Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Certo Dolly Super-Sport

A Super-Sport was one of my first old folders, acquired about six years ago. I did quite a lot of photography with it, but then got distracted with other cameras from my collection and traded it away. Of course, I later started to regret not having my Dolly around, so I picked up a couple more not long ago.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


That is the first frame from the first roll through my new Yashica Lynx 5000E. Seems a good omen.

The 5000E is a hefty camera, though not quite as big as the Lynx 14 I had some time ago. The difference is a slightly smaller lens; the 5000E has a 1.8 Yashinon, while the Lynx 14 sported a massive f1.4. Otherwise, they are pretty much the same camera.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Argus Cameras of 1955

Thanks to Carlos Avilez, I have been able to add a page to the Ephemera section of my Vintage Cameras site displaying a sales brochure with details of the 1955 offerings from Argus.

Carlos' flickr photostream under the name Soulrac has some extraordinary images, including many made with simple cameras from the period illustrated in the brochure.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Some images from my two-dollar Olympus.

I prefer the lesser degree of automation of my earlier 35-RC, but the point-and-shoot capability of the stylus is seductive, and the image quality from Olympus lenses is always superb.

Much of the appeal for me of the little Olympus Infinity Stylus lies in its polished black form. I think it is a good example of the design genius of Maitani who was so good at synthesizing combinations of innovation and tradition.

The design of the Infinity Stylus packed fully automated 35mm photography into a container that would slip effortlessly into a pocket. At the same time, the sculpted black case suggests the beautifully crafted small boxes from Japanese tradition known as Inro and their sash cord toggles, the Netsuke.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Camera Design

I picked up this plastic point-and-shoot camera recently at my local thrift store for two dollars. Judging from the graphic theme on the front, it was built in 2003, which marked the 75th birthday of Mickey Mouse. Conceptually, the Mickey Mouse camera with fixed aperture and a single shutter speed is essentially a box camera, similar in operation to the earliest photo image-making instruments. At the same time, the simple plastic camera features a number of refinements including the sleek, molded shape, an integral lens cover, and -- most importantly from the perspective of economy and efficiency -- a thumbwheel film advance. All of those features were pioneered by the Japanese company, Olympus, whose chief of design for four decades was Yoshihisa Maitani.

Coincidentally, I also acquired at the same time, place and price an Olympus Infinity Stylus, also known as the "mju". The Olympus is also a point-and-shoot; it first appeared in 1990, but it is a very sophisticated instrument, indeed, with auto-everything -- including the film advance, exposure and focusing. The compact, organic shape of the Stylus evolved from an earlier Olympus called the XA which dates from 1979; that camera also had a lens cover that was integral to the camera's front structure. While the Stylus, had a motorized film advance, the manual thumbwheel advance was a feature of Maitani's first great camera design, the Pen, which appeared in 1959. The Pen was also especially significant to camera design history and evolution in it's price point, which was about about a fifth of that of similar quality cameras then on the market.

All of the above Maitani/Olympus history comes from a nicely done web site developed by a Maitani fan in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I shot another roll of Kodak BW400CN in the thrift store Olympus 35-RC. I'm going to have a hard time getting rid of this camera, in spite of the fact that I have two others.

I guess part of the problem is that the monetary value of any of my old cameras seems insignificant compared to their over-all worth to me. Each camera is unique in the way that it captures images of the world, as well as in the evidence of past use which each carries. I wonder how the previous owners regarded their cameras, and I feel a sense of obligation to those photographers of the past.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

old machines


I've had three or four Argus C3 cameras; the only one left in my possession is a Matchmatic model, dating from 1962. The camera has a few surface blemishes, but it works perfectly, and has a phenominally sharp lens, the f3.5/50mm coated Cintar.

My thanks to Julio F for his reminder to revisit the C3.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


One of the perks of city life is access to a lot of garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. Since coming to Albuquerque, I've picked up a five-dollar Agfa Clack and two Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim at 99-cents each. My latest acquisition is a six-dollar Olympus 35rc.

I always pick up any camera that says "Olympus", but when I retrieved this one from the jumble in the bin at the thrift store, it took me a long moment to realize what I was holding because it was so unexpected. The 35rc is a great Chrome-Age classic.

I cleaned the lens, put in a new battery, and took the camera along to a Saturday car show.

I've already got two of these cameras which I considered bargains at nearly ten times the price I paid for the last one. I suppose I shouldn't keep this one, but I think I'm going to have to run a few more rolls through it before I can part with it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009