The front of this establishment was a store not far from the home in which I was reared. On a recent trip home, I was surprised to see it is still standing.
My only waterproof camera – the Minolta Weathermatic Dual 35. It became available in the late 80s. It has two electronically selectable, internal autofocus lens settings, 35 and 50mm. When the front optic is covered by water the camera defaults to a fixed focus setting for all underwater shooting and is rated only to a depth of 1/2 atmosphere. Not a serious underwater camera, but great for snorkeling, canoeing, beach, waterpark, and general photography anywhere one would not take a camera that might fall prey to water and sand. Below, the underwater viewfinder is strapped on for easy viewing through a mask at either 35mm or 50mm. Oh yeah, it floats.
Canon’s final iteration of their flagship professional 35mm film camera before the autofocus EOS (and popular by manual focus amateur and professional fans long after the EOS), the Canon F-1n. New in 1983 the body without lens was $600. As a serious amateur photographer, this was my primary camera for 20+ years, until I finally boarded the new millenium’s digital train. The F-1n and the A-1 were always loaded (one with Kodachrome and the other with Plus-x) and in my bag with assorted FD lenses, a couple of Vivitar flashes, and accoutrements.
I won’t take the time to espouse all her virtues, but it and the available accessories was the consummate professional camera of its time. It has interchangeable viewfinders, focusing and metering screens. The Titanium shutter is electronically coupled from 8 seconds to 1/2000. X-sync is 1/90. With the battery removed the shutter could still be released mechanically from 1/90 to 1/2000, a feature that saved the photo for me more than once. It is pictured here with the lens to which it was primarily married for all those years, a Tokina 35-135mm f3.5 zoom.
My first A-series Canon was actually the AE-1. It is the only one of my cameras I do not still have. After moving up to this A-series flagship, the A-1, I traded my AE-1 for my very first computer, a Commodore 64! It is pictured with the fast f1.4 50mm lens. That lens is still one of the best pieces of glass I own…I have never been able to find a single flaw in this lens.
The A-1 is the very first camera to offer fully automatic, light meter coupled, microprocessor programmed selection of both aperture settings and the 30 seconds to 1/1000 shutter speeds. True auto exposure for the very first time. Shutter release is fully electronic, requiring the 6v photo cell. X-sync is 1/60th second.
And so began my love for all things Canon. The B&H Auto 35 Reflex is a Canon EXEE produced from the late 60s through the early 70s and re-branded as the B&H for sale in the west. This one has Canon’s EX 50mm f1.8 standard lens. Canon also made a 35, 100 and 135mm f3.5 lenses that are not easily exchanged. The shutter’s fully mechanical B, 1/8 – 1/500 speeds are fired without the 1.3v mercury battery used for TTL CdS metering. Shutter priority metering is achieved by match needle within the viewfinder. Aperature settings are not on the lens but on the ring surrounding the film rewind lever. X-sync is 1/60 by means of a PC socket. On the front is the spring loaded self-timer shutter release and the QL stands for Canon’s quick load film system the Auto 35/EXEE employed.
Dad’s 2 1/4 roll film (6x6cm) twin lens reflex, the Minolta Autocord 75mm f3.5. Below is a poorly exposed chrome of dad with it around his neck. He kept a sunshield and yellow filter in the accessory kit on the strap. I still have them but the leather strap did not survive. This photo was probably shot with the Argus sometime in the late 50s.
This is another chrome shot with the Argus c.1958 at the camera shop in St. Thomas in which dad purchased the Minolta. A fellow photography enthusiast and shipmate poses in front of Jack’s Cameras. The cameras and cigars were duty free.
This is a recent scan of a Kodachrome shot some 65 years ago by my father of his father and uncle with the Argus C3 from my last post. Back then Kodachrome only came in one speed, 10 ASA. Good light was a must. I’ve always loved the colors in this photograph with the swing’s blue and the cane’s beiges repeated in Uncle Max’s shirt. Almost to a slide, Dad’s Kodaks have held up very well. I think this one is remarkable for it’s age and a testiment to a well composed and exposed 35mm positive film using technology from a more simple time.
Top: The Brick Bottom: with the original never-ready case
Sometime early in my second decade(early 70’s), I asked Dad for a camera. He questioned me, “do you just want to snap pictures or do you want to learn to take photographs?” I told him I wanted to take photos like I saw in National Geographic and Life Magazine. He replied, “well, let’s just see what you can do with this?” Along with a brief explanation of film sensitivity and controlling exposure with aperture and shutter speed, he gave me a hand-held light meter and this Argus C3, 50mm, f3.5, 35mm film camera. The light meter has been lost but the camera survives and works as well as it did when Dad bought it in a pawn shop on Government Street in Mobile, Alabama in the early 50’s.