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110 vs 35mm film - What's The Difference?

Photography enthusiasts often find themselves debating the merits of different film formats. Two popular options, especially among analogue photographers, are 110 film and 35mm film. While both have their unique attributes, they cater to different needs and preferences.

Plus, if you're new to film photography, it's completely normal to be baffled by both concepts! (We also have a very handy film photography jargon buster glossary for your reference too).

Here's a breakdown of the differences between 110 and 35mm film to help you choose the best option for your own photography.

Film Size and Format

The main difference between 35mm and 110 film is that they are different formats due to the size of the film.

35mm film tends to be the most popular for entry level photographers, but they're both enjoyed for different shooting purposes.

110 Film Key Facts:

  • Size: 16mm wide.

  • Format: Cartridge-based film system introduced by Kodak in 1972.

  • Frame Size: 13mm x 17mm.

  • Convenience: Extremely compact and portable, making it ideal for pocket cameras and casual snapshots.

110 film, introduced by Kodak in 1972, is a 16 mm photographic film format known for its convenience and ease of use.

It features a frame size of 13 mm x 17 mm and comes in a plastic cartridge, making loading into a camera simple and eliminating the need for manual threading.

Popular among amateur photographers for its user-friendly design, 110 film advanced automatically with frame numbers visible through a window in the back of the camera.

Although its popularity declined with the rise of digital photography, 110 film maintains a niche market, with specialty suppliers continuing to produce and develop it.

35mm Film Key Facts:

  • Size: 35mm wide.

  • Format: Standard film format for still photography and motion pictures, introduced in the late 19th century.

  • Frame Size: Typically 24mm x 36mm.

  • Versatility: Offers a balance of size and image quality, suitable for both amateur and professional photography.

35mm film, introduced in the late 19th century, is a widely used photographic film format characterised by its 35mm width and 24 mm x 36 mm frame size.

Renowned for its versatility and high image quality, it became the standard for both amateur and professional photographers.

The film is housed in a canister, requiring manual threading in most cameras, which typically allows for 24 or 36 exposures per roll.

Despite the dominance of digital photography, 35mm film remains popular among enthusiasts for its distinct aesthetic and depth, with ongoing production and processing services available globally.

Image Quality

Now, we've got size covered, let's have a closer look at the image quality of the two formats.

110 Film:

  • Resolution: Generally lower resolution due to smaller negative size.

  • Grain: More noticeable grain, especially in enlargements.

  • Suitability: Best for small prints or digital scans intended for web use.

110 image sample shot on Lomography Turquoise 110

35mm Film:

  • Resolution: Higher resolution with finer details.

  • Grain: Less grain compared to 110 film, making it suitable for larger prints.

  • Professional Use: Preferred by professionals and enthusiasts for its superior image quality.

35mm sample shot on Kodak Colorplus 200

Camera Options

Each type of film requires a different type of camera to house the relevant film. 35mm film cameras are much more accesible and readily available as there are so many different types of 35mm cameras on the market.

They can be an affordable choice with vintage or second hand cameras available on Facebook marketplace, at car boot sales and second hand stores.

However, there are advantages for sticking with a 110 film camera too. Let's take a closer look below.

110 Film Cameras:

  • Design: Simple and compact, often with fixed focus and limited manual controls.

  • Use Case: Perfect for casual shooters, travel, and quick snapshots.

Featuring the new Lomography Lomomatic 110 Camera & Flash

35mm Film Cameras:

  • Design: Wide range from fully automatic point-and-shoots to highly sophisticated SLRs and rangefinders with manual controls.

  • Use Case: Suitable for a broad spectrum of photography styles, from everyday shooting to high-end professional work.

Availability and Cost

110 Film:

  • Availability: Less common but still available from specialty stores and online retailers.

  • Cost: Typically cheaper per roll, but with limited options in terms of film types and speeds. Prices start from £9.

35mm Film:

  • Availability: Widely available in various types, including color, black-and-white, and specialty films.

  • Cost: Generally more expensive than 110 film, but offers a broader selection and better quality options. There are still cheaper film options available though such as Kodak ColorPlus and Kodak Gold that start at the £8 mark.

Ease of Use

110 Film:

  • Loading: Easy to load due to cartridge system.

  • Advancement: Film automatically advances to the next frame.

  • Appeal: Great for beginners and those looking for a hassle-free shooting experience.

35mm Film

  • Loading: Requires more care to load properly into the camera.

  • Advancement: Some cameras require manual advancement, while others have motorized systems.

  • Control: Offers more control over exposure and focusing, appealing to more experienced photographers.

Choosing between 110 and 35mm film largely depends on your needs and preferences. If you value portability and ease of use, and you're shooting primarily for fun, 110 film might be your best bet.

However, if you prioritise image quality, versatility, and have an interest in exploring the technical aspects of photography, 35mm film is likely the better choice.

Both formats have their charm and place in the world of analogue photography, so consider what aligns best with your photographic goals and style. But if you're still not sure, our best advice? Buy both! Variation is the spice of life and you'll soon find your preferred shooting style by experimenting with both.

After shooting, don't forget to get your films processed with us!

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