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01-13-2022, 09:24 PM   #1
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Recommendations for a decent half frame camera to experiment with?

I have an idea for a project that would require me to shoot a few thousand frames of film and I wanted to use something like a Pen F. However I want to experiment with a half frame camera first before buying a relatively pricey film camera. Was wondering if there was something in about the 50-70 dollar price range I could play around with that isn't a steaming pile.

01-13-2022, 11:12 PM   #2
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in that price range, you can find yourself really nice cameras that DO NOT WORK.... Not just in the "its a really nice camera, but when i hit the shutter button it does nothing" but more on the lines of "this model features a built in selenium cell light meter in order for the AE system to choose the correct settings, the meter does not work"

And the options of half frame are the original Pen with removable lenses, later model pen with fixed lens, other brands with a fixed lens on them. There was a full size DSLR that had the option of using a selective frame mask and film advance to swap between standard 35mm frames and half frames at any time on the same roll.

that camera is nearly impossible to find, if you find one that works, expect to pay 3-500 for it, plus perhaps 200$ for the cheapest lens that fits the mount.

I had an idea for half frame photography myself. Namely macro,
01-14-2022, 12:13 AM   #3
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Of the 20 half frame cameras I have checked out in the last 10 years, only one has worked. The little Olympus half frame cameras have a selenium cell around the lens. They had a tendency to fail 40 years ago ( the parts person at Olympus laughed at me when I asked if they had a new cell in stock back then). If you are able to get it from a store that guarantees it, go for it. The Canon Half frame with the ring of lenses around the taking lens for changing ISO also rarely works.
01-14-2022, 12:20 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmmaster Quote
in that price range, you can find yourself really nice cameras that DO NOT WORK.... Not just in the "its a really nice camera, but when i hit the shutter button it does nothing" but more on the lines of "this model features a built in selenium cell light meter in order for the AE system to choose the correct settings, the meter does not work"

And the options of half frame are the original Pen with removable lenses, later model pen with fixed lens, other brands with a fixed lens on them. There was a full size DSLR that had the option of using a selective frame mask and film advance to swap between standard 35mm frames and half frames at any time on the same roll.

that camera is nearly impossible to find, if you find one that works, expect to pay 3-500 for it, plus perhaps 200$ for the cheapest lens that fits the mount.

I had an idea for half frame photography myself. Namely macro,
Crushing my dreams before they can begin

01-14-2022, 12:51 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
Crushing my dreams before they can begin
its for the best that way.

The DSLR half frame camera is the best option, but it is beyond affordable. The last one i ever saw on ebay was 450$ without a lens..

lomo? makes a really low end, diana quality one that shoots in 3 format,s a standard 35mm, 25x25 squares, and half frame.
01-14-2022, 02:03 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmmaster Quote
its for the best that way.

The DSLR half frame camera is the best option, but it is beyond affordable. The last one i ever saw on ebay was 450$ without a lens..

lomo? makes a really low end, diana quality one that shoots in 3 format,s a standard 35mm, 25x25 squares, and half frame.
Doing a bit of research I discovered the Zenit MT-1 which is a Zenit 19 that was modified with a half frame mask. Fully manual, seems like it'll be free of a lot of issues the other cameras have. Picked up one on ebay for 30 bucks.

It's not cute and small like a Pen-F but it'll do. Will accept m42 lenses as well when modified which is a huge boon for me.

Edit: Even better for me, the one I purchased for some reason already seems to have the M42 mount installed. Saves me some trouble!

Last edited by ZombieArmy; 01-14-2022 at 02:46 AM.
01-14-2022, 02:50 AM   #7
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Man, that is discouraging. I always thought a half frame camera would be cool. With 72 exposures available you can fire away with reckless abandon. I guess itís not to be.

Can those cameras with the selenium meters be fired manually and just use sunny 16?
I almost bought a half frame Olympus on CL a few years ago but the seller was pretty dodgy about the responsiveness of the meter. I suspect he knew it was toast.

01-14-2022, 02:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lhorn Quote
Man, that is discouraging. I always thought a half frame camera would be cool. With 72 exposures available you can fire away with reckless abandon. I guess it’s not to be.

Can those cameras with the selenium meters be fired manually and just use sunny 16?
I almost bought a half frame Olympus on CL a few years ago but the seller was pretty dodgy about the responsiveness of the meter. I suspect he knew it was toast.
I was looking at this website:

Half Format 18x24 cameras (9)

There's lots of cool Russian options, some of which offer full manual control and decent lens performance to boot. Not expensive either so not much of a loss if it doesn't pan out.
01-14-2022, 04:42 AM   #9
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I have the Olympus Pen EE and EES2 but the viewfinders are terrible. Another disadvantage is that the lightmeter is activated mechanically via the shutter button, which gives a lot of resistance and you must be careful to keep the camera steady when pressed.

Another brand is actually RICOH, they have made many half frame camera's notably in the 1961 .. 1980 period (Caddy and AH models).

All RICOH's cameras are listed here:
???????????? / ??????? / ?? | RICOH IMAGING

Select a period and move the mouse over a link to see in the browser URL tooltip which camera you have.
01-14-2022, 05:13 AM   #10
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I had a Pen FT camera + the 38mm kit lens for sale here on the marketplace for months - it just sold last week....
01-14-2022, 07:08 AM   #11
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You have not said what you want to achieve with your project, or what kind of film you want to use (B/W or color), but if you want to shoot half-frame only for reducing the amount of film, with a few thousand frames the cost of the film is still much more than the price for the camera you want to pay.

Long term the cost is in the film and the chemicals, whatever camera you choose. You could also get a Pentax MX or a Spotmatic for € 190,- in excellent condition, and a 50mm lens for € 49,- and reducing the total cost by shooting a film like Fomapan or from bulk roll.
01-14-2022, 08:06 AM   #12
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Nobody has mentioned Fujica half-frame. I had one years ago, and found its mate (my Dad's) when I cleared out my parent's house 7-8 years ago. I sold it on eBay, and there are a few listed out there now. I have no idea if they work, or for that matter, whether this one worked, but its shutter sounded about right and the spring-wind drive worked just fine (not bad for something 55 years or more old).
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01-14-2022, 11:36 AM   #13
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Really should should track down a Pentax LX with Bulk Film Magazine LX. 250 shots - you can't go wrong!
01-14-2022, 03:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kobayashi.K Quote
You have not said what you want to achieve with your project
I don't like talking about my projects, makes me feel more committed than I might actually be


QuoteQuote:
but if you want to shoot half-frame only for reducing the amount of film, with a few thousand frames the cost of the film is still much more than the price for the camera you want to pay.
Yah I realize this. I just wanted a cheaper option to experiment with the format before I put big money down on something I might not actually do.
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