St James Park, Liverpool
Sorting out the loft (still not sorted by the way), I came across my dad’s old May Fair Camera. A simple box camera made in 1931.
After cleaning the May Fair inside and out, I ventured out armed with a new roll of 120mm Ilford HP4 – still available from Boots the Chemist – and made a few photographs at St James Park by Liverpool Cathedral. What you see above is scanned from the original print and has not been enhanced or altered. The weather was overcast but the light reasonable.
After using digital cameras for many years now it takes some getting used to the idea that you only have 8 negatives! It really focusses the mind on the job in hand.
The viewfinder is very small and despite my best efforts at cleaning remains a somewhat scratched. Composition was difficult and the photographer has to rely on sufficient light reaching the mirror that reflects the image up onto the tiny viewfinder.
My dad’s vintage May Fair Camera
I think for an 86 year old camera this image is impressive and I will be going out again to see what else I can capture with this vintage gem.
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This is a shot of me and Morris, my dad’s car way back then in the dim and distant past. It was shot with an old Kodak ‘Hawkeye’ camera (I think) that my dad used to use. If you want to see more cameras that have played a role in my life then go here. (Unashamed plug for my Photoblog).
I’ve also blogged about my ‘Box of old cameras’ here.
I’ll be blogging here too from time to time. So once again, thanks for visiting.
Halina Super-mini 88
Many years ago I was going backpacking to France and Italy with my wife Gina. We intended using the European train network to get about and I wanted a really small and lightweight camera to take along. I chose the Halina. It proved to be a good choice. It stood up to the knocks, the weather and general man-handling very well indeed and survives to this day.
Halina open and ready to shoot
The Halina Super-Mini 88 was an ultra-compact viewfinder camera for type No. 110 film cassettes. It had a non-focusable lens and a reverse Galilean optical viewfinder. It had a self-encapsulating camera body that covered the shutter release button when closed. The camera had to be pulled to uncover the button, the lens and the viewfinder for the next exposure. The shutter had to be cocked by closing and opening the camera. A flashcube connector sat at the top left hand corner of the camera.
Halina 110mm cassette loading area
Olympus Trip 35
The Trip 35 is a 35mm compact camera, manufactured by Olympus and was introduced in 1967 and discontinued, after a lengthy production run, in 1984. The Trip name was a reference to its intended market — people who wanted a compact, functional camera for holidays. During the 1970s it was the subject of an advertising campaign that featured popular British photographer David Bailey. Over ten million units were sold.
An elegant and simple design
I can’t remember when I bought my Trip 35, most likely back in the 70s. This model has the black shutter release button and not the snazzy and somewhat less common chrome version that came with the earlier models.
I had recently landed my first design job with the graphics department of a local authority. With a regular income coming in (at last) felt that I could splash out on a new camera. I wanted a compact, but something better than an ‘instamatic‘ and the Olympus Trip fitted the bill.
Lighter and smaller than my Praktica the trip offered me the ideal mix of a quality 35mm with a decent lens and some manual control. My old Praktica was brilliant and I had taken it to Paris when I was a student, but this was a bulky and heavy camera to lug about all day. The trip turned out to be the perfect solution on a trip to Amsterdam, back in the days when that was a cheap destination.
I suppose from the on it became my favourite camera right up until the digital era.
For those who want to see what this little camera can do try this Flickr group.
Praktica Nova 1 still looking good
Presented at the 1967 Leipzig Spring Fair, the Praktica nova 1 brought much needed updates to the nova series. Following the lead of the Prakticamat, the nova 1 replaced the two-range shutter speed dial with a modern non-rotating one, with regularly-spaced speeds. In addition, it introduced the PL system for secure and rapid loading.
This East German camera is different from the two earlier posts on this subject (the Kodak Deluxe and the Kodak Instamatic 50) in that this beauty was all mine and represents a turning point for me in so many ways. Back in the 70s I was offered a place on the pre-diploma design course at Warrington College of Art & Design but a 35mm SLR camera was a prerequisite of the course. As my grant back then (yes, we did receive state aid), only amounted to £16 (not a lot of state aid), I had to ask my parents for some help. Despite his serious reservations about the art and design course and the fact we were far from wealthy, my dad purchased the camera after seeing this model on offer in a local shop. You can imagine my delight in owning such a great piece of equipment and I did appreciate the trust placed in my career choice.
Nova 1 front view showing the Domiplan lens
This was my first camera and photography (along with design) has been a part of my life ever since. I went on to master darkroom techniques including developing and printing in both black and white and colour. I moved on to shooting reversal film using mainly Kodak and Agfa products and now have a large number of old slides that I must digitize one of these days, once I find the best method, (any suggestions would be appreciated by the way).
Nova one back view showing part of the PL loading system
Now all the studio kit is digital, mainly Canon and Pentax, but I will always have a soft spot for my old Praktica Nova 1.
Kodak Intamatic 50
The Kodak Instamatic 50
In last post of this series I featured the Kodak ‘Hawkeye’ Ace Delux and as I’m attempting to display these camera in chronological order, the next camera out of the box is another Kodak.
The ‘Intamatic’ 50 was the first Instamatic camera released by Kodak and appeared in the UK in February 1963 (about a month before the 100).
Kodak Instamatic Ad
This model had a fixed shutter speed, aperture and focus and designed so that anyone could use it.
The Instamatic was a huge success with more than 50 million cameras produced between 1963 and 1970.
I’m not sure of the year this one was produced. It belonged to my father-in-law. George lived for most of his life near the sea front in Cleveleys, near Blackpool and the camera has sand engrained into the bodywork and shutter mechanism.
For examples of shots from this 126 film camera visit Lomography, describing itself as a shop and a community dedicated to analogue photography. It’s well worth a visit.
Kodak 50, plus engrained sand
For more technical details go to Kodak Classics by Mischa Koning.
A box of old cameras
Recently looking through some old stuff (and I’ve got lots of old stuff and that’s another story), I came across a box of old cameras that I’d stashed away. A little while ago I wrote about my old Sony Mavica digital camera and that prompted me to jot few thoughts down about these older image capturing devices.
The 'Hawkeye' box camera
This old box camera belonged to my dad and dates back to the 1930s. I remember him using it to take a photo of a friend and I back in the late 50s or early 60s when I was little. Funny but I still remember it clearly. People, at least those where I grew up back then, didn’t take pictures or even own cameras, so it was a rare and special thing to have your photo taken.
A little background information: the Ace De Luxe was made only in Kodak’s UK factory at Harrow on the northern outskirts of London. In his book, Kodak Cameras, The First Hundred Years, Brian Coe lists them as being made only in 1938. They were made to give away with children’s comics, one being Mickey Mouse Comic.
There aren’t any reflecting viewfinders, just a wire frame that pulls up at the front, and no backsight.
Wire frame viewfinder
I don’t know how my dad ended up with the ‘Hawkeye’ but after his death I just hung on to it. It has a memory associated with it and I still have the old negatives of the 127 film it used. maybe I will get around to scanning the old negatives one day.