My GOLDEN HALF – a Camera Review

The following pictures are mostly from my first roll – actually colour film developed in black and white chemicals. Hence the eerie feel. I’ve got some others coming up on Flickr shortly.

If you like the look of harsh grain and super 8 movies, this one’s for you. Add to that the small and lightweight size, paired with a huge arsenal of pictures you can take, add in some unpredictability (as is awlays a good ingredient with plastic cameras), and have fun.

I think the Golden Half, like the Holga 135 BC, is going to be a key part of my 35mm work from now on, especially in black and white. I’ve shot some stuff on colour too, and will post it in my newly created Flickr Golden Half Collection if and when it’s scanned. Keep an eye out.

Conclusion

If you’re into alternative photogrpahy and find odd formats fascinating, this is for you. If you’re looking for a cheap plastic camera and want to cut down on processing costs – understandable in the current financial climate – go and invest.

Films can be processed on the high street, although you’ll see two pictures side by side rather than singles (as shown in these examples). If you’re not into that, order larger prints and cut them in half. If you’re scanning your results like I do, be prepared for some long sessions – after all, you’re creating dozens of images per roll.

Where to get it from

  • eBay (of course)
  • Photographer’s Gallery in London
  • Holga Magic (very slow server)




72 thoughts on “My GOLDEN HALF – a Camera Review

    1. Maybe in the next version – perhaps they’re working on the Golden Half 2 😉

      I also miss having that feature, even though in reality I hardly ever use it. Same with a blub / long exposure feature – I’d love to see that on the Golden Half. As a contingency, have a look into the Lomography Mini Diana. It’s a bit bigger than the Golden Half but has plenty of other features which I’e grown to love. You can even select the format you take pictures in (sqaure of half). It has multiple exposures too – maybe that’s one to look into.

      1. That’s really great to hear! I allready have a Holga 120 GCFN camera and with that one it is possible to make multiple exposures. So i think it’s more of a experimental luxury if that effect is included. I’ll keep an eye out for updates and more reviews on this website (:

  1. in ur review, u mentioned that…”The main oddity of half-frame or half-format is that while holding the camera landscape, you’re actually taking a portrait picture, and vice versa. It’s like using the 645 gate with a Holga. It’s odd, but you get used to it quickly.”

    i cant image the result of the photo. can u give an example of the photo?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Aazad,

      let me describe what I mean. Usually a camera is like a rectangular box, isn’t it? A bit like a pocket book or a paperback. Usually you hold it with both hands, landscape to take a landscape picture, and portrait to take a portrait picture.

      With the Golden Half it’s the other way round: you hold it landscape, but the actual picture is being taken portrait, and vice versa. It’s just a small handling oddity that I found striking, hence I mentioned it. It’ll make sense when you try it. All pictures taken with the Golden Half are examples if you will 😉

      1. Hello Aazad,
        Maybe this will help to visiualize.
        Take a sheet of paper size A4 and lay if in front of you (landscape), imagining it is a regular negative in landscape format in a normal camera.
        Now fold this paper in half (from left to right) making it A5 size like a halfframe negative. By doing this (cutting A4 in half) you remain with a portrait stile negative that is half of the regular size.
        So, if you still want to make a landscape image with this halfframe negative in your camera, you’ll have to tilt the negative (= the camera) first to align the negative as a landscape negative again.
        Hope this helps…
        Greetings from Bert from Holland

  2. hey there’

    nice artical…maybe you can answer a quick question? how do you make sure that the two pics you are taking come out on the same neg?…if i wind and shoot a couple of frames to bring the film around the take-up spool do i have to count frame by frame to make sure that my pics are in order?

    thanks..

    i bought this little guy because it would be a break from my holga/diana collection,
    by the way..the booklet that came with the unit was in japanese so i am so we say “shooting from the hip” and sort of blind.

    thank you for your time

    melomo

    1. Hi melomo,

      first of all, here’s a scan of the English manual I found at Holga Magic: http://gallery.holga-magic.com/zen-cart/golden-half-35mm-camera-p-84.html

      When you take a picture with the Golden Half and wind the film forward, it will always be half a frame – the film counter counts these half frames (which for the Golden Half are “full” frames – but when you develop the roll and have it printed at a Mini Lab will come out as doubles, i.e. two per picture).

      Now lining these up is just as easy as snapping away. What *may* happen however is that pictures 1+2, 3+4 etc, get printed together if your Mini Lab starts at the very first frame – or if they don’t you’ll end up with 2+3, 3+4, etc… it’s a little bit unpredictable in that respect.

      Rest assured though that if printed at a Mini Lab you’ll always end up with two pictures per frame on your prints. If you want more control over this process, I suggest you scan the negatives yourself.

      Hope this helps 😉

  3. THANKS FOR THE QUICK RESPONCE…SEEMS THIS CAMERA IS TRICKY TO SAY THE LEAST, ESP. NOW WHEN I READ OF THE REVERSED VIEWING OF YOUR SUBJECT, IE PORTRAIT IS REALLY LANDSCAPE ETC…..I GUESS I’LL JUST SHOOT AWAY AND PROCESS THE INFO I GET BACK..

    THANKS AGAIN, YOU’VE BEEN VERY HELPFUL, WE ALL APP. THE INFO YOU PROVIDE…

  4. Hello Jay,
    Thank you for the nice review. You mentioned you developed color film as black&white. Interesting procedure I would like to try myself. Could you please tell me how to do this?
    Thanks,
    Bert from Holland

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