Recommendations on a half frame camera

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Mark Fisher, May 25, 2009.

  1. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    For some reason, I have a hankering to try a half frame camera. My only real criteria are a decent lens and a meter....even zone focussing is fine by me. Any one have some thoughts? The olympus are obvious choices, but even within that line, it is hard to tell which ones are worth considering! I'm finding that I am trying to enlarge smaller and smaller bits of negatives to get the grain and lack of sharpness I want. (yeah, sounds strange....)
    Second question.....any recommendations on an enlarger lens for the half frame? I have a 40mm which should be OK, but I'd like to hear any shorter focal length lenses.

    Thanks -- Mark
     
  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The popular choice is the Olympus Pen cameras with the Pen F/FT being the ultimate -- a half-frame SLR.
    It's a well-made camera with great lenses.

    Take a look at this page.

    There also are cameras by Ricoh, Canon, Konica and others.

    I've been using some of the Agfa half frames and have been particularly impressed with the Optima-Parat. It has autoexposure via a selenium meter and a very good Tessar-type Solinar lens. There also is a screw-in Telepar telephoto accessory lens that is quite good. It's zone focus. Its ASA range is 25-200.

    Finally, there is the Ducati Sogno, which probably is significantly more than you would ever want to pay. Many fetch $900 or more.
     
  3. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I really can't say enough good things about the Pen-FT, but that I simply love the camera. It feels and shoots so much better than any other camera that I've owned. It's an SLR with tons of available glass, and has the TTL meter. I love the close-focus with the standard 38mm. I like being able to see exactly what the lens can see, and being able to view the dof in the finder as with any normal SLR camera. These cameras are fairly expensive, and the glass is even more so. I suppose $200-$350 could get a used body with lens on eBay. In that price range they're worth every penny if they're in excellent condition. Black versions can easily go for double that price. I had a couple Pen EE's or EE2's several years ago. I didn't think much of them at the time, but my tastes have changes since then, and I would surely give them another chance.


    In the less expensive realm I have been tempted to buy and try the Univex Mercury II. They might be a fun camera to try. http://www.cosmonet.org/camera/mercury_e.htm

    Here's some data on numerous half-frame cameras here . . . http://www.subclub.org/shop/halframe.htm


    .
     
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  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I used a Canon Demi and a Canon Dial 35. I sealed the Dail 35 in a seal-a-meal bag to take in the water with me.
     
  5. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    I've just recently used a half frame camera for the first time - a Pen EE. Having always being a very slow and deliberate worker using large and med format, it took me miles away from my comfort zone which turned out to be very liberating. Not sure how the metering works exactly - I just winged it and hoped for the best. On the first roll I had one or two fantastic images which were suprisingly sharp and lovely contrast (printed to an image size of 8x6). Others were a bit soft and grainy which you say is what you want. I kept forgeting to zone focus which was part of the problem.

    As for a suitable enlarger lens - I used a 50mm and printed on a Devere 504 !!

    Another camera to consider is a Yashica Samurai. I have one of these but need to get batteries which cost as much as the camera is worth ! I think these cameras are becoming a bit sought after though and may increase in value over time ? There's another recent thread somewhere, discussing the Samurai.

    Bill
     
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  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i have and use pen ft, and think it is great!
    the pen d's have a copal shutter ( i think?) and
    while they work off of a zone focus system they are great too ..
    i am a bad zone focuser so i stayed away from the d's ...
    if you get one of the olympus half frames ... john hermanson
    at zukio.com is the best around to have it worked on ...
    AND he is an apug member ! :smile:

    good luck + have fun ...

    john
     
  7. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    KEH could fix you up for a reasonable sum for a Pen FT. Bodies do run around $200 though. If you want ttl and a compact size it's the only way to go.
    The FT was the only one that had ttl, the F had a clip on meter that goes around the shutter speed dial.
    The FV has no meter and is relatively scarce, the medical cameras are pretty common but not usable for regular photography.
    The Canon dial 35 and the Demi were very good too. The Dial 35 had a spring wound film advance & is really good for street work.
     
  8. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    And on the wierdest half frame front - I have a Nikon 35mm body, as a part of of a Polaroid Land MP3- Industrial View camera (think of an enlarger that is actually a camera).

    It has no shutter. The body is used to pull the film through the camera.

    It has a darkslide for when you want to detach the body from the camera ( the shutter is in the lens- think view camera.)

    It does have a frame counter, and a little dial that you use to swing panels into the optical gate to change it to a half frame camera. It takes one stroke of the film advance for half frame to advance to the next exposure, and two strokes when you are shooting full frame mode. It is possible to change on the fly between full and half frames.
     
  9. elekm

    elekm Member

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  10. DannL

    DannL Member

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    There's a whole world of info at that previous link. I hadn't noticed.

    http://www.subclub.org/

    There's a gallery, processing info, and data for numerous small formats cameras, etc.

    http://www.subclub.org/shop/camera.htm

    Had I not backed up a little bit, I would have never seen it. Thank goodness it wasn't a rattle snake or a cow pie.
     
  11. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Thanks DannL for the link.
    However those 16mm camera's are 1/4 35mm instead of half-frame.....

    Funny little camera's though, I got a Minolta 16 and an Edixa 16 MG.
    The optic's are better than most 110's but don't expect grain-free enlargements.

    Peter
     
  12. richard littlewood

    richard littlewood Member

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    Pen ee3 is a great little camera. Good points - cheap, great lens, real point and shoot, well made, ok meter. Bad points - no B, or slower shutter speeds, wont focus nearer than about 3 feet, but it is possible to alter exposure with the asa dial. There are loads around, and a real taster to see if half frame is up your street - fantastic grain possibilities, but a real pig to look at in a contact sheet.
     
  13. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    I do not recommend the Agat 18K from the Lomo-factory in (then) Leningrad, unless you are looking for a toy camera. As a toy half-frame camera, however, it is better than expected.
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Currently I have an Olympus Pen EE which is a nice little camera, but I preferred my previous half frame camera a Canon Demi. I loaned the Canon to a friend who dropped it :mad: and the meter ceased functioning. He kept the Canon and bought me the Olympus instead.

    Ian
     
  15. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Looks like a Canon or a Olympus fixed lens is the way to try it out. I have a softspot for Olys so I think I will start there!
     
  16. DannL

    DannL Member

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    I thought I'd mention, I spotted an interesting camera on eBay today called a Konica Autorex. It appears to be a full size 35mm SLR, but it has a lever on top to switch to half-frame in mid-roll. Sounds interesting. :D
     
  17. lionelpina

    lionelpina Member

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  18. Europan

    Europan Member

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    18 X 24 mm

    Why not try a movie film camera for a change? They have an aperture of between 18 X 24 mm and 9 X 22 mm depending on the pictorial system they use, you know, all those scope, and rama, and vision patented stories. On occasion you can shoot 12 frames per second, and more, up to 64 with a younger Bell & Howell Eyemo for instance. Anyway, you'll have 1600 shots per 100-ft roll. Big issue: viewfinder. There are very few portable cine cameras with a good viewfinder. The most versatile and most compact of all is the Debrie Ciné-Sept with spring drive and seven functions. On the other hand it's got almost nothing of a finder and a most primitive shutter. So, best choice in the end is the old Arriflex which is a true SLR camera with three lens turret, magazine, and motor. Oh, no, Arriflex doesn't have a practical shutter either. Gush
     
  19. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Please consider the Chaika II camera. I am most satisfied with mine. Focus is closer than 1 meter, shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/250 + B, no batteries, f stops from 2.8-16, cable release socket, flash sync, price under $50US.

    I have the Olympus Pen EE-2 and love it. However its lens is set for hyperfocal distance of 26 feet which means you would have to be at f16 to get something really sharp at 3 feet. If you are shooting in EV 11-12 conditions you will likely be shooting at f3.5 which will bring your near focus down to 13.5feet. For tight head & shoulder shots with that camera, you need to be about 3 feet from subject. It won't be really sharp unless its a EV15 light. If your shooting tourist scenics (infinity is 92 feet) or subjects 26-36 feet distance, this is the camera of choice. Good meter, good lens, good shutter, not the choice for close work.

    The Olympus Pen F is probably the finest half frame generally available, my fault with it is size. I can carry a full frame Leica screw mount easier in less space.

    The Yashica Samurai X3.0 is a marvel of technology that is brilliant except it is as big as a movie/video camera in size.

    I use them all on occasion, but I use the Chaika II the most. The Chaika III has a selenium meter, but no cable release socket, which I need on a camera, so I use the Chaika II.
    All the best,
    Sam H.
     
  20. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Restricted Access

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    I did a quick search and found
    that the camera has a 39mm
    thread mount for the lenses.
    Will they accept Leica LTM
    lenses? If so, will they couple
    with the camera's rangefinder?

    And can you recommend a
    seller for these cameras?
     
  21. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Half Frame Camera

    The Konica Autorex was sold in the U.S. as the Auto reflex. It can be used for both full frame and half frame shooting. There are may fine Konica Hexanon lenses which fit this camera. It is a non-TTL SLR so metering may take a little getting used to. Konica made a compact half frame camera called the AA35 in the U.S. and the Recorder elsewhere. It is an AF p&s camera with a sharp lens. Greg Weber (gweber@webercamera.com) may be a source for either of these cameras. A very nice standard lens on the Auto Reflex is the 28/1.8 UC Hexanon. If you find one you may need to have the oil removed from the aperture blades. Konica also made a series of small RF cameras called eye. The lettering is very stylized so it almost looks like cyc.

    In the 1980s there was a custom adaptation of the Konica FT-1 SLR. It was called the Auto Half. The FT-1 has many nice features so if you could find one of these you would have something really special. If you are not looking to just use a smaller format you could have a focusing screen for a Nikon or Canon camera marked to show the half frame dimensions and yiu could then use the appropriate lenses for those markings.
     
  22. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Good afternoon Sanders,
    The Chaika lens does have a 39mm diameter, but will NOT perform with a Leica LTM lens do to a different flange to film plane (backfocus) distance.
    The Chaika lens was designed to be used (if desired) in an enlarger when printing your half frame negatives.
    The Chaika camera does NOT have a rangefinder. You focus it as you would a Rollei T or S pocket camera or a Leitz A model without the rangefinder.
    I have ONLY purchased my Chaika from Eastern European sellers on eBay. HOWEVER I would highly recommend contacting Yuri Boguslavsky in NY. His website is Fedka.com Mention my name if you desire. He MAY have access to a Chaika and his warranty is his bond. The only other seller I've had enough experience with is Oleg Khalyavin at okvintagecameras.com He is in Russia and is a repairer of cameras. He will also supply a camera if needed and it can be found. He also will insure you get a camera that has been checked out before selling.
    Hope this helps,
    Sam H.
    As a Post Script, let me say that I truely admire your photography. You are very talented to say the least.