Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I've Got Half a Mind to....

I was at the weekend Georgetown flea market a week or so ago with my friend Charlie. We were visiting with an acquaintance there, who always brings a nice selection of old cameras, when I spotted one of interest - a Canon Demi EE17 half-frame camera. Here's what the camera looks like.
Image Source: http://www.canon.com/c-museum/en/product/film64.html
What's a half-frame camera, you ask? Well, it shoots normal 35mm film, but in 24x18mm frames, allowing you to get 72 exposures from a normally 36 exposure roll. This fact also makes the frame orientation to shift from the normal landscape arrangement to portrait, when the camera is held normally.
Needless to say, the Demi went home with me. I have not even tried to put a battery in it, happy to use an external light meter and set shutter speed and f-stop manually. The lens is a Canon 30mm f1.7 (fast!) model. Focus is accomplished through a manual distance scale on the outside of the camera, or selecting one of three distances (portrait, group of people, or mountain). At 30mm depth of field is pretty big, so that works.
Here are some shots from my first test roll through the camera, an expired roll of Agfa APX400 from my friend Dennis, exposed at 200 speed, and developed in straight D76 for 7.5 minutes. I scanned all of them in pairs, as they appear here. I'm definitely planning to shoot a lot of diptychs (picture pairs) with this little jewel.
Many people think that 35mm (full frame) is small, and pushes the limits of negative size to give decent image quality. I agree, to an extent, but as long as I'm not trying to make big prints, the half-frame works fine. The Canon optics seem to be quite sharp, and the little camera is a blast to shoot.
And, getting 72 exposures on one roll is pretty cool, too.