In 1972, Kodak introduced the 110 film format to suit its pocket-sized cameras. As the digital age dawned and film cameras lost popularity, the cartridge-based format joined the likes of other ‘dead’ films when it was discontinued in 2009.
Fast-forward to 2012, and Lomography has taken it upon themselves to breathe new life into the 110 film format. Last May, the global organisation launched Orca B&W 100, a black-and-white film for 110 cameras. Since then, Lomography has introduced another 110 film, alongside a range of 110 film cameras that include the Fisheye Baby 110.
With its own substantial following, the fisheye camera is no stranger to Lomography enthusiasts. The Fisheye Baby 110 joins the Lomography family as the third camera with a 170-degree perspective lens, after the Fisheye and Fisheye 2.
For this review, UrbanWire gave the Fisheye Baby 110 a whirl to see how it would fare against the Fisheye 2.
At just 7cm high and 8cm wide, the Fisheye Baby 110 ($60 to $85) trumps the Fisheye 2 ($148) in terms of portability. The Fisheye 2 weighs in at 230 grams, while the Baby 110’s weight is so insubstantial that Lomography excluded it in the model’s specs.
Both cameras are compact enough to be held in your hand, but the itsy-bitsy Baby 110 slips into pockets and purses, making it a better travel companion than its older brother.
One thing that can be improved in the smaller footprint is the fact that there’re currently only 4 designs, next to 9 for the Fisheye 2 (that’s if they’re not already out of stock). With the latter you could be owning a camera with a luxurious faux snakeskin finish!
The toy cameras have lenses with a fixed aperture of f/8, which means that pictures taken indoors without a flash may look underexposed. To counter this inconvenience, the Fisheye 2 comes with an inbuilt flash that’s fuelled by AA batteries. But if you find that insufficient, you can also opt for an external flash that can be connected to the camera via a standard hot shoe connection.
On the contrary, the basic Fisheye Baby 110 has no inbuilt flash or sockets for an external flash. Only the Bauhaus, metal and gold versions have PC-sockets, compatible with Lomography’s Fritz the Blitz flash and an adaptor ($99 and $19.90 respectively). This makes the entire outfit cumbersome and costly, since the flash and adaptor put together are larger and at $118.90, are more expensive than the camera itself.
The cameras are also limited to only 2 shutter speeds – Normal mode (1/100) and Bulb mode, where the shutter opens for as long as you hold the shutter button down. Switching modes is an idiot-proof manoeuvre on both cameras. You just have to flick the button in the centre of the camera left or right to the corresponding mode.
With your camera on Bulb mode, you can hold down the shutter button for long exposures at night. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the spellbinding effect of light streaking across your photos.
Like most Lomography cameras, the Fisheye Baby 110 and Fisheye 2 can take multiple-exposure (MX) shots. To take a MX shot on the Fisheye Baby 110, all you have to do is press the shutter button again without advancing the film. To take a MX shot on the Fisheye 2, switch a button at the top of the camera to the MX mode before shooting.
Despite having similar specs, the images from the cameras are considerably different.
The Fisheye 2 yields sharper and smoother images compared to the Fisheye Baby 110. Less film grain can be detected on images from the Fisheye 2, so those who have a penchant for grainy photos might want to use a film with higher ISO.
Photos from the Fisheye Baby 110 are grittier than those from a Fisheye 2, even when shooting on ISO 200 film. The captured image bleeds out of the characteristic fisheye circle occasionally, which may be an annoyance to some.
In addition, the Baby 110 is such a lightweight that even minuscule movements can cause the camera to shake when a photo is taken. This results in nebulous, lo-fi pictures, not unlike the effect of a primitive pinhole camera.
If you’re young at heart, the Fisheye Baby 110’s for you. The camera reflects the spontaneity of youth and the fun it pursues. Ready yourself for the chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ from envious friends and passersby when you whip out this little charmer.
But if you’re an old soul and you’ve weighed the pros and cons of both cameras, the Fisheye 2 is undoubtedly a more sensible choice. It costs at least $60 more than the Fisheye Baby 110; but with so many winning qualities, you can be sure you’re getting more bang for your buck.
[Images courtesy of Lomography, Tong Jia Han and Anna Belle Tang]
Get your Fisheye 2 or Fisheye Baby 110 online, or go ‘fishing’ at:
Location: 295, South Bridge Road #01-01 (S) 058838
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 12:00 – 21:00