Fuji FZ-5 and Halina 160

Yuletide trashcam shoot-off – Fuji FZ-5 v Halina 160

‘Twas Christmas Eve in Canny Cameraville and a small package arrived with a Fuji FZ-5 and a few days later a Halina 160 turned up. But how do these 2 basic 1980’s  plastic-tastic cameras fare ?

Neither of these are going to be design classic but I’d say the Halina 160 nips ahead cosmetically. As plasticky as it is – it has certain 80’s charm and like many Haking products, it might be cheap and flimsy but there is a certain thought into the styling. The camera has a sensible clean line layout with sensible grip locations and nice detailing like the red ring around the shutter button. It’s not that the Fuji does anything howling – it is just a bit bulkier and blander looking for all intents like a cheap early 90’s fixed focal length AF compact

Halina 160
Halina 160 35mm plastic compact. Also available in white and red

The Halina was  tweaked as the Halina 260 (essentially the same but I suspect with a better flash) and there are numerous other rebrands such as Dixon’s Miranda FG-Z.  Compared to our Fuji, technically the Halina is a higher level camera with some user adjustments and has a coated 33mm plastic lens. As you can see it is related to the fixed focus compact flash cameras both in function and style like the Olympus Supertrip but without the Glass lens. There is a switch adjusting the aperture for 3 film speeds but it does lack the low light warning LED system.

Miranda FG-Z
Miranda FG-Z a rebranded Halina 160 (or 260) sold by Dixon’s in UK and only one of many rebrands

It’s choice of a 1000 ISO speed is weird for a consumer camera. Neither the shutter speed (guessing 1/125) & the Waterhouse aperture settings are to be found online (?~ f/9.5 for 100/200 ~f/14 for 400 and ~f/22 for 1000 ISO). What is clear is switching the manual  flash on opens the lens wide so I suspect the 160 falls to f/4 and the 260 with better flash falls to f/5.6. The canny amongst you will have spotted you’ve a camera with an adjustable aperture irrespective of film speed with 3 stops (4 if you take the 2xAAA batteries out)

Fuji FZ-5
Fuji FZ-5 35mm plastic camera. Also available in red

No such flexibilty with the Fuji however as everything is fixed. Sylvain Halgand gives the Fuji specs as a 35mm f/9.5 lens with 1/100sec shutter. The cameras  takes 2XAA batteries for the flash although like the Halina they aren’t required for non flash shots and there is no low light circuit. A neat point to notes is the shutter counter goes down as you rewind. The assumption is this a camera for good weather and was probably intended to be used with 100 ISO the commoner consumer speed in the 80’s. Of course you’ll get away with 200 ISO today’s de rigueur standard and faster speeds in duller light. The flash as with the lens cover is activated by a slide switch  but this doesn’t appear to affect aperture (ready light on rear)

Guiding the faithful ?
Fuji FZ-5 with Expired Kodak BW400CN. Dusk shot with flash. Jan 2017. Note pincushion distortion

Let’s be honest neither of these simple lensed numbers was going to be killer sharp and nor are they in the same league as the VUWS and the near mythic Goko UF but I guess if you’re reading this you wouldn’t expect clinically good optics. The following comparison shots were taken on a good winter’s day with 200 ISO film where the Halina would have its widest non-flash aperture.

Test comparison shot between Halina 160 and Fuji FZ-5
Test comparison shot between Halina 160 (l) and Fuji FZ-5 (r) both with Agfaphoto Vista 200 & processed by AG Photolab . Kingholm 2017. Click Thru for large image but Halina is sharper and has less distortions

The Halina clinically is the overall winner it is less soft overall than the Fuji and shows much less in the way of softening off centre and much less pincushion radial distortion.

Test comparison shot between Halina 160 and Fuji FZ-5
Test comparison shot between Halina 160 (top) and Fuji FZ-5 (bottom) both with Agfaphoto Vista 200 & processed by AG Photolab . Kingholm 2017. Click Thru for large image. Taken at optimal ~3m distance both are shrap enough central but the distortions and softening become evident away from centre with the Fuji

At the target median distance (around 3 metres) things change a wee bit. The fuji becomes sharper centrally although I still think the Halina edges it. However the Fuji off centre still is softer and more distorted. It also seems to be poorer at the ~1m mark.

Test comparison shot between Halina 160 and Fuji FZ-5
Test comparison shot between Halina 160 (top) and Fuji FZ-5 (bottom) both with Agfaphoto Vista 200 & processed by AG Photolab . Kingholm 2017. Click Thru for large image. Again are shrap enough central but the distortions and softening become evident away from centre and in distnce with the Fuji – look at white house

But again you may want a toy cam with a quirky lens. The Halina is arguably better although still soft and has no major quirks. What the Fuji also does quite nicely is it flares pretty spectacularly. The Halina flare is not quite as pronounced although changes as you would expect with the aperture,

Flary Ring
Fuji FZ-5 with expired (’14) Kodak BW400CN. C-41 processed and scanned by AG photolab. Jan 2017

Exposure-wise the cameras seem reasonably on the money when shooting 200 ISO in bright conditions. The Halina also gives you some flexibility as you can change the aperture (so if shooting 400 ISO you can drop the setting to 100/200 as light fades and widen the aperture even more by taking the batteries out and shooting with flash in the on position. The Fuji flash charges a bit quicker but both seem optimal flash wise around 2m.

Robustness-wise both are plastic but one suspects the Fuji might last a bit longer bar its weedy rewind lever. Watch out for battery corrosion in both.

It’s a n interesting choice here. Optically neither is fantastic. The Halina is more compact, better designed and more interesting and adds the aperture adjustment flexibility. It also has a better lens. The Fuji is more obviously plastic lensed but a bit more robust

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2 thoughts on “Yuletide trashcam shoot-off – Fuji FZ-5 v Halina 160”

  1. Battery corrosion on the 160 is usually not insurmountable and just takes a bit of tinfoil and maybe taking the camera apart, it is pretty simple inside the camera so hard to go wrong. I fixed the flash on mine from eBay and it is fantastic now. I also have the 150 non-flash version with a hotshoe. One thing that is telling is the light sealing on these early 80s Halina cameras is usually in as new condition, whereas on more premium branded cameras from the 90s the foam can be a sludgy mess. Ditto for the cases. The halina 150 and 160 cases are in a really attractive, though basic, meshy pewter coloured fabric, with foam padding. The design is simple but classic. Again these are usually as good as new whereas many of the faux leather cases from the early 00s from pricey premium compacts are disintegrating, and look really dated to boot.

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