Penta ZOOM Meeting

Toronto. We held our fifth COVID-19 inspired exec meeting via ZOOM. Kudos to Celio for arranging the meeting once again. Key changes are shown below. As Toronto has entered stage 3, we can now schedule our trunk show. The July Trunk Show will now take place August 23rd, 2020 from 8am to Noon outdoors at Trident Hall. More details will be posted shortly. Save the date!

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it’s on! it’s on!

Trunk Sale August 23, 2020 8 to Noon.

Toronto. After months of COVID-19 restrictions, we can finally host an outdoor event at the Trident Centre. Our first camera show is the Trunk Sale delayed from last month and now ready to go August 23rd!

Click on John and  Sonja’s poster icon at left for a larger poster filled with the pertinent details!

Cameras, accessories, film, darkroom, images etc. have all been available at past sales. One of the first shows in the area this year!

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doing the Nile in style

c1884 Canadians are off to help Britain on the Nile

Toronto. In 1884-5, Egypt was at war with the Sudan. Britain (and France) controlled the country and Britain fought to keep the Suez Canal open as it materially shortened the route to the East.  To bolster the forces trying to re-capture Khartoum in Sudan, Britain’s Lord Wolseley cabled his friend in Manitoba’s Red River fight, Colonel George T. Denison to recruit “a force of river-men such as had won his admiration in the past”. These volunteers came from all across the Dominion.

The result was this collection of men sent to the Nile via the ship Ocean Queen. They be came part of the forces fighting the Mahdist Revolt or War. Thanks are owed to friend and fellow PHSC member for sharing this bit of history. Canadians on the Nile in 1884! Who would have thought such a thing was possible?

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it’s in the bag

Get genuine Kodak Processing in America

Toronto.  Remember film? The exposed film had to be processed so the results (good, bad, or indifferent) could be viewed. For years Kodachrome was purchased with processing included, but along the line the American government decreed Kodak had to separate the film cost and the processing cost so other companies could process slide film.

Kodak then joined the fray by offering the prepaid mailers so American customers could still get guaranteed Kodak processing for both Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides. As far as I can recall, in Canada, we always sent Kodachrome back to Kodak for processing since the mailer was included with the film price. I rarely used Ektachrome which being a simpler process like Agfachrome could be processed locally.

The above ad appeared on page 72 in the August 26, 1966 issue of LIFE magazine. My heartfelt thanks goes out to fellow PHSC member George Dunbar for sharing his research with us.

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hop on the band wagon

Ad in LIFE for Yashica’s Electro 35 camera

Toronto. Last century many new (to North America and Europe) camera makers incorporated and touted the latest fads hoping to increase market share. Yashica was no exception with its Electro 35. Yashica used Space Age, Atomic age, and Transistors while promoting its Electro 35.

Two big ideas in the 1960s were transistors (remember transistor radios?) and lasers (holograms, CD and DVD readers/writers, pointers, etc.). Each transistor is equivalent to a simple triode vacuum tube but far smaller and more efficient. Transistors took off first, predating the integrated circuit which runs today’s personal computers and has 3 million or so transistors on one tiny chip.

Yashica called its latest 35mm camera the “Electro 35” and touted its precision FOUR silicon transistor light sensor and its f/1.7 lens. This combination allowed shutter speeds from 30 seconds to 1/500th second depending on the light and film speed. All for a measly $100 US in the USA.

This ad for the Electro 35 appeared in the August 19th, 1966 issue of LIFE magazine on page 77. The ad focussed on American consumers since another company represented Yashica in Canada. The Electro 35 was just one of the many steps from the seriously technical Daguerreotype process and its primitive cameras of the 1840s to the ubiquitous smartphone cameras of today. Thanks to my good friend George Dunbar who shared this piece of history with me.

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down periscope …

Periscope Lens in Smartphone courtesy of How-To Geek

Toronto. Do you remember submarine movies? Somewhere in the plot you would hear “down periscope” before a dive alarm sounded. Recently, I was surprised to see the term being used today to refer to a smartphone-sized telephoto lens design,

By using this technique, a lens physically longer than the width of a smartphone can be used. An alternative of a smaller size lens and a smaller sensor instead would cause a deterioration of the image.

You can read about this lens design and why it is needed in today’s world of smartphones. (It is said that a smartphone camera is the most popular in the world today.) The blog, “How-To Geek” published an article by Harry Guinness on August 4th titled, “What Is a Periscope Lens for Smartphone Cameras?. At the bottom of the page that I linked in this post is a paragraph about Harry Guinness including this link to his bio.

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both sides now

4×5 glass dry plate wth interior flash

Toronto. Most of us collect photographs as well as cameras, equipment, books, ephemera, etc. The photographs are usually selected for their process, quality, studio, or possibly subject matter. The picture at left is a positive image of a 4×5 dry glass plate negative. I chose it originally as an example of dry plates and flash.

The other day, my good friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar, sent me this thought provoking article by Bill Shapiro. The article titled, “Other People’s Snapshots” was printed in the August 2nd edition of New York Times Magazine. Shapiro uses old photos from his personal collection to offer this different perspective – who is the subject? What were they doing then? Now?

The photograph at left of the young fellow in my dry plate seems to have been taken some 125 years ago (give or take). The shadow he casts suggests a flash exposure, but the room illumination suggests it’s fill flash. The room’s wall paper and furnishings shout out Victorian era. The negative shows no sign of retouching to modify its contrast. There is no signs of electricity here. The piano suggests a degree of prosperity, as does the diploma on the wall. Where was the house? What did the young man do with his life? Did he Prosper? Go to University? Enter a profession? What was his name?

NB. My post title is from Joni Mitchell’s 1969 tune ( her album called ‘Clouds’). Her song was covered by many artists of the time.

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a wonderful talk on photographic history

Girls at Switchboard, courtesy of Luminous-Lint

Toronto. It seems everyone has gone on line in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Founder Alan Griffiths of Luminous-Lint fame (down in Halifax, NS) will be speaking this coming August 9th (Sunday). As with some of these talks, there is a small fee involved.

Alan says his talk is, “An introduction to Luminous-Lint with ample time for questions.

“Grasping the complexity of photohistory is dependent upon research, analysis and the creation of visual examples and texts that clarify the issues. Luminous-Lint seeks to delve deep to spot the trends but always using the photographs as the research base.

“Since 2005 Luminous-Lint has been working from the images towards the arguments and explanatory texts. By bringing together over 100,000 hand-picked images from over 3,600 public and private collections one can start to see patterns. For the last seven years the major concentration of effort has been on how to construct increasingly meaningful histories of photography. These started out as naive pages on different genres and regions of the world but they are now evolving into well-structured pieces and some have grown into book-sized topics illustrated with thousands of examples.

“This illustrated talk will provide an overview to Luminous-Lint, how it all comes together and why. It will be a light-hearted romp but will give you meaningful insights into the history, present situation and future plans for Luminous-Lint.

“Many of you subscribe to Luminous-Lint and provide photographs and information to enhance it. This is a rare opportunity to see what is going on at a very personal level.

“Space will be limited so book early.”

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you scratch my back …

LFE ad for a Revere 1966 camera offer by Scotch Tape (USA only).

Toronto. … and I’ll scratch yours. Or so the saying goes. In an August 5th, 1966 ad on page 71 of LIFE magazine, Scotch tape maker 3M in Minnesota collaborated with camera maker Revere to offer a Kodak 126 cartridge camera for just $3.95 US plus a plaid tab from  a roll of Scotch tape.

The offer was, “Not good in Canada”. While LIFE magazine was sold here, its contents, editorial and commercial, were solidly American. Many of the products advertised in LIFE were also sold here from branch offices or separate companies. Some goods were manufactured here, others imported, either in parts or fully assembled.

Revere, better know for inexpensive 8mm movie cameras, made a few still cameras too. The camera offered, a “Revere Automatic 500”, was nothing more than a glorified box camera. Other models of the camera offered a flash cube mechanism and an exposure meter. The limitation to American addresses usually indicated the products were distributed in Canada by an independent company who elected not to offer the same “deal”.

My thanks goes out to friend George Dunbar who shared his research with me.

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a little BIT more

Exakta VX IIa Shutter setting dial for B, T, Speeds c1958

Toronto. Over the years from photography’s beginning in 1839 to current times there have been a few trends. Cameras have gotten smaller. Images became more realistic beginning with monochrome photos across part of the visible spectrum, then across all of it (panchromatic), colour – first by hand then with rudimentary dyes trying to mimic life and finally digital colour covering a much wider gamut. Cameras and processes were very technical and difficult at first on down to so simple anyone can take a decent photo today. Media and lenses were dog slow at first, moving on to super fast media and fast lenses. Costs have continued to spiral downwards.

In a post a few days back called “why the tripod?” you met ‘B‘ and ‘I‘ – the Bulb and Instantaneous shutter settings used when dry plates came into vogue (c1870). The instantaneous setting bloomed as media increased in speed. ‘I‘ changed into a series of shutter speeds eventually reaching and exceeding 1/1000 second. And the Bulb setting, where you hold down the shutter release to keep the shutter open, was augmented by a ‘T‘ setting where you pressed the shutter release to open the shutter and then pressed it again to close the shutter. The ‘T‘ stands for Time (sometimes it was ‘Z‘ or Zeit which is Time in German).

Over the years after shutters came out, the shutter settings often reverted to eitherB‘ or ‘T‘ since the speed timed could be measured using either setting.

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