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07-28-2012, 08:08 AM   #1
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Candid-Spy Pentax Lens That shoots from the side?

A friends father was going through some old stuff and came upon his old Pentax gear. Apparently there is quite a bit there but I dont have info on it all yet.

One of the most interesting items mentioned was some sort of (apparently Pentax but not sure) candid type lens that allowed you to take photos out of the SIDE of the lens through a hole/mirror rather than through the front of the lens

alllowing you to capture candids unaware. I am trying to get more info from my buddy does anyone know of anything like this?

He says many of the lenses are very heavy, I imagine they might be taks, but not sure....

Maybe it is something like this but older not sure my friend said it was small, doesnt look like it would be effective to me: http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-Voyeur-Pentax-Digital-Cameras/dp/B0027IGDWC

07-28-2012, 09:01 AM   #2
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I remember these. They looked daft and gave rubbish results. More of a fun item then a serious bit of kit and fooled no one for a minute that you were taking a picture of them.
07-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #3
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I remember those "spy lenses". They used to be advertised on the margins of the back pages in the photo magazines along with the services that would sell you undeveloped film containing photos of women in bikinis. Definitely not Pentax-made.


Steve
07-28-2012, 09:11 AM   #4
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Ok thought it sounded a bit too good to be true. I suppose if something decent like this existed it would be well-known and coveted.

07-28-2012, 09:12 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I remember those "spy lenses". They used to be advertised on the margins of the back pages in the photo magazines along with the services that would sell you undeveloped film containing photos of women in bikinis. Definitely not Pentax-made.


Steve
Pentax never manufactured them, but Asahi sure did.
PENTAX Mirror Adapter reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

There were version I and version II of them, but I don't know the difference between them.
07-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
Pentax never manufactured them, but Asahi sure did.
PENTAX Mirror Adapter reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

There were version I and version II of them, but I don't know the difference between them.
Wonder if its any better optically than the Opteka that is trashed in the one review of it I can find?
07-28-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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I have one of those...I've never used it. I'd be scared if someone figured it out and got mad. I think for candid shots it could be fun.
07-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
Pentax never manufactured them, but Asahi sure did.
PENTAX Mirror Adapter reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

There were version I and version II of them, but I don't know the difference between them.
Well, mark me wrong on that one!!!

I still find the concept a little strange. I always imagined some strange person sitting on a towel at the beach trying to take photos of the girls on the next patch of sand. All the while, the people around him are wondering what it is that is so interesting out at sea that he is pointing the camera at!


Steve

07-28-2012, 10:38 AM   #9
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As far as the device being "creepy" the following quote from a 1992 issue if American Camera & Dark Room Mag. (as republished in The Online Photographer (Mike Johnson) talks about a Helen Levitt show and says:

"Most of her best-known pictures are black-and-white, and concern the gesture of activity, and have children in them. About Levitt's style, three points come to mind. One, it is not stylish; like a calligraphic brushstroke, it appears to have merely happened, and to be merely "there." Second, it manages to totally efface the photographer—she is simply not there. Her presence in the scene is seldom felt. (Phillips reports that she used a "right angle viewfinder," which is two blocks down and one block over from the correct term, but serves.) Third, it is respectful. There is little irony in these pictures and no sarcasm or nihilism. She is no stranger to the neighborhoods she photographs, and I don’t think it's going overboard to guess that she has real affection for the places and the people in her pictures. Her stance is humane, her pictures humanistic. "

I was reminded that Helen Levitt used this device by a 2009 post by pirasec in MacRumors. I have forgotten now but as I recall one of the other photo greats who influenced her suggested that she use it. Like so many areas in photography technique trumps equipment limitations--and limitations can actually result in greater creativity.
07-28-2012, 10:46 AM   #10
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It could be useful when travelling in touristy areas where people are wary of tourists taking photos of them, doesnt look too covert though...
07-28-2012, 10:51 AM   #11
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The legendary Spiratone used to sell versions of these. They frequently turn up on eBay. Search on Spiratone Spy or Mirrotach if you're looking for one.

Ads for them can be seen in this blog:
http://photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00Rlor
07-28-2012, 02:46 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
like a calligraphic brushstroke, it appears to have merely happened
Isn't this the definition of street photography?

Although in a lot of my more interesting street photos, there is indeed an acknowledgement of me being there (sometimes in the form of a middle finger).

Also, whereas a woman can get away with shooting unaware children with a spy-like contraption, I am afraid for a lot of guys out there, the same photographs would end up having some unintended consequences.
07-28-2012, 03:37 PM   #13
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This thing is really funny, if you can get past the creepy factor.
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