Kodak Tele-Instamatic 608 and Lomography Orca 110 Film

As a child of the 80’s I missed the 110 boom by several years, but I’m very glad it’s back. Not for any nostalgic reasons-- I just love tiny cameras. The pocketability, the absurdity of holding something so small up to your face in this age of glowing screens at arm’s length, and, of course, the results. You can imagine my excitement when the good folks at #BelieveInFilm held a giveaway for a Kodak Tele-Instamatic 608 110 camera and some first production run Lomo Orca black & white film. A couple of Tweets, a Facebook share, and a Tumblr post later I won!

The 608 is a basic point and shoot affair with a couple of extra features. Most salient is the telephoto option: with the flick of top-mounted switch a secondary lens slides into place giving you some zoom. The manual states that the tele switch brings you up to 43mm from the normal 25mm (in 110 format, in “full-frame” 35mm film equivalent I’m guessing the jump is around 45mm to 90mm or so). The viewfinder gets masked down to the correct focal length when using this feature. There does seem to be a drop in quality when using the tele function because you’re essentially holding a tiny telescope up to the lens, and I’m guessing the optics of that secondary lens aren’t stellar. Still, I appreciated the option.

lomography orca 110 film photography

Using the telephoto setting

The aperture is set at f/11 with two shutter speeds: 1/125 default and 1/45 when using an external flash (more on that later). The camera itself is a boxy little rectangle, about 4.5 x 2 x 1 inches and feels like one of those old Nokia phones in the hand. It has a sliding lens cover that also protects the viewfinder, a nice touch.

lomography 110 orca film photography
Normal setting, 1/125 exposure

The 608 can use “flipflash” flash-bars or the Kodak Ektron flash units. The manual mentions that you can use a spent flipflash to get the shutter speed down to 1/45, which comes in handy for less than super-bright conditions. This also got me thinking—if simply popping in the flash slows the shutter speed, can I somehow rig it to slow down without a used flash? I figured something mechanical was involved and I was right. In the flash socket there’s a little plastic peg that gets pushed down by the flash bar when inserted. If you push this peg in (I used a key) you’ll “trick” the camera into the flash mode of 1/45 shutter. I did this for several outside shots in cloud cover (the Orca film is ISO 100, so I was a little worried about underexposure) with good results. It’s a neat trick that adds a little flexibility to the camera.

lomography orca 110 black and white film photography

A 1/45 second exposure using the peg-push method (very cloudy and dim that day)

My first cartridge of 110 was thrilling and all the photos came out well enough for me. The 608 is a fun little shooter with a few extras that allow for some creativity without adding complexity. A hearty thanks to #BelieveInFilm! Keep shooting.

Film was processed by OldSchoolPhotoLab.com.