fine-grained slow film. I developed these myself at home. I don’t have a 110 reel, so I messed up the developing the first time. I figured out a technique for stabilizing the film in the tank, so I got better results the second time. I used a Canon 110ED 20 which many people consider the best 110 camera ever made.
110 is a fun format. It’s the most convenient to shoot, but it is the least convenient to purchase, process, and scan. Fortunately, Lomography offers those services and sells the DigitaLiza 110 so that you can scan it yourself.
I’ll be trying out and reviewing the other Lomography 110 films soon.