Kodak Ektar H35N – An Honest Review & How-To

I’ve been shooting film for a really long time and over that time I’ve seen my fair share of basic film cameras!

If you don’t know, the H35N is a half-frame camera which means you get twice as many shots from it than usual, so you get 72. It’s also got an improved F8 lens with a better coating than the H35 had. This camera has a focusing distance of about 1m and it’s probably sharpest around the 1-3m range and generally, it’s as basic as they come. Costing £64, the question is, is it worth it? The answer is, to some people, yes.

I’ve never really been into ‘toy cameras’, which I think is a fair way of describing the Kodak H35n since it’s small, made of plastic and it’s not really intended for great shots.

Personally, I’d rather be shooting a good SLR that I have full control over, something that can actually capture a top-notch shot (as long as you’re a good photographer).

But I can see why people do want to use cameras like this, I’d say they’re probably best suited to people that would shoot a disposable camera but they don’t want to make so much waste.

So with that in mind, I took the Kodak H35n for a spin so I could give those people a fair review and hopefully help them to decide whether it was worth it for them.

My Experience Shooting The H35n

I took the H35n out to Southport, a classic rundown British seaside town. It was a pretty bright day so it was Ideal for the H35n and its unchanging settings.

I honestly enjoyed shooting with this camera even though I’d much rather be shooting a proper SLR camera or something that actually packs a punch.

The H35n makes things simple again and strips things back to the essentials. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need in photography.

This camera is insanely light and for what you’d actually use it for, that’s a massive plus side. You can stow it away and not even really notice that you’ve got it.

In a sense, you can shoot this camera far more instinctively because you don’t need to worry about the settings, apart from the flash, the settings are fixed.

Another thing that I loved was being able to shoot so many shots, 72+ shots on a roll is just a joy. The amount of shots you have left is no longer on your mind, it’s no longer an issue.

Overall, I enjoyed shooting the H35n – I didn’t seem to get any different shots from the new starburst filter – but otherwise, I liked it for what it was, a basic, cheap point-and-shoot.


Aperture – F.8

Focal Length – 22mm

Build – Light/Cheap

Battery – 1 x AAA

Exposure System – Fixed (Flash or no flash)

Focusing – Fixed

Focus Distance – 1m

Shutter Speeds – 1/100s or Bulb

As you can see, the specs for the Kodak H35n are super basic, this is effectively a half-frame camera with all of the attributes of a disposable. The upside being that the H35n is not a disposable camera, you can use it for as long as the camera decides to work.

Kodak Ektar H35n VS H35

Most people would be considering these two cameras and how they differ to one another. The cameras aren’t really dramatically different.

The H35n has a glass lens while the H35 has a plastic one, so the H35n is more sharp and clear. The H35n has an F8 aperture and the H35 has an F9.5 aperture. And the H35n has a starburst effect filter and the H35 doesn’t have any filters.

Otherwise, there isn’t really any difference between these two cameras, so if all you’re looking for is a simple film camera that’ll save you money then the H35 is still a good shout.

Of course, I’d say the H35n is better because it’s got a sharper lens.

The Lens

Since the original Kodak H35, the H35n has had an upgrade to the lens. Originally, the H35 had a plastic lens (which was the standard for disposable cameras) and now the H35n has a glass lens which is sharper and clearer.

It shouldn’t be overstated, this doesn’t mean superior sharpness but it does mean that it’s better than it was.

Also, the normal aperture for this lens is F.11 but when it’s shot with flash it goes to F.8. If you take the battery out of the camera and switch to flash mode then you can shoot it at F8 if that matters to you.

Looking at the pictures, I do think that this gets visibly sharper shots than the H35 used to get, so that’s a definite plus.

One thing to keep in mind is that the focusing distance of the H35n is around 1m, so generally, it’s sharpest between 1-3m.


The H35n is built off the original Kodak Instamatic and so it has a classic vintage feel to it which a lot of people like.

Despite strangely being produced by Reto, the H35n is produced under the Kodak brand and therefore has all the original Kodak look and feel.

When you pick this camera up, it’s very apparent how light it is. You can swing it around like nobody’s business and with that in mind, it’s kind of flimsy too.

In a sense, I almost think it’s too light for it to break. Obviously, if you stood on it or something then it’d probably be done for, whereas, if you dropped it, I think it’d probably be ok.

Best Film For The H35n

For the H35n I’d suggest shooting film that’s between 200-400 ISO. I shot Lomo 400 with it and I love the way the photos have come out.

Due to the fact that you can’t change the settings of the H35n, it’s not a good idea to shoot very high or low ISO film.

Kodak Gold, Ultramax 400, Lomo 400 and Fuji Superia X-Tra 400 are all great options for this camera. I wouldn’t suggest using really expensive film like Kodak Portra 400 because the quality of the film will be wasted on this camera.

How To Get Good Pictures With The H35n

Because these cameras are so damn basic, you really have to be aware of their limitations when you’re shooting with them.

Keep People At Arms Length

This camera can only focus from 1 meter to infinity. So basically, if you are any closer than 1 meter to your subject then your subject will not be in focus and anything past about 5m will start to be out of focus too

You’ve gotta keep people just a bit further away than arms length and it’ll be all good!

Use Your Flash

The camera can’t adjust for low light so you need to use your flash when you’re in the dark!

Aim For The Middle Of Your Lens

The middle of your lens is the sharpest part on the Kodak Ektar H35n so try to place your subject right in the middle!

Take Your Time

The camera has a low shutter speed so it’s important that you take your time while shooting with this! Make sure you don’t get any blurry shots.

Using The H35n

Using the H35n is pretty simple but I’ll lay it out here for you. Also, I shot a video on this so you can see it all right here.

How To Load The Kodak H35n

You’ve gotta make sure your batteries are in first! Then just open the back of the camera by pushing down the little catch. Once the door is open you’ll see that one side has a space and one side has a spool. Put your film into the space and pull your film across, put your film into the gap in the spool.

I usually then suggest pressing the shutter button and winding the film on, that way you’ll know that the film is actually attached. Then you can close the back up and you’re good to shoot your film!

How To Unload The H35?

Once you’ve got to the end of your roll of film then you’ll need to unload your film. To unload your film you need to press a small button on the bottom of the camera, this will release the spool so you can wind your camera back.

Once you’ve pressed the release, you can use the winder on the top left of the camera to wind the film back. Keep winding for a while until you feel it becomes quite loose. You’ll know when it’s wound back in because it’ll feel noticeably different.

Once you’ve wound it back fully you can open your camera and remove the film!

How To Use The Flash?

Using the flash is really easy! Just turn the dial that surrounds the lens to turn flash on. The only thing to note is that it’s easy to accidentally leave flash on which will drain your battery, so just be sure to turn it back off when you’re putting your camera away.

What Kind Of Photography It’s Best For

Generally, the H35n is best for people who want a really basic camera and they want to shoot film for cheap. Let’s say you usually go for a disposable camera and now you want a reusable one, this is the camera for you.

It’s perfect for day-to-day life, festivals, parties and holidays. Of course, it won’t give you completely perfect images but it will give you film photos for half the price!

Half Frame Alternatives

The main alternative to the H35n is the Olympus PEN F. The Olympus Pen F is far better than the H35n as it’s got a proper lens on it, so it’s much sharper and you’re actually able to choose your settings so there’s much more control.

I’d suggest considering the Pen F if you want to shoot more film but you don’t have a massive budget. You’ll actually be able to get notably good shots with the Pen F, the same can’t be said for the H35n.

Is The H35n Worth It?

This really depends on you and what you want from the H35n. In a lot of ways the H35n is worth it, it saves you a bunch of money, it’s easy as hell to shoot with and it does what it says on the tin.

If you’re just shooting casually, the answer is definitely yes. If you’re hoping to get pretty good pictures then the answer is no.

Put simply, if this camera wasn’t a half-frame camera then I’d say it was rubbish. The fact that it is a half-frame camera makes it well worth trying out if you want a cheap daily carry.

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