Sunday, January 31, 2010

....of days gone by....

One of my greatest regrets is not keeping all the cameras that my late Abah and I used to have. I guess moving house too many times in your life has its disadvantage ---- you keep losing/breaking/throwing things everytime you move house.

In a way, I was influenced by my late Abah.  The first camera that I remembered he used ( and which I used to play with---and I don't mean 'play' as taking photograph ) was an Agfa camera.  This camera used a foldable bellow between the lens and the film. I used to enjoy pressing the release button and watching the bellow opened up. The old photos which ASH posted in her blog were taken by this camera. And it dates back to way back when.

Then the Kodak Brownies camera. For a man in the early 1950s to have interests on photography (and music and record players - or gramaphones ) , speaks volumes of him.  The Brownies or box cameras were wonderful cameras. A simple box and there are two view-finders ---one potrait, and the other landscape.  The baby Brownies has a view-finder like those on old rifles., where you release two stands with different sized rectangular holes and aim the subject through these rectangular holes.

When I was in College, I took photography as a core subject. This involed developing photos in dark rooms. Of course , following my Abah's foot-step, I got to have my own dark room at home. Then my involvement spread to enlargers, chemicals - the various tyoes and the effects, and the types of papers - the matte, the glossy, the normal , the bromide and the various sizes, the exposure meters for the the enlargers.

Class lectures include all of the above, the eposure methods of the camers ( Auto was unheard of ) , the shutter speed, the type of shutters, the aperture,the co-relation between the shutter-speed and aperture, the ttl ( through the lens) metering, the mounting of the lenses- screw-mount or bayonets, the compositions, depth of field, types of light source, the types and effects of coloured filters , 'B' exposures and getting the feel and instinct of how long to open the shutter, the effects and uses of the different ISO/ASA, the types of flash systems and its effect, potrait/landscape/etc photography, time-lapse photography  and etc etc etc.

At this stage I was introduced to the 'reflex system' ( indeed a step-up from the 35mm rangefinders ,the like of the excellent Cannonet).-  the single lens reflex and the twin lens reflex system. The SLRs big name from Asia  then were the Nikon F, Nikonmat, Asahi Pentax, Yashica was more known for the Twin Lens Reflex System with its 120 type of film which was really good for enlargements.

Somewhere along the line, my interest in photography sort of waned, and its only recently that I started all over again.

The photos below are all taken from the internet but its the same brand and model that we used to have.

the agfa. The bellow can be folded and snapped shut in the camera . Pressing a releasing button will open it as can be seen above. This one used the 120 type of film.

the baby Brownie-- note the view finder. Had a good laugh looking at this again ! Oh, the shutter release is that little lever below the lens.

the box Brownie - landscape viewfinder on the side and potrait on the top (oh....those are the little rectangular glasses )

the Canonet rangefinder-it used photo-cells ( surrounding the lens housing)to power its gadgets and it could produce some good crisp photographs with its electronic exposure meters. The beginning of electronic and auto era.

my first SLR, the Praktica Nova--a robust camera. Note the shutter-button on the front.

My next, China's first heavy and solid SLR...the Seagull. The lever to the right of the lens is the self-timer mechanism where you 'wind- it up before snapping your photo. This camera was made to be man-handled ! I dropped it more than a couple of times and it always worked after that. Note the basic traingular hook for the straps on its sides !

the 200 mm Soligor I used to own. Lenses have this depth-of-field gauge on the lens for user's guide.

a basic enlarger ...a must have in the dark-room, where I used to spend many hours every week .

the Yashicaflex --a twin lens reflex camera. At that time a famous TLR  camera was the Rolleiflex - thus the 'flex' at the end of the Yashica name.

Of course these cameras used film.  And they come in different formats. The 120 , the 35mm and so on. The 35mm were available in different range of ASA or ISO.. There were the ASA 100, 200, 400 and 800s with exposures ranging from 24 to 36 shots,
...and it cost a bomb as a hobby , unlike now where I can take 1000 shots without a pain in my pocket , we used to think twice and again, before taking that shot because the only way to see the result is to develop the film. Oh well.... still, if only I still have all the above with me......


Azhar85 said...


long time not seeing you blogging..anyway this pics of camera are very original...and classic..

have a nice taking pics sir... :)

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you for this 'camera' trip down memory lane. It's a shame we lost Abah's old cameras but those pictures did bring back memories especially the 'bellow' camera.

And do I remember your dark room? You used to develop quite a number of black and white photos. I wish our digitals could produce 'genuine' black and white photos.
You are indeed another Ash, but the sunnier version.

sunnysideup said...

Thanks. Haven't heard from you for a long time.


The dark-room....I remember the complaints I got, especially from Arwah Akim because he shared the bed-room with me. Oh , did I mention that my dark room was in my bedroom, until much later when I was given the little external toilet at the back of the house ! heheheh.
Of course the complaint was always about the acrid smell of the chemicas. As the last process to 'fix' the photos, I used vinegar instead of the the commercial fixer. It worked just as well as proven because some of the photos are still as good as ever.

mmmm... I'm off to Genting Highlands at 6.00am tomorrow morning to catch the sunrise. hmmmmm.....