Halina Viceroy Review – Diplomatic Fixed Focus Fun

This gorgeously styled 120 shooter hails from  around 1960 with pretty impressive retro styling this camera looks like a classsic TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera

Halina Viceroy Pseudo TLR
Halina Viceroy Pseudo TLR for 120 film. Ironically shot via instagram

Infact it is little more than a fixed focus box camera with a large brilliant viewfinder.

Haking wasn’t the only maker of these psuedo TLR (Voigtlander Briliant launched in 1931 was one of the first and the original Ensign Ful-vue was a British made classic in the same year). Like the 2 more famous models, the Viceroy has 2 lens but they aren’t linked  in anyway. The top lens is reflected upward by a mirror onto a ground glass screen that serves as viewfinder (a full TLR uses the same method but the lens are geared). Haking made a full TLR in the form of the A1 and also made the Prefect series of Pseudo TLRs in the 60’s. There is some variation on the launch date of the Viceroy whether late 50’s or early 60’s but the earliest archive reference I found was in The UK Pharmacy trade magazine the Druggist from 1963. It is also sold as the Kinoflex De Luxe and Star-Lite.

Danger
Halina Viceroy with Fomapan 120 at f/16. Dumfries 2015. Surprisingly sharp

Halina Viceroy Specs

  • Lens: Helios-89 30mm 1:1.9
  • Focus: fixed
  • Aperture: f/8, 11, 16
  • Shutter: 1/50* & B
  • EV (100ISO) :  14-16*
  • Metering: None

Like the Prefect, the camera is well finished and is stylish with a more retro than it’s age looks. Sensibly laid out with  3 controls- shutter button, aperture selector and shutter speed dial. But the Viceroy differs from the Prefect in 2 ways. However it also has an advantage – it should come with a removable mask allowing you the option of both 12 shots of classic 6x6cm negatives or 24 at 36x24mm (effectively the size of a 35mm frame). Irritatingly mines didn’t so check at before buying.

Nith'd out
Dumfries 2015. Halina Viceroy with Fomapan 100

Some say the shutter speed is 1/30, but my own impression is that it is 1/50 or 1/60 based on shooting and other Halina 120 cameras like the 6-4 (1/50).  There is the option for bulb  but here is no cable point. At least the camera has a tripod point on base which also serves as a rotating catch for the film compartment. The camera also has some nice pins a the corner allowing it to placed on the flat. There are 2 film windows on the rear both being used with half frame shooting and the larger only for full frame (this has the mark ‘Empire Made’ which Haking used on its 50’s-60’s cameras)

Outdoor
Distance test shot on Halina Viceroy with Kodak Ektar (100 ISO). 2015

Shotwise you’d imaging poor and yes at f/8 the weakness of the simple ‘Haking’s double’ meniscus lens shows but at f/11 and more so f/16 things do sharpen up. Best around 3m IMHO but at narrow apertures things are okay both sides. Images are a wee bit soft and as you would expect worse at edges but at f/16 things are surprisingly better than you would expect. Even f/8 gives a nice retro feel and there is some vintage colour tainting by the lens. Flash  is by PC sync but be aware you’ll need a flash holding bracket as there is no cold shoe mount.

Rubbish shot ?
Halina Viceroy shooting 35mm Agafphoto APX 100. Sadly my lab forgot to process with sprockets. Dumfries 2015

It is also an easy camera to shoot 35mm film in and fitted a 36 exp cassette without fuss. To do this basically apply the same principles as I did with my Bencini Koroll 24s. Despite sliding red window covers you will still need to tape over as they will light leak. Again you have some choices You can get 6cm long sprocket shots or using the half frame mask 24mm shots which if scanned without sprockets give you a 24x24mm square frame like the Diana Mini ! I now use set of 3D printed plastic lugs that allow you to easily convert a 35mm roll into a perfect fitting 120 size – you can get these for around £5-6 on ebay.

No very Wheel
Halina Viceroy with Kodak Ektar (100 ISO). 2015

Stylish and quite fun. The half frame option makes this a more economic camera than some 120 P&S although image wise there are better P&S and cameras like the Agfa Isoly series that offer more option and you will be limited to 50-100 ISO for better conditions. But this is a fun retro shooter that you can mount on the mantelpiece (mines sits with our wine glasses as it has a small fungus speck so not getting anywhere near the other cameras)

Why Buy ?

  • Stylish
  • Half-frame
  • Retro images

Why not ?

  • Limited options
  • Need Bracket for Flash

What I Paid

  • Paid £10.50 Plus postage for camera only on eBay

Alternatives

Helpful links

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Halina Viceroy Review – Diplomatic Fixed Focus Fun”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *