Kodak Ektar H35 Half-Frame Film Camera Review

Kodak Ektar H35 Review by Sara Johansen on Shoot It With Film
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Written by Sara Johansen

I’ve long been on the hunt for a great little toy camera that mimics a disposable film camera but is a bit more eco-friendly and reusable.

There’s a whole slew of plastic 35mm cameras out there, but, today, I’m going to chat about the Kodak Ektar H35, because it’s been the best one I’ve tried out so far.

Find the Kodak Ektar H35 film camera on Amazon.

Kodak Ektar H35 Review by Sara Johansen on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film

Pros of the Kodak Ektar H35

First I’m going to go through the pros of why I loved this little camera.

1. Shoots Half-Frame

You get your bang for the buck with the half-frame – that’s right, you get double the number of images. For a roll of 36, that means a whopping 72 images!

There is a little downside to this, but I’ll get to that later. For now, let’s celebrate the win of twice the amount of images per roll.

If you’re looking for other half-frame film cameras, you can learn about the Olympus Pen F half-frame here.

2. Lightweight

The Kodak Ektar H35 is lightweight, small and easy for on-the-go.

It really does mimic a disposable camera in size, so this thing is small. It takes up little to no room in my camera bag and is perfect for when I’m out and about and don’t want a big camera around my neck.

It even fits easily in a coat pocket!

35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
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3. Flash

This camera has a flash!

The flash option gives it extra range for low-light situations, which honestly makes it a great party camera. Take it out with your friends, on the dance floor or to your friend’s wedding.

The flash makes it so you can go from daytime to nighttime in, well, a flash.

4. Shooting Diptychs

It’s a great way to practice shooting in diptychs. Diptychs are two images displayed side-by-side as one piece of art. Since the Ektar H35 shoots two frames in the space of one standard negative, it naturally creates diptychs.

With the half-frame ability, this camera can serve as a really easy and fun way to think in pairs, telling a story with your images in a different way.

Since it can be kind of tricky to read which frame you’re on with the frame counter on the camera, if you just always think in twos when shooting, you will be set. Then you can talk with your lab so they scan appropriately for diptychs.

If you scan your film images at home, here are some tips on scanning the film borders when setting up diptychs.

35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
Diptych example
Image credit: @imkathleenfrank
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
Diptych example
Image credit: @imkathleenfrank

5. Easy to Use

You don’t have to think. Just point and shoot.

There’s really nothing you can do as far as settings go, besides the flash, so really all you have to do is think about composing.

For me, I’ve found when I take away everything else and just think about composing, it helps my photography practice so much.

6. Camera Design

It’s a darn cute camera. Listen, I know this doesn’t speak to the quality of pictures, but if you like aesthetically pleasing things, the Kodak Ektar H35 checks the box.

It’s got a sleek, vintage look and comes in an array of fun colors.

35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film

Cons of the Kodak Ektar H35

And now onto the cons of the Kodak Ektar H35.

1. No Control

You have basically no control over the H35. The ease of it being a point and shoot can have its upside as I discussed above, but it’s got a downside as well.

The camera has a fixed shutter speed of 1/100 and a fixed aperture of f8. There’s no adjusting on this, so it’s important to keep that in mind when shooting, especially with lighting and when choosing what film stock to use.

2. Small Negatives

Remember how I talked about the pro of getting double the amount of images since it’s a half frame? Well, the other side to that is that the negatives for each image are that much smaller.

Enlarging the negative to a usable size is going to make the grain in your images more pronounced. Also, if you have a lab scan your negatives, each image will be half the file size/dimensions of a regular 35mm scan.

If you’re wanting to print an image big, you’re not going to get incredible results with this camera.

35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film

3. Scanning Costs More

Furthermore on the previous con, if you send your film to a lab for developing and scanning, most labs will charge extra for half-frames since technically they’re scanning in more images.

So the cost you saved on getting more shots per roll of film doesn’t translate to the scanning side unless you scan your own film.

One way to get around this is if you ask your lab to scan as normal size. Then you get two images per scanned frame, and you can go for the diptych look I talked about or separate the images yourself in post.

4. Plastic Lens

It’s a plastic lens, so the quality is not the best.

Your images will be a little soft, but it allows for a bit of magic in images that way, similar to results of a Holga. The softness can really bring in emotion to the images.

That said, Kodak recently released a new version of this camera, the Kodak Ektar H35N, which does have a glass lens! I suspect the images will still be a bit soft, but the image quality is likely to be much greater with this newer version.

5. Getting Through 72 Images

It can take a hot minute to get through 72 images. Yes, it’s amazing to get twice as many shots, but I’ve found that getting through these rolls can take a bit longer.

First, I’m using this camera in specific situations, and, usually, they’re instances where I’m not blowing through a whole roll real fast. My first roll through the Ektar H35 took over three months to finish.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re wanting the images back quickly for a specific project. If you’re ok with the slow game, then it’s all good!

35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film

There’s a lot to love with this camera and what it can produce, and, as long as you know the limitations of it, you won’t be disappointed with the results.

I really love this camera and will be using it a lot more. It gets packed for all of my trips now since it takes up hardly any room in my luggage and is really so easy to throw in any bag on my travels.

Have you tried the Kodak Ektar H35? I would love to hear your thoughts!

35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film
35mm film image with the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera on Shoot It With Film

Thank you so much, Sara! Sara is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out her other articles here, such as Five Tips for Shooting Film at Night and Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera Review.

You can also find more of Sara’s work on her websiteInstagram, and print store.

Leave your questions about the Kodak Ektar H35 half-frame film camera below in the comments, and you can pick one up for yourself on Amazon.

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Sara Johansen

Sara Johansen is a lifestyle and family portraits and experimental film photographer and a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as Five Tips for Shooting Film at Night and How to Edit Film Soup Images.

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Blog Comments

As you mentioned that it takes almost 3 months to finish one roll, so let say I wanna switch film can I do that? Like can I unload and load it back again (resume)

Hi Aini! The camera doesn’t have any features that would let you switch film in the middle of a roll. It’s not impossible, but it’s pretty difficult! You would have to use a light tight darkroom bag to unload the film and roll the film back into the canister. Then, when you’re reloading that same roll of film, you’d have to shoot blank exposures to get the film back to the exposure where you left off.

Hi Sara, what a wonderful review! May I ask which film you used for the images you’ve shared?

Hi Nami! I used Portra 800 for this roll.

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