I am not entirely sure why I bought this camera. The original thought came when I saw some Lomography 110 cartridges for sale in Snappy Snaps in Lincoln. When I saw this camera for sale on Ebay, I found myself bidding. I was the only bidder and I got the camera for £1.00 plus postage.
It is not a complicated camera. It is a black box measuring 120 mm by 25 mm by 35 mm. The lens and viewfinder (both front and back) are covered by shutters when the camera is not in use. The camera is opened by moving the film advance slider. The shutter button is on top (it is coloured grey) and the film advance (also grey) is below it. If you hold the camera in a pinch grip with your right hand, your forefinger will land on the shutter button and your thumb on the film advance slider. I don’t think you could use this camera one handed as the camera needs to be steadied when winding on the film.
The lens is a Lanthar f5.6 lens – Lanthar lenses are triplets. There is no indication on the camera as to focal length but a search on Google tells me it is 24 mm – this is slightly wide for 16 mm film (normal would be about 26 mm) which is what we would expect for a point-and-shoot camera.
Vitoret 110, rear view
The viewfinder is a reverse Galilean finder (as was usual on consumer cameras by the 1970s) and is quite large and bright with bright lines for framing – complete with close-up markings. The iris diaphragm is essentially square – so the bokeh will not be spectacular. The aperture can be altered but only by selecting weather icons. The pictorial instructions give f-numbers for these icons – sunny is f16, dull is between f11 and f8, light cloud is f5.6 all at speed 1/125 and dull cloud is f5.6 and speed 1/60.
Blog copyright by John Margetts, 2014
This camera uses the 110 film cartridges which just drop into the camera – no need to connect the film to the take-up spool. Opening the camera to insert the film cartridge is not obvious. You need to press a small grey button and slightly move the end of the camera (it only moves 2 mm or so) and then lift up the back.
Using the camera is very easy, there only being three controls: shutter button, advance slider and weather selector. Opening the lens/viewfinder shutters winds on the film. This means it is important not to wind on the film if you are going to put the camera away as when you next use the camera you will waste one frame. I found I kept forgetting to alter the weather selector, but as the light was only varying between sunny and dull I am expecting the latitude of the film to cope. Actually, this raises another point. the instructions mention using 80 ASA film (or 80 ISO for modern films) but the film I am using is 200 ISO which is more than twice as fast. it remains to be seen as to what exactly this means for my final prints.
These are reasonable – particularly if you consider that back in the day, these would have been printed as 5×7 prints at the largest. Compared to a quality camera and quality film, they are a bit grainy but that is not really a proper comparison. Biggest fault was my propensity to include a thumb in the right-hand edge of the pictures!