Halina 35X

Posted on March 21, 2019 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS MAGAZINE

Halina 35X

Falling somewhere along the vague line between toy cameras and "real" cameras - is the old Halina 35X. It's really a very strange camera. It may or may not have been a copy of the Japanese made Ranger 35 camera. It's not quite certain, but the Ranger 35 went out of production around the same time the Halina 35X appeared, so there may be a more direct link than mere imitation.

Halina was a brand name used by Haking of Hong Kong. The 35X appeared around 1959 and seems to have been available for at least a decade after that. It was sold primarily in Britain, though a few went to Canada and other countries. It does not appear to have ever been sold in the U.S. 

A quick look at the specs: F3.5/45mm triplet lens. Shutter speeds 1/25 to 1/200 +B Shutter speed is regulated by spring tension, and must be cocked manually. Scale focussing down to 3 feet. Knob wind.

The body is very compact, but surprisingly hefty. The camera doesn't seem to have any aluminum parts, and is composed mainly of die-castings, with a few brass bits here and there. The quality of the camera is really - interesting - to put it one way. It's so "loose" and "un-camera-like" it gives the feeling that it must be a facsimile of a camera, rather than an actual camera. This sounds weird, but when you have one in your hands you'll understand. It is both familiar and alien at the same time. 

This one came to me with fungus in the lens, and upon disassembly I found another surprise. The front and rear elements of the triplet lens are coated. The center element is not! A penny here, a penny there...

Also it was perhaps the most frustrating experience I've had disassembling a camera. The design is very simple and straight forward, but they used a tacky substance on the lens helical to "hold" the focus in place. It's definitely not grease, and I was told the focus on these was stiff when new. The annoying thing is this stuff is really sticky and once you get it on your hands you get it everywhere, and it's near impossible to get off. So be warned! If you have to take one of these apart clean this goop off of right away with lighter fluid and save yourself some frustration. I regreased it with white grease.

There is noticeable light fall off in the corners on most images taken in anything other than bright direct sunlight. The overall effect created by this camera reminds me a lot of the Lomo LC-A, except without the noticeable pincushion distortion. The soft contrast, tendency to flare, vignetting.

Other notes: The camera has double exposure prevention, but you have to cock the shutter manually. If you press the shutter release without first cocking the shutter - you forfeit your exposure for that frame. However if you do do this - just continue to hold the shutter button down, and cock and release the shutter with your other hand. In fact as long as you hold the shutter button down, you can make as many exposures on a frame as you want by recocking the shutter. Once you let up on the button though, you are prevented from making another exposure until you wind on. 

I'll be shooting a roll of B/W in the future so I'll probably do an update when that happens.