On a wing and an ebay-prayer I scored a near-mint version of this lovely little half frame camera from mid 60’s Japan, and about a month later it arrived on my doorstep in Michigan. The world is sometimes a lovely place, indeed.
First take on this camera: it might be the most pocketable camera I own besides my Olympus XA2 (fully aware of the format differences, my trolls, which is even more of a testament to the masterpiece that is the XA2) as the lens is nearly flush with the camera body. It comes with a nicely designed thumb advance, a viewfinder directly in line with the lens, a needle-match light meter, and the controls for the camera settings all located in circular fashion around the lens. The controls can be a little strange (or as Hamish says: fiddly) at first, but things become pretty clear after some tinkering, and even clearer once you learn how to set the iso (hint: turn harder on the control ring than you might be initially comfortable with).
The shutter has a quick metallic ring and is quite satisfying to my ear. The lens is as sharp as you’d expect and performs marvelously. It is a Canon SH 28mm f2.8 (5 elements in 3 groups). Beauty.
Like one would imagine, I loaded it up with some extremely expired (2001) but appropriately stored Fuji Velvia 50. 72 shots to burn and Spring had just begun. So I cruised around West Michigan in all of it’s spring glory looking for shots.
Shooting half frame is a fun excercise in inspiration and whimsy which I normally blend with the simple idea of trying to get cool juxtapositions in the side by side frames.
The film had definitely experienced a shift in color which I’m quite happy about.
If you aren’t having fun then why are you doing it?
Cheers to you, my fellow camera nerds! If you got this far: thanks for the read.
– Steve Karsten