First CAMERAMA show of 2018

January 14, 2018

Toronto. Friend and PHSC member Gary Perry reminds us all that his first CAMERAMA show of 2018 is on JANUARY 14th, 2018.

Click the icon at left for details or email Gary at

He is also on Facebook at Camera Shows

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Grant Munro dead at 94

Grant Munro in 1947

Toronto. Years ago, Grant Munro of  the National Film Board (NFB) made animated films that were Oscar contenders. Ironically,  Grant never owned a computer or cell phone!

Grant created all his animations manually since the NFB of the day was without any computing capacity. (The computers of the 1950s and 1960s were massive room size beasts with puny computing capability. Even high end computers of the 1970s and 1980s were less powerful than a modern smart phone.)

His big event was collaboration with Norm McLaren on the 1953 Oscar winning Neighbours for the NFB in 1952.

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Arriflex turrets build up post war

LIFE photo for Arriflex cameras in early 1947

Toronto. My thanks to George Dunbar for this LIFE photograph in the February 1947 issue and his sharp eye that identified the turrets as those for the famous professional Arriflex cameras. The photograph shows the unintended problems caused by dividing post war Germany into zones controlled by the various victorious countries.

The German Arriflex could not obtain lenses because Zeiss was now in the Russian zone while the alternative lens maker, Schneider had fallen in the French zone, neither of whom could (would?) send lenses to Arri of Munich in the American zone.

Arriflex cameras are well known today as the camera of choice for Hollywood movie making. And of course Zeiss, Schneider and Arriflex are still in business.

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Whittaker Micro 16 camera ad

Whittaker Micro-16.
Click to see
Jan 1947 LIFE ad.

Toronto. On my 25th birthday, my sister, gave me a copy of Cooper’s 1958 ULTRA-miniature photography book as a present, so when George Dunbar sent me a 1947 LIFE ad for Whittaker’s Micro-16 camera, I tracked down the book in my bookcase.

No luck looking in the book. Cooper did not show the Micro-16 camera. A browse on the web and I discovered why. The Micro-16 was made from 1946/7 to 1950 when it disappeared from the marketplace.

The Whittaker factory was based in Hollywood, California and made aircraft parts during the war. Afterwards the little company branched out. The Micro-16s were machined from small blocks of aluminum and while little more than cheap box cameras, their size made them initially attractive to police and detectives. The Micro-16 could fit into an American cigarette package! Continue reading

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Kine Exakta in 1950

Exakta Varex IIa
from the late 1950s
with an auto-Quinon
58mm f/1.9 lens

Toronto. Many thanks to George Dunbar for the 1950 Popular Photography ad featuring the famous 35mm Exakta V (Exakta Varex here). I bought my Varex IIa  in the late 1950s being impressed by advertisements that promoted the wide range of speeds and lenses offered,  plus the large viewfinder and through the lens viewing.  The scene through the Exakta view finder and lens is breath taking to one who previously used Kodak boxes and folders, or looked through a Leica screw mount camera viewfinder.

Click on the icon for the Varex IIa (Actually named a VXIIa in the States) to see the ad for the vintage Kine Exakta V. The Exakta cameras originally used roll film or small glass plates. Post war, the Kine Exakta was also offered. Ihagee was one of the first if not the first camera maker to offer a single lens reflex model that used 35 mm cine film in standard 24 or 36 exposure cassettes. The designer was left handed hence the placement of the rewind lever to the left side.

I bought a second Exakta in the late 1960s (an older Varex VX) when it became evident that my Varex IIa was suffering a serious mechanical defect. Both models were similar to the model V of 1950. The later Varex IIa used standard pc connectors for flash instead of the unique two pin connectors used earlier. Years later, I learned that the Exakta’s reflex capability came at a significant penalty. Lenses from normal to wide angle had to use retro-focus designs which resulted in serious compromises in resolution and distortion correction.  Surprisingly, the prints from these lenses looked very good indeed.

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Innovations from Graflex in 1949.

December 1949 Graflex Ad inPopular Photography

Toronto. Thanks once again to George Dunbar for this crisp ad about the Graphic/Graflex cameras. It appeared in the December 1949 issue of Popular Photography.

The big deal on the Graflex was twofold: An extra bright viewfinder courtesy of an Ektalite field lens and an auto full aperture lens which closed to a predetermined stop just before taking an exposure.

Nearly a decade later I bought an Exakta 35mm SLR with a beautiful bright viewfinder using the same concept to give a bright image and lenses that could be preset to stop down before the exposure was made –  one lens stopped down automatically and the other two with a special pre-set aperture ring. This was my first experience with such a large and bright viewfinder.

As to the Graphic, it boasted a coated and colour corrected lens with built-in flash capability at all speeds (i.e. it had a leaf shutter in the middle of the lens).

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Seasons Greetings Christmas 2017

Toronto. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at the Photographic Historical Society of Canada (PHSC).

Courtesy of Current Catalog dot Com

This trio of snowmen are one of the many cards you can purchase from Current Catalog.

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Delores Gubasta on Don Newlands Archive – review

Delores Gubasta with some Don Newlands prints

Toronto. Our second speaker at the October 2017 meeting was Ms Delores Gubasta. Delores, owner of the web site Klixpix, spoke and showed examples of photographs taken over a half century earlier by Don Newlands. She spoke tonight about the Don Newlands photographs and how she was introduced to Newlands near the end of his life when he lived in Cobourg. 

The first Newlands photograph she saw was one he took of Pierre Trudeau rowing to Cuba. The 150th anniversary edition of PhotoEd magazine featured an article by Delores and the Trudeau- Cuba-boat photograph. Continue reading

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Sam Schlifer – December 18, 2017

Sam Schlifer
by Robert Lansdale

Toronto. Our good friend and fellow PHSC member Sam Schlifer passed away this past Monday, December 18, 2017. I last saw and spoke with Sam at our fall fair on October 15th.

Sam joined the PHSC back in 1980. Amongst other things, he enjoyed collecting and using Leica gear and 3D photos and accessories. In 1983 he and I swapped a couple of Leica lenses. I got an old VAROB enlarger version of the famous Elmar while I traded Sam an old camera version.

Our membership secretary, Wayne Gilbert, sent me a note. He said, “I’m sorry that I missed the announcement. Sam was one of my very first customers at the Camera Hobby Centre in Crang Plaza in 1957. At that time he was working for Murphin’s Heating and had a huge collection of 2”x 3” photos of wartime stuff which he often brought into my store to discuss.

“We kept our relationship over these 60+ years and, with many other people, I won’t forget him.”

My thanks to Bob Lansdale for this colour image of Sam taken recently. Sam wrote a couple of  articles in the Photographic Canadiana, and was involved for a time in the executive of the PHSC as I recall.

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Nikola (Nick) Njegovan 1944 – 2017

Nike Njegovan
by Robert Lansdale

Toronto. Nick passed away a few months back on July 3, 2017 at McNally House in Grimsby, Ontario. Nick  was a well respected teacher of Photography. He joined our society in 2004 and was a frequent exhibitor at our fairs.

One of the condolences on the funeral home website is this image at a fair taken by long time PHSC member Harold Staats.

We will miss seeing Nick at our fairs.

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