I was looking for a 35mm camera from the 40s or 50s for my collection when I found this one at an estate sale. A little worn and dusty, but he’s cute. This is an Argus C3 made in Michigan either before or after WWII. Eventually, I’d like to do more research on this camera, but for now I’ve just cleaned and photographed it. Poor thing was pretty dirty. I did quite a bit of Photoshop work on the camera because of the dust even though I cleaned it a lot before shooting. For more information about Argus cameras, visit http://argusinfo.net
Next Time: More Table Top or Nature
Maybe you can tell, I’m pretty rusty with the still life/table top right now. Due to other commitments, I shot very little last fall and winter. Right now, I think maybe getting back to more of the basics would be good, so I might do some objects on white. Otherwise, we’ll see what Spring brings.
I said I was going to photograph the lovely old Polaroid folding camera. Despite my best intentions and the best intentions of my father, neither of us could find it. However, I did find the ancient Kodak Medalist II. Although it’s not as old as some of the other cameras in my father’s collection, it is by far the most worn and well-traveled of them all. My father acquired it while cleaning out a photofinishing plant in Wisconsin after the place went out of business. The Medalist’s owner had died by then. Reportedly, he was world traveler, and this camera was his companion on many adventures.
The Medalist II was manufactured in the late 1940s. It was a fine camera in its time with rangefinder and other focusing helps. Like many items from that era, it was built like a tank. This top view shows just how wide it is.
The focusing mechanism is also quite rigid and sturdy. In the camera’s present state of disrepair, it is difficult to turn.
You’ve probably noticed I’ve made no attempts to clean or retouch this relic. My father decided years ago that it should stay as he found it: someone’s old companion in adventure bearing the marks and dirt of its life and adventures. Although the former owner had it repaired on several occasions, it would take a lot to get this one back in shooting order even if we were to try. I’d estimate the last repair was about a decade before my father acquired the camera.
This Medalist II belongs to the past. However, they are such fine cameras that some people are still fixing them up and shooting with them. Here’s one man’s story of getting his Medalist II in working order: http://blog.timesunion.com/chuckmiller/welcoming-the-kodak-medalist-ii/21899/
Next Time: Fireworks
It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is gone already. I shot the fireworks lat night, but I promised a camera post this week, and I didn’t have much time to edit today.
My parents brought this old 8mm home movie camera to me after visiting relatives. I assume it spent years tucked away in my grandmother’s house, like many common old objects in my father’s family. The 8mm used to be the way to capture fleeting moments of family history like vacations, trips to the beach, or Christmas morning. A bit before my time, to say the least.
This worn yet charming example features an electric eye (a sort of exposure meter) and a rotating turret with three different lens.
Here, you can see the camera’s power source: the hand crank. Wind it up, then press the lever. Kind of like a windup toy.
*Edit: I recently found out this camera came from a church rummage sale, so I can stop wondering if there are any old home movies out there.
Next Time: Old Cars or Nature
Between the holidays, my father and I went to visit my grandma and help my uncle with some repairs on her home. My uncle frequents auctions, and sometimes, he buys a box of things for one item on top. Occasionally, he gets an old camera hidden in the box. One evening, he presented two of such cameras to my father as candidates for induction into The Camera Collection. (For those of you who frequent my blog, most of the cameras I photograph belong to my father. He has an old habit of not getting rid of cameras and picking up interesting specimens.) One look at the case told us this camera was in.
Meet Freddie. He’s an early 1950’s Stereo Camera used to photograph slides for the View-Master. (You know, the little red-orange devices you had as a kid?) Isn’t he handsome?
This is the exposure guide. Look familiar, my fellow former cinema and photo students? Yep, a fancy Sunny 16 guide.
Although it may seem primitive at first, closer examination reveals this camera as a mechanical marvel. You can find more information and a manual here: http://www.vmresource.com/manuals/index.html
Although it’s been a year or two since I last used it, this Minolta AF-C holds a place in my heart. Back when I was in late grade school, my sister and I started learning photography from our father. Dad wanted to teach us on his first camera, but the shutter broke, so he pulled out this 1983 point and shoot with auto exposure, auto focus, and manual just about everything else. Eventually, my sister obtained another camera, and the AF-C became “my baby”. At first, I carried it arround in the orange and black case my father used to keep it in. However, that case only had a small strap and snap made for attaching the camera to a belt. I didn’t wear a belt, but I made the mistake of trying to hold the case by that strap. The snap popped open, and I nearly lost the camera. After that close call, I purchased a sturdier case with an over the shoulder strap. My baby was safe.
For a point and shoot, she was always a good camera. A little old-fashioned, but still good. Sure I had to load the film manually, but I’ve fussed with auto load, and I’d rather do it myself. OK, so I had to remember to turn the flash on when I needed it, but that’s just practice for bigger friends on manual control. I’ll admit manually advancing the film after every frame is a bit inconvenient, but it becomes habit after a while.
I also had to rewind the film manually, but again, that’s not a problem. After I learned to use an SLR, I was only bothered by the lack of aperture control, zoom lens, and focus control.
I continued to shoot with my baby regularly through my freshman year of college. Some thought it needed to go, others thought it was cool. Because I was a photo minor, I upgraded to my current Nikon D80 my sophomore year. However, I still have fond feelings for that little old point and shoot.
Next Week: A Small Town or Random Objects
If the weather’s good tomorrow, I’m going to cover a small town in my area, like I did late last fall (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/exploring-the-village-a-look-at-a-small-midwestern-town/), only though I’m probably going to write more. If not, I think I could use to practice my indoor shooting skills some more, and random objects I want to photograph have been coming to mind.
Last week, I thought about photographing my first camera, but I decided an old classic would be a better choice. Photographing my father’s Nikon F, the first good SLR he ever owned, with my modern Nikon DSLR was a special experience. It tied together all the big happy camera/photoness in the house. This particular Nikon F is 45 years old and is still dearly beloved by my father. It was the best of its kind back in the day, and it is now a classic camera. Naturally, my dad made me promise I’d be extra careful with it.
To all the Canon people out there, I’m not waging Holy War. I have dear friends who are Canon people. It’s just a little nostalgic Nikon person stuff. I’ll be less controversial next week.
Next Week: Time Outdoors, or Crazy Experiments Indoors
Speaking of next week, I’m thinking of braving the apparent bleakness of March in the faith that there’s something good out there. If not, I’ve heard dropping different liquids into each other is pretty amazing.
I love collecting old cameras. Amateur format film cameras from the past ten to fifty years are cool to use for decorations and to study the development of amateur photography, not to mention the fact that they’re pretty cheep. Most of these cameras were made by Kodak, a company that wanted to make photography available to everyone. As the famous Kodak slogan goes “You push the button, we do the rest.”
In 1963, Kodak introduced the Instamatic 100. This camera was the first Instamatic, which means it was the first camera with a film cartridge that you could simply pop in and be ready to shoot. Simple to use and popular. A small reflector box pops out on the top of the camera with a slot for the user to insert Christmas tree light sized flashbulbs.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Kodak upgraded the Instamatic 100 to the Instamatic 104 and it’s close cousin, the R4. These later cameras sported a snappy new flash cube that had four small flash bulbs in it. After each bulb was fired, the cube would spin and a fresh bulb would come to the front. After all four bulbs were used, the cube would fly off. (Sounds like fun.)
Heading into the 1980s, Kodak began to realize that digital photography was on the frontier. So they invented the disk camera to get people used to the idea that someday their pictures would be on a disk. (Or so an old photofinisher told me.) However, the negative size was small and the image quality of the disk camera stank. This particular model is the Tele-Disk, which has both a normal and a telephoto lens. You change which lens you use by pressing on the flash. (Finally, electronic flash!)
I happened to be lucky enough to find a disk camera with the film still inside. While taking these pictures, I was overcome with curiosity and opened it up for the first time. As you can see, the film cartridge looks like a small floppy disk.
As far as I know, you can’t buy film for any of these cameras anymore. They’re reminders of history and wonderful curiosities for lovers of all things photographic.
Next Week: More Cameras or Seasonal
I’m debating the idea of doing another seasonal sort of blog post. Another documentation of progress towards my favorite season. If I decide not to, I’ll probably photograph more cameras, possibly my first one.
Last week, temperatures in my corner of the world were unseasonably high. Snow melted, rain fell, and hope of spring was brighter than ever. The beginning of a new week brings us a reality check: snow and ice present and forecasted. However, spring is coming in about a month, which is some small comfort to impatient people like me.
When I long for something, I find myself easily reminded of it. I can’t wait for the tender shoots of spring greenery to rise through the ground. Bowl handles of all things reminded me of these shoots. A little tweaking was needed to make them greenish.
Like most people, my family keeps a few houseplants. I suppose this custom of keeping plants indoors began as an attempt to prevent insanity in the outdoors/green-thumbed type during the long winter months. It helps, but it doesn’t exactly work. Although the plants are pretty, full-blown cabin fever will eventually set in.
The newest edition to the flora of our home sits proudly atop the fridge. Yes, on the fridge. We were gifted with a lovely Amaryllis which happens to be toxic to our dear pussy cats. The top of the fridge is about the only place our athletic pussies can’t get to. This beautiful plant seems to defy winter with its long stalks and brilliant flowers, bringing a welcome bit of cheer into the bleak winter. Though winter may still be with us, the signs of things to come are here as well.
Next Week: Cameras
My father and I both collect old amateur format cameras, which I’ve been threatening to photograph for some time now. The time has come. I think I’m going to start with instamatics, but I might pull out a box camera, disk camera, or my first camera. We’ll see.