Tag Archives: frame

Another Olympus Pen EE2

I know I said I didn’t like this camera, so I have no idea why I bought another one. I guess it was just sitting there on a shelf in a vintage furniture shop and my mind said, “you can’t just leave it there to be an ornament.”

So I bought it for $10. Everything seemed to work. The red flag worked as it should, the lens was clear. The viewfinder was incredibly dirty, but I cleaned that and then I tried half a roll of Fomapan.

Well, it worked as it should, but as Plop said about the dark….I still don’t like it and I sold it immediately for a small profit.

Powershovel SuperHeadz – Golden Half

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.”

Living in Japan right now, I understand a little about the stigma of the term Hafu. I love that this book and the camera is called “golden half” and celebrates the wonderful mix of cultures.

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.

The backstory of this camera makes me want to keep it along with the book. But then I received an email from a bloke in Latvia who wanted to make a trade. So it is currently winging its way over there and I am awaiting a Latvian goody box in return. It feels like xmas.

Canon Demi EE17

I hate this camera, I mostly dislike half frames. But the Canon line I particularly dislike. I have no idea why I feel so intensely about this inanimate object. I have no idea why I even bought this camera.

Now, the Japanese print on the front tells a story. It originally had a black leatherette, but I took it off to access the inside of the camera and it disintegrated. This was in an attempt to get at the battery compartment because try as I might, I could not get the battery cover off. I tried everything I knew. In the end, I took the cover off to see the inside and then soaked the bottom of the camera in vinegar overnight. Still, the cover did not budge a millimeter. Nevermind, the camera would still work in manual mode.

The next issue was the focusing, there is no split image, it seems to be zoned with a needle pointing at the three regular symbols in the viewfinder – that of person, a group of people, and a mountain. When I moved the focusing dial the needle did not alter, that was broke too.

Finally, the winder was stiff and has to be slightly forced back to the original position. What an awesome camera. Though it does seem prettier with the new cover.

I still decided to try it out and loaded a half roll of expired Svema. Mainly keeping the lens set to infinity, here are the results.

Apparently, I used the film before as there are a few double exposure shots. Hmm, they are not the worse result I have got from a test film, especially considering the film is from 1985. This 1966 camera produced acceptable shots despite its condition.

Keep or sell: Sold

Fuji TW-3

I got this camera as a “for parts” buy on eBay due to it having a dead soldered internal battery. I thought I might try to see if I could change it or fit an alternative…how hard could it be? I am useless at soldering, but you can’t get better unless you try. The weird thing is, it is a half frame. Why would I buy a half frame camera with a non-changeable battery? Because they are rare, I saw the price they are going for on eBay and I was looking for something to do.

When this camera from 1985 arrived it was completely dead. No lights, no movement, nothing…so nothing to lose. Looking it over, it seemed pretty obvious the battery was in the bulky part where the handle was. So I began to look for ways to access it and saw a couple of screws.

Once they were undone there is a cover you can roll back if your fingers are nimble, but mine are not so I took off the cover and removed the whole section.

As you can see I am great at unsoldering, but suck at resoldering. Yeah for electrical tape…and 2 CR123 batteries. Let there be light.

But the light is no guarantee the camera fully works, only film will prove the camera’s true worth. Oh, and the camera has a button for taking photos of the TV. On this camera the button has been very well used, somebody loved their TV.

Here is my test film. On wide the flash pops up and works automatically. On tele, the flash does not work. That’s about all you need to know.

And back to not liking half-frame cameras. It is not even a cute camera.

Keep or sell: Sell. I know it is a rare camera and the value might increase, but it is ugly and not fun to use for me. I have the Olympus Pen FT…that is all the half frame I need.

Oh and you can find another review and manual here.


Ricoh SE2

I thought this was such a funky looking camera, coupled with the fact it still had the lens cover…I had to try it. Then I found out it was a half frame. Did I still want it? Yeah, ok.

The seals on this 1976 camera were completely shot and disintegrated on touch. So I changed them before I even thought about trying it. The selenium cell seemed to be working fine, but what was that weird dial on the bottom? It turned out to be a spring loaded film winder. It worked intermittently, I was never sure when and how to charge the spring. If it didn’t cock the shutter you could also wind it manually.

There is a great blog post here in Chinese, (use Google Translate), that really explains how to use the camera, plus there are example shots of some pimped up versions. It almost made me want to do that to my camera. The review explained the red dot in the middle of the viewfinder. If there is not enough light a red dot will appear, it there is enough light the dot will be yellow. Mine camera’s dot was a little light and I didn’t really think about it too much. If you leave the camera on auto the speed is 1/125th, if you use it on manual aperture then it is 1/30th. That is way too slow for me so I left it on auto most of the time, but really…one film speed?

I took the film to a festival and then around and about. This camera got more attention and comments than any other I have walked around with, but did it work?

Yeap it worked. But as a half frame, it took forever to finish the film and there were a lot of shots. There are so many shots that this time I could not be bothered to remove all the hairs from scanning. I didn’t think the quality of the shots was worth the effort.

Keep or sell: I gave this one away because I don’t really like half frames…though this camera was one of the coolest I have tried.

Yashica Half 17

When I saw this camera, I thought…REALLY??? A Yashica half frame? I hate half-frames, but I love Yashicas. Should I buy it? It isn’t cheap for a junk bin chance, but it is clean and a Yashica…OK, I will do it.

According to this reviewer it was produced in 1964. As you can see it has a selenium cell light meter and a f1.7 lens. It has zone focusing with an image scale inside the viewfinder that has the regular mountain, people, person symbols. On the right side of the view finder is a needle scale that tells you the speed. So you can choose the aperture and check what speed will be selected by the camera. Or everything can be automatic. When you press the shutter button half way, the needle moves…and this one did, which let me know the selenium cell was working 🙂 A good sign. Here are a few more details.

So I plonked in a film and went for a wander…

…and out of 72 photos these are the ones with an image 😦

On a closer inspection, the shutter blades moved very, very slowly. They seem clean, but must be sticky. I do not have the skills to take this apart and clean the blades. Plus as it seems quite a rare camera I don’t want to spoil such a good example. Therefore I am going to send it to a Yashica expert and hope he can bring new life into it…or at least love it.

To be honest I didn’t mind so much. I still do not like half-frame cameras.

Fujica Drive

I bought this camera while waiting to see a children’s theatre production. It seemed appropriate as this is more like a clockwork camera. It is from 1964 and is a half frame camera. If you read this blog regularly you will know they are not my favourite, but can this quirky camera change my mind?

As you can see there is a selenium cell, which was still working. Plus there is a huge knob on the bottom…this is a clockwork winder for the mechanical film advance. Turn this knob and the film advances automatically until it needs winding up again.

There are more technical details on this site, this site and this site. As you can see in the photos, the maximum ASA is 200. This caught me as I was about to put a 400 in it. In the end, I chose a Fuji Acros 100 for the test film. I wandered around my village, school and Yokohama. For this film, I did not attempt to remove any hairs or dust, just because it is late and I want to go to bed 🙂

I think I over-developed the film a bit, but it isn’t too bad. The camera seems to work well and the light meter is fine. It works on a zone focusing setting and as usual, I didn’t always remember to change the setting from infinity. I much prefer the range finders or SLRs. The camera is solid and hefty. It feels like a quality camera. The noise of the film advance is awesome. If you like half-frame cameras then this one can be found relatively cheaply.

Keep or sell: Neither I have already promised it to a photographer friend who wants to try some film, along with the Olympus AZ-1 zoom as it has a multi-exposure function.

Olympus Pen EED

This camera caused me a little trouble as you will see later. It is a half frame camera from the Olympus EE series. This version was first introduced in 1967 and has an f1.7 lens and was the first of the series to have a self timer.

To find a good one, with the Cds meter working can be very expensive. To find one in a junk bin is almost impossible. It also needs the banned mercury cell battery. So after putting in an alternative I also loaded an expired film.

The camera is zone focused and the exposure settings are automatic. So just judge the distance then point and shoot.

Ok some are great, some are weird – the negatives looked either over exposed or badly processed. So I tried another, fresher film.

Same issues. Hmm so I thought I would try a back and white film so I could process it myself.

Ok, better but there are still over exposed shots. There were some shots that were blurred too that I didn’t post. So the camera worked a little, but it is not perfect. It looks in great condition, no fungus or haze…but something is not right. There is something about this camera that I just don’t like. I am not overawed by how it looks either. Usually I would love a camera just because of the f1.7, but I think the lack of control or information makes me feel uncomfortable. There is literally no scales or needles to let you know what the camera is choosing to shoot at.

Keep or Sell – not keeping, but not sure I feel comfortable selling. I might put it on ebay for a minimum price, postage only.