Earlier in the year I took a trip to Puerto Rico for a friends birthday. In my mind I though this is perfect for me to take my new(old) little waterproof Minolta camera. It takes 110 film, so it was also the perfect opportunity for me to use Lomography’s new 110 Color Tiger Film.
The bright yellow Weathermatic-A was first made in the 1980’s as a watertight camera with a built in electric flash that could be used in water in depths of up to 15 feet or 5 meters. It has very large black control knobs on the top of the camera, perfect if you may be diving with it and need easier control. One knob is used for continuous focus for a range of about 3 feet up to infinity. These are designated with the figure of a person from the chest up for close range all the way to a figure of a mountain for landscape shots. The other knob designates the exposure with 3 options of sunny, cloudy and flash needed. The bottom of the camera has a black film advance lever that you cock after every picture taken. The camera only needs one AA battery to control all of the features.
I bought my camera off of Ebay and it worked fantastic. Though it has a chip on one side of the back it still sealed well. You can find the camera in yard sales and thrift shops as well, but it’s a pretty rare find in those types of places. Generally I find that the battery compartment has become corroded due to batteries being left inside and leaking all over the contacts.
The Weathermatic-A uses only 110 film and can accept ASA 100 and 400. The only company that I am aware of that still makes fresh 110 film is Lomography. They make the film in both color and black and white. They also have some film with pastel colored tones and redscale tones. In this camera I used the Lomography Tiger Color Negative Film which has an ISO of 200, but worked great with the Weathermatic. It was excellent for photographs both above and below the water and well as for day and night shots with use of the flash. All of the Lomography 110 film can be bought directly from their online store here or at Amazon.com(Color Film).
The Weathermatic-A has two small knobs on the side of the camera that you can twist back and forth that can be used to either keep the camera back shut tight or pushed open. The camera back has two small plastic prongs that slip into the side knobs to help it close and they slip up again when you move the knobs “open” to take the back off. The knobs essentially help to seal the back shut and keep it watertight against the o-ring. Once the back is off you can easily place it into the camera. You will have the information part of the film with the speed and exposure amount matching up with the window in the back of the camera when you close it back up again.
I tested out this camera during my trip to Puerto Rico this year. I used the camera in all sorts of setting including places you would not normally want to take it. I had the camera dangling from my wrist on a trip to the rain forest complete with mud, streams and waterfalls. I also took it to the hotel pool and local beaches. It worked great and never let me down. All this without putting much thought into its care. One of the best features about the camera is that it has a built in flash which was excellent for the dark and underwater settings.
Photos with the flash came out clear, and you can see that they lit up objects that are up close, but anything that is further behind will be dark. If you are shooting an object that is too far away then the flash will not really help and the picture will still be slightly dark and you can see in the below picture.
Photos below water came out great. The flash works in the same way as if you were above water so you need to have your objects within range of the flash. This picture was taken at night in the pool. You also have to be mindful of things like bubbles and waves, which will cause the light the bounce off of them.
This camera was great as a small vacation camera. It was a small enough size and was durable enough to be banged around without worrying about it. The pictures come out crisp and vivid if you use the correct settings.
If you really like this camera and it’s design you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.
Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but you can find a copy of it at this link.
- Type: Watertight Pocket Camera
- Manufacturer: Minolta
- Year of release: 1980
- Films: Type 16mm 110 film cartridges
- Lens: Rokkor 1:3.5/26mm (4 coated glass elements in 3 groups)
- Zone focusing: five distances selectable by turning the knob with the 5 distance symbols
- Shutter: metal blade shutter with fixed speed 1/200 sec.
- Aperture: 3 apertures selectable with a knob, one for sun, one for clouds or one for flashlight
- Viewfinder: bright frame finder with parallax correction marks, low light indicator and focusing symbols
- Flash: built-in, selectable with aperture switch
- Film advance: by black bottom lever
- Battery: 1 × AA 1.5V for the CdS-meter and Flash
- Accessories: Sports finder, replacement tightening material
- Max. diving depth: 5 m
I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I have left anything out.
*Specifications were taken from Camerapedia