Halina Micro 35 Review : Hong Kong not so Phooey

This weekend's imported fun
Halina Micro 35 (AKA Revue 35FC

This little oddity (here wearing it’s Revue 35FC guise) has become labelled as the Hong Kong Lomo due to its LC-A like styling. Infact both cameras are arguable different takes on the Cosina CX-2 and are very different. The Micro 35 is probably Haking’s best styled compact and certainly is a lot more interesting to look at than some of the brick like beasts of its era.

George St, Dumfries
Halina Micro 35 with Ilford XP2 400. Note focus sharper close with railing softer at distance

Specs

  • Lens:  38mm 1:3.5
  • Focus:  Fixed
  • Shutter: 1/125
  • Batteries: 2xAAA
  • Exposure:  ? Auto
  • ASA:  100, 200 & 400
  • Filter-Thread: none
Honey I flashmodded the kids
Revue 35FC and  LC-A ready to shoot

The front pops up when you wind on or pull at the advance lever, exposing the lens and opening up the viewfinder. It’s fixed focus so no real controls available to you except to manually trigger fill in flash . There is a guide to flash distances on the rear of the pop up section of the front.

Flash dog
Taken with Flash on Kodak Ultramax 400

The batteries also power the light sensor circuits but it isn’t clear how much action they have. The camera has a fixed 1/125 shutter speed. In low light the flash is automatically turned on. This seems to kick around the 11-12 EV (100asa) mark even with 400asa suggesting limited or no aperture action  (with a f/3.8 lens should be able to drop to 9 EV). It may be the aperture is fixed by the film speed lever. Most negative  film tolerates over exposure pretty well and a  stop underexposure. The film speed settings can be adjusted when the camera is in the open position and flash works reasonably well.

St Michaels, Dumfries
with Ilford XP2 (400asa). Overexposed in bright light adding to the  soft focus

Even if the camera does have some aperture variation, it will struggle in bright sunlight with  400 asa film and a fixed shutter speed of 1/125secs (an aperture of f/32 would be required very unlikely on any camera let alone a cheap compact) and over exposure is an issue. This is worst with distance shots which are a wee bit blurry to start with but are worse if overexposed. Things are bit better with lower speed films.

Focus has sweet spot a few meters away  and is pretty good at this. If exposure is okay things at a distance are tolerable but softer. Not much in the way of vignetting even on 400asa.

Palmerston Mural
with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200. Good with mural but softening down the terrace
Hut sponsorship
Ilford XP2

I want  to love this camera but it’s no real LC-A contender.  Although it’s a gorgeously styled compact with built in flash, for shooting it is sadly limited and pricey for what it is. If Haking had made it zone focus or improved the exposure it would have been a cracker. Still shooting things a few meters away or taking on a night out with your mates it performs well enough. Probably best matched with 100 or 200asa on bright days.

Sadly because of the Hong Kong Lomo tag it ends up commanding slightly higher money on Ebay than it should (£20+). It is also relatively rarely seen (I had to get mines from Prague in Revue rebranding – also sold as Haking compact SC and Ansco 2000). It does come in a range of whacky colours with the red being the most available after black. Check flash still working and expect to replace the light seals on the door. If you’re lucky you can find for fiver or less in Charity shops/car boots sales

stone legs baaah
Ilford XP2 (400asa)

Alternatives

  • Lomo LC-A – Classic 80’s P&S soviet style
  • Halina 35-600 – an all together more capable  Haking compact
  • Diana Mini – even more compact retro styled manual fun

Helpful links

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