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Canon Dial

When you want less than 24mm x 36mm.
minoly
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Canon Dial

Postby minoly » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:41 pm

Dial-35-CameraWEB.jpg
Dial-35-CameraWEB.jpg (250.59 KiB) Viewed 4964 times

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.

1st-Naional-from-KelloggWEB.jpg
1st-Naional-from-KelloggWEB.jpg (245.86 KiB) Viewed 4964 times


Balustrade St. Paul Central Library
Central-Library-Balustrade-.jpg
Central-Library-Balustrade-.jpg (283.02 KiB) Viewed 4964 times


Shelter at Carpenter Nature Center

Carpenter-Shelter.jpg
Carpenter-Shelter.jpg (486.99 KiB) Viewed 4964 times


[Edited 11/30/15 to restore photos]
Last edited by minoly on Mon Nov 30, 2015 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PFMcFarland
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Re: Canon Dial

Postby PFMcFarland » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:49 pm

And all this time I thought they were selenium cells. Guess I should look up the manuals on these things to find out what makes them tick. The B&W shots are very good, Bill, and the color ones have a sort of look to them that one can't get all the time. Well, maybe on Instagram.

PF
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Waiting for the light

Dennis Gallus
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Re: Canon Dial

Postby Dennis Gallus » Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:32 am

Bill,

That is an interesting camera, as you say. In all my haunts of camera shops through the years, I've never seen one. Or perhaps I mistook it for something else due to its unique design. At any rate, the B&W photos look very good. Canon didn't short-change the camera when it came to a lens.

Thanks for posting,
Best,
Dennis
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Dennis Gallus
Hereford, Arizona USA

Julio1fer
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Re: Canon Dial

Postby Julio1fer » Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:35 am

The Dial is a very interesting half-frame. out of the ordinary in every way. I have considered getting one locally but always demurred for some reason. Your pictures show that it can do the job. The National Bank building shot in B&W is excellent.
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Brian
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Re: Canon Dial

Postby Brian » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:51 am

A very interesting camera, I had one ~25 years ago. Replaced the light seals, one of the first that i did.

It gave great pictures, I remember using Polaroid Slide film in it- the instant developing kind.
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Santiago Montenegro
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Re: Canon Dial

Postby Santiago Montenegro » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:18 am

I had forgotten the very existence of the Dial! Very interesting gizmo.
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