I had high hopes for the Halina AF810 – the photos from the recently published post from Miriam showing a few results from a Halina AF700 made me think this thing might churn out a decent photo… Unfortunately, not only does it not take an good photo, but making it take fairly bad one was faff beyond any reason!
I’m not usually a superficial kinda guy, but I was first attracted to this camera because it’s red. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t pay a lot of money for a red camera, but for a point & shoot for a few quid, I was sold. It looks about as 1980’s as any single piece of industrial design could possibly look, and being honest I was attracted to it for that reason too.
Unfortunately Halina didn’t and don’t exactly have a great reputation for high quality cameras. Quite the opposite. Not only are the cameras known pretty low standards of build quality, but they were also pretty cheap. But, who’s to say cheap can’t be good? Well cheap can be good, unfortunately this particular chunk of cheap – as much as I hoped it would be good – is not very good at all!
The Potential Halina AF810
Aside from its 1980’s red exterior, this camera did give me some higher hopes that it might turn out to be quite a fun little point & shoot to take photos with. After I put a pair of new AA batteries in it, and it whirred noisily to life, I discovered two interesting features of its incredibly low cost design.
No Auto Flash
I guess that removing the mechanism to automatically pop up the flash helped kept costs the down. Of course not having this feature also removes the feature that so often and readily bothers the modern point & shoot photographer – default auto flash. This camera has no auto flash, it just has a manual flash-on switch. When it’s switched off, and the camera thinks it needs to flash, a little fairly innocuous light by your eye glows a at you a bit. This is perfect for me, as really that just becomes an underexposure warning light that I can completely ignore if I see fit.
Along side the lack of auto flash it also doesn’t have any slow shutter speeds. If the flash doesn’t fire it doesn’t automatically use some motion blur inducing slow shutter speed like most point and shoot cameras do, it just uses its slowest speed which is I guess is around 1/50th.
What this means is that with normal speed film in you can shoot it as a normal daytime happy-snap-camera. But put 3200 ISO film into it and it’s 1/50 shutter combines with its f/3.8 shutter and the film speed to make quite a nice flash free AF snapper in low light – or at least that’s the theory. (If you aren’t sure how this translates in the real world have a read of this post about how I shot like this with an Olympus AF-10 Super).
Falling at the first hurdle
Theory be damned, as I was never going to get a chance to test it in practice! 5 shots in to the first roll of Fuji 400 film the damn thing jammed. Half way through winding the film from one frame to the next, it got sort of stuck and just made a constant whirring noise whenever the lens cover was open. I eventually twigged that it might be the batteries, so out came the old set and in went a fresh set. It still made the whirring sound, just now it was higher pitched.
I figured it was jammed, so under the cover of darkness (in the cupboard under the stairs), I opened the back of the camera. I couldn’t see what was going on inside, so just pushed the film around a bit and closed the back. Sure enough, this seemed to fix it. Over the course of the roll this happened a few more times. One roll of film saw me get though about 8 batteries.v
To say the tidily a I got were varied would be an understatement. Most of the shots have some red light leak. Some worse than others, though I imagine some of this might be down to how lackadaisical I became when dealing with the jam.
At one stage I think it must have got to the end of the roll rewound a bit and shot a few of the frames twice as I seem to have got a fair few double exposures toward the end of the roll.
There are also a couple of frames that look like the shutter just got jammed open.
I have no idea. What a mess! Even the shots that came out ok aren’t very sharp…
I posted a picture on Facebook of this camera just after it got jammed the first time. Off the back of that post I had a little chat with someone about the days when he used to work in camera retail. Long story short, he told me he used to sell these when they were new. They had problems with getting jammed then too. Dominik (who’s contributed to the site a few times) asked me why I bother with these crap cameras like this one. My answer was that they can be fun, especially when they don’t have auto flash modes or slow shutters like this one. Once in a while the potential in a camera like this comes good. Case in point the Halina AF700 for Miriam. Unfortunately on this occasion he was right to call in to question the energy I was spending on this camera… As really, I shouldn’t have bothered with the Halina AF810!
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