So much about this tiny camera is compelling, first and foremost that it is, as I said, tiny. Super tiny. It’s barely larger than two stacked rolls of 110 film which, not coincidentally, is the kind of film it takes. It feels like a single, solid piece of metal with a silken finish. You feel like CIA or MI5 as you expand the body to reveal the viewfinder, touch the shutter button to make a photo, hear the shutter’s seductive “snick” sound, and compress the body again to wind to the next frame.

Rollei A110
Rollei A110

The Rollei A110 packs a Tessar lens, 23mm at f/2.8, to wring every possible bit of performance out of the wee 13x17mm frame 110 film offers. Check out the sharpness and resolution this lens delivered on expired Fuji Superia 200 film the last time I shot my A110. If it weren’t for the odd aspect ratio of 110 film images, you might believe me if I told you I took this with one of my 35mm SLRs.

West Park Christian Church

For this outing with the A110 I bought some fresh Lomography Color Tiger film. I tip my hat to the Lomography people for keeping this old format alive. I shake my fist at the Lomography people, however, for a fault in the backing paper that allows light to leak onto the film. It appears as red splotches on images, as below. I should have covered the film-counter window with electrical tape. I hope they correct the problem as they manufacture the next batch.


My A110 isn’t perfect. It has a few minor nicks in the paint. The winding mechanism moves a little roughly — I’ll bet it was buttery smooth when new.

Park road

Also, its lens cover is loose. It’s supposed to slide out of the way when you open the camera and cover the lens when you close the camera. On mine, before I make a photo I have to tilt the camera to move the cover out of the way. I usually forgot to do this and got eight black photographs for my error.


Finally, even at moderate distances parallax is a problem. Standing 15 feet or so back from this entryway I centered the scene in the frame. This is what the camera saw.

Orange entrance

But none of this is so bad as to make my A110 a pain to use. It was easy as a breeze to carry in my pocket as my wife and I took a long hike through Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

Eagle Creek Reservoir

That Tessar lens is pretty sharp, as the carvings in to that tree trunk show nicely.


To see more photos from this camera, check out my Rollei A110 gallery.

Despite this camera’s charms, as I worked my way through this 24-exposure film cartridge I soon wished it would be over with already. I didn’t hate using the A110, but I didn’t find joy in it either. It was a novelty, and the novelty soon wore off.

Verdict: Goodbye

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


10 responses to “Operation Thin the Herd: Rollei A110”

  1. Reinhold Graf Avatar

    Those cameras I do not intend to use further … due to inoperability or simply due to no-thrill … are wandering into a showcase in my living room. Indeed, space is limited there, so some are already stored in shoe boxes.

    Maybe … some day … when I reach an adequate level of ‘pain’, I might start a similar project ;)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I only started to consider selling cameras I no longer use when I started thinking of myself more as a photographer and less as a collector. Oh: and when I ran out of storage space for my gear!

      1. Reinhold Graf Avatar

        … and having a couple of not-(so-often-)used cameras on the shelf, how does this hinder you from feeling like as photographer?

        IMHO, enjoying one thing, without dropping the other one is possible … at least I try it ;)

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          It doesn’t. I just now no longer feel compelled to keep cameras I’m unlikely to use!

  2. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    If I were to try a 110 camera, this is probably the one I would select. Very attractive in a minimalist sort of way.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It is absolutely delightful to behold and to hold — a tiny marvel. Too bad 110 film is so awful.

  3. mifnar2014 Avatar

    Really like the colors of this film, the one with the red splotches on it looks especially pleasant.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      This film’s colors are a little muted, a little candylike. It’s a pleasant effect!

  4. Mark Francis O'Brien Avatar

    Jim, I recently acquired an A110, and damn, I really want to like it, and would, if I could get the film to advance after the first exposure! I guess I’ll stick to the tiny Pentax Auto 110!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s kind of a dealbreaker right there! You can’t go wrong with your Pentax though.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.