An Ansco under the tree meant heaven above …

Memar – a $40 bargain from Ansco

Toronto. After the war, every camera maker seemed to jump on the minicam (35mm) bandwagon. Many quickly adopted the standard of a leaf shutter, none interchangeable but focusing 45mm lens, and perhaps flash synchronization.

Usually rangefinders and faster lenses were reserved for slightly higher end models. Some cameras sported flash plugs; others had interchangeable front elements to modify the lens to make it a modest wide angle or telephoto lens. One could buy and add close-up lenses, filters, lens hoods, flash guns, leather eveready cases etc. to most cameras. The main target was the middle class buyer who could afford the under $100 price tag.

Ansco offered its versions as advertised for Christmas 1954 in LIFE magazine (p 104 of the Nov 15, 1954 issue). Germany was struggling with losing the war making it difficult to market its cameras in North America unless badged as American products (this camera was marketed as Ansco but made by Agfa in Germany). Of course, all this disappeared when the Japanese market took over after the Korean war and eliminated the fledgling American industry and most German cameras (except for the high end German and other European cameras both 35mm and 120 sizes).

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Kodak Canada down at the RIC

TorontoOur January 2019 meeting was a week later – 4th Wednesday – a couple of hours earlier – 6:00 pm – with no tables or chairs. Wayne was tied up so Clint generously drove Bob Lansdale and me to the meeting. It took 75 minutes to get there using the back streets for most of the way, arriving at the nearby parking garage on Victoria street off Dundas just a few short blocks from the RIC.

The PHSC sponsored one of the three exhibits opening January 23rd. It was a Ryerson Students exhibit of Kodak Canada artifacts selected from the vast collection held by the University’s archives. PHSC member, author, and photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo sent me this notice of the exhibition “True to the Eyes” in the main exhibition area.    Continue reading

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Digitization Approaches to Photographic Albums – review

Daphne Yuen

TorontoOn this chilly November evening the traffic from both east and west to downtown was bumper to bumper! Daphne arrived early complete with an entourage of Ryerson grads. A slim petite young lady, who gave her talk in a clear and confident manner, she is currently living and working in Hong Kong.

Daphne limited her talk to albums digitized in four British institutions, focussing mainly on the Victoria and Albert museum. She used illustrations shown in her thesis and in our journal, Photographic Canadiana, issue 44-2. Readers can refer to that article for more information. You can also download the complete thesis here in pdf format (available online from the Ryerson Library). Continue reading

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blossoms without petals

rose hips by garage wall
September 2006

Toronto. I am truly blessed having so many post ideas sent to me. This one came in Thursday from Goldie. In November 1954, two manufacturers took out ads in LIFE magazine but neither company used cameras in their ad.

On page 53  of the November 8th issue, Kodak elected to tout their Christmas card prints. As you may recall in the days when you used a post office and stamps as a slower and cheaper option to long distance telephone calls, it was fashionable to select a print and have many copies made with a cheery text message.

The copies were sent to friends and family as Christmas cards. The Kodak ad for B&W prints was a welcome respite from their many ads featuring, cameras and colour photos.

On page 113 of the same issue, Capehart-Farnsworth announced their special television set  (with a screen up to an amazingly wide 21 inches diagonal including the part under the opaque bezel). Their fresh egg was to use a polaroid filter on the CRT to eliminate glare and reflections. Room lights could be left brightly shining, No need to pull the drapes, you could even watch television in daylight!

Naturally the idea failed to gain traction. Their set had to have an extra bright CRT to compensate for the loss of illumination through the filter, shortening the life of the most expensive component in a television set. Besides, day-time television was crummy in 1954.

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turning night into day

Horseshoe Curve
Altoona, Pennsylvania

Toronto. Americans like to go BIG! In 1954, a famous Pennsylvanian railway loop called the Horseshoe Curve celebrated its centenary with an amazing night time photograph using 6,000 flash bulbs donated by Sylvania.

The bulbs were connected by some 31 miles of wire. It took six weeks to set up the lighting for this single shot of three trains running through the loop near Altoona PA.

A good friend and PHSC member found this exciting photograph on pp 36, 37 in the November 1st, 1954  edition of LIFE magazine. Have a look!

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feel like going to Vancouver?

Vancouver BC Camera Show this spring

Toronto. Tonchi Martinic out on the west coast  sent me an email announcing the next Vancouver camera show this April 28th.

Tonchi writes, “Dear sisters and brothers in the camera collecting community, I am happy to announce that April 28th marks the 15th anniversary of my camera show. There seems to be a greater interest in my show this year, and I am very much looking forward to it. I would greatly appreciate it if I could receive some more of your [PHSC] photo journals/magazines.”

To see all the details, click on the show icon at the above left. Or call Tonchi at the number shown in the details.



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lighting up history

Glass plate- click for reversal

Toronto. Around a century ago and earlier, cameras used glass plates to hold the sensitive media. Since the luminance values were reversed, the image on the plate was a negative. To view the image you needed an educated eye, and a light box to evenly illuminate the negative.

Today we have oodles of discarded monitors using thin fluorescent tube for even lighting across the entire screen. Member Harold Staats came across this Youtube video showing how one person created a modern light box from a discarded c2002 Windows monitor.

Watch it and see how you can turn a piece of old computer gear into a useful light box so you can see and photograph the old glass plate negatives you unearthed at one of our fairs or auctions!

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a wicked source of information

Elon Developer

Toronto. Have you ever wondered where you could find photographic chemicals information on one site? One long time member suggests you look here on wikipedia.

The illustration is for ELON, Kodak’s brand name for Metol developer.

As a kid I used Metol/Elon and Hydroquinone as developers using formulae from Kodak in a then new Photo-Lab Index – a massive loose-leaf book with a pages/sections subscription that was the Wikipedia of the day for amateur (and some professional) photographers who ‘rolled their own” in the darkroom.

Note: The Photo-Lab Index link is to a free pdf of the condensed paperback version.

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Fuji Instax products at Indigo books

Fuji Instax at Indigo Books

Toronto. I have written many posts on Instax cameras and Lomography but never showed this local source, Indigo Books, They have the Instax for $22.95 plus HST for two 10 packs of instant prints – plus they have lots of Fuji cameras and accessories for the instant film crowd.

For more posts and info on lomography and Fuji Instax, just type instax in the search bar at the upper right of any page. My thanks to a long time member for this suggestion.


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in a minute? why so long?

Ad for Polaroid (p 5)
LIFE Sep 27, 1954 issue

Toronto. In the 1950s, the Polaroid cameras were a revolution in photography. Take a shot (always so great in ads) and in a minute you could see the result in crisp black and white luminance values. Passé today with the instantaneous full colour result on a smartphone or professional DSLR, but back then it was revolutionary when traditional photography meant waiting days or weeks to see if you managed to capture the moment.

Once again my friend George has unearthed a charming black and white ad in LIFE magazine for the 1954 model of the amazing Polaroid camera. If you long for the day of pictures in a minute, our friends over at Lomogaphy have just the camera for you, using the Fuji Instax film (but in full colour).

By the way, pp 63-64 celebrates Marilyn Bell’s swim across Lake Ontario. A year later our editor Bob Lansdale recorded Marilyn starting her crossing of the English Channel in France and her landing near the white cliffs of Dover! Bob’s eldest son recorded the event and posted it in detail to Facebook.

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