Having half of something is better than nothing but having both halves is better.
My fascination with film photography is undying, persistent to say the least. The main limitation attached to analog is the finite amount of photos that one can take on a 35mm roll from Rite-Aid or Shoppers Drug Mart, etc. The 24 self-made portraits-at-a-bad-angle-with-only-your-half-shaved-chin-showing are not enough for our digital times.
Olympus, the Japanese camera manufacturer, addressed the issue of costly rolls of film and processing with the introduction of their Pen series into the market. With the camera, a 36-exposure roll of 35mm film can potentially have 72 exposures! It’s just like magic but with fractions. The Olympus Pen F was fully manual, meaning you cannot just ‘wing’ your photographs and deleting was not an option. (Think commitment.)
Many other manufacturers followed suit with the concept of half-frame cameras. Ricoh and Canon had successful half-frame models. Lately, I have seen a renaissance of these cameras in their cheap camera reincarnations at Urban Outfitters like the Diana Mini and the Golden Half (biblical puns for the win!). I would favour buying the originals on eBay but brick and mortar stores are still the easiest way for consumers to buy what they want, when want.
The half-frame camera’s 72-shot offering is no contest for the onslought of SD or other multimedia cards that can store thousands of images. Olympus’ Pen series digital cameras is the most beautifully-designed on the market, just my humble opinion.
It is interesting how our consumption of data in photography can be deemed equivalent to our consumption of junk food. We are digitally-speaking obese. If we cut our consumption in half, we can have twice as much. Is this enough of an incentive to cut down?