10 Beloved Vintage Toy Cameras under $90 USD

Golden Half Camera ($39.63)

Golden Half Camera
Golden Half Camera

Dedicated toy cameras that shoot half-frame photographs are quite rare, and perhaps one of the most popular is the Golden Half Camera. The quality of the shots this camera produces are so good, that they might even be mistaken for outputs of mainstream half-frame cameras!

The Golden Half Camera was envisioned as an homage to the golden age of the photographic era of Japan. There was a vogue of half-frame cameras in the 1960s, from Japan, originating with the Olympus Pen models, which allowed for a very compact camera, using commonly available 35mm film.

Not only is the Golden Half the smallest 35mm camera in the world, but it also takes half-frame pictures. Also known as single-frame or split-frame, half-frame pictures are 18×24mm photographs on 35mm film. In other words, it means that one standard picture frame is divided into two, therefore giving two separate shots per exposure. Not only does that mean you get double the number of exposures – especially great when considering developing costs -, but you also get to play with diptychs: finding connections between the pictures, planned or unplanned.

The main oddity of half-frame or half-format is that while holding the camera horizontally in landscape mode, you’re actually taking a portrait picture – and vice versa. In addition, the image quality is just right, a sober tone with slight out of focus on the edges.

Last but not least, the Golden Half features a very wide 22mm lens, which means you can capture A LOT at a time, making the Golden Half an ideal tool of candid street photography. Cartier-Bresson would have loved it!

Price: from $39.63 on Amazon