Half-frame.

September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

In 1959, Olympus introduced the Pen series of 35mm half-frame cameras. Literally, each exposure takes up half a frame of 35mm film. A very small camera, the name Pen came from the fact that it was compact and portable, much like a pen. I tracked one down on eBay and had a lot of fun with it. If you do the math, a 24-exposure roll of 35mm yields 48 tiny shots, and 36-exposures equals 72 tiny shots! It will take you a while to make it through the entire roll, but the results are very much worth it.

The shots above weren’t planned, but you can play around with creating your own linked images side-by-side, which is known as a diptych. I did plan this diptych…

and this one…

Another half-frame camera I have is the Chaika-3 from Russia. It is heavy as hell, and a little awkward in its operation. The shutter release is on the front of the camera and the film advance knob is on the bottom of the back. The following shot was taken with the Chaika-3…

You obviously don’t have to create diptychs. You can do as you please. Often, the results are surprising. There have actually been times when I’ve shot half a roll in my Olympus Pen and put it back on the shelf and forgotten about it. Then, months later I finish the roll and there’s an interesting mix of subjects. Find a half-frame camera for yourself and enjoy.

Special thanks to moominsean, without whose photography blog moominstuff, I probably wouldn’t have found out about half-frame cameras in the first place.

Oh, and don’t forget to stop by My Photo Stream.

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