Beach Trip With the Kodak Ektar H35 Half Frame Film Camera

Don't knock it until you try it, this half frame camera made me fall in love with 35mm form again.

Kodak Ektar H35 Half Frame Film Camera - A moody day of a White House with greenery.
8 Moment

Since I discovered medium format film a few years ago, I’ve abandoned shooting on 35mm cameras. There are so many benefits to shooting 35mm. My favorite perk is that you have 36 shots a roll (sometimes more!), whereas medium format is usually 12 or 10 shots a roll. But the quality of those medium format negatives is hard to resist. And there are (in my opinion) better medium format cameras available than 35mm cameras. So, I’ve had all my eggs in the medium format basket for a while now until quite recently.

I was in my local camera store Don’s Photo Equipment, to pick up some film in preparation for a beach trip with my family. I had been looking online at the new half-frame 35mm camera by Kodak for a week or so. With Todd’s help (Todd co-owns Don’s with his dad, Don), I spotted a large stack of very tempting-looking Kodak Ektar H35 Half Frame Film Cameras.

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This was the first shot of the first roll. Yes, I loaded my camera in the car leaving the airport. I actually have no patience.

The view from our window.

Loved the colors in this image.

A painterly look to this image, I think – all thanks to the camera, I have no idea how that happened!

A bit of a blurred vignette look in this photograph.

Kodak RK0101 EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera Black thumbnail


EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera

Wanna maximize your film roll? The EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera doubles your images per roll using half of each frame per shot. Reduce cost, shoot more!

Buy for $49.99

For those unfamiliar with the half-frame concept, I can explain. I was unfamiliar with it until a roll of it came through the film lab I worked at — my mind was blown by how small those negatives are. A half-frame film camera is exactly what it sounds like – it shoots photos half the size of typical 35mm photos. When the camera is horizontal, you’ll see a vertical image as you look through the viewfinder. Flip the camera vertically and you’ll see a horizontal image.

With a half-frame negative, the resolution is compromised. The image will not be as clear as a regular 35mm image and certainly not as clear as a medium format image. But – if the camera is crafted properly – this doesn’t have to be a “bad” thing.

I had been considering purchasing one of these cameras because they’re affordable, the sample images I had seen online looked promising, and perhaps most important – you get 72 shots in just one roll! That has made this one of the most cost-effective film products on the market.

I bought one of these cameras (in sage!) at Don’s, along with two rolls of Portra 160. I was so excited to load my new little camera up that I could barely stop myself from doing so before I got to the airport. I patiently waited until we arrived in Massachusetts (and I had safely had my film hand-checked at the TSA checkpoint!), and then I loaded up my new little sage camera.

I love this happy accident! Happens a lot with point and shoots when you shoot indoors without a flash. The camera tries to compensate for the lack of light through a slow shutter speed, and then you just get some blur.

This was the first shot of the first roll. Yes, I loaded my camera in the car, leaving the airport. I have no patience.

After shooting around 144 photos over the course of a week at the beach in Plum Island, MA, I hurried to the darkroom the night we landed back in Texas. Honestly, the results this camera produced greatly exceeded my expectations. I’m a 35mm girl again!

Like many point-and-shoot cameras, the camera is very dependent on light access. The camera does have a flash which works quite effectively, but it only travels so far. You won’t be able to use this camera to make landscapes in the evening or to shoot wide shot at-home scenes. But you can make portraits at night or shoot close-ups inside if the flash is on.

Something I found to be so interesting about the way some of the photos came out is the blurred edges that work as a vignette for the photograph. It almost reminds me of a tilt-shift lens. Not all photographs come out this way, but it is evident in some. The photographs also have a nice painterly quality in some of the scans. Those wider shots in bright light seem more likely to have that “painted” look.

Carrying around this half-frame camera was a breath of fresh air for me. I am so used to lugging around a massive chunk of a camera that I forgot what it was like not to feel physically encumbered by my camera. This little guy is so unbelievably light and small that I wrapped him around my wrist and strolled up and down the beach and neighborhoods for hours.

There’s something so aesthetically pleasing about beachgoers amidst the beach landscape that I can’t help but want to photograph them. With this little camera, I could do so without being noticed. Not only is the camera barely noticeable, but because of the point-and-shoot’s nature, it truly was a “point-and-shoot” moment every time. I’m used to metering for the light, getting the focus set, hoping the moment wasn’t lost in the time it took to do that, and then inevitably being noticed by the stranger because I’ve been pointing my camera at them for minutes. With this half-frame camera, that wasn’t a problem, and I felt confident that my shot would come out the way I hoped.

I was shooting more into-the-sunlight with this photograph than I usually do, but I had a feeling it would achieve this hazy beach look that I wanted. This is one of my favorite photos I made on the trip.

Grandpa and granddaughter, most likely, or at least in my mind. Sweet moment.

I just love the way everything is spaced out here.

Been enjoying some shadow self portraits as of late.

That house’s garage and view!

A house I was admiring throughout the week.

I noticed a cluster of pigeons gathered on the wires above. I waited for them to start flying and then, this.

One of the days, I took the camera out when there was a thunderstorm headed our way. I knew it wasn’t due for a bit (it moved away from us), so I wanted to see how the camera did in less light. I’m so surprised by how nicely these images came out because it was pretty dim when I was shooting.

Not to sound too much like a Kodak fanatic, but I do think this camera is a testament to the craftsmanship and longevity behind Kodak as a company. When the people at Kodak create, they do so with the photographer at heart. Before I shot medium format, I went through many point-and-shoot 35mm cameras. They were all full frames, and I never found one that achieved this quality and receptivity to light like this one. The quality is better than the point shoots I have previously shot with, and these negatives are half the size of normal 35mm negatives! I find that quite remarkable.

Okay, so, a couple of times something like this came out on the roll. For some photographers, this may be a disappointment. For me, I was so excited. I love weird, happy accidents that result from too much light or some weird something I probably did while shooting. Shooting film is never going to be perfect, but that’s part of what makes it so worthwhile.

The salt marshes of Plum Island, MA.

Go get yourself a Kodak Ektar H35 Half Frame Film Camera – you will not regret it. Happy shooting!

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