The first verion of this camera was pretty strange-looking. When Minolta made it as the first 110 SLR in 1976, it seemed to be based on the rectangular shape of typical 110 cameras, but was about twice the depth, had a big lens and a prism hump to accommodate all the extra complexity.
They later had a bit of rethink with the Mark II, this camera, which is styled like a conventional SLR, but smaller. Of course it isn’t as small as the Pentax 110, but that’s because it needs room for that lovely, big lens.
Minolta 110 front view
Minolta 110 shutter
Minolta 110 aperture control
That lovely big lens
The lens can go from a nicely-wide 25mm to a pretty decent zoom of 67mm, as well as having a macro switch to get in really close on things right in front of you.
It doesn’t have the interchangeable lenses of the Pentax, but it could be argued that it has all the lens you will ever need in one package – it’s often regarded as having the best lens of any subminiature camera.
You control only the aperture and the shutter fires automatically from 1/4″ to 1/1000″, with flash and bulb modes for long exposures and a self-timer. It has a clear indicator in the display of the speed so you know what you’re getting, making it pretty simple to use. You generally line up with the aperture dial in the middle then tweak it one way or the other if you want a faster shutter speed or more depth of field.
Minolta 110 back open
Minolta 110, Zenit ET, Pentax 110 size comparison
The focus and zoom are really smooth and there’s a very helpful and extremely accurate split image focussing aid. These feature in a number of cameras and you line up the two halves in the middle of the viewfinder on the thing you are aiming for, but the one in this camera is particularly sharp and easy to use.
Calling it a subminiature is perhaps a bit of a stretch, as it is huge compared to some other examples. It’s not really a Spy camera – the Spy would have been able to take some great pictures, but might have had a little trouble smuggling the camera into the embassy in the first place!
Fuji 110 Cost: £0
Format/Type: Colour Negative
Full Total: £5.93
Cost per shot: £0.25
My Rating: 9
Inside the camera was a new film, so that was free – my favourite price. Like the Super Pink it had well expired, but it seems Fuji make rather better film and it had lasted a lot better.
Nearly all the pics cames out well, the age lends a colour tint and I’m very pleased with the results, which are far better than I was expecting and why I’ve scored it a 9.
I paid a little more than I usually would to secure this camera, but I got myself a very fine example. We might well have had a winner in the 110 camera category, save for the fact that my collection has grown once again, so yes – I have another camera to test out.