Introduction & contents

Pentax made only one subminiature camera and the Pentax Auto 110 is the pinnacle of the 110 format in quality of images captured, features, system and for what was packed into the size - the only TTL metering subminiature SLR.

Introduced in late 1978 with a new, short lived, version in 1983 some 70,000 cameras were sold.

The Pentax Auto 110 is a true SLR with all the expected accessories as found in a full format 35mm system, including :-

  • interchangeable lenses, 
  • tele-converters,
  • motor drives, 
  • flash unit, 
  • close-up lenses 
  • filters. 
  • cases, 
  • pouches, 
  • lens hoods,
  • belt-clip
  • eye piece correction lenses. 

The fully automatic exposure system with both aperture and shutter speed settings are programmed by the camera in accordance with the lighting situation. Pentax engineers created a system that is amazingly sensitive and accurate; ingeniously combining the shutter with the aperture blades, yet remaining simple to use.  

Shutter speeds vary from 1 second to 1/750. Apertures run from 1/750 sec at f13.5 - 1 sec. at f2.8. 

The viewfinder image rivals that of the best 35mm SLRs, in terms of contrast, size, brightness, and clarity. Inside the SLR viewfinder, you'll find a surprisingly large split-image finder surrounded by a matt glass field. You will also see an LED in the lower right-hand corner to provide exposure information. Green LED indicates adequate shutter speed (minimum of 1/30sec. at f2.8); yellow LED indicates slow shutter speed (less than 1/30 sec.) requiring use of tripod or auto flash to avoid camera shake. Magnification 0.75x showing 87% of the picture area.

Battery is low when the viewfinder LEDs fail to light on depressing shutter button.

Film advance is by two 145 degree strokes of the film advance lever.

The camera weighted just 159grams (5.6 ounces, 172grams (6.1oz) with lens)  and could fit in a shirt pocket with room for a couple of lenses, as well.  Size with standard lens 56mmx99mmx45mm (2.2"x3.9"x1.8") body only 56mmx99mmx32mm (2.2"x3.9"x1.3")

The original camera lenses were:-

Lens equivalent in 35mm full frame format
24mm (f2.8) 25.5mm thread (6/5)
0.35m - infinity
50mm
50mm (f2.8) 37.5mm thread (5/5)  100mm
18mm (f2.8) 30.5mm thread (6/6) 35mm

In 1981 three additional lenses were added:

Lens equivalent in 35mm full frame format
18mm pan-focus (Fixed focus lens, everything was in focus from infinity to 6 feet) 35mm
70mm (f2.8) 49mm thread 150mm
20-40mm zoom (f2.8) 49mm thread  40-80mm zoom

A special motor winder was available that would deliver over 1,200 exposures on 2 AA batteries.  Later, the Winder II auto winder appeared for the Auto 110 super.  It has slightly more robust tabs on the battery door than the model I. 

Special dedicated flash units were available, such as the AF 130 P and AF 100 P.

The original price for the entire system in 1978 was 500USD.  Uses two A76 batteries.  

The first bodies produced had "ASAHI" as well as "PENTAX" logos painted in white on the penta-prism front. The white Asahi's are also referred to as "Pan Heads", because the screws on the body that straddle the viewfinder are little slotted "pan head" screws.

In less than a year, Pentax stopped painting in the "ASAHI" on the Auto 110 and shortly after they changed the pan head screws to Philips flat heads.

The "Safari" or maroon was not available commercially but was available as a corporate gift and are hence rare. Also rare is the transparent demonstration models used by dealers.

The Auto 110 Super, introduced in 1983, when 110 was already in decline, shared the same accessories as the Auto 110 with the exception of the Winder II which was only for the Super.  

Cameras

  • Auto 110 White ASAHI panhead 
  • Auto 110 Black ASAHI panhead
  • Auto 110 Black ASAHI Phillips
  • Auto 110 Safari or Maroon
  • Auto 110 Transparent (dealer display)
  • Auto 110 Super, Auto 110 Super major component set
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    Go to the 16mm Collection index Last Updated on 19th June 2003