Last year, Vivitar announced several new model 110 cartridge cameras, including one dubbed the 830AW Point'n Shoot. Though I'm less than a 110 cartridge-camera fanatic, for those amateur shooters and occasional photobugs to whom these diminutive bundles of glass and plastic appeal, let me suggest the 830AW.
This camera is unusual for several reasons. First, it has a motorized auto-wind feature (thus the AW) that takes over from the time you pop the film cartridge into the camera until you take it out.
It also features built-in electronic flash with a normal range of five to 10 feet and an extended range of 10 to 18 feet. Both auto-winder and flash are powered by a pair of AA-size batteries for as many as 150 flash exposures.
Why auto-wind on a strictly amateur camera? For openers, it's a sales-promoting gimmick: When you pop in the film and close the latch and hear the soft whir of the motor doing its thing, it's almost impossible to suppress a smile.
Beyond that, the motor frees the user from one more chore -- the act of advancing the film after each exposure -- that might conceivably prevent getting that "certain" shot.
With fixed focus, this is literally a point-and-shoot machine. That means the user can concentrate on getting just the right shot and not worry about a whole list of things to do beforehand. I've long been an advocate of motorized film-advance systems for 35-mm camera users; why not for 110 cartridge-camera buffs as well?
The Vivitar 830AW Point'n'Shoot comes with wrist strap and carries a suggested list price of $55.95. It's also available in a kit featuring film and batteries for slightly more.
Another relatively new piece of simplified sophistication in a 110 cartridge camera comes to the world via Kodak. It's called the Tele-Ektralite 600 camera, and -- as the name implies -- it features both normal and telephoto lenses. The flick of a switch changes the lens from a 22-mm f/8 to a 44-mm f/8, producing twice the image size as the normal lens.
When using the 22-mm normal lens, focus is fixed (as with the Vivitar 830AW). When using the 44-mm telephoto lens, however, focus is continuous, with a detent at 8.5 feet -- the point at which Kodak obviously feels most shots are taken.
While the Tele-Ektralite 600 has no auto-wind feature (alas, I told you the Vivitar camera was unique), it does feature built-in electronic flash. And here is where the Kodak camera shines. For the flash is something called automatic integral electronic. In layman's terms, that translates to marvelous.
You see, when you go to snap the shutter but -- gads -- the light is too low for an available-light photo, the Tele-Ektralite 600 automatically turns on its own flash. That means there's no more worrying about when to use it and when not to. And no more too-dark photos because you forgot to heed a low-light warning lamp in the finder.
What happens when the flash is no longer needed, as when you shift shooting from indoors to out on a nice sunny day? Why, the flash turns itself off, of course. And the camera shifts gears for available-light photos once more.
Flash range varies from four to 12 feet with Kodacolor II film to four to 18 feet with Kodacolor 400 film, and it recycles with fresh battery in three seconds. The camera is equipped with Kodak's exclusive flip-out handle (which doubles as a rugged camera case) for greater stability while shooting.
One other nice feature is a relatively fast shutter speed of 1/250 second when using 400 ASA film. That's not fast enough to stop a speeding bullet, but it should help freeze a youngster riding a bike or sledding down the hill out back.
The Kodak Tele-Ektralite 600 camera carries a suggested list price of $66.95. Q: I'm interested in purchasing a camera that would be used primarily for taking informal pictures of family and friends, both indoors and out. I'd like an occasional enlargement to 9x12 inches but don't want to spend more than $200 for a camera. Please give make, type and model which you would recommend.
A: Oh, no. Can't do that. Because every person requires a camera suited expressly to his or her needs and desires, you'll have to do some shopping around. I will go so far as to suggest a 35-mm format camera, however. That should give you sharp blowups to 8x10 and even 11x14 inches (standard enlargement sizes).
As for 35-mm camera types, there are many rangefinder and viewfinder cameras your dealer can show you -- all selling for under $200. In addition, you'll even find a few 35-mm SLRs (single-lens reflex) in your price range.
For a minimum of fuss and bother, look for something with automatic exposure and possibly even automatic focusing. A built-in electronic flash will also come in handy. Q: Can you tell me the value of an Eastman Kodak 2A Folding Cartridge camera, Hawkeye Model B?
A: With the self-timer, probably less than $30. For more detailed advice on antique cameras (including buying and selling), check out Shutterbug Ads, P.O. Box F, Titusville, Florida, 32780 (single-copy price is $2). Q: I have a Nikon F that's about 15 years old. Are there any new Nikon cameras that will accept the lenses from the F model without modification? A: Sure. Thanks to Nikon's policy of planned non-obsolescence, all new Nikon lenses should fit your older model camera. Q: I have a Sigma 600-mm mirror lens and am trying to get a frontmount skylight filter for protection of the front element. It takes an 82-mm filter (which Hoya makes), but I'm unable to find a store, even in New York, that stocks them. Please suggest a source. A: Why not go right to the horse's mouth (sorry, Hoya). You can write the manufacturer in care of Uniphot/Levit Corp., 61-10 34th Avenue, Woodside, New York 11377.