Money owns this town, money bought this Minolta
You never know what treasures might be found in an abandoned storage locker. This Minolta Pocket AutoPak 450E likely came out of one.
If you’ve ever watched Storage Wars, you know the score: a handful of the show’s stars go to a given storage locker auction, bid on the locker they want, bid up and/or outbid the competition, then — hopefully — come away with the locker. Then, it’s a matter of hoping there’s no whammy among the boxes and containers within. Sometimes, the whole thing’s a big winner. Other times, the whole thing’s one big whammy.
The Minolta was purchased online in late May from Mary’s Finds, the Los Angeles-based shop of Storage Wars star Mary Padian. I had no idea Minolta made 110 film cameras when this one crossed my path; I knew then I had to make it mine.
Big ambitions in a small package
The story of 110 film is one of ease of use. Many consumers in the Seventies and Eighties wanted to take family photos (many of which wound up on Internet K-Hole decades later), but didn’t want to fiddle with 35mm film. Thus, Kodak introduced 110 in 1972 for use in their Instamatic line. Canon, Pentax and Minolta, among others, soon joined the fray, making cameras of their own to use Kodak’s newest invention.
Alas, 35mm won out in the end due to its low cost and higher quality compared to 110. However, Lomography stepped into the game in 2012, taking up where everyone else had long gone. Today, the analog photography movement offers several flavors of 110 through their shop, including the black-and-white Orca film I wound up using.
As for developing it, I went with the services of The Darkroom, a photography lab in the San Francisco Bay Area known for their ability to develop numerous formats since 1976. They’ve worked closely with Lomography for quite a while, working out the steps needed to process and develop the movement’s take on 110 film.
So, after over a year of sitting on my roll before sending it off for development and scanning, what did I get out of it?
Have a look for yourselves.