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| Re: I have been asked to do a presentation for a car club sho... |
This what I have drafted; any useful comment or correction would be appreciated...
I have this old camera; does it fit with my car?
Probably the most accurate way to approach this question is to enter the name (and serial number) on the camera in Google and see where that takes you.
There are some rough guidelines and a few ruffles and flourishes:
If the glass of the lens has a colored look (usually blue, sometimes amber) chances are very good it is a post WW II lens.
If the camera is made of wood and visible brass, it is probably pre WW I.
If the camera has a tripod socket, 1/4-20 usually means an American camera (or export unit); 3/8 is European.
With a few exceptions, most cameras are unrestored. regluing leather and repairing the camera to function are common. Alterations at the time were common to make the camera function better or retain usability. In particular, flash synchronization was relatively easy for leaf shutters, often through a solenoid attached to the shutter release. Particularly common on Graphics and Rolleis used as working cameras.
If you have a wooden camera with a lens but no shutter which takes single shot film (plates probably) think pre 1900.
Very few cameras made before WW II had built in flash synchronization, although it was sometimes added later.
Early big camera lenses often lacked an iris diaphram. To control aperture a set of plates with differing sizes of holes were provided. A suitable plate would be inserted to stop the lens down appropriately. Sometimes the lens used a revolving disk with a set of holes in it; the apprpriate f-stop was dialed in. Either way, these are called Waterhouse stops.
Some early diaphrams were marked in different systems. The number might simply state how wide the opening was in millemeters, another shared f16 with current systems but doubled or halved the number with each stop change because that doubled or halved the exposure.
T-stopped lenses were common in the movie world, but rare in the still community. T-stopping means that thje actual amount of light going through the lens was measure and the lens calibrated accordingly. It made for more precise exposure, which is probably why Bell & Howell used it on the Foton, but it otherwise flopped.
If it uses some kind of roll film, itís probably made in the twentieth century.
Many cameras were made with a choice of lenses, ranging from box camera to top of the line. The wider the range of shutter speeds, the higher end. Zeiss Tessar, Voightlander apo-lanthar and Georz were generally premium grade lenses. Compur shutters were preferred; many can be repaired today. Kodak Supermatic shutters were not as trouble free, although Kodak claimed greater accuracy.
35mm cameras are generally from the twenties on. Leicas became available in 1924.
Folding cameras were there in the first half of the 20th century, then pretty much faded away.
Polaroid cameras first became available in 1948. They have very little value today.
Modern SLRs were introduced in 1959, Exactas can be older, from the thirties.
Minox spy cameras from 1937.
Rolleiflex (and their downscale cousins, Rolleicords)twin lens reflex cameras date from the thirties; were most popular before the seventies.
35mm stereo cameras started in 1948 with the Stereo Realist (made in Milwaukee)
Havenít mentioned Zeiss because the companies that made up Zeiss covered so much ground. Those with Zeiss Tessar lenses were generally premium units.
Kodak made a number of high end cameras until the seventies, including Retinas and a number of superb folders. Ektras, Medalists and the Kodak twin lens reflex were notable in late thirties to fifties. Kodakís best lenses were called Ektars in and after the thirties; Kodak Anistigmat Special before that.
Using your collector camera today:
Calumet lists these film sizes as current: 35mm, 120 and 4x5 sheet.
Film for obsolete cameras may be found at http://www.filmforclassics.com/sh_fees.html Central Camera in Chicago is listed as offering the widest selection of sizes.