Halina Silhouette Zoom – Poundland Challenge Camera No 13

This camera arrived in a Poundland Camera Challenge in a joblot for 99p from eBay along with the Pentax Espio AF Zoom. At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that this Haking produced number was in the same Zoom AF compact class as the Pentax. But whilst it’s a modern and still made compact zoom, it is weirdly fixed focus !!

Halina Silhouette Zoom
Halina Silhouette Zoom. A compact 35mm zoom camera with fixed focus

This is a slightly older version but is essentially identical except for the addition of a LCD film counter with the current ZME1300 series listed on Haking’s website. These cameras are sold under other branding such as Ansco and confusingly under Halina Tegra branding.

No Country for old Chairs
Halina Silhouette Zoom with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200. Note blurring beginning on ball at 5m. Annan 2015

Halina Silhouette Mk1 Specs

  • Lens : 28-52mm 1:4.5
  • Focus: Fixed
  • Exposure:  Auto
  • Aperture Range  :  f/4.5- ?
  • Shutter:  Unknown
  • Batteries : 1x CR123A

A Databack verison is also available

At first glance it does look like a basic AF zoom compact. Control wise you have an on/off switch that also has a timer setting. In front of that sits the shutter button and 2 buttons to zoom in & out. The only other control is a button on the front to manually trigger fill in flash or if flash on to change to red-eye reduction (there is a manual rewind switch on the base). The camera is DX coding but given the measly 2 pins at position 2 and 4, I suspect this is to delineate between 100 and 400 ISO (possibly 200 iso as well) . All other films speeds will be set as one or other

Fading Glories
Halina Silhouette close up shot example with Kodak BW400CN. Palmerston, Dumfries 2015

The camera doesn’t look much different from any 1990’s/2000’s compact with the exception of the weird coated transparent lens cover that remains there when the camera is on. Its just another thing to get scratched and dust on in my view. Interestingly the silhouette II (ZME1350 series) has a more normal lens cover but is otherwise very similar to the ZME1300.

Standing Guard
Halina Silhouette Zoom with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 on zoom setting.. Note blurring less marked on ball approx at 10-15m. Annan 2015

Loading is identical to most modern cameras with motorwind. To turn camera on slide switch to right and shoot. The flash is automatic and a small warning light comes on by the very simple viewfinder to tell you it is charging (blinks) and is ready (solid). The zoom is slow and pretty noisy

Haking have made some reasonable cheap fixed focus shooters like the Halina 1000 and the so called Hong Kong Lomo the Halina Micro 35. This isn’t however.

Exposure is actually okay but the 4 Element lens is truly poor particular at the wide setting. The camera is sharpest from about a meter to 3-4 metres so for a snap shot camera on a night out it’s okay, But it isn’t great at distance although using 400 ISO and shooting at the full reach of the zoom helps. It still isn’t great. However as this montage shot suggest forget the wide setting if you want to shoot scenery. The zoom setting vingettes unevenly

Halina Silhouette Lens test
On the left Halina Silhouette at wide and on right at zoom (much better). Taken with Kodak BW400CN

The flash does its job pretty well at the short-range but other than forcing on and the gimmicky red-eye feature you have no control. And then there is the weird liability lens cover.

This really isn’t a high point for Halina. It is no hidden jem nor can it be forgiven as an ultra cheap but good basic shooter like the panorama. In 1999 Argos was selling this for £44.95. It was the cheapest zoom compact but my money would have been on the same priced non zoom AF compacts from the big Japanese manufacturers. Even the dubious Canon mate AZ-100 worked better (bar flash)

Why Buy ?

  • Modern styling
  • Flash is okay
  • ..erm ?

Why not

  • Lens awful
  • 1.8x zoom
  • No real features

What it Cost, came with and what happened to it

  • Part of group for 99p & £5 P&P (effectively £1  with P&P)
  • Came with Strap & case
  • They don’t really sell on ebay for more than a quid so to Charity


Helpful links

6 thoughts on “Halina Silhouette Zoom – Poundland Challenge Camera No 13”

  1. I can read the names on the plinth of the statue, so it can’t be too bad. A high level of atmospheric smog and not much light wouldn’t help. All shots look washed out; poor exposure or poor processing?

    1. The lens isn’t completely hopeless but is one of the worst I’ve used – put it this way most plastic lenses cameras on this site reviewed better. The colour shots do look overexposed (the camera will set 200 ISO as 100 resulting in 1 stop over exposure before it even starts. The 400 ISO stuff was more accurate)
      I always batch process so had other rolls to compare with for l lab issues.
      There’s not much smog in rural Dumfriesshire. Annan is a small town with a bypass. The smog effect is the lens. If you look there is actually shadows so the colour shots were taken on a fairly bright at least day (EV100 13+}

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