Pentax Auto 110 camera

In 1979, as the 110 format was dying, Pentax inexplicably launched the Auto 110 - the most competent 110 format camera ever, and one of the few that looked like a real SLR. It arrived after the the original version of the Minolta Auto 110 Zoom, but unlike these Minolta cameras, the Pentax is a true camera system with interchangeable lenses and a full range of accessories, including two dedicated electronic flashes, the Pentax AF 130P and the AF 100P, as well as an electric Pentax 110 Winder.

The camera has a bright viewfinder with a split image focusing screen and TTL light metering. The automatic program exposure system is quite sophisticated, working from a fast 1/750 sec. at f/13.5 to 1 sec. at f/2.8, with automatic film speed setting from 100 to 400ASA, programmed by the cassette. A wide choice of close-up lenses, filters, rubber lens-shades, an ever-ready case and more, complements the system. The camera was made available in black, brown and a transparent working demo version.

An upgrade Auto 110 Super came on the market in 1982 featuring brighter viewfinder, low light warning, an electronic self-timer and a single stroke advance lever. A 70mm telephoto lens and a 2 × Zoom lens were also added.

The Pentax Auto 110 is considered to be the smallest consumer SLR reflex camera ever made, its contender would be the Russian Narciss launched in 1961, at first only sold at the home market, but later made available in an export version. However, it is larger in all dimensions and is much heavier.

Origins of the Auto 110

It appears that the Auto 110 was based on an evolved prototype of the Minimax Pocket 110 EE. According to correspondence with the designer of the Minimax Pocket 110 EE [1], the manufacturers of the Minimax developed a more advanced SLR prototype of this camera, but their interest waned and the prototype and the blueprints were sold to Pentax.

Pentax Auto 110 lenses

  • Pentax-110 18mm F2.8 Wide-angle lens, 6 elements in 6 groups, filter Ø30.5mm
  • Pentax-110 24mm F2.8 Standard lens of 6 elements in 5 groups, filter Ø25.5mm
  • Pentax-110 50mm F2.8 Telephoto lens of 5 elements in 5 groups, filter Ø37.5mm
  • Pentax-110 70mm F2.8 Telephoto lens of 6 elements in5 groups, filter Ø49mm
  • Pentax-110 20mm—40 mm F2.8 Zoom lens of 8 separate elements, filter Ø49mm


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Documentation and manuals


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