Pentax Auto 110  –  Vintage Camera

Pentax Auto 110 (three quarters, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (three quarters, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (three quarters, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (three quarters, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (front view, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (front view, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (rear view)

Pentax Auto 110 (rear view)

Pentax Auto 110 (top view, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (top view, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)

Pentax Auto 110 (with 35mm cassette for scale)

Pentax Auto 110 (with 35mm cassette for scale)

Pentax Auto 110 (three quarters, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)Pentax Auto 110 (three quarters, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)Pentax Auto 110 (front view, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)Pentax Auto 110 (rear view)Pentax Auto 110 (top view, with Pentax-110 50mm f/2.8 lens)Pentax Auto 110 (with 35mm cassette for scale)

Pentax Auto 110 Specifications

Manufacturer: Asahi Optical Co., Ltd.
   
Country of Origin: Japan
   
Made in: Japan
   
Introduced: 1979
   
Camera Type: Single Lens Reflex, Subminiature
   
Lens Mount: Pentax PTX110-Mount
   
Format: 110 Film
   
Dimensions (cm): 12.4 x 5.4 x 3.2 (body only)
  12.4 x 5.4 x 5.7 (with lens)

Pentax Auto 110 Review

The Pentax Auto 110 is the smallest single lens reflex camera ever made and the only camera with interchangeable lenses ever produced for the 110 film cartridge. A true camera system, the Auto 110 has six available lenses: 18mm, 24mm, 50mm, 70mm, 18mm fixed-focus, and 20-40mm zoom (all f/2.8), two external flashes, an electric film winder, and a slew of macro adapters, filters, diopters, and lens hoods. A third party 1.7x teleconverter was also produced by the German company Soligor.

Curiously, Pentax-110 lenses do not have aperture blades and instead rely on the body’s twin-bladed shutter assembly to set f-stops, a setup that apparently keeps the lenses and the entire package compact. With exposure being fully automatic, that means that there are absolutely no manual controls available besides focus and hardly any controls at all. While there’s nothing on the front of the camera besides a lens release lever, the top plate has sockets for an external flash unit, the silver shutter button with cable release socket, and the film advance lever which actually requires two pulls to reset the shutter. Metering is accomplished via a relatively sophisticated TTL (through-the-lens) system which dictates shutter speeds ranging from 1 to 1/750 seconds but is only compatible with ISO 100 and ISO 400 films.

I bought this Pentax Auto 110 on eBay for about $20 so I could use the included 18mm, 24mm, and 50mm lenses with an adapter on my Sony NEX-5N. The lenses are small but sharp and they definitely keep my camera wonderfully pocketable, especially the tiny 24mm. Unfortunately, the other three lenses (18mm fixed-focus, 70mm, and 20-40mm zoom) which were introduced years later are much rarer and, as a result, much more expensive.

References:

McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 73.

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