The Halina 160 was my first camera. It’s just over 30 years since I opened it on Christmas morning and shot my first roll of film. With that camera lost to the sands of time, I recently found a clean one on eBay.
The camera was sold throughout the late 80s as the Halina 160, Miranda FGZ, Haking Quick, Haking CF35, and the Revue 150CF. It has both fixed focus and fixed shutter-speed, and a 33mm f/5.6 lens.
The Halina 160 was geared to work at a consistent EV, (presumably sunny 16), which means that selecting a higher ISO stops the aperture down. To get the full f/5.6 speed of the lens, you have to activate the flash switch which bypasses the ‘aperture’ control completely to open it all the way.
As this setup is bound to cause either under or over exposure, I opted for Portra 400 as my first roll through the camera. I was banking on the film’s latitude countering the lack of flexibility in the camera.
I went to an open but deserted funfair to shoot the roll, and set my aperture to ISO 100/200, (around f/8). The plastic lens wasn’t likely to be sharp and I wasn’t sure how tight the tolerances were, given the fixed focus at “3m”.
The Halina 160 is light, plasticky and the strap is on the wrong side. The lens is soft, and vignettes hard on the right. It is by all accounts, not a good camera, and yet I had a really good time shooting it.
The Halina 160 viewfinder is well-centred, all you have to do is stand in the right place. It’s remarkably freeing to just click, and thumb the wheel.
My original plan was that once I’d shot this roll I would give the camera to my son and we would share a first camera. He’s not quite four, and so probably not ready to shoot much film with it, and is a little obsessed with opening the back, and getting me to say cheese.
If this Halina 160 survives long enough we’ll shoot a roll together, maybe some XP2, until then it’s on the shelf in my studio so he can play with it when he comes to see me.
After the trip to the fair I made a quick stop on the heath to finish it off.
1989 and 2021
Obsessing about control is an easy trap to fall into. Obsessing about clarity, sharpness and subject separation is both fun and rewarding but sometimes it’s nice to just be where you need to be, push the button, and wind on.
I have written a bit more about my experiences with the Halina 160 on my own blog here
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