The Hanimex 35 FX is an interesting 80's point and shoot camera that is not only simple to use, but which is also able to take some fantastic shots.
I bought this camera off of an online auction site, not long ago, partly because I was looking for a camera with a built in flash, but mostly because I was intrigued by it’s striking red and black colour scheme, and it’s focus-free, plastic lens.
There was very little I could find out about the camera online, other than the fact that it originated from the mid-eighties, so everything about this camera, I realized, I would have to learn myself.
The first thing I noticed upon receiving the camera was the build quality. Despite the fact that it is a simple, plastic camera—it was rather weighty. It is built out of a very solid, high quality plastic, which seems to resist chipping and marking very well. The red finish on the camera looks as though it is almost new, despite the fact that it must be at least twenty years old.
The camera is very simple to use. To take a picture, you only need to wind the film and fire, since there is no focusing. The only other features to worry about are the rewind knob and button, the lens cap slider, and the flash setting switch (on or off). Because of this, the Hanimex 35 FX is an excellent camera for passing around and letting other people use. Explaining how to use it takes only a couple of seconds. The camera’s durability also makes it good for this, as there is often the potential for the camera being dropped when a number of people are using it.
One impressive feature of this camera is the flash; it is very bright. I am still undecided as to whether this is a good thing or not, though; I do like the fact that the flash can light up a very wide area, but for people having their photo’s taken, it can be a little bit overwhelming, and some people can find it annoying. However, no one so far that I have taken a picture of has seemed to mind too much, and they generally forgive me when I show them the picture later! Even though it is bright, the on-camera flash does not seem to chew up batteries. It requires only two AA’s that should last for several rolls, even if the flash is used for all shots.
The plastic lens on the Hanimex 35 FX allows for soft images, with some nice chromatic abberations near the edges. There is sometimes vignetting, mostly on the more underexposed pictures, and the photographs produced by this camera can look very good, provided you are going for a lo-fi look rather than high art photography.
This aesthetic suits itself well to color, as well as black and white photography. With CN film, the pictures look soft, and you can view the colors in the chromatic aberrations.
In Black and white, while none of these colorful effects can be seen, the lack of sharp focus gives these photo’s a fantastic ‘retro’ look. (by the way, sorry about the specks on the photo’s that was just the way that I developed them, a.k.a. badly)
I also had a bit of fun, shooting with a Lomography Redscale XR film in this camera.
Whilst the camera is sturdily built, the mechanism inside is far from perfect. Out of the rolls I have developed myself, and had developed at a lab, I have noticed that the negatives are not always evenly spaced along the film. They sometimes overlap, and on occasion there are large spaces between images, although it is difficult to determine whether or not this is because some of the shots were just underexposed.
Like I mentioned before, there is very little information I can find on this camera online. All I can say about it, really, is what I’ve learned about the camera since owning it, which is that, all factors considered, I am very happy with the Hanimex 35 FX. I have found it to be a very simple and enjoyable camera to shoot with, and have been extremely happy with the results. If you are lucky enough to come across one anytime in the future, I would suggest having a look at it.