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Full-size section of a 7200dpi scan from a Kodachrome-X slide of the Colosseum in Rome, taken with a Pocket Instamatic 60 in 1973. (Complete picture)

The is probably the sharpest and most detailed 110-format slide in my collection. It’s perfectly exposed and focused, taken in lighting that allowed the camera’s exposure system to select an optimally-sharp aperture at its fastest shutter speed, and used the sharpest and finest-grain film available at the time. Thus it likely represents the maximum image quality the camera (and 110 film) could produce when the 110 format was introduced. (Kodachrome 64, which replaced Kodachrome-X in 1974, might have been slightly sharper.)

Most 110 slides are not this sharp or detailed. And a 7200dpi scan from the Kodacolor II negative film that practically all 110 shooters used in 1973, or from Verichrome Pan black and white film, would have significantly less detail and a lot more grain.

This is about 8.8% of the full scan, a section of about 4 x 3 millimeters from the original slide’s 12 x 16mm frame. The effective magnification depends on the size and resolution of the display on which you’re viewing this. At 96dpi, the resolution of many LCD displays, it would be equivalent to a 35 x 47-inch (89 x 119cm) enlargement of the full slide. (I regularly projected 110 slides to fill a 50 x 50 inch [127 x 127 cm] screen, but never sat as close to it as a typical user of a computer display.) At 300dpi, a common resolution for printing, it would be equivalent to an 11 x 15 inch (28 x 38cm) print.

If this image lacks crispness on your screen, remember that it’s magnified and viewed more closely than any image from 110 film would have ever been in real-world use. For that matter, if a 35mm Japanese compact rangefinder camera were magically substituted for my Pocket Instamatic, the image would look noticeably crisper. But that’s only because the the corresponding section of the 35mm slide would be magnified about half as much for the same-sized image.

This is a color-corrected version of the scan. I applied the standard “capture sharpening,” needed for all scans to compensate for the scanner’s loss of sharpness. But I used neither noise reduction nor the “display sharpening” I normally apply to finished images.


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