Canon Dial 35 (part 1)

Quite a few years back now, I first saw a Canon Dial 35 camera, and was struck by the look of the thing — as an object I think it’s pretty nice to look at — however it seemed that they were always out of my reach price-wise (not literally, but they always seemed a bit expensive).

ebay image #1

Recently I happened upon a spares-or-repairs Dial with a buy-it-now price which seemed pretty reasonable, so I bought it. The camera had not been film tested, it had a dent in the back, and the rubber trim was coming adrift. But still, I thought I’d take a chance that actually it did work, but that the owner just couldn’t test it. Maybe I’d get lucky?
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Goodbye Kodachrome. So badly reported!

Monday saw a press release from Kodak announcing that the iconic Kodachrome film is to be discontinued.

Ok, it’s a sad announcement (some people swear by its colour reproduction and its archival qualities), but I take umbrage at the way in which it has been reported!

If you watch the TV reports or read the news articles, the death of Kodachrome has almost universally been attributed to ‘the increase of digital photography’. This is not so.

There are still film products available – heck, even Kodak are introducing new stocks – and film photography seems to be making something of a resurgence in recent times. The reason that Kodachrome is being discontinued must surely be because of its archaic processing requirements.

Since the introduction of Kodachrome, other colour processes have come along (and in some cases disappeared again), which offer simpler processing – E6 processing (the standard slide-film process) can even be done at home. With only one plant in the world still processing Kodachrome (Dwaynes in the US), it was surely only a matter of time before this announcement took place.

So:

  • Digital did not kill Kodachrome;
  • Other film is still available – colour and B&W;
  • Film cameras are still being made;

This is not the end of film photography…

Things that are Uplifting

Jack @ Bristol

We went down to Bristol recently for my brother-in-law’s wedding (my wife’s brother for those who are trying to work it out), and we had a great time – seeing lots of people who we hadn’t seen for a while. Our children were the only ones there for the whole day (there were a few present at the ceremony, but not for the meal/party), and it was also nice to have people tell us how well-behaved they were (phew!).

Between the lunchtime reception and the evening party, we went for a walk around the refurbished dock area, and happened upon a nice big open space with large stone steps around it which was being used by a whole crowd of lads on BMXs, mountain bikes and skateboards. We stood watching for a while and then got to chatting with Jack – one of the mountain-bikers (actually ‘bike trials’ we found out). Having thought that these were local kids, we were somewhat surprised to find that some had come down from Reading and Swindon.

Anyway, I had my Yashica-Mat (1950’s TLR camera) with me and took a shot – my father-in-law had his G9 with him and took a few as well I think. Watch this space, and I’m sure I’ll upload something soon… 🙂

These Ephemeral Times

We live in an increasingly transitory society; in our race to be current we are in danger of becoming lost to future historians. Our pictures nowadays are taken on digital cameras, (which are often replaced every two or three years), creating ‘images’ which end up being stored on a computer’s disk somewhere, which in turn fills up and is subsequently replaced…

What would happen to your pictures if you were no longer around? Would your children have the patience to trawl through hard-disks full of images, or would your computer be recycled/resold and your archives lost?

Even our lives nowadays leave no traces – there is no longevity any more.

Suspicious behaviour…?

Suspicious #1As I was travelling home from my Grandad’s funeral yesterday, I had to change trains at Stevenage. Now, being past 5 o’clock, the coffee-shop etc. was closed, so I had 15-20 minutes to kill on the platform.

Of course, I had a camera with me (my new-to-me Olympus XA2 on which I am currently shooting a test-roll), so I decided that I would take some pictures (vaguely interesting shapes, walkways etc.). Anyway, I noticed (after about five minutes) that A security guy came bounding down onto the platform, but went to the other end – obviously nothing to do with me then. There was also a woman on the platform (waiting for a train) who was giving me odd looks (but then, nothing I was taking was particularly picturesque, so that wasn’t odd either).

Suspicious #2Anyway, the train arrived, and I got on. about 10 seconds after we start, I get a tap on the shoulder – it’s the woman from the platform. It turns out she’s Police of some sort (she showed me an ID card, but it was so quick that I didn’t actually take it in). So, she asks me why I was taking pictures etc., and was satisfied with my answers that ‘I thought they looked interesting, y’know the shapes'(!). It turns out that the security guy on the station was all for pulling me in there, but she was more pragmatic and decided that there was no need for a lot of fuss, and she would have a quiet word…

It seems like they get lots of calls from paranoid Joe Publics in light of the war on terror, and of course they have to be followed up ‘just in case’ even though there’s usually nothing suspicious at all (I suspect that no terror plots have been foiled this way, but some burglaries may have been!).

Anyway, nothing serious, just doing her job – no demands to seize film, wipe pictures etc. and (it seems) a pragmatic awareness of the legalities of photography in public.

Phew.

(I gave her a Moo card with my details etc., so for all I know she’ll read this…)

more Retro…

I recently got another camera off of ebay. It’s another Polaroid camera, but this time rather retro. It’s an Automatic 100, produced between 1963 and 1966 taking 3.25×4.25 inch instant pictures using ‘100 series’ pack film (which Fuji still make, even though Polaroid themselves couldn’t continue).

Thanks go out to Option8 for his website describing how to refurbish the camera.

Automatic 100/1This thing is wonderful – it’s a folding camera, and it gets some great comments – especially when the pictures it produces appear! The first picture was this one.

More examples:
Automatic 100/6

Automatic 100/7

Automatic 100/5