The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “Cameras

I’m Working on a Video

I haven’t been doing as much photography as I’d like lately. One of the big reasons for that is because I’m working on a video. I now have a Nikon D7100, which allows me to rack focus and shoot in dimmer light than the little video camera I had previously did. It’s been four years since college, and I feel the need to brush off my skills and use them rather than continuing to let them get rusty. Since I work full-time, finding the time to do this is a little challenging, but I’m slowly shooting this short video on my love of cameras. I’m in a good place in my life right now to do this. Yes, it’s a learning experience, and no, it won’t be perfect, but part of learning is doing it over again if I need to – taking it slowly and letting it grow and develop as it needs to. The challenge is just making sure I keep moving along without a deadline to motivate me. Below are some stills from what I’ve shot so far.

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Keystone 8mm

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


The View-Master Personal Stereo Camera

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

 

 


My First Camera

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.


Photographic Heritage: My Father’s Nikon F

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.

The Nikon F.

 

Detail of lens and prism.

 

Markings

 

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.


The Cameras That Were

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.