110 film is to 35MM as M43rd is to FF?

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
Joseph S Wisniewski
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The "good enough" bar moves...
In reply to tko, Apr 12, 2013

tko wrote:

Okay, I like to cause trouble

But in a good way.

But think about it. With all the "is FF dead" posts around, I wonder if anyone remembers 110 film cartridges? Because the negative was exactly half the size as 35MM. Just like M43rd is half the size of FF. I seem to remember they even had some "full featured" 110 camera with enormous zoom ranges (for the times,) and even a SLR complete with motor drive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentax_Auto_110

But who remembers 110 today? Who collects 110 cameras? Who likes the image quality? Which was pretty terrible.

Many people love film and it's capabilities. Pretty high resolution, decent noise. And it was being improved every year. Yet film couldn't overcome the disadvantages of the small format size, because any improvements could be applied to larger formats just as easily.

Film did do that. It just never got down to the 110 level.

There was a time when film was so bad that you couldn't do any serious photojournalism or a major event with anything smaller than a 4x5, and the Speed Graphic was the king. I have to admit, they were marvels of clever engineering, to get so much capability into 4x5s while keeping the size and weight down. Film companies and camera makers struggled to get medium and miniature format accepted.

Then smaller film got "good enough" and medium format replaced the 4x5 at weddings, while 35mm ate the PJ market.

Several smaller formats failed. 16mm never really took off. 110 had a brief day in the sun, and APS almost made it, except that the competition switched from film sizes to film vs. digital.

Most of the people posting here haven't even heard of 110, yet all of us have heard of 35MM SLRs. The larger format--the dinosaur--survived.

Alligators, turtles, sharks...

Yes, today M43rd cameras are much, much better than 110 film (which was limited to about 5X7 prints.) Such is the march of technology. But who knows what will happen in the future? Will people go for low cost FF or small size mirrorless?

No matter how low cost FF gets, smaller formats will still be cheaper. Right now, we say "low cost" as meaning under $2,000, and that's for a medium format body that has the feel of a $150 film body, like a Nikon N75. Really "nice" cameras are a lot easier to make when you move towards a "split" that doesn't involve pouring 90% of the budget into the sensor.

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Rahon Klavanian 1912-2008.
Armenian genocide survivor, amazing cook, scrabble master, and loving grandmother. You will be missed.
Ciao! Joseph
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