Minolta 110 Zoom SLR Mark II Test Roll

Minolta 110 SLR Mark II

Ever since I discovered that 110 SLRs existed, and that there were multiple models by multiple manufacturers, I made it my mission to collect them. I love my Pentax 110 SLR, so why not catch ’em all?

The film advance on the Mark II had been stuck since I got it at a yard sale back in the Summer of 2016. I finally got it working in early February 2017 by cleaning the battery contacts with a pencil eraser and loading fresh LR44 batteries. I actually had to polish the batteries on my jeans and avoid getting any fingerprints on the poles for the camera to recognize the batteries, though, which was a new one on me.

Once I had the camera working, I loaded up the Mark II with Lomo “Tiger” 200 speed film and headed out to the local metropark to start photographing.

Park Bench
[10 Feb 2017 | f/3.5, -1 EV]

[10 Feb 2017 | f/3.5, -1 EV]

The Mark II is mainly an aperture-priority camera, with options for locking at 1/125 sec for flash sync (the X setting) or long exposure, aka bulb (B). To supplement the aperture priority, there is a knob to adjust exposure from -2 EV to +2 EV. The Mark II also features a zoom lens ranging from 25mm to 67mm and a macro function, and manual focus with a split-image viewfinder.

Trail Marker
[10 Feb 2017 | f/3.5, -2 EV]

[10 Feb 2017 | f/3.5, -2 EV]

One thing I noticed right off the bat is that the profile of the camera is bulkier than my Pentax 110 SLR. It’s small enough to fit in, say, a lunch bag, but not quite small enough overall to fit comfortably in a coat pocket or purse. Add to that the fact that I don’t have a lens cap, but I do have a lens shade, and that makes this camera surprisingly unwieldy for its size.

My particular camera also comes with a dead bug trapped in the outer lens elements, and now sports a mark on the innermost element from me being a dumbass and thinking I could get the dead bug out from the camera body. Hopefully, I’ll be able to remedy my lens care fail (and hopefully also get the bug out) at a future date… if I decide to keep it in my collection, which is still up in the air.

Something doesn’t seem right with the autoexposure. I think it’s way overexposing, according to my Light Meter app. Maybe the electronics are wonky (I did confirm that I had the right voltage of batteries installed), or maybe it can’t read that my Lomography brand film is ISO 200. Either way, once I moved the EV knob to -2, I left it there for most of the roll. I kept overthinking my exposure calculations during the whole roll, wondering if I was calculating the exposure compensation wrong. As it turned out, the film was so forgiving with its latitude that the differences between the exposure levels are barely noticeable, anyway, with camera shake from slower shutter speeds being the only real difference.

The batteries kept losing their charge during my metropark session due to the sub-freezing temps, so I called it after about 12 exposures. I finished out the roll downtown a few days later, during my lunch break, to test out a few different exposure scenarios.

One Seagate
[16 Feb 2017 | f/16, -2 EV]

Downtown Benches
[16 Feb 2017 | f/5.6]

Maumee River
[16 Feb 2017 | f/16, -2 EV]

Even before seeing the results, I wasn’t thinking this camera was destined to be a regular in my film arsenal. It’s a neat piece — especially if I can get it properly clean and bug-free — but it doesn’t fill any particular photography niche for me.

My M.O. is generally to carry smaller, compact cameras that can shoot from the hip if necessary. This surprisingly bulky 110 SLR does not fit the bill, and the quality is not noticeably better than my smaller and more pocketable 110 SLRs. It’s a neat addition to the collection, and I’ll hang onto it for now, in case I decide to go all completist on the 110 SLRs. It’s definitely not going to be one of my go-to cameras, though.

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