5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

By Marcin Wolinski

I bought this stunning Fujica Half 1.9 on ebay for a few pounds – described for spear or repair. Oh boy, I had hoped it would work! Unfortunately it didn’t, but it was easy to fix. Maybe it was easy for me because I have some hobbyist experience with fixing cameras but I’m not a professional specialist. Just a quick google search why the film advance lever is not moving and an hour later I had a working camera. I also changed the door light seals to make sure there will be no light leeks.

This is my first scale focus camera and definitely I feel better with the SLR camera. It as a bit difficult for me to calculate how far the subject is from me. The scale in feet was another barrier.

Fujica Half 1.9 with a very sharp 33mm F1.9 Fujinon lens surprised me. Small pocket size and fully manual which was another plus for me. For sure the metal silver body with black body skin looks cool and well designed.

I took this small, very well built baby for the first test on a long circular walk (14km) with my wife to the Peak District National Park (England). Weather like usual in England, was not very kind but thankfully without rain. It was a bit of a cloudy day without sun but still good enough for a walk and first test shoot.

Because I had a few 12 frame films in the fridge (too short for normal usage) I took 2 rolls for the first walk. Fuji Superia 200 expired in 2008 – which was of unknown previous storage.

Here are the 5 Shots I took on Fuji Superia 200 expired 2008 and rated at iso50.

On the way we spotted a lot of beautiful old English farms and abandoned buildings. Nature was not yet giving a lot of spring vibes with almost all the trees in autumn brown colours.

Old English farm and abandoned building.
Old English farm and abandoned building taken with Fujica Half 1.9 + Fuji Superia 200 expired shoot at iso50

After around 1 1/2 hours, maybe a little bit more we finally visited the main point of our walk – Three Shires Head. The main landmark is a packhorse bridge which was probably constructed in the late 18th century. The packhorse bridge and the waterfalls as the River Dane flows southwards are very picturesque.

Three Shires Head.
Three Shires Head taken with Fujica Half 1.9 + Fuji Superia 200 expired shoot at iso50

On the muddy path I spotted this collapsed wall with a picturesque view of the hilly terrain.

Wall with the view
Wall with the view taken with Fujica Half 1.9 + Fuji Superia 200 expired shoot at iso50

A moody weather view with rock on an empty field and again hilly terrain in the background.

Cold rocks
Cold rocks taken with Fujica Half 1.9 + Fuji Superia 200 expired shoot at iso50

At the end of the walk a “laundry day” in a rural performance. Very idyllic atmosphere.

Laundry day
Laundry day taken with Fujica Half 1.9 + Fuji Superia 200 expired shoot at iso50

Was a great day and a new experience! I can’t wait for more long walks!

The Fujica is my first scale focus camera and unfortunately some of the photos were out of focus – feet scale was not my ally. I am used to it only for meters scale. Definitely this is something that I need to work on a bit.

I have been developing and scanning my films myself for a good few years, trying to reduce the costs of shooting on film. This time I used Cinestill C41 powder chemistry for the first time and I’m really happy with results. Sadly at the moment it is hard to get Tetenal C41 chemistry. I scanned negatives with my mirrorless camera Nikon Z7II + Nikkor Micro 60mm F2.8 D – I love this combo!

If you would like to see more of my works check my Instagram where I try to post more as long as I will have more free time.
I also have my second, main Instagram account where I post more often, mix analog and digital works.

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Comments

Alasdair Mackintosh on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 29/06/2023

I have to say I'm very impressed with these. I honestly wasn't expecting a half-frame camera to produce such good images. Also, the film you used has done a great job of capturing the subtle colours of the English landscape - it looks subdued and muted, but not grey and dull. Of course, the skill of the photographer is probably the deciding factor ;-)
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Faby on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 18/06/2023

to Shawn Granton Hello , First of all, I wouldn't want my poor English to suggest that I have any aggression towards people who frame in one way more than another. That said, you explain exactly what I was trying to say. The half-format was created for reasons of economy and compactness. So... In fact, the ergonomics of half-format cameras naturally predispose them to creating images in vertical format: that's exactly what you're saying. Similarly, horizontal-format cameras are just as naturally predisposed to landscape photography. That's what you're suggesting too. So, framing is strongly influenced by camera type. You suggest this when you talk about the difficulties of using these devices differently... I'm a bit afraid we have to agree? I was talking about smartphones, and that's a bit of a caricature, because while all our screens are in landscape format, the videos and photos people make and which are sometimes projected on our TV channels are vertical and very frustrating to watch. This is due to the way people use their phones. TV channels then try to correct this effect by adding blurred areas on the edges of screens to fill them That said, I also frame vertically... when I think it's useful.
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Huss on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 17/06/2023

Really nice pics! Now i want one of these Fujicas!
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Steve Scarlett on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 16/06/2023

For those who love to shoot portrait format- get yourselves a nice Fuji 645 ! You'll certainly be able to enlarge to a decent size then...
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Bent_Brent on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 16/06/2023

Whatchu talkin' bout Willis? Those shots are superb! Nailed the focus.
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Ibraar Hussain on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 16/06/2023

GreT post - enjoyed the write up and lovely photos I really like this camera and your write up has encouraged me to look for one Feet scale is easy - especially on this with massive DoF. Set to 6ft and have your subject just under 2m away set to f11 and shoot away
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David Dutchison on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Lovely shots, and I really like the almost-square format. One thing I've found with a scale focusing camera, is that having to estimate distance first means that I spend a lot more time looking at the scene through my own eyes, rather than through a viewfinder, and the time spent peering through the viewfinder is usually less than a second. I really like making all the decisions before I raise the camera, and find using it this way to be surprisingly quick and unobtrusive.
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Shaun Edwards on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Lovely photos. The expired film has given a muted vintage feel to it. In regards to scale focussing have a look at this website to create “human rangefinder “. It’s surprisingly accurate, I used an old hotel keycard for mine. https://tomchuk.com/rf/
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Marcin Wolinski replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Definitely I will! Thank you for kind words.

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Dave Powell replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Marcin, I thought I was long past GAS... butthat camera and your results have brought back another attack. Well done! And Shaun, that card looks WAY cool. I'm giving it a try too. (Nice that it also includes the option to add a hyperfocal distance scale.) Thanks! Dave

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Simon Cygielski replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

That's genius! (Now why didn't I think of that?)

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Mike on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Those came out really well. Love the muted colors
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Simon Cygielski on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Nice pictures. Do you think your could enlarge these to a decent size? I've always thought half frame was an awkward format, too big for a toy, but too small for "real" photography, but recently saw an ad for a pen-f that featured an endorsement from Eugene Smith and started to reconsider my attitude.
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Marcin Wolinski replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

I think Yes. At the moment you can scan them with a digital camera and you get very high photo resolution. But I don't know what this looks like in darkroom enlarging and printing.

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Mike on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Really beautiful photos! Nicely done.
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John feole on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Very nice project! I love to tinker and try to fix old cameras too. Currently trying to revive a folding Mamiya 6 from the 50s. I recently tried my hand at scale focus shooting with a Rollei 35s. Review coming in a couple weeks. Fun and so different. Cheers.
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Marcin Wolinski replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Thanks!

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Faby on 5 frames with Fujica Half 1.9 – 33mm F1.9 Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

I'm amazed by all these vertical photos, and they remind me of those offered by many smartphone owners, both for their photos and for their videos... It's as if the equipment dictates the framing.
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Marcin Wolinski replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

honestly I shoot usually more vertical then landscape :)

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Gus replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

I find myself shooting mostly portrait orientation with my SLR's; I keep thinking I should get a half frame camera so that the equipment matches my framing! Great photos Marcin! For clarity: did you shoot at ISO 50 but develop normally (for ISO 200)?

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Shawn Granton replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Have you ever owned a half-frame camera, Faby? And more importantly, if you see someone's photos from a typical 35mm camera, would you make the same type of comment if all their photos were in landscape mode? Yes, you could do landscape photos with a half-frame camera, but it's a pain to do it all of the time. Just like doing portrait shots on a standard SLR is a bit cumbersome--it's not going to be your "default" way of using the camera. I'd say at least 95% of the photos I take with my Olympus Pen EES-2 are vertical, aka portrait format. And I like it. It makes me think differently about composition than if I'm using any of my other 35mm cameras.

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Marcin Wolinski replied:

Comment posted: 15/06/2023

Yes I shot at iso 50 and developed film normally, without pushing.

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