135compact.com 110 cartridge ultra compact cameras Balda 1000 EL BR and 1000 EL RX
Balda built the Minox 110S from 1974 to 1978, a high end camera for Kodak 110 pocket film*(see below).
The Balda company was already entirely manufacturing the famous ultra compact Minox 35 film camera series. About 40.000 110S were
made, however Balda made its own model variants and sold them under
their proper name as Balda 1000, especialy after Minox stopped selling
the 110S abrupty in 1978.
110 film was introduced by Kodak in 1972. The film sits in a cartridge,
like Kodak's earlier 126 film, but is much smaller. A frame is 13mm ×
17mm, has one perforation per image to control film advance and 24
frames per cartridge (12 were also available). The film is protected by
a backing paper like 120 film. The frame number is visible through a
window at the back of the cartridge. The basic film is ordinary 16mm
film which was already on the market, so it could be processed in
existing machines. The small picture size made very small, pocketable
Kodak introduced with its 110 film a line of
Kodak Pocket Instamatic cameras which were followed by
cameras from other manufacturers. Most cameras were cheap
point-and-shoot, but very sophisticated models were also made. Small
digital cameras made 110 film obsolete. Bit by bit manufacturers stopped making 110 format film (Fujifilm in 2009), but in 2012 (and 2019) Lomography made a large batch of 110 film, followed by other firms.
There were 4 Balda 1000 models:
EL RX, like the Minox 110S with a 1:2.8 25mm Rodenstock Ysarex lens
und and both, cube flash and electronic flash connection,
1000 EL R, like the RX, but without cube flash
a 1000 EL BR, with a 1:4 20.5 mm 4-element Baldanon lens, without cube flash, about 2.500 were made and a 1000 EL Macro, same as the BR, but with an additional macro capability, probably not a macro lens. This one I haven't seen yet.
However I have bought a model of which I haven't found a trace. It's
named Balda Electronic Macro 1000. It doesn't have the "barn doors". I
have made a page here.
camera mainly shown is a Balda 1000 EL BR. At the bottom of the page
there are also some photos of the EL RX, which is closer to the Minox.
They both have a rangefinder and advanced features, a luminous
lens, aperture priority and an automatic shutter. The lens of the EL BR
is wider. Their main features are:
EL BR: 20.5mm F4 Baldanon lens, 4 elements, F4-F16, min. focus 0.6m
EL RX: 25mm F2.8 Rodenstock Ysarex lens, 4 elements, F2.8-F16, min. focus 0.6m
Electronic shutter, 4s - 1/1000 Size 131x54x26, Weight 130 gr. 100 and 400
ISO, automatic setting, rangefinder, parallax compensation, electronic flash available
Camera closed, front well protected.
front open. Bright view/rangefinder with framelines, parallax
corrected. The aperture is visible in the rangefinder and an under- or
overexposure arrow may light next to it. To the right, at the bottom:
film advance lever. It was a problem on all 4 of my Minox 110 cameras. It's tiny,
2-stroke, but works well on this Balda.
from the top. The aperture value is visible and can be changed via the
black dented wheel. The focussing is done via the slider and there is a
real rangefinder spot in the viewer. Small green exposure button and
cable release socket next to it.
from below. Tripod socket. The slider to the left opens the camera. The one at the bottom to the right opens the film
Seen from the back.
Camera film compartment open. Battery carrier takes 2 625U batteries, still available.
Film compartment and film.
Loaded and ready.
camera is very easy to use, silde it open and it's ready.
manual settings, you choose the aperture, the exposure is automatic.
You have to
focus and frame, which is easy via the bright finder and a real
rangefinder spot. If by half pressing the shutter no arrow appears,
exposure is fine. If a red arrow appears to the left, it's
overexposure. Turn the aperture wheel in direction of the arrow. If a
yellow arrow appears to the right, the
camera will use slow shutter speeds. Turn the aperture wheel in
direction of the arrow or put the camera to a tripod or firm surface.
There is an electronic flash
available. After taking
a picture, you have to cock the advance lever twice. Putting a film is easy as well,
you drop the film into the compartment, advance to the first frame and that's it.
a luxury camera
with advanced features as aperture priority and a very good lens for
good picture quality. The wider lens fits well to my needs. It has a
very light pocketable body. Compared
to the Minox, this seems to be of much better build quality. So its an
extremely nice find. The Baldas seem to be quite rare, it took me years
to find one.
It took me again several years to find a second one, a Balda 1000 EL
RX, which has a normal 25mm lens and is almost the same as the Minox
110S. Only the build quality seems to be better, especially the film
advance feels more solid. So here are some pictures of this one: