Returning to Mansfield With the Pentax Auto 110 [Lomography Orca 100]

mansfield old town hall

Images shot on Lomography Orca 100 in the Pentax Auto 110

When I lived in Shanghai, one of the biggest cities on the planet, I was never short of new and interesting places to go and shoot some photographs at. I don’t just mean the famous spots either, like Jing’an Temple or the ones I covered here.

I could probably have picked a subway station I’d never been to before, got off the train and started walking and found something worth capturing. And now I’m back in the UK, the nearest town to me – Mansfield, with its old town hall in that image up there – is nothing like that.

It’s small and there’s usually not much going on. There’s only so many times you can go and photograph the place before you start repeating locations. But there’s no reason to not do that. With a different camera and film and a different mindset on a different day, you’re going to get a different set of images.

So when I wanted to put some Lomography Orca 100 through the Pentax Auto 110, I had no qualms with returning to Mansfield to do so. Read on to see how it went.

Back in Mansfield with a great 110 camera

One of the most pleasantly surprising sets of images I’ve ever got from a roll of film was this one, shot on Lomography Color Tiger 200 in the Pentax Auto 110 around the streets of Mansfield.

It was the first roll I’d put through this miniature SLR. While I knew it was one of the best 110 cameras ever made, I was also aware of the limitations of this film format when it comes to image quality.

I did get some half-decent results when I shot some of that same Color Tiger 200 in a basic old Kodak Ektra 250 at the Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai, but I got some pretty rubbish ones from the set too. It was a combination of the film and an inconsistent camera in that case, I believe.

Those later ones I shot in Mansfield with the Pentax Auto were noticeably better. The sharpness, detail, and overall image quality that the little 18mm (~36mm equivalent) lens had wrung out of this small format film was just more than I thought I’d get.

It wasn’t 35mm film quality of course – and some medium or large format photographers will tell you that even 35mm isn’t good enough for them – but it was still impressive compared to what I’d been led to expect with 110.

So when I wanted to see what Lomography’s monochrome Orca 100 was capable of, I had to put some through the brilliant little Pentax 110 SLR. I’d already shot some in that aforementioned Kodak Ektra 250, but I’m not going to judge a film based solely on what that gives me.

And whereas I’d used the 18mm lens when I shot that Color Tiger in Mansfield, this time I went with the 24mm (~48mm equivalent) one.

A 110 camera with interchangeable lenses. Imagine that!

Here’s a few from Mansfield’s marketplace to start us off.

Shooting the same things in Mansfield again

On every previous occasion I’ve shot some film in Mansfield, some of the roll has been used at that marketplace. On the aforementioned Color 200 Tiger in this Pentax Auto 110, but also on Street Candy ATM 400 in the Pentax K1000 and on some Fuji Superia 400 in the Lomo LC-Wide.

You can see how they turned out here and here if you want.

I’m sure those images up there shot on this Orca 100 won’t be the last ones I ever shoot there either, because it’s the centrepiece of the town. It’s always going to be somewhere I’ll include in a set of photographs from Mansfield.

There are some other things to see in town away from the marketplace though, and I’ve predictably repeatedly shot some of these again here too, as you’ll see below.

The Leaning Man statue is no stranger to this website and has absolutely featured on other blog posts. As have the entrance to the Four Seasons shopping centre and the closed-down Black Swan pub.

RIP the Mucky Duck.

That covered walkway near the old bus station, which is unfortunately due to be demolished, is too good not to shoot too when the light is right and you have those shadows coming across the floor.

A few from Mansfield’s new bus station

It seems like such a small-town thing to do. To make a thing of getting a new bus station.

Have you been to the new bus station?

No.

Why not?

I haven’t… needed to take a bus anywhere.

But it’s the new bus station!

That’s not an actual conversation. I just made it up. And just because I took some photos around Mansfield’s new bus station doesn’t mean I think the town getting it was a big event, ok? Ok?

I was just shooting whatever semi-interesting shapes I found in town and where the light was good. I needed shots for the upcoming Pentax Auto 110 review and the upcoming Lomography Orca 100 review too.

The way the indoor shot came out well-exposed will definitely be getting mentioned in those. I did not expect that from an ISO 100 film.

mansfield bus station

A round-up of the miscellaneous Mansfield shots

Something I seem to often have with these film photo essays I write after walking around a town or city is a few mini-sets in the results – like the marketplace and bus station ones here – and then a bunch of miscellaneous ones that don’t really have anything to do with each other at the end.

And that’s exactly what we find here.

Again, one of my main objectives when I was walking around was finding shapes and lines in good light that would show what this film and camera combination is capable of, rather than finding interesting people to candidly capture.

Some worked out better than others. I like the first one below of the tree with the diagonal lines, but the following one from the retail park is a bit rubbish really. It’s kind of just a photo of nothing.

Beyond that, more lines and light with the straight-on shots of some steps, the metal detailing of a multi-storey car park, and one of the archways of Mansfield’s landmark viaduct.

Overall, despite what you may think of the compositions, I’d say the performance of the Pentax Auto 110 and Lomography Orca 100 is to be commended.

Maybe this film format isn’t quite as bad as many people say. You just need a good 110 camera to shoot it with.

What I really got from this day in town with 110 film

That’s it for another post showing you the results of a day spent walking around Mansfield and shooting film. It wasn’t the first time – these and some others had come before – and it hasn’t been the last either. But it was still worthwhile for a few reasons.

First was that after trying some of this Lomography Orca 100 film in some lesser-quality 110 cameras, I needed to give it a go in one that would give it the best chance to shine. The Pentax Auto 110 is certainly one of those.

Second was that I wanted to see how the 24mm lens performs, especially compared to the 18mm one that I shot these colour images in Mansfield with before.

If you think those two focal lengths sound pretty wide by the way, don’t worry. With 110 film being roughly half the size of 135, these are like shooting a 48mm and a 36mm on a regular 35mm camera.

Those two aspects of the day – getting some example shots from this film and with this lens – are nice and practical. And for what it’s worth, I think they both did well with the results they gave.

But there was a third thing too. And that was the enjoyment and sense of creating and achieving something that day also.

I think it was a Saturday morning. Looking at the directions of the shadows it was certainly a morning. More than that, I’d say it was certainly a good morning.

Because they always are when you get a roll of film shot before lunch. 🙂

If you enjoyed that post shooting some monochrome 110 format film around Mansfield, why not have a look at some of these other analogue photo essays too:

And if you think others will find this post worth a read, help them find it by giving it a share 😀

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