Tuesday 22 October 2019

My Amazing Picture-Taking Machines

 I have a large collection of pictures taken by my family, including by my parents, children, cousins, aunts and uncles. As a family we have always been active in recording people and events as my many photo albums and home movies illustrate. I will have more to say about home movies in a future blog post.

What I also have are most of the picture-taking equipment used in our collective quest to preserve memories. Those have now become part of family memorabilia, as if I needed more things to store.

I have written here about our old photo albums and my re-making them once they started to fall apart. What will we do with future photos? I have also written about digitizing all our family albums and making the photos all available online for family to access anytime in the future. Digitizing Memories

We went digital in our picture-taking in 2002 with a Sony DX300 model although I continued to print photos for our albums. Everyone always still seemed to like to flip the pages to see our old family activities and how people changed over time.

I only stopped putting together print albums in 2014. Basically, I ran out of shelf room to put them on after downsizing to a condo. I do kind of miss how they looked all stacked together, though.

One of the problems I have run into is in finding a photo-finisher. The drugstores and electronic outlets where we used to take our films no longer do this. Even trying to get old negatives printed is a chore and very expensive. Establishments that deal in photographic reproduction want to scan the negatives first which is costly and where quality is lost. With digital we can at least print pictures from our computers but that is not always the best approach if you want large-scale prints.

Digital is so much easier as you can look at pictures immediately after they are snapped. And then you can transfer them to your computer for future reference and storage. The downside is that you end up with hundreds more photos that you really need or can use. And who among us actually deletes the ones that are not quite up to quality or expectation. Today we use our iPhone 6 and 7 models for almost all photo-taking. Our kids and grandkids use even more up-to-date devices.

It is interesting to look back on the cameras that I used and see how they changed. Each of them was the latest model and did the job I needed them to do. Some were simple point and shoot cameras which did not take any technical expertise. Other were more complex, with interchangeable lenses, adjustable speed and aperture dials and manual focussing. Most of them now rest in a special cabinet where visitors can be impressed. Over the years I have given away a few cameras, some of which are still in use (I think).

Along with the cameras are flash attachments, flash bulbs and cubes of all sizes, light bars, light meters, battery chargers, slide viewer and sorter, user manuals and photography books, and of course a movie projector.

Top shelf – left to right (with approximate manufacture dates): KIKU 16 Model II subminiature spy camera; Kodak Brownie Starmite (1960); iPhone 4; Fujifilm Discover 160 Tele 35/55 (1988); Zeiss Ikon Ikomatic CF (1968); Ricoh FF-70 (1985); Sony Cybershot DSC-T70 (2007); Sony DX3600 Zoom Digital (2001); Argus A ILEX Precise (1936-41); Kodak Brownie Twin 20 (1959-64)
Middle shelf – left to right: Nizo Heliomatic Trifo 8mm movie camera (1959); Sony Handycam DCR-HC85 miniDV camcorder (2004); Fujica Single 8 PI movie camera (1965); Bloex Paillard B8L 8mm move camera (1958); Bolex Paillard C8 move camera (1954)

Bottom Shelf – left to right: Sony flash unit; Kidak No. 3A Autographic Model C (1916-1926); Kodak N. 2A Brownie box camera (1930-36); Fujica ST 701 single lens reflex camera (1971)’ Rollei flash unit
I inherited a few cameras from my father, both still and movie types. The still cameras go back many decades and were used by family members during the 1920s and 1930s. I do not have all the cameras Dad owned as he traded in many for newer models over the years, or sold them. But the ones I do still own are now collectibles. I wrote about some of them in a 2015 post The Classic Family Photo.

Like family pictures, the amazing picture-taking machines that were used to record events are also valuable memorabilia. I will continue to display them and hope that they get passed along to my descendants.

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