If I could travel for the rest of my life, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Life’s best gifts are experiencing new landscapes, eating incredible food, taking in the smells, exploring, and talking with new people. I’ve been dreaming of going to Europe and finally photographing its beauty with film for more than two decades. My cousin Julie was getting married in July, which was the perfect opportunity. I loaded my Billingham bag with my Hasselblad for the images I knew I wanted to capture and the Kodak Ektar H35 for fun. The Kodak Ektar H35 fits perfectly in the front pocket.
The $49.99 option has become one of my favorite pieces of photography gear. I knew I would enjoy it when I first reviewed Kodak’s H35. However, I had no idea how often I would reach for it. The more I use it, the more I appreciate the simplicity of the Ektar H35. Plus, it’s one of the best film options available to travel with.
Easy To Pack Around
The Kodak Ektar H35 is so lightweight and compact that you’ll barely notice it in your carry-on bag. A perk of its half-frame design is that it also uses less film. Going through security with the point-and-shoot camera and a few rolls of film is a breeze. It does not trigger any further searches, whereas a Hasselblad 501cm lands a special thorough security screening at every airport.
TSA tends to be very accommodating when scanning a few rolls of film. You can also toss the camera in your bag and buy film once you’re abroad for an even more hassle-free experience.
My brother Lucas and I went for a 12-mile hike along the cliffs of Ireland with our camera gear. The Hasselblad is uncomfortable to hike with when hanging from my neck. As such, I am constantly packing and repacking it. His patience wore thin after a while, and he went on ahead. I slipped my wrist through the H35’s strap and used it for the rest of our hike.
The weight of my Hasselblad was great for burning extra calories. However, it wasn’t needed for our adventures. I found this also to be the case when hiking around the trails above Salzburg. It was much easier to keep the Kodak Ektar H35 on my wrist and quickly snap a frame. Hikes were much more enjoyable without the nuances of extra gear.
I also felt much more comfortable touring the distilleries in Ireland and dancing at my cousin’s wedding after several whiskey flights with the H35. If anything were to happen, the worst-case scenario is I would need to shell out another $49.99. It was great to enjoy being present, having fun, and not worrying about expensive gear.
The Kodak Ektar H35’s retro design is beautiful, especially in green. Many people stopped me outside Temple Bar in Dublin and asked where I got the camera. It wound up being a fantastic conversation starter everywhere I went. People approached me on hikes and asked to have their pictures taken. The conversation piece introduced me to new friends and made sure I never ate dinner alone, even when I was a party of one.
When I was walking around urban areas, people would often nod at the camera, smile, and duck out of the frame. They would then either comment that they liked the Kodak Ektar H35 or ask where they could buy it. It’s a lot of fun talking with people around the globe and their passion for film photography.
Creates Wonderful Images
I chose not to bring my digital camera during this trip because I wanted to spend more time exploring and less time perfecting. The image quality of the half-frame Kodak Ektar H35 is quite good. Its built-in flash is sufficient in dimly lit environments. Images from the dance floor and the whiskey distilleries turned out great. The color film creates wonderful hues and evokes a sense of nostalgia. You can’t help but smile at them.
The single frame makes wonderful images if the half-frame design isn’t your jam. My favorite frames captured with the Kodak Ektar H35 were street photography images. The unassuming design is excellent for blending in and grabbing the precise moment.
The Kodak Ektar H35 is the perfect accessory for your professional gear when traveling. It can also be the only piece of equipment you bring. Its small footprint leaves more space for delicacies and little trinkets to bring home for loved ones. The beautiful design will turn heads and introduce you to lovely locals.
The best part is the freedom it provides. It’s small enough to take anywhere. You can pack a few different speeds of your favorite film, leave your phone at the hotel, and completely untether. That alone is priceless.