7 More Charming Half-Frame Cameras3 17 Share Tweet
Recently there definitely has been renewed interest in half-frame cameras as many film shooters look for ways to make the most out of a 36-exposure roll. Half-frame cameras take 18×24 mm photographs on 35 mm film and therefore can produce 72 shots from a 36-frame film stock, not to mention they're usually compact, with some even allowing much creative control.
Some years ago, we listed seven charming half-frame cameras which included some of the best in the format such as the Ricoh Auto Half, Canon Demi, Olympus Pen F and the Lomo LC-Wide.
Just like our latest list of the best cameras to slip in your pocket, we're listing upcomers, classics and forgotten half-frame camera gems, and identifying what it is exactly that makes them unique and charming in their own ways.
Talk about classic cool! The successor to the Mercury Model CC, the 1946 Mercury II was made by New York-based Universal Camera Corp. and is definitely worthy of space on a collector's shelf with its curious and elegant design. During its release, it was targeted more towards the masses as most of the camera company's catalogue were, although its novel design was meant to stand next to the camera giants of Europe.
Of course this classic camera is also worth taking out on a shoot if you've ever come across one with its gears still working. For a quick trip down memory lane, you may check out community member @dinospork's article on cleaning up and reviving a Mercury II which he got from an online auction site.
The Mercury II takes 18 mm x 24 mm half-frame photos with its Wollensak Tricor 35 mm f/3.5 lens, rotary shutter, and shutter speed capacity of 1/20 up to 1/1000 seconds, producing decent and even great photos for what would've been the camera meant as an early answer to high-end European-made cameras such as Leica and Contax.
Funky and vivid colors, experimental capacity, and a cute yet capable design – the Diana Mini is no doubt one of the most charming and iconic half-frame cameras out there. It's the camera meant for just about any spontaneous activity. Its creative features include square format and half-frame formats with the flick of a switch, unlimited multiple exposures, long exposure and frame overlap for panorama.
On top of its creative functions, one of the reasons why the Diana Mini has solidified its position as a cult classic is its many faces throughout the years. The camera is perfect for experimental shooters who have come to integrate their handy cameras into their overall aesthetic.
SuperHeadz Golden Half Camera
Aside from its super cool name, the SuperHeadz Golden Half also has superior half-frame camera features making it ideal for taking it out on trips and capturing moments spontaneously.
Manufactured by Japanese company SuperHeadz, it is small and lightweight, weighing 90 grams, with an unassuming and minimalistic original design which comes in other variants. Exploring this camera's 22 mm f/8 lens and 1/100 second maximum shutter speed still makes for a good time.
One of the classics in the arena and totally pocketable despite being a bit more on the heavy side, the Fujica Half is known for taking high-quality shots in half-frame. It was introduced in 1963 but until now remains a good option for beginner photographers exploring half-frame who still want some manual control.
Its aperture extends from f2.8 to f22 with shutter speeds of 1/30, 1/60, 1/125 and 1/300. With its built-to-last and compact design, the Fujica Half definitely deserves a slot as one of the most charming half-frame film cameras out there.
Canon Dial 35
One of the rarer half-frame cameras in both of our lists, the Canon Dial 35 has a one of the most interesting looks to match. Made in Japan in 1963, the camera was released as Bell & Howell Dial 35 in foreign markets.
It got its name from its futuristic appearance featuring a distinct telephone dial look. The camera appeared in a scene in the 1967 TV series The Prisoner. The Canon Dial 35 has automatic film advance and takes quite crisp photos with a shutter speed of 1/30 up to 1/250 seconds.
The Konica AA-35, or the Konica Recorder, was first introduced in 1984 and boasts of an interesting slide-open layout. It's definitely the kind of camera that could elicit curiosity from film and non-film photographers when taken out for a shoot.
But aside from that, it's also a very competent point-and-shoot camera with automatic functions. Aperture settings go from f/4 to f/16 with shutter speeds of 1/60th to 1/250th seconds.
Last on our list is the Chaika-II with its simple yet distinctly adorable design. Produced by the Belomo factory in Belarus (formerly USSR) between 1967 and 1972, the Chaika II takes its name from the local word meaning "seagull". Despite its petite size, the camera falls on the heavy side. It has an aperture of f/2.8 and shutter speeds of 1/30, 1/60, 1/125 and 1/250 and a bulb mode.
Probably what makes the Chaika II more charming is its history. It is said to be named in honor of Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova who is known for being the first woman in space, her call sign being "chaika".
Do you have special memories or interesting experiences with these cameras? What are the half-frames on your favorites list? Share them with us below!
written by sylvann on 2023-05-25 #gear #culture #half-frame #half-frame-cameras