135compact.com       110 cartridge ultra compact cameras       Balda 1000 EL BR and 1000 EL RX

Balda built the Minox 110S from 1974 to 1978, a high end camera for Kodak 110 pocket film
*(see below). The Balda company was already entirely manufacturing the famous ultra compact Minox 35 film camera series. About 40.000 110S were made, however Balda made its own model variants and sold them under their proper name as Balda 1000, especialy after Minox stopped selling the 110S abrupty in 1978.

* 110 film was introduced by Kodak in 1972. The film sits in a cartridge, like Kodak's earlier 126 film, but is much smaller. A frame is 13mm 17mm, has one perforation per image to control film advance and 24 frames per cartridge (12 were also available). The film is protected by a backing paper like 120 film. The frame number is visible through a window at the back of the cartridge. The basic film is ordinary 16mm film which was already on the market, so it could be processed in existing machines. The small picture size made very small, pocketable cameras possible.

Kodak introduced with its 110 film a line of Kodak Pocket Instamatic cameras which were followed by cameras from other manufacturers. Most cameras were cheap point-and-shoot, but very sophisticated models were also made. Small digital cameras made 110 film obsolete. Bit by bit manufacturers
stopped making 110 format film (Fujifilm in 2009), but in 2012 (and 2019) Lomography made a large batch of 110 film, followed by other firms.

There were 4 Balda 1000 models:

1000 EL RX, like the Minox 110S with a 1:2.8 25mm Rodenstock Ysarex lens und and both, cube flash and electronic flash connection,
a 1000 EL R, like the RX, but without cube flash
a 1000 EL BR, with a 1:4 20.5 mm 4-element Baldanon lens, without cube flash, about  2.500 were made and
a 1000 EL Macro, same as the BR, but with an additional macro capability, probably not a macro lens.
This one I haven't seen yet.

However I have bought a model of which I haven't found a trace. It's named Balda Electronic Macro 1000. It doesn't have the "barn doors". I have made a page here.

The camera mainly shown is a Balda 1000 EL BR. At the bottom of the page there are also some photos of the EL RX, which is closer to the Minox. They both have a rangefinder and advanced features, a luminous lens, aperture priority and an automatic shutter. The lens of the EL BR is
wider. Their main features are:

EL BR: 20.5mm F4 Baldanon lens, 4 elements, F4-F16, min. focus 0.6m
EL RX: 25mm F2.8 Rodenstock Ysarex lens, 4 elements, F2.8-F16, min. focus 0.6m
Electronic shutter, 4s - 1/1000
Size 131x54x26,  Weight 130 gr.
100 and 400 ISO, automatic setting, rangefinder, parallax compensation, electronic flash available

Camera closed, front well protected.

Camera front open. Bright view/rangefinder with framelines, parallax corrected. The aperture is visible in the rangefinder and an under- or overexposure arrow may light next to it. To the right, at the bottom: film advance lever. It was a problem on all 4 of my Minox 110 cameras. It's tiny, 2-stroke, but works well on this Balda.

Seen from the top. The aperture value is visible and can be changed via the black dented wheel. The focussing is done via the slider and there is a real rangefinder spot in the viewer. Small green exposure button and cable release socket next to it.

Seen from below. Tripod socket. The slider to the left opens the camera. The one at the bottom to the right opens the film compartment.

Seen from the back.

Camera film compartment open.
Battery carrier takes 2 625U batteries, still available.

Film compartment and film.

Loaded and ready.

This camera is very easy to use, silde it open and it's ready.
It has manual settings, you choose the aperture, the exposure is automatic. You have to focus and frame, which is easy via the bright finder and a real rangefinder spot. If by half pressing the shutter no arrow appears, exposure is fine. If a red arrow appears to the left, it's overexposure. Turn the aperture wheel in direction of the arrow. If a yellow arrow appears to the right, the camera will use slow shutter speeds. Turn the aperture wheel in direction of the arrow or put the camera to a tripod or firm surface. There is an electronic flash available. After taking a picture, you have to cock the advance lever twice. Putting a film is easy as well, you drop the film into the compartment, advance to the first frame and that's it.

It's a luxury camera with advanced features as aperture priority and a very good lens for good picture quality. The wider lens fits well to my needs. It has a small and very light pocketable body. Compared to the Minox, this seems to be of much better build quality. So its an extremely nice find. The Baldas seem to be quite rare, it took me years to find one.

It took me again several years to find a second one, a Balda 1000 EL RX, which has a normal 25mm lens and is almost the same as the Minox 110S. Only the build quality seems to be better, especially the film advance feels more solid. So here are some pictures of this one:

A flash cube socket and a min. aperture of 2.8.

Min. focus 0.6m as well, smallest aperture F16.

A reknown Rodenstock lens.

It came in a leather case and a silver chain.