Prinz Saturn 35 Auto (Halina 35-600)

It is 4am and I am wide awake. Like many other people, I am suffering from irregular sleep patterns lately. So i thought I would review a post I have prepared and is in my draft folder. This is another camera I had no intention of using, but keeping occupied is important and mental health is importanter.

This camera was released under a few different names depending on the region. Mine was produced in the UK as you can see by the name on the badge. Prinz is a name given to a variety of cameras from different makers when they were sold in the UK by Dixon’s. So in the Camera Post list it makes them difficult to place. Do I put them under Prinz or the original manufacturer, for instance Halina for this camera? I think I will put them in both.

I couldn’t find much information about production dates apart from it being the early 70s. I did see one site saying 1974, but it wasn’t from a source I could confidently link to. Feels right though.

It requires a battery to use in automatic mode. Without a battery the camera still works by the user selecting an aperture from f/2.8 to f/22. The camera will then choose the slower speed between the two choices of 1/40 or 1/200.

Unfortunately the battery required is the old mercury one. I used a regular LR44 with an adaptor which seemed to work fine. Like the Olympus Trip, which this seems to be modeled after, if the light meter detects there isn’t enough light a red flag pops up in the view finder and the shutter is locked. The camera has zone focusing, again like the Olympus. Wow, if this works and is sharp, it might be a very cheap alternative to that camera??

The main issue I had with my example was the shutter button, it just didn’t want to be “pressed” in enough. As I had lost all by shutter button attachments, I improvised. I found a screw from my camera repair pile of spares that fit the cable release socket and superglued a small stone to the top.

With that attached, the shutter could be depressed further and would work as expected.

In the viewfinder there is absolutely no information whatsoever. There isn’t even a Judas window. Anyway, after setting the ASA on the front of the lens I loaded my last roll of Poundlands Geek film. I don’t think I will buy anymore…even if I could find some. There upon I found the final thing that bugged me, there are no strap lugs. There isn’t even anywhere to attach a wrist strap. This isn’t a big, heavy camera, but it can still be dropped. Surely it wouldn’t have been too hard to put something, anything on there to secure it to a strap of some kind.

My example was definitely rough and ready. The battery cover was difficult to screw in, the name plate was loose and stopped the shutter working at one point.

Anyway, how were the photos that I got?

Not so bad, not the sharpest, but well exposed. Even the backlit sign and the bike in the shadows is ok.

After seeing these I tried to fix the nameplate, glue it back in. The top comes off by unscrewing three tiny screws, one on the side and 2 under the winder. The hotshoe is attached to the top by wire so take care not to pull the top too much. The whole process didn’t seem like an issue. But once I put it back together the red flag didn’t work anymore. I think the wires for the hotshoe disturbed something. I opened it up again..and fixed, the flash wire was trapping the light meter limiter. As a side note the red flag always pops up on automatic if no battery is installed…don’t go taking it apart again thinking it is broken 😉

This camera is incredibly cheap, so worth buying if one comes up. I don’t think it is as good as the Trip though. Here is another review from someone who seemed to like it much more than myself.

3 thoughts on “Prinz Saturn 35 Auto (Halina 35-600)

  1. John says:

    I have one of these on loan in almost brand new (but sadly not presently working) condition. The camera would originally have had a case and a wrist strap which screwed in to the tripod mount. I have both with my example. I agree with your thoughts about the camera. It’s a sort of cheap homage to the Olympus Trip, but not as good in many ways. Worth picking up if they’re really cheap and functional though!

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