Thursday, March 17, 2016
Mike Butkus who for years has accumulated mountains of old manuals, scanned them and made them available on line free for the taking. His site is the first place I always look when I want to understand the fine points of using any old new-to-me camera. Some of the manuals are cursory or confusing, but many provide an excellent guide to the basics of picture making. Kodak manuals are often particularly helpful; one of their classics in a pdf from another site which provides all the essentials of good photography is the manual for the ubiquitous Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash.
In thinking about the topic of this post I did a quick Google search on the phrase, Film Photography Basics. The first item on the rendered list was The Beginner's Guide To Film Photography - I Still Shoot Film. As it says on page 1: "Here you will find the basics of film photography in plain, simple, understandable English to help get you on your way. Updated Regularly." There are many more sites with a similar aim which can be explored.
On line blogs, web sites and forums are full of photographers who are always willing to provide answers to finding, fixing and using old cameras. It is really amazing what expertise can be found in such places about even the rarest of film cameras, their accessories and their history. Some of the sites worth visiting include Photo.Net, Rangefinderforum, Filmwasters, and PhotographyToday. One thing to watch out for at these kind of sites is that many of us old guys get pretty opinionated about equipment and techniques, and the back and forth about old cameras sometimes yield more heat than light.