One Roll in One Piece – Escura Snaps 35 Half

The Escura Snaps 35 Half is Escura’s half frame modified version of their Dubblefilm Show clone the Escura Snaps 35 camera. Mine arrived from Hong Kong decorated with Chibi of One Piece. That’s the manga series that has recently been launched as alive action series on Netflix. Whilst other designs are available are they all Pirates ahoy or sunk at sea ?

Nith View IV. Escura Snaps 35 Half. 2023
Dumfries 2023. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. Click on image for link to original

This is just a one roll review. Mainly ‘cos I’ve already reviewed this camera in Agfaphoto Half-Frame guise. They just are slightly cosmetically different. I ran about half the shots using the wider flash setting.

Escura Snaps 35 Half and Agfaphoto half-Frame
The Escura is basically the same as the Agfaphoto Half-frame

Escura Snaps 35 Half Styling

Just like it’s full frame brother this has a clear plastic cover with themed design behind it. It is much harder to find than the full frame and even Escura do not list it on their site.

Escura Snaps 35 full frame version
Escura Snaps 35 full frame version in so called Hippy styling

Most have Chibi style manga characters as the design. So there’s a Hello Kitty and host of other Japanese cartoon series like Crayon Shin-Chan that I have never heard of. If that’s not familar and you are of a certain age the think Strawberry Shortcake style icons. There is a more manga style one for the Jujutsu Kaisen manga and non cartoon version pictured below.

Promotional image of Escura Snaps 35
Promotional image of Escura Snaps 35. I would have got this version but it was going to add a bit to the cost

The latter seems to have been the original and the rest spawned from there. Like their full frame brothers you could swap out the design for another or your own DIY.

No Rking. Escura Snaps 35 Half. 2023
Dumfries 2023. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. Click on image for link to original

I ended up with the One Piece. It’s not that I’m a Monkey D. Luffy addict. I actually hadn’t twigged the show when ordering. I got it as it was the cheapest one I could find that wasn’t Hello Kitty, which really (and sadly) is not the sort of camera a bloke my age can tote around in the Stranger danger age.

Escura Snaps 35 Half Hello Kitty Promo image
Grand if you’re teenager, not so for middle aged bloke. Promotional image for Hello Kitty Version

And the film ?

The cameras can be found stand alone or bundled with a roll of 400 ISO B&W film as you can see in these examples. And mines came with one too.

The film make is unknown and has no country of origin. I’ll shoot it in a little more high end gear and post results and markings at some point. It was just in date when I got the camera (expired December 2023). I had suspected old Lucky 400 ISO stock. But the company do sell Foma film making it possibly yet another Foma rebrand. There is a Escura Ultra 400 on their site with the markings of black version and I’d guess this is the same stock.

There is a YouTube video with sample shots taken on a Leica with this film

Escura used to sell a C-41 film called show that Matt Loves Cameras discovered was Lomography Metropolis. As Lomography use Foma for their B&W range it does make it more likely.

Today their colour range just seems to be ECN-2 stock derived from (likely Kodak) motion picture stock

One Piece ?

One Piece promotional image
Promotional image by Netflix

If you haven’t flicked on your Netflix account recently, oddly you may never have heard of this. The odd thing is that the tale of Monkey D Luffy as boy made out of rubber who wants to be a pirate in a Fantasy world might just have missed you. It shouldn’t as this is the biggest selling Manga in the world with 107 tankĊbon books as of November 2023. It’s live action series has been a success for Netflix with second on the way.

Suspension Bridge V. Escura Snaps 35 Half. 2023
Dumfries 2023. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. One of the better examples taken on Flash aperture. Click on image for link to original

Sadly this doesn’t use the original Manga but a Chibi style illustrations.

Escura Snaps Half One Piece box
The camera packaging front and rear carries the theme

A quick Spec for the Escura Snaps 35 Half

All plastic body with a fixed focus 31mm 1:9 1 element lens . there is a fixed ~1/120 shutter. The camera actually has 2 apertures. The mflash setting uses the headline f/9 value. (power 1xAAA). But in normal use, a smaller f/16 gets used. Focal distance on box is from 1m to infinity and flash range is 1-3m. Although the box and manual don’t make clear what ISO that is with.

The viewfinder is oddly square and a little off centre to the final image

And I notice this on some of the shots . There is a drift to the left . Oddly I can’t say it was as noticeable with the Agfaphoto (I went back and checked).

Suspension Bridge II. Escura Snaps 35 Half + Colorplus. 2023
Looked at on the webpage this image looks reasonable but if you click through to see a bigger version Flickr you’ll quickly see the limitations even with the f/11 setting. Escura Snaps 35 Half + Colorplus 200. Dumfries 2023

In use & test parameters

Erm…same as the Agfaphoto. For testing I used Kodak Colorplus 200 (aka Kodacolor) and my images were processed by the nice folk at Photo Hippo. They unlike many labs don’t charge more for half frame.

Half my roll got good light the other I had failing light so dropped the battery out and shot with the flash setting.

Sunny Cafe. Escura Snasp 35 Half. 2023
Dumfries 2023. Reasonable sharpness for a 1 element plastic lens centrally. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. Click on image for link to original

Results

Broadly similar to the Agfaphoto. I marvel that the lens has less radial distortion that you’d think but Fringing is certainly evident especially away from the centre. The images are softer than both the Kodak Ektar H35 and the newer H35N but that’s no surprise. The Ektar H35N was my film camera of the year. Even on full frame the 1 element Dubblefilm class can’t match the 2 element VUWS. And the new H35N which has a hybrid part glass making it the sharpest half frame plastic fantastic.

Nith View I. Escura Snaps 35 Half. 2023
Dumfries 2023. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. Click on image for link to original

It was interesting shooting this with the budget colorplus. Grain is more evident than on the roll I shot on the Agfaphoto. But that was shooting the slightly more upmarket Ultramax.

Red. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Kodak Colorplus 200. 2023
Dumfries 2023. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. Click on image for link to original

So centrally better more soft to the corners. Long shots softer generally. Dropping the aperture does drop the image quality but not as much as you’d think.

Suspension Bridge VIII (or Brother where art Thou). Escura Snasps 35 Half. 2023.
There is a noticeable softening with the wider aperture but it’s not as bad as you’d think. Dumfries 2023. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. Click on image for link to original

Final Thoughts on the Escura Snap 35 Half

Look both this and the Agfaphoto are reasonable runner up to the Ektar class of half frames, Unless the style bothers you they are the same camera. And that means in Europe the Agfaphoto will be way cheaper (and I suspect the other way around in Asia). The cartoon illustrations may not be for most of you but you can swap in your own cover and the black non manga one looks pretty cool.

But Reto’s kodak Ektar cameras do make both of these also rans.

Seated. Escura Snaps 35 Half. 2023
Dumfries 2023. Escura Snaps 35 Half with Colorplus 200. Taken on Flash aperture. Click on image for link to original

Other sources

The only other review I could find is Keigo Moriyama‘s YouTube review. This is good if you want to see both more shots and more images of the camera (he got the cool non manga one)

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