Bought this camera in the early 2000’s, at a car boot sales in West Sussex, near Redhill. I always wanted to try my hand on a half frame camera, and when this camera appeared at the bottom of a box, I got it for like 5 pounds, or so. It appeared to be working, but as with all car boot purchases, one waits to get home to inspect the goods, as it were. So I did, and I found that sometimes, 5 pounds can buy you great things. Or in this case, decent ones.
The film advance was stiff, and shutter release too; nothing a bit of elbow grease and a few drops of lighter fluid would not cure, and it did. Light meter was working, but I had a feeling that it may be reading a bit low (which was to be expected, given its selenium composition). I was wrong , the meter is spot on, even now when I am writing this article. The controls are numerous, and the options for shutter speeds and aperture are indeed great, for this type of camera: speeds from B, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125 and 1/300 of sec, apertures ranging from 2.8 going to a (nice to have) 22. The distance focusing is done via a ring around the lens, not clickable but easy to set and maintain.
The front plate is also presenting a flash sync socket, and underneath on the bottom plate, one can find the tripod bush together with the exposure counter, and the film rewind release button is there too.
Lens focuses at a min 0.6m, and is a f2.8/28, the equivalent of a 40mm on a regular 35mm camera, with a Seikosha-L shutter. It has an “automatic” mode, actually an shutter-priority mode of AE type, powered by the selenium meter. A cold shoe, together with the release button (threaded), film advance and rewind knurled wheel can be found on the top plate of the camera. The rewind wheel has simple “reminder” symbols for film type.
Focus is done by symbols on a ring around the lens, indicating P (portraits), G (groups) or infinity (landscapes and such). Not very hard to figure out what to do without a manual for this camera, but given that everything on this camera is so minute, a large hands owner may find some challenges here.
The DIN/ASA settings can be accessed via the backplate’s thumb wheel visible here. A large viewfinder is a good thing with this camera, although a simple one. The green button sets the self-timer (S) or locks the slide (L).
The viewfinder has a display of bright lines for easy frame of the shot, and the meter needle is visible. Reading is made by a black bar swinging onto the scale, according to the light read and received by the meter. One has to put the camera in “A” mode in order to read and use the meter, otherwise the meter will not be usable. Of course, the camera is perfectly mechanical otherwise, one can choose the speed and aperture like with any other mechanical film camera, as the Fujica Half has no need for batteries to operate.
Right then. I have used this camera in the past, but not so much in the later years. I don’t know, I seem to be adamant to run film through it, but after 10 or so exposures, I get bored. It annoys me that I have to wait for ages until I can finish the film, and that may take a while, seeing that you get some 72 exp out of a 35mm film.