I recently picked up a Vivitar IC 400 Focus free camera at a thrift store for $2. I was planning to use its huge viewfinder for another project but as I was taking it apart, I noticed I can easily convert this camera into a half-frame camera! I’m a big fan of half-frame cameras so I ended up keeping the camera and sparing it from destruction. I haven’t tested the camera yet, but in theory it should work. It should work with any other camera with a similar design.
Step 1: Taking it apart.
Take the Vivitar IC 400 camera apart. On the back of the camera, there are two screws on the left holding it together. After removing them you can take apart the front and back of the camera’s case by pulling it apart from the left side.
Remove the film counter dial and the viewfinder housing. All we need is the film advance wheel. Be careful to not lose the spring under it.
Step 2: Modding the film advance wheel.
To make the camera advance half a frame, we’ll need to add a 2 pins to the bottom of the advance wheel (See photo). Make sure the pins mirror each other. I used aluminum pins but toothpicks can be an alternative.
Step 3: Masking the film plane.
Put the camera back together and cut two plastic sheets with the dimensions of 24mm x 8.5mm and glue them to the film plane. This will mask the full-frame into a half-frame. Using the black plastic from a DVD case would work but I only had white styrene plastic. I didn't have time to spray paint it black, so I used black tape and sharpie.
Step 4: Finished.
Mask the viewfinder with black tape so the view becomes a half frame viewfinder. Add seals to film door if you want. I sealed mine with black yarn.
Load film and go shoot!
Step 5: Results.
The mod worked and the photos came out half-frame!
Some of the photos came out too close to each other, so I will need to the tweak the film plane mask abit. There should be a small gap between each photo.