Fujica Half – the Revival of a Half Frame Camera

By Julian Tanase

At some point in the first half of the 90s I was very much into 16mm and Minox format film photography (still am); 35mm was something of a side thing, with 120 MF just a roll every now and then. These days the proportion has changed, but I still shoot these formats, alternatively. Of course, once I got into 16mm, I was acquainted with the 110 format. And from then on, only a small step to the half frame format, which was some sort of a surprise, as I did not know it existed until then.

Among other cameras for both 16mm, 110 and half frame formats, I purchased a Fujica Half, which was almost in pristine condition at the time of my purchase. I was travelling quite a lot at the time, so it became my companion on the road all over Europe, as a back up or at times, main camera, depending on the situation or place.

True, sometimes it was annoying to have 72 exp. on a roll, as I was rather lacking patience to finish the roll. I was using this camera with colour film, I recall Agfa Color, Tura Color, and others which were easy to find in Boots or Jessops shops around Britain (Tura was purchased from the Channel Islands somewhere, it was much cheaper).

But years passed, and come 2023 I had a good look at my old cameras. I got melancholic about a few of them and this Fujica Half was one of them. Briefly checked it, apparently it had a problem with winding the film. I sent it to the doctor, it was returned working as it had been on day one. I loaded some Agfa APX 100 and went snapping away. The film was processed in Kodak’s D76 1+1 @ 13 mins, scanned on a Plustek film scanner.

I am amazed at how good the meter reads; I had really challenging light on this film, and 90% of the shots came out very well metered. To be honest, I thought initially that at least half of them will come out really bad. One such example is this here:

However, on manual mode, just turn the aperture ring at any opening you wish, and set the shutter speed accordingly. This shot above was taken on 2.8 with the B speed, for 5 secs, handheld. In all fairness, I disclose that I hugged a lamp post. The camera is both manual and automatic. In the auto mode, you just set the aperture ring to A, make certain the shutter tab is set on the auto (look under the lens mount).

I shot this one here by just framing and press the shutter, with camera in A mode. It came out very nice, and the meter did an excellent job, if you ask me. The lens seems to deliver really great, even if it is not the sharpest I worked with. But it does have its own charm.

I have a distinct feeling that the camera loves the light, the more the better. This here was also shot with the camera in A mode. Given the meter was pointed upwards to the sky, I guess it did a marvellous job.

I am really glad I took this camera for a walk, during my last travels. It took me back in the 90s when times were, well, easier. I begin to regret I haven’t used it more in the last 20 or so years, but this is about to change.

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About The Author

By Julian Tanase
I am a traveller, entrepreneur, author and amateur photographer. A long time user of classic cameras and film, attracted mostly to photojournalism. I try to instigate people to see rather than look.
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Comments

Ibraar Hussain on Fujica Half – the Revival of a Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Thanks for the engaging article my friend. The photos are fantastic - lovely compositions and gorgeous tones. I think you would make any camera shine But this Fujica looks very good How’s the viewfinder like ? And what modes does it have? After reading this I’m tempted to see if I can find a decent one I really enjoy half frame photography - I like composing in the vertical format as well and like you I’m often impatient to get the roll finished ! Thank you
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Ibraar, thank you. The viewfinder is clear, no fungus or damaged. The close-up guide lines are clear, and the aperture / shutter is easily seen, also the slider moves acc. to the light reading. Modes wise, it has teh A setting, which does what it says, and manual everything. Re patience (or lack thereof) I know what you're saying :).

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Ibraar Hussain replied:

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Thanks !p Is the finder same as the one in an Olympus Pen F? Which is relatively bright (if in good condition)

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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Same aprox. size, yes, more or less. Bright too.

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Geoff Chaplin on Fujica Half – the Revival of a Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Indeed the camera (and photographer!) performed very well - I particularly like the "PORNO" shot and the double shot of the road junction. Tempting to get a half-frame camera ....
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Geoff..."porno shot"? :) :) :)

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Reggie Cofer on Fujica Half – the Revival of a Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

I have a few of the Fujica Half's and most of them are the Drive models that feature a spring loaded clock work film advance. Use 24 exposure rolls instead of the 36. Cheaper and shorter wait. I covet the f/1.9 copy but haven't found one that suits me yet.
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

The motor drive thing is a good choice for this type of camera, I believe, as long as it's working. 24 exp film probably is more satisfying in terms of not getting bored to death waiting for the film to finish (good economy as well). Indeed, 1.9 would be great, never seen nor had one of those lenses. Thx!

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Kai Lietz on Fujica Half – the Revival of a Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 24/01/2024

Very nice story and pictures! I really like the picture of the ferris wheel but also those pictures of the crossing in snow.
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 24/01/2024

Thank you, Kai, that is one of my favs as well !

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amigo toro on Fujica Half – the Revival of a Half Frame Camera

Comment posted: 24/01/2024

Some time ago I bought a Kodak Ektar half-frame & I find it takes good pictures (even when enlarged to 8 by 10) Here's an interesting idea - a half frame for 120 film cameras
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Kai Lietz replied:

Comment posted: 24/01/2024

What would that be then? I'd assume that 645 basically is half frame for 120. Just that is more in-between. Anyway, 645 offers some quite interesting cameras. Take those pocketable folders in 645 or on the other side stuff like the Mamiya 645. I was thinking for a 645 Super Ikonta but do have way too many cameras for my available time. Maybe some day...

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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 24/01/2024

120 half frame? Now that's a thought. To be honest, I would be happy if the 4x4 film would be much more available than it is. My Yashica Baby would be happy to roll some more :)

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