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Half Frames / Subminiatures This forum is for all half frame 35mm cameras, including the very popular Olympus Pens and their SLR cousins, the Pen F and Pen FT, as well as all smaller than half frame subminiature film cameras.

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Half frame camera recommendations
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Steve M.
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Half frame camera recommendations

I love my Nikon SLR's, but they're heavier than I want to carry every day, even the little FG and EM when you put a fast lens on them. The little Konica C 35 cameras appeal to me, but so does a half frame camera. Are there any half frame cameras that are around the same price as a C 35 and about the same size and weight? I figure $20 to $40 is what I'm looking to spend, and a silver and black camera if possible.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
aizan
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Olympus Pen cameras with selenium meters meet your budget. You just have to make sure the meter works ok.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I love my Nikon SLR's, but they're heavier than I want to carry every day, even the little FG and EM when you put a fast lens on them. The little Konica C 35 cameras appeal to me, but so does a half frame camera. Are there any half frame cameras that are around the same price as a C 35 and about the same size and weight? I figure $20 to $40 is what I'm looking to spend, and a silver and black camera if possible.

About the only thing you'll find for $20-$40 is a Mercury CX (aka Univex Mercury II) . Made of aluminum, you can shine them up to a bright silver.



Univex Mercury II Model CX by P F McFarland, on Flickr


Or for something a little newer, but with the possibility of a non-working meter system:



Yashica 72-E Half Frame 35mm by P F McFarland, on Flickr


It comes in grey though. What you describe is an Olympus Pen F, way out of your money range. Also the Canon Demi EE-17 which takes a more modern mercury cell replacement Wein cell to power the meter. Still above your price. Or you could luck out and find one of the rare modified full frame cameras by Leica, Nikon, or Minolta at a yard sale (like, never).


But here are some more suggestions. Mind you, most of these cameras were manufactured no later than about thirty years ago.


https://www.lomography.com/magazine/...-frame-cameras


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
tabo
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For that price, you want an Olympus Pen EE-3. I swear by them.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
David Murphy
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The Olympus Pen SLR's have really good optics and are reliable cameras. I don't use or need their meters, but the one on mine still works. They are decent SLR's.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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i'm on the hunt for a clean Pen-FV myself. definitely a bucket-list camera.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
BernardL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I love my Nikon SLR's, but they're heavier (...) but so does a half frame camera.
Not sure I get your logic. There are some alternatives in-between a SLR and a half frame, that will save a lot of weight and still provide full frame image quality. Nothing against half frame per se; I have a few half-frame cameras, but for instance the Agfa Optima Parat is heavier than an Olympus XA, not to mention a Minox 35.

But it's perfectly OK to want a half-frame for its own sake. May I suggest as a cool half-frame the soviet the Agat (I'm lusting for one):
http://www.sovietcams.com/index.php?-85530616
Or the East German Penti (I have two in assorted colors):
http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Penti
It is light! And the Meyer Trioplan is surprisingly good. And you have full manual control.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
David Hughes
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In your shoes I'd go after the Konica C35 you first mentioned. It's difficult to fault them but get one that's got a lens cap with it as the chances are that it will have protected the photo-electric cell from too much light.


The 38mm f/2.8 lens is good and the range of shutter speeds is OK unless you want slower than a 30th. Batteries mean a Wein cell these days and you'll have fun finding a lens hood although our Chinese friends make a nice straight sided and vented, for the RF, 46mm screw in ones.


Mine was dirt cheap but the lens was loose but easily fixed; I took it out and the technician asked if the lens was loose and gave a price before I could say anything...


Regards, David


PS In your shoes I'd look for an instruction manual and read it rather than relying on the www for details.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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Cool to see the various half frame options coming up here.

I'm a big fan of Oly's PEN-S cameras. One might be a little bit more than the OP's stated budget, but worth a couple extra bucks IMO.





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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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I haven't tried them, but the Soviet cameras like Agat 18 and Chaika ought to be worth a look, especially if you buy one that has been checked by the seller.

Nothing against the likes of Canon and Olympus, but a $40 Demi or Pen will almost certainly need servicing. Of course, if you're up to the challenge of teaching yourself how to fix cameras, all sorts of bargains may be possible.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
farlymac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tabo View Post
For that price, you want an Olympus Pen EE-3. I swear by them.

Oh yeah, forgot about the Pen EE series. I've got an EE-2 that gave good results. But the EE-3 or S models are the ones to get.


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJJ3 View Post
Cool to see the various half frame options coming up here.

I'm a big fan of Oly's PEN-S cameras. One might be a little bit more than the OP's stated budget, but worth a couple extra bucks IMO.
ooooh. i like what i see.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
Steve M.
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I think my logic (such as it is) leads me to think that a half frame camera might be small and light, but that's probably not true.

OK, I'll head over to ebay and look at the Olympus Pen cameras. The consensus here is clearly pointing in that direction. Thanks a lot for the help.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
Steve M.
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Yikes! There's so many different models of Olympus Pen cameras. There's even some in my price range. I may up my budget a little because those Pen cameras fit my needs quite well. A lot of the models weigh in at 400 grams, which is what I want.

Why do I suspect that this Olympus Pen thing could get very obsessive
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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The original Pen, a viewfinder type, scale focus, all manual all mechanical camera is my favorite. True, limited shutter speeds of 1/25 to 1/200 + B and a 28mm f3.5 (40mm AOV e/full frame). Very flat, nearly silent shutter, but at 13 oz. not the lightest small camera. Some full frame cameras from Olympus are not much larger. Check out the 35RC, also all mechanical. But it’s lens, a 42mm f2.8 does add a bit of thickness. Truth is, your price range is too limiting.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayernfan View Post
ooooh. i like what i see.
Thanks! This PEN-S is good fun
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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I quite liked the Fujica Half.
$10 at some resale store.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Your budget for a camera is the price of 3-4 rolls of film? Up the ante and get a Pen-F. But if you want small and light, the Canonnet QL-17 rangefinders are more so. If you are concerned with size, I would rather have a larger negative of a full frame shot on film than half frame. Going to a rangefinder from SLR is a less important issue.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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It's obvious the Olympus Pens are going to get a lot of recommendations, but I am surprised nobody yet mentioned the Olympus Pen D series. They are generally in between Pen S and Pen F prices.

These have the same body size as the PEN-S above but have a better shutter speed range, fast aperture, and a focusing lever on the side of the lens with a short throw. These are all mechanical, battery is only used for the meter on the Pen D3. D2's are pretty rare, not sure I would bother with that one.

Pen D
32mm f1.9 lens (~43mm on full frame)
Selenium Meter

Pen D3
32mm f1.7 lens (~43mm on full frame)
CdS meter (use an MR-9 and a silver oxide LR43)

I haven't gotten a PEN-F. Main advantage of Pen F is the lens mount and the SLR finder. Other than that, not sure it has many other advantages.

Lenses on the Pens I have used are all insanely sharp. These were popular for a reason.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
julio1fer
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Another vote for the Pen D series. My D3 has one of the sharpest lens I have ever used; it is the only half-frame camera I have kept, and use regularly.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #21
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Check out any Saturday/Sunday markets in your area. Stallholders in Antique or Collectable centres may also have little knowledge of the value of what they're selling (in many cases from deceased estates).
Getting collectable and usable film cameras cheaply from these sources is not unknown
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #22
leicapixie
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I suggest a small slr, full frame, Pentax Me ..
Available at your price level, slightly bigger but..
The Pen-F, FT were for me a disaster.
Seen some on sale, but pricey and may not be reliable.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #23
Lee Rust
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In my opinion, one of the nicest aspects of the Pen S and similar models is the way the focussing ring is so well placed for the fingertips, with click stops at 2m and 5m. Not to mention the quiet shutter, excellent lens, clear bright-line finder and near-perfect ergonomics.

I have a Pen FT too, and it's a very nice SLR, but the shutter is super loud. Then there's the Mercury II, with a fascinating mechanism and a decent lens, but fairly awkward to operate.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #24
Steve M.
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Those Mercury cameras are neat to play w/, but not what I would use daily because they're so strangely configured (and heavy). I finally went back to my old standby, a Retina Ia w/ a Xenar 50 3.5 lens. Small and light, w/ a really good lens. But since then some people have been posting shots from their Pen cameras and those look great! I'll end up w/ one soon. The S models seem to run around $30 o $50 and have sharp lenses from what I see here.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #25
David Hughes
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Hi,

I know it's blindingly obvious but this is a forum and sometime the obvious needs to be thrown into the ring...

So, the 35mm cameras are normally held and shot in landscape format and turned for portrait format; it's the reverse for half frame. Will you be happy turning it around most of the time?

And using slide film will mean you have to remember to turn it consistently and that's not as easy as people think.

Anyway, apologies if this is too obvious.

Regards, David
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #26
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If you want unique and still producing outstanding photos, have a look at the Canon Dial. Relatively small, half frame, and wind-up motor drive. Had one and kept it until the drive spring failed. Should have had it repaired, if possible, but didn't.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #27
leicapixie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

I know it's blindingly obvious but this is a forum and sometime the obvious needs to be thrown into the ring...

So, the 35mm cameras are normally held and shot in landscape format and turned for portrait format; it's the reverse for half frame. Will you be happy turning it around most of the time?

And using slide film will mean you have to remember to turn it consistently and that's not as easy as people think.

Anyway, apologies if this is too obvious.

Regards, David
I love the vertical shape, a plus when I did for magazines, brochures!
The wind wheel of Pen-S (my original) is as fast as a motor!
The shutter silent but top speed 250th!
At 1st Kodak refused to mount slides, Kodachrome,
later due to competition mounted exactly 20 or 36!
More than that would result in a piece of film shoved in box..

Last edited by leicapixie : 2 Weeks Ago at 03:48. Reason: spelling.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #28
David Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
...At 1st Kodak refused to mount slides, Kodachrome,
later due to competition mounted exactly 20 or 36!
More than that would result in a piece of film shoved in box..

I can remember getting half frame slides back, just one per box of normal slides, and the one was the spoilt frame at the front of the film as the take-up spool took up the exposed to the sky film.


Regards, David
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #29
Lee Rust
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I generally use my half-frames to shoot color slide film because 74 frames on a roll almost compensates for the high cost of film and processing. However, I never get the frames mounted as slides ... the spacing is rarely perfect and at best you would end up with two pictures in one mount, one of which may be in portrait orientation and the other in landscape. I scan the images to digital or just gaze at them in the PrintFile sleeve.

The Canon Dial is a fun camera too, very distinctive in design and well suited to quick action sequences because of the motor drive and auto exposure, but the focussing tab is a bit too small and oddly placed for my big fingers.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #30
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Years a go I really wanted a half frame. I had a Pen FT that was DOA and never took another plunge. It takes me forever to finish 36 so 72? I'm too impatient! The Pen slr's are actually quite heavy, and loud. Good luck!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #31
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Has anyone bought one of the vertical film travel half frame cameras like the Agat 18k, Yashica Rapide, or Taron Chic? How do they handle?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Rust View Post
In my opinion, one of the nicest aspects of the Pen S and similar models is the way the focussing ring is so well placed for the fingertips, with click stops at 2m and 5m. Not to mention the quiet shutter, excellent lens, clear bright-line finder and near-perfect ergonomics.
This is a great point Lee, that i forgot to mention, the Pen D3 also has little detents / click stops too at useful focus points (don't have it in front of me to confirm the points).
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #33
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If you print 6x4 from alf-frame negs the aspect ratio is exactly right to get two shots to a print - I use it for diptychs, though you need to keep your wits about you regarding what you photographed last!

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
Has anyone bought one of the vertical film travel half frame cameras like the Agat 18k, Yashica Rapide, or Taron Chic? How do they handle?



And lets not forget the Yashica Samurai; one of the quirkier half frames...
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
Has anyone bought one of the vertical film travel half frame cameras like the Agat 18k, Yashica Rapide, or Taron Chic? How do they handle?

I had a Bell & Howell Dial 35, a specially branded version of the Canon Dial 35 II, for a number of years. It handled fine and the spring motor worked well. It was, though, a bit big and heavy compared to some of the very small full frame 35mm cameras that came on the market a few years later and made the Dial a shelf queen.
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