The Most Fun I’ve Had With A Film Camera in a Long Time

Retro never really goes out of fashion, and this 110 LOMOMATIC camera took me back to the early 1970s when my eldest sister ran around with her 110 camera. I found myself laughing out loud as I shot with careless abandon.

It’s odd looking back at that time. I was given a Kodak Duaflex, a pseudo Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera that my brother had previously owned, and my elder sister had a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 20. So, when I was sent this LOMOMATIC 110 camera to try, lots of memories came flooding back.

The styling of the camera screams 1970s. With its rounded edges and cream and orange casing, you can imagine this camera being carried by fashion trendsetters from that era. It could easily have appeared in an episode of "Mission: Impossible," "Starsky and Hutch," or "Charlie’s Angels." Only on closer inspection can you tell it is an instrument of a period fifty years into the future. But it has inherited the best chic of that era but left behind the decidedly uncool stuff.

Back in the 1970s, like the decades before it, things were made to last. Much of the stuff made today, in comparison, is cheap, nasty, and designed to be thrown away. Back then, it was the end of an era where things were built to last. They would survive all the rough and tumble of life. So it was pleasing to see that this camera oozes the same quality and robust build one expected back then.

This is where things get a bit like a trip in a time machine leaping forward from the 70s by twenty years. The LOMOMATIC 110 is a Lomography camera, and the Lomography style of photography came to the fore in the 1990s. It is exemplified by low-fi cameras and equally low-fi image quality. The movement was started by a group of students in Vienna.

They got hold of a cheap Lomo Kompakt Automat camera that originated in Soviet Russia. Since then, Lomography has become a worldwide phenomenon that has impacted photographic art. Like people who buy vinyl records are rejecting digital music, Lomography is an extreme revolution fighting against the cold, crystal clear images of modern digital cameras.

Setting Up the Camera

Thinking back to the pictures my sister took with her camera, they were grainy, sometimes blurred, had a heavy vignette, and were at the same time fabulous. So, I was keen to put this camera to the test and see what it would produce.

I started by putting in a cartridge of Tiger 200 Lomography color film. This should produce grainy and vibrant colors.

Loading the film is a simple matter of sliding the case open: grip the orange end in your right hand and the cream body in the left and pull. That’s possibly the only thing that’s hard to figure out. If you get one of these – and if you’ve ever considered dabbling in Lomography, you really should – check my images in this article to see how it opens.

Once pulled into the operating position, the covers from the viewfinder and shutter open too, and it also reveals the cover at the back. A simple latch allows you to open that and slip the 110 film cartridge inside. Close the back cover, and the camera is ready to go.

It’s not quite point-and-shoot. There’s a color-coded focusing switch that is marked in distances, 0.8, 1.5, 3, and ∞. I guessed those distances are in meters. Under the camera is a Night and Day switch, which probably changes the shutter speed. As you can tell, I am making educated guesses here because the camera came to me unboxed with no instructions. There’s also an MX switch, which is for multiple exposures.

On top, next to the shutter release button, are two buttons. One scrolls through three LEDs marked 100, 200, and 400, clearly the ISO buttons. There is also a B (bulb) button.

At the other end of the camera is a detachable flash. That has three settings, daytime, night, and off.

Putting the Camera Through Its Paces

I took the camera out with me for a walk. Firstly on a cloudy day with the ISO 200 film loaded. I haven’t had so much fun with a film camera for ages. I put my usual precise framing aside, embraced the parallax error, and went for it.

To wind the film on, I needed to slide the case open and closed. It was a little tough to start with, but that eased off with use. I soon got into the swing of it, and it was a joy to use. Lots of people glanced at me, and someone who knows me as a fellow professional photographer came over and said, "What the Dickens is that." He didn’t actually use the word "Dickens," but you get what I mean. I had to quickly hide it because there was a non-disclosure agreement for me to review it.

The second roll of film was Lomochrome Purple.

Being so used to autofocus, occasionally, I forgot to change the focusing distance switch. So what? It’s Lomo! If the picture was a bit out of focus, who cares about that?

I got my prints back from; if you are in the UK, I can highly recommend them for speed and customer service, and I was pleased with the grainy, grungy, poorly framed, oddly colored, out-of-focus photos.

Getting up close definitely works best with this kind of camera. However, there’s more parallax error than I expected, and that was exaggerated with close-ups. Parallax error is the result of the lens being offset from the viewfinder, so what you see isn’t exactly the same as what’s recorded on the film.

What I Liked and What Could Be Improved

What I Liked

  • I just had so much fun playing with this camera, throwing all ideas of perfect photos out of the window.
  • The exposures were accurate, even when using the flash.
  • It’s very well made.
  • About the side of a jumbo-sized Mars Bar, it is easy to slip into a pocket.
  • Easy to use.
  • The retro styling was inspirational and evoked some great memories of my childhood.
  • Affordable.
  • Although I just got the camera to test, the entire package seems neat.

What Could Be Improved Next Time

  • The end of the camera that you pull to wind the film on would have benefitted from a textured bottom to help grip it. Especially so at first when the mechanism was quite tight.
  • A lightly more positive feel to the shutter button would be welcome. There's only the tiniest of clicks when the shutter is released, and you don't feel it through the button.

In Conclusion

I was sorry to send this camera back. I had a lot of fun using it. I'm pretty sure it would bring joy to anyone who loves photography. In a few months, in my new house, I will have a darkroom, and I’ll buy one of these cameras. If you are stuck to the idea that a photo must be perfectly crisp with no defects, it's probably not the camera for you. However, if you are into experimenting, nostalgia, or just having fun with a camera, I can highly recommend this if you enjoy this type of photography.

Versions and Prices

The new color of this camera is launched on March 6, 2024 and initially only available from Lomography. The metallic finish version as seen in the video is already available. There are three versions available, the Lomomatic 110 and Flash Metal, the Lomomatic 110 and Flash Golden Gate color edition I tried here, and the Lomomatic 110 Golden Gate.


Lomomatic 110 and Flash Metal: $159   

Lomomatic 110 and Flash Golden Gate: $119

Lomomatic 110 Golden Gate: $99


Lomomatic 110 Flash Metal: €159   

Lomomatic 110 Flash Golden: Gate €119

Lomomatic 110 Golden Gate: €99


Lomomatic 110 Flash Metal: £149

Lomomatic 110 Flash Golden Gate: £109

Lomomatic 110 Golden Gate: £89

Ivor Rackham's picture

Earning a living as a photographer, website developer, and writer and Based in the North East of England, much of Ivor's work is training others; helping people become better photographers. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being through photography. In 2023 he became a brand ambassador for the OM System

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It’s nice to see some film content in the mix. Especially as it’s a break from one brand-ambassador-ing for one’s brand sponsor.

I don't get paid for being a brand ambassador.

To put your comment into context, this site has mentioned OM System and Olympus 1900 times in its history. In comparison, Canon has over 28,000 mentions. The R5 alone has more mentions than the entire OM System brand. Only around 6% of my articles have been about the OM System gear, although other articles about a variety of camera brands have included it amongst all the other major brands. Other writers mention the brands they use far more than I do. For example, Profoto, which manufactures much more specialized equipment on a smaller scale has 6000 mentions. Even Hasselblad, which produces a tiny number of cameras in comparison, has double the mentions of Olympus/OM System.

Thank you for the article! It would be nice to know the costs of the rolls and developing as the last time I used analog film here in Austria I ended up paying 100 euros for the whole process, including roll and 36 photos printed.

The Lomography link in the article takes you tons shop that also sells film. If not,

As for developing, I used they were excellent. You could try other countries in the Eurozone if it's outrageous ly expensive in Austria.

Where do you even get 110 developed? i have fat vintage walmart bag full of the things I'd like to get developed.

I'm in the UK and used in a couple of months, my answer will be in the darkroom in my garage.

Give those a try.