I fell in love with this camera immediately. Look at it…look!!
It came complete with box, instructions (in Japanese) and a free film in the small box (which I used for this test). Unfortunately, it didn’t always look like this. I spent some time cleaning loads of sticky goo that covered it from top to bottom. I have suspicions it was tobacco residue, whatever it was…it was gross.
First I tried hand sanitizer as it was the only thing I had to “hand” so to speak. But that didn’t really work, it just moved the stickiness around. So I ordered 99% IPA (isopropyl alcohol) from amazon.jp and that worked a treat….now look at my cool looking camera…wait is that a half-frame mask? NOOOOO, but it is so pretty, designer even. I have a designer, half-frame camera. Oh, my heart is torn.
Oh well, I better get to testing it. But first, here is the website for this camera..and yes I did find it in a junk bin, ’cause it was gross. You can find technical details on that site, but no date as it seems to be still available new from certain places. This is the Chelsea Maika version. After a little research, I found this person is the author of a book called, “My life as a Golden Half”. I found a second-hand Japanese copy for 1 cent on Amazon.jp and am awaiting its arrival. I am very curious by the premiss of the book.
“Powershovelbooks handed Golden Half cameras, cult old-school half-sized cameras that were recently re-released by the Japanese company SuperHeadz, to 11 half-Japanese female models–who took hundreds of pictures of themselves, their friends, their homes, travels, daily landscapes and abstract worlds. The result is a vivid, radiant, sometimes ephemeral and gently erotic review of the lives of a group of carefree young women living between Tokyo and the countries of their second halves. But far from a frivolous collection of snapshots, this volume is a revealing compendium by some very promising new talents in Japanese photography.”
But did this camera work? How was the film? I wish I had researched it before I used it as I might have taken completely different photos. I basically wandered around as just shooting. I hadn’t cleaned it at this point, just the lens, so it was awful to hold. I wanted to get the test over and done.
Well, it worked. It is useless when pointed towards the sun, look at that first shot. There is also a weird pinhole type effect with the center much sharper than the edges. I missed a few shots by forgetting to take off the lens cover…honestly, amateur! I am tempted to use it again and take people shots.
Keep or sell: I hate half-frames, but the backstory of this camera makes me want to keep it or at least put it together with the book and offer it as a gift. It goes into the…oh-I-hope-I-can-keep-it pile.