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  1. #1
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Recommendations on a half frame camera

    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. #2

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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. #3

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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


    .
    Last edited by DannL; 05-25-2009 at 02:08 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Lo único de lo que el mundo no se cansará nunca es de exageración." Salvador Dalí

  4. #4
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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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.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  5. #5
    bill spears's Avatar
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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
    Last edited by bill spears; 05-25-2009 at 05:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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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 !

    good luck + have fun ...

    john

  7. #7

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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.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  8. #8
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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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.
    my real name, imagine that.

  9. #9

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    Rick Oleson has a nice writeup on the Mercury half-frame cameras.

    They're definitely unlike anything else out there.

  10. #10

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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.
    "Lo único de lo que el mundo no se cansará nunca es de exageración." Salvador Dalí

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