135compact.com       35mm half format cameras       Canon Dial 35

The Canon Dial 35 was first released in 1963. It already has a CDS meter and film is advanced via a spring motor. It's vertically orientated, so that the format appears in usual landscape mode whereas most half formats use portrait mode. It's a semi automatic camera, you choose the speed and it sets the aperture. In 1968 a second version was released, the 35-2, which has major improvements: a much better spring motor, extended ISO to 800/1000, a more recent battery and it has a hot shoe. Both versions were also sold branded as Bell & Howell. The camera's main features are:

35mm film half-frame camera, picture size 24 x 18 mm
Canon SE lens, 28mm f/2.8 (3-group 5 element), focus 0.8m-
∞, focus indicator in the viewer
Shutter speeds 1/30 to 1/250, aperture 2.8 to 22, aperture indicator in the viewer
Size 140 (95) x 75 x 43 mm, Weight : 455 g
ISO 8-400

Front. Viewer. Under the viewer: manal aperture setting, a needle in the viewer indicates the setting (knob has to be pulled out and then turned). Above the lens: distance scale. Around the lens: ISO setting. Under the lens (not visible): speed indicator. Next to the lens: Film counter and shutter release button. Under the camera: spring wind.

Back view. Finder. ISO/DIN conversion table.

Left side. Rewind release, push-in and turn a quarter of a turn. The spring motor is now coupled to the rewind mechanism. Keep winding the spring until the film is completely rewound.

Right side. Accessory shoe. Flash socket. Film compartment opening tab.

Camera open open. Access to battery.

Battery removed. As there is no switch, remove the battery when the camera is not used for a longer period.

Camera case.

The Canon Dial 35 is a
very big and heavy camera, not so easy to handle, as the settings are in unusual places. Once you get used, it's fine. The indicators for aperture and distance in the bright viewer are very handy.

It takes sharp pictures. Spacing is tight, so you get at least 75 photos from a roll. It's for outdoor photos and well lit interiors not far from the window. There is no hot shoe for flash, but a flash socket and an accessory shoe. No night photos, as 1/30 is the longest exposure time. It's big and very, very heavy. The massive spring motor sticks far out of the body. So this is a beautiful vintage camera of limited use, but it's fun.

The CDS meter window is at 2 o'clock above the lens. The setting is done by aperture disks which are slid in front of this window according to the film speed and the shutter speed. They are visible on the front photo. If you don't use the slowest speeds, you can turn beyond 400 ISO and still get correct exposure.