Kodak Ektra Tele 1 – Less Is More

There’s something to be said for simplicity. Cameras with fewer widgets and doohickeys are so easy to operate that anyone can use them well. A design like that leads to fun.

I’ve pretty much just described most 110 film cameras, and the Kodak Ektra Tele 1 is no exception. But there is a small catch- the Ektra Tele 1 is extremely simple and fun to use, yet it still has.. options!

The neat party trick of the Ektra 1 is pretty obvious because it’s right in the name- Tele. On the top of the camera is a slider that allows you to select between a normal or telephoto focal lengths.

One thing that I love about this camera when you switch lenses is that viewfinder is linked with the slider. When the tele lens is selected, an equivalent zoomed-in view is displayed through the viewing window. This is such a great design in my opinion because you get an immediate visual representation of the scene you’re shooting at each focal length.

Specs

Year released: 1978
Normal Lens, 22mm, F 9.5 Fixed Aperture
Telephoto Lens: 44mm, F 11, Fixed Aperture
1/125 Shutter speed at ISO 125 and below
1/250 Shutter speed at ISO 200 and above
1/60 Shutter speed is flash is connected
No batteries, fully mechanical shutter

A Great Travel Companion

Anyone who’s carried a point and shoot around with them has most likely fired off a few accidental shots in the darkness of their pocket.

Another cool feature of the Tele 1 is the hinged hardcover that protects the shutter button while the camera isn’t in use. This cover can also be used as a way to hold the camera steady when shooting in landscape orientation. However, I felt like the open cover can be a little cumbersome while shooting since it’s the full length of the camera. But it beats taking artistic underexposed shots of my pocket lint I suppose.

The combination of its simplicity, dual lenses, and built-in case are the features that I think make the Kodak Ekta 1 a winner. It draws similarities to my all-time favorite pocket carry point and shoot camera- the Olympus Infinity Twin. Both cameras are simple, have dual lenses, and utilize protective shells.

If there were any downsides to carrying a 110 film camera on the regular though, it might be the image quality.

But 110 Pictures Are Just SO SMALL

It’s no secret that 110 cameras are inferior to larger formats like 35mm or 120 when you compare print size and picture quality. The smaller negative leads to a larger grain-to-image area and limits sharpness. But despite these drawbacks, I think the reason that 110 is still around is because of the no-frills usability and fun of these types of cameras. I can’t be alone in thinking that it’s not always about the image quality. Sometimes it’s more about the shooting experience that matters.

Since Kodak and Fuji have discontinued all of their 110 films, I’m thankful that brands like Lomography are around to manufacture fresh cartridges so that we can still enjoy this format. To test out the Ektra 1 I loaded up some Lomochrome Metropolis and also finished off a half-shot cartridge of Tiger Color 110 that I had laying around in my film drawer. If you’re interested to see some example photos, I share some of these images in the video review linked below.

Conclusion

While 110 cameras don’t offer the best image quality, and they’re not the most economical to shoot, they very well may be the most fun to use. The Kodak Ektra Tele 1 is a keeper for the collections, and personally, I don’t plan to stop shooting 110 any time soon.

YouTube player

Amazon Affiliate Links:

Lomography Color Tiger 110 Film (3 Pack)
Lomography Color Tiger 110 Film (1 Pack)
Lomography Orca Black and White 110 Film (1 Pack)

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2 thoughts on “Kodak Ektra Tele 1 – Less Is More”

  1. I bought a Kodak Tele-Instamatic 608. I’ve only shot 1 roll of 110 film. The camera works but the photos were pretty flat and grainy and had some interesting random white specks. Needs lots of light. I like my Pentax Auto 110 better. I have a Kodak Pocket Instmatic 40 which I haven’t used yet. Hope it’s better than the 608.

    1. I used to have a 608 a few years ago and enjoyed shooting with it. If I remember correctly, it’s very similar to the ektra tele 1 but without the obnoxious flip cover haha. I’ve always wanted to shoot a Pentax Auto 110 but haven’t picked one up yet.

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