the way we were …

Henry’s on Queen West in the big smoke c1945

Toronto. A popular camera chain, Henry’s, began here in Toronto over a century ago.

This May, the chain announced it would be closing a number of stores as it restructured. Then Henry’s head, Andy Stein, spoke with us back in October, 2009.

When the closures were announced, author, photographer, occasional PHSC member (and speaker), Mike Filey wrote this column in the Toronto Sun.

I spent many delightful hours in their old store just south of Queen as I changed and augmented my collection at the time. Thanks to our editor Bob Lansdale for sending on the info from member Jim Hall of Guelph. I had heard the announcement on the TV news, but forgot to put it in a post.

Posted in history | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on the way we were …

another auction just across the lake

Auction in Ohio. Click to see a sample lot (CDV of Tom Thumb and Wife)

Toronto. Here is another chance to augment your collection.

On the 17th of this month American Heritage Auctions in Ohio are holding a photographic auction hosted by Live Auctioneers who have the lots listed in this online catalogue.

If you want to add some Americana to your collection, here is your chance. You can bid on line.

Posted in photos | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on another auction just across the lake

we have a winner!

PhotoEd Winner by Julie Vincent of Calgary.

Toronto. PhotoEd editor Rita Godlevskis sent me this bulletin the other day. In it she announces the winners of her “The Look West” photo challenge. First prize goes to Julie Vincent of Calgary for the portrait shown at left.

Rita says her Spring/Summer 2020 issue is now out both in hard copy and in digital (different content than the hard copy). In the digital copy (page 79) we have a full page ad that links back here. NOTE: in the spirit of new by-laws to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections, our May 31 Fair was cancelled (hopefully the outdoor trunk sale in July and the fall fair will go ahead – I will post future details as we learn them).

Meantime, enjoy Rita’s work online and seriously consider buying a subscription to help out (and learn even more about the art too).

Posted in magazine | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on we have a winner!

on the banks of the river Mara

Immortal by Kyriakos Kaziras

Toronto. I guess you won’t be visiting France any time soon. However; the Galerie GADCOLLECTION is still there and needs your support in this year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The galerie represents many photographers. Featured is the Greek photographer Kyrianos Kaziras and his series “On the Banks of the River Mara”. The river Mara is in Kenya so you can imagine the photographs he took.

The galerie writes, “Kyriakos KAZIRAS was born in Athens in 1966. He encountered photography at the early age of seven, when he received his first camera. His paternal grandfather was a painter and his maternal grandfather a photographer. This gave him the opportunity during his younger years to develop a strong affinity with art and picture composition.

“His parents moved to Geneva and the young Kyriakos KAZIRAS learnt French there. He studied French literature at the Sorbonne. At the same time, he has kept on practicing photography and he bought a second hand Praktika [Praktica], a medium-format camera. After graduating, he worked for a society specialized in staging shop windows, when photography caught him back.

“It was during a trip to Zimbabwe that Kyriakos KAZIRAS felt the urge to photograph. The African landscapes, with their vivid lights and the wild animals, acted as a catalyst for Kyriakos KAZIRAS’ photo passion, which was until that moment only a hobby. Thereafter, Kyriakos KAZIRAS went on excursions all around the world, meeting men and animals to photograph them, a personal way to report the magic beauty and the fragility of our planet.”

Posted in people | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on on the banks of the river Mara

who needs a mirror now anyway?

Ben shows how DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras differ.

Toronto. Digital cameras – is there any other kind these days? I often resort to my iPod Touch (I have an iPod Touch 7) since its 8 mp camera is usually in my pocket while all the other cameras are in my den. The site Cultured Kiwi has this nifty comparison chart at left between mirrorless and DSLR designs. Personally, once a decent eye-level view was added, I was sold on the design. Most professionals use the bulkier, heavier,  DSLR cameras that seem to do better at light balance and noise control.

Generally the newer the design, the higher the resolution and ISO of the camera sensor. My back-up Sony F828 is a beautiful camera but too slow and a bit low resolution these days. RAW shooting is painful with the F828 unlike my NEX-6 (now a really old mirrorless design) which is fast to use in RAW mode and has a far higher ISO.

An added benefit to mirrorless is that the shorter lens to sensor distance of the design means there is room for an adaptor between lenses and the camera making the use of many traditional lenses practical. For example, I have a basic adaptor that allows most Leica lenses and lens accessories to be connected to my Sony NEX-6.

Modern day phones have a built-in camera that usually makes jpg files easily downloaded to computers, sent to others electronically, and developed either in phone or computer. My iPod Touch uses the HEIC wrapper as a default. This “still” format wraps a short video giving the Apple look to stills which can be easily converted to jpg files for all to view.

N.B. Take a peak at Ben Kepka’s Cultured Kiwi site and enjoy your virtual visit to New Zealand.

Posted in camera | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on who needs a mirror now anyway?

just like the other one

Toronto. Well, we held our second executive meeting via ZOOM and co-ordinated by Celio (great work!). The PHSC will continue using ZOOM at least until the pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Screen Grab May 6 2020

Posted in events | Tagged , , | Comments Off on just like the other one

gizmos and gadgets

Ricoh Auto Shot ad in LIFE c 1964

Toronto, In the 1960s, camera makers fought to gain market share. A fresh idea might be swept up by the competition – or left to linger and die an orphan. Ricoh cameras were made by Riken Optical in Japan.

According to McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras (11th edition), Riken is the anglicized Japanese abbreviation for the “Institute for Physical and Chemical Research” founded in 1917. The company exists today as Ricoh. In 1937  Riken bought out Olympic Camera Works to make its own cameras. In 1963, the company became Ricoh Company Ltd and continued to manufacture many business products like copiers as well as cameras.  Seeing the way the film camera was going, Ricoh ceased camera manufacturing to put its resources elsewhere.

This advertisement from the May 15, 1964 issue of LIFE magazine (page R6 – about p 102) shows how Ricoh camera attempted to carve out its niche in photography. The idea of using the camera’s conical lens cap as a flash gun was clever, but no one else seems to have copied the idea. The spring wound shutter and film wind mechanism is reminiscent of the German Robot cameras. Ricoh does say the light meter surrounding the lens is CdS although it looks like a selenium cell as described by McKeown’s book.

Thanks again to my good friend George Dunbar who discovered this bit of history and sent it along to me. By the way, LIFE magazine ads can also show other consumer product histories in North America as well as the various ad campaigns of the last century.

Posted in history | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on gizmos and gadgets

Rokkin’ lenses

LIFE ad December 1963 for Rokkor lenses and Minoltas

Toronto. By 1963, the Japanese Optical industry was a tsunami roaring across the Western world. No longer viewed as copy cats of German technology, Japan was rightfully recognized as a serious contender for high quality optical products.

A December 6, 1963 advertisement in LIFE (p 91) was typical of the new view of Japan and its products.  Minolta touted that “these lenses [Rokkor]  are one reason you get better pictures with Minolta cameras“. Just over six years earlier I bought my first good 35mm camera – a Minolta Super A with an f/1.8 Rokkor lens. I was blown away with that lens’s clarity and quality. The camera used a behind the lens leaf shutter and had a small contingent of alternative lenses – all Rokkor lenses. The biggest selling point to me: it was a fraction of the price of an equivalent German camera in 1957.

Quietly, I was impressed by the quality of both the photographs it took and the care taken in its manufacture. About a year later I bought a high end German camera made in Dresden (Russian at the time) – an Exakta VX IIa. The lenses by Steinheil and Angenieux were well made but the camera was a disappointment in its construction. It went back to Toronto to fix a pressure plate that scratched the film and returned with the same plate now polished and bright – no flat black coating (like the original had) was ever added.

The mirror return failed and thereafter I had to take off the lens and set the mirror by hand. The lens mount eventually failed and I had to manually spread the tiny slots to make the camera hold lenses steady once again. Interior stops shredded over time. Gears were thin, not robust like the Leicas of the day. About 15 years later, I bought a Leica M4 which was exceptionally well built, but even today I remember the little Minolta and how well it was made and worked. The Rokkor lens put to rest my own view of Japanese vs. German quality.

My thanks to George Dunbar for passing along this bit of history.

Posted in history | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rokkin’ lenses

we usually eat our peppers …

Edward Weston – Peppers (partial) 1929

Toronto. Edward Weston (1886 – 1958) was a famous American photographer. in 1973 I bought a coffee table sized book celebrating 50 years of his work including a biography written by Ben Maddow and published by Aperture Books. The 285 page book was published on fine quality paper and reproduced a selection of his work at the highest printed image standard. Hard to imagine such quality today, especially when the book cost $25 at the time.

Weston was as notorious for his affairs (like that with photographer Tina Modotti) as he was famous for his photographs. Do a search online and learn more about this accomplished American photographer and his most famous works.


Posted in history | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on we usually eat our peppers …

a touch of plastic

making a spash

Toronto. The folks at Lomography are offering a simple film camera complete with a roll of their colour film (positive or negative) and a clear waterproof housing good for about 10m depth.

Their press release states, “Dear Film Photography Friends and Press Partners,

“We are excited to announce the release of Analogue Aqua – Lomography Simple Use Reloadable Camera + Underwater Case. Available from our online shop and selected retailers, the latest addition to our reusable Simple Use family lets you dive down to depths of 10m and comes in two preloaded editions – with our Color Negative 400 film for classic analogue character or with our LomoChrome Purple film with special color shifting compounds that yield extraordinary violet hues.

“Available at 39.9 USD
“Delivery in May
“Preloaded with Color Negative 400:

“Preloaded with LomoChrome Purple:

” lightweight, pocket sized, reloadable film camera is the perfect travel companion. Whatever the weather, the special edition Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera + Underwater Case is a must for any analogue adventure. Built to last and super versatile, this intrepid image maker is perfect for beginners and includes three vivid Color Gel flash filters and a powerful in-built flash.

“An analogue original with added underwater appeal, this is an entirely reusable unit. Once users have shot their first film, they can either refill their Underwater Case with a brand new preloaded Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera or reload the camera itself with any 35 mm film.”

Posted in camera | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on a touch of plastic