A half frame camera that gets a lot of attention online is the Canon Dial. I haven't collected any figures but I think I see quite a bit of excitement about the Dial. It makes sense-- the camera really makes itself noticed. The Dial 35 (1963) and its later update the Dial 35-2 (1968, also sold in the US as Bell and Howell Dial 35- the one in the photo above) are unmistakable; the "telephone dial" used to set the film speed, the metal casing shaped like a king size pack of cigarettes, and the winding knob at the bottom make it look more like a complicated light meter than a half frame camera. I got mine at the time that big SLRs were dominant in the late '80s and early '90s and I think that its looks were a big reason that I bought it. When its meter stopped working I bought another Dial which jammed (more about that shortly) so I put the first one aside for a long time and sold the jammed one for pennies.
Uneasy about the possibility of jamming it, I didn't use the Dial 35 for years... until last month. Thing is, though, the Dial makes good pictures. CDS-metered with zone focus in the VF (or you can set a distance scale), the Dial 35 has a five element f/2.8 lens that stops down to f/22 and a Seikosha shutter with speeds from 1/30 to 1/250. Exposure is automatic, though the manual settings provided for flash usage can be used for all exposures if wanted or needed. Though there isn't any "B" shutter setting, you can attach a cable release and there is a tripod socket on the bottom of the motor wind. I think that this spring driven film advance is a weak link in the Dial's operation. My hunch is that the automatic rewind causes problems with the wind mechanism; rewinding is complicated, poorly explained, and often doesn't work the way the instructions describe. It seems that there's an outfit in Sweden that still advertises repair for the Dial; if you don't want to send it that far, it might be hard to find a repairman who'll work on it.
I don't have many photos to show. The b&w below date from 1995, the color ones are current. A word about the color photo: I made a mess of that project. On a Sunday afternoon in late October we made a spur-of-the-moment trip to a nature center. I loaded the Dial with a roll of Kodak 200 which I only later realized was badly outdated; not only that but I also forgot to bring a meter. So the results were what you might expect. What I did get required much more "processing" of the scan than I like to do. Anyway, I think it shows something of what the Dial can do, even if it would not hold up in larger sizes ; and I don't want to wait till winter's over to finish this post. The b&w photos were minimally processed.
1st National Bank. St. Paul, MN.
Balustrade St. Paul Central Library
Shelter at Carpenter Nature Center
[Edited 11/30/15 to restore photos]
Last edited by minoly
on Mon Nov 30, 2015 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.