The eagle eyed amongst you will have remember as well as the Halina Super-Mini I recently reviewed, I’d also picked up the flash version. But this offers exposure control as well as the built in flash. And Hey it actually is a museum piece !
Does that make things any better ?
Don’t our British museums do gorgeous images ?
The camera is an expansion of the Super-mini but with both Flash and exposure control. It would appear to be a mid 70’s design
The specifications are largely unknown. We know it’s a f/5.6 lens (‘cos it says) and that it’s fixed focus. The camera like the super-mini has a sliding body that serves to make the camera smaller when not in use as well as protecting the lens& viewfinder, covering the shutter and cocking the camera.
What separates it from the Super-mini ?
There are 3 differences. There’s a built in electronic flash which is powered by 4xAAA. Bit excessive but this is quite quick to recharge
The second addition is a 3 position slider on the top to adjust the exposure and turn on the flash. This has settings for the Sunny, Cloudy and Flash.
The Third and less obvious thing is that the camera is geared to auto assess the ISO notch. This is pretty unusual for a budget camera. Back in the day 110 film was divided into slow/normal speed (64-120 ISO) and fast (400ISO). There is a ridge on the right side of a 110 cartridge but fast film would be missing the lower portion allowing some cameras to assess the film speed usually by a mechanical lever. This is seen on cameras like the Pentax 110 Auto SLR but not common in cheaper cameras.
Here it the lever if depressed (ie. slow film loaded) the shutter fires slower. In both ISO setting Sunny narrows the aperture (~ f/11 of f/16) whilst cloud and flash are wider (f/5.6). The non flash used 1/90 and 1/50 as it’s speed and it could well be what happens here too.
The lens whilst looking more complex is probably the same 2 element 25mm lens. It’s recessed as far and the simple reverse Galilean viewfinder shows the same angle of view.
Build and Ergonomics
My camera has the same 2 tone black and silver styling of the non flash version. Mines had a silver shutter button but likely as with the Super-mini there is variation
The body is plastic but the lens appears glass. A small LED beside the exposure slider lights up when flash ready.
The Super-mini moniker is stretching things a bit. this is smaller than most 110 flash cameras but not that much.
The battery and film compartments can be accessed by a switch on rear allowing the door to open. The battery Holder sliders out (leaving a massive capacitor worryingly exposed). You’ll need to slide the camera open to load film. Closing and opening the camera advances the film and unlocks the shutter button.
Set the exposure for the conditions and you’re good to go. There is no low light warning circuit.
This flash shot would suggest a reasonable range of 1.5-3m with current in production 200 ISO films (these will be treated as slow). The subject is slighly overexposed at around 1.5m but the wall behind a further 1-2m away seems reasonably exposed.
The addition of the exposure control does make a difference for minor space sacrifice. This is most evident on the long shots which whist still soft are better.
Even at the Cloudy or flash setting closer images are pretty good especially with Flash. There’s a softness and granularity there but it feels not much worse than many a cheap 110 cameras. There not much radial distortion (a smidgen of Pincushion but you’re push to notice). Chromatic aberrations are evident but not bad. It vignette a tad when on the sunny setting.
Of course stuff up the exposure and things become a grainy mess. This is no where near as good as a Minolta pocket Autopak 430, but Haking deserve a B+ for effort with this as it is better than most cheap 110 cameras.
And that might be the issue…
This just isn’t that good nor is it that poor. If you wanna good 110 camera in this style the likes of the Minolta Pocket Autopak 400 series like the 430 just slaughter it optically. And whilst it is better clinically than plastic throwaway like the Halina Micro 110 it lacks there charm and Lo-fi images. It has no real signature.
And that’s a shame.
It’s not awful but just stuck between these 2 poles. I’m strongly reminded of the Halina 35-600, a 35mm camera I personally have a soft spot for. No where near as good as the Olympus Trip 35 on which it is styled but not lo-fi enough to be a Lomo classic.