Half-frame camera
A half-frame camera is a camera using a film format at half the intended exposure format. A common variety is the 18x24mm format on regular 135 film
135 film
The term 135 was introduced by Kodak in 1934 as a designation for cartridge film wide, specifically for still photography. It quickly grew in popularity, surpassing 120 film by the late 1960s to become the most popular photographic film format...

. It is the normal exposure format on 35mm movie cameras. For still cameras using the 35mm film, the usual format is 24x36mm, so still cameras taking 18x24mm exposures are called half-frame cameras.

There was a vogue of half-frame cameras in the 1960s, mainly from Japan, originating with the Olympus Pen
Olympus Pen
The Pen series is a family of half-frame cameras made by Olympus from 1959 to the beginning of the 1980s, and from 2009. Aside from the Pen F series of half-frame SLRs, they are fixed-lens viewfinder cameras....

 models. It allowed for a very compact camera, using commonly available film, unlike other subminiatures that used exotic films (16mm, 9.5mm, etc.).
This vogue ended when cameras like the Rollei 35
Rollei 35
The Rollei 35 is a 35mm miniature viewfinder camera built by Rollei. The original Rollei 35, when introduced at Photokina in 1966, was the smallest existing 135 film camera. Still today, the Rollei 35 series remain the second smallest 35 mm camera after the Minox 35...

 or the Olympus XA
Olympus XA
The Olympus XA was a 35 mm rangefinder camera built by Olympus of Japan. It was one of the smallest rangefinder cameras ever made, together with the Contax T.It was designed by Yoshihisa Maitani who had joined Olympus Optical Co Ltd in 1956...

 showed that it was possible to make cameras as small as the half-frame ones, but taking full 24x36mm exposures.

With a half-frame camera, one can fit twice as many pictures onto a standard roll of film. For example, 72 exposures on a 36-exposure roll, 48 on a 24-exposure one, and so on. The exposures have a vertical (portrait) orientation as opposed to the horizontal (landscape) orientation of a 35mm SLR or rangefinder.

The most advanced half-frame camera that was designed as such from the start is the Yashica
Yashica was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras.-History:The company began in December, 1949 in Nagano, Japan, when the Yashima Seiki Company was founded with an initial investment of $566. Its eight employees originally manufactured components for electric clocks...

 Samurai single lens reflex.

For some specific needs, there were cameras originally designed for full-frame pictures that were produced or custom modified in very small series as half-frame models, for example some Leica, Nikon
, also known as just Nikon, is a multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and the steppers used in the photolithography steps of semiconductor fabrication, of which...

 or Robot
Robot (camera)
Robot is a German imaging company known originally for clockwork cameras, later producing surveillance and bank security cameras. Originally created in 1934 as a brand of Otto Berning and Co., it became part of the Jenoptik group of optical companies in 1999...

 rangefinders, and some Alpa
Alpa was formerly a Swiss camera design company and manufacturer of 35 mm SLR cameras. The current owners bought the company name after bankruptcy of the original company and the company exists today as a designer and manufacturer of high-end medium-format cameras.-History:Alpa was an offshoot of...

 or Minolta
Minolta Co., Ltd. was a Japanese worldwide manufacturer of cameras, camera accessories, photocopiers, fax machines, and laser printers. Minolta was founded in Osaka, Japan, in 1928 as . It is perhaps best known for making the first integrated autofocus 35mm SLR camera system...

SLRs. These are mainly interesting as collectibles.

External links

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