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01-20-2009, 02:08 PM   #16
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that was a time when photographers really were valued...

nowdays its jpegs left right and center and people stealling images from everyone else

01-20-2009, 03:06 PM   #17
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Now that's more my era, the ad from 85.
01-20-2009, 06:15 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I miss that Erik. I had a favourite hang out in the late 1970's, 1980's and early 90's till the store closed. It was full of shelves of everything you could think of. Used gear and brand new. All brands. The place was a mess. Boxes piled up everywhere and gear laying around, even on the floor. You could go behind the counter and dig through stuff to see what you could find. Got some great deals there. Stuff the owner bought new, went on the back of the shelf and was lost till a customer found it. Back then Pentax was a big brand and there was a ton of stuff in the stores.

Online shopping is boring compared to those days.
I think you can still have that experience shopping among the camera stores in Hong Kong. Dunno about the Pentax being a big brand part, but the stores filled with boxes part is still there.
01-21-2009, 08:38 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I miss that Erik. I had a favourite hang out in the late 1970's, 1980's and early 90's till the store closed. It was full of shelves of everything you could think of. Used gear and brand new. All brands. The place was a mess. Boxes piled up everywhere and gear laying around, even on the floor. You could go behind the counter and dig through stuff to see what you could find. Got some great deals there. Stuff the owner bought new, went on the back of the shelf and was lost till a customer found it. Back then Pentax was a big brand and there was a ton of stuff in the stores.

Online shopping is boring compared to those days.
I still find photo equipment shops every now and then that are still a mess but most of them aren't places you feel real welcome to hang out in. If they can't push a D60 or a digital rebel on you they want you to move along. I remember a place from ~1990 that sounds a lot like what you describe. Unfortunately at the time (I was new to photography and in high school) I didn't know what I was looking at and was overwhelmed. I never looked at the camera stuff there--it was only to buy TMAX and photo paper for my class; sad--I wish I could visit it again now.

01-21-2009, 09:04 AM   #20
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Andrew, it was one odd spot. You know the used book stores with books going to the ceiling and piles everywhere? Stuff is in a state of organized ciaos. It was like that.

The owner was a real talker and as long as you stayed out of the way, you could ask questions and root around all day. Of course I bought some serious stuff from him (LX, 6x7 and lenses) so maybe he just tolerated me He knew where most stuff was if you asked but almost didn't seem to care. "I'm interested in a set of bellows", "there was a new set on the shelf over there behind the box of cable releases, just move some stuff and you'll find them" or whatever.

He seemed to just want to pay the rent and make a fair living. I swear that the only cleaning or organizing done was by the reps who cleared a space and set up some stuff.

I was out of the country and missed the closing out sale when the owner suddenly had health issues. Big regret.
01-21-2009, 09:55 AM   #21
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I've always loved stores like that. Sometimes I think if I won the lottery, I'd try opening one, just to meet people and play with all the neat old stuff, do a bit of teaching and suchlike. I'm not a very good capitalist, but maybe if I owned the space I could kiss the startup funds goodbye, employ a couple of people, and keep the place running.
01-21-2009, 10:59 AM   #22
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Man, did Pentax ever get top billing? You really had to dig to make it to the Honeywell Pentax section. I mean, what the hell was an Exakta?

Cool catalog. Almost funny in a way that some of that stuff is still around that price give 40+ years. Almost all of those cameras in inflation-adjusted dollars are over the $1K mark today. No wonder they've lasted so long.
01-21-2009, 12:26 PM   #23
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Hee, actually, Pentax was considered a pretty solid brand. Exacta was actually pretty big, once, I understand, though maybe not distinguished by anything we'd fawn over now.

If I'd been born some twenty years earlier, I often wonder if I'd have gone with Topcon or maybe Nikon F's. Or what.

(I tend to think I wouldn't have gone with the Canon R- and FL's back then, for lack of TTL metering possibilities, and when the FT came out, I'm pretty sure the QL system would have scared me off if I hadn't (in my real life) inherited it and learned first hand that you can trust the incomprehensible thing quite implicitly.

Or, maybe I'd be all about rangefinders and very skeptical about this new SLR thing. That sounds pretty plausible.

01-22-2009, 03:32 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Andrew, it was one odd spot. You know the used book stores with books going to the ceiling and piles everywhere? Stuff is in a state of organized ciaos. It was like that.
I think it's really sad that stores like that, no matter whether they sell records, books, camera stuff or whatever -- are going out of business all over the place, in favour of sterile chain stores and in competition with Internet mailorder. Especially in medium-size cities like mine there's just no feasible economy in running "enthusiast" stores anymore.
01-22-2009, 04:10 AM   #25
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The disappearance of the enthusiast store - or worse, it's going yuppie up market - is the other side of the coin that brings us together here on the internet.

Pre net, locally it was hit or miss whether you ever found another enthusiast - with more common hobbies such as photography you were likely to, but with other hobbies you could be on your own. And the exchange market of used stuff was very much a local thing. Prices were what went locally, the mail order was higher end... and rarity was also very much a local thing. You'd wait for, say, the 85mm Takumar to show up, for years, and snap it up at whatever price when one appeared. Or, you'd take a trip to NYC or such where used camera stores existed.

eBay changed all that. We benefit from a global market, though our emotions haven't caught up - we see that 85 Tak and get that hunting rush: have to get it NOW because it won't be available again! (That's local thinking)

But yeah, we chat and exchange info here and buy online... the social and financial niche of the local enthusiast store is undermined.

The travelling Camera Show manages to hold on, much to my delight. (Ditto for record shows, antique phonograph shows, model train shows...)
01-22-2009, 06:13 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
. . .
(Ditto for record shows, antique phonograph shows, model train shows...)
We are screwed here in Tallahassee regarding camera stores, especially used gear. However, we have a place called "Vinyl Fever" that sells new and used vintage music of all media. We also have a model rail road once a year at the North Florida fair grounds. I bought a brand new vinyl album last weekend ('74 Jail Break). Oddly, we don't have good used book store even though there are 2 major universities here.
01-25-2009, 04:39 PM   #27
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Exakta was the German brand that tapered off thanks to the Japanese brands gaining popularity during the 1960s. Exakta developed the first SLR before WW2. Asahi is simply credited with developing the instant return viewing mirror. In many ways the Nikon F and the Spotmatic forced the German camera industry to contract and move seriously upmarket.

There are some interesting cameras included in the catalog. I've used a Zeiss Contaflex albeit an older model I from about 1957. The strange bayonet mount Contaflex lens accessories would be the devil to find today plus the Contaflex I design included a manual return mirror so you had to wind the shutter before you could see through the viewfinder. I've also looked at one of the early Canons having the QL quickload tab. Quite smart.

If you ever get the chance to shoot with one of these 1960s cameras give it a try. I wouldn't mind trying one of the Retina Reflex SLRs with the Schneider Kreuznach lenses. The Cameraquest fellow even offers an adaptor for shooting the Retina Reflex lenses on Pentax cameras. I notice an amazing amount of Retina accessories at camera shows.
01-25-2009, 05:22 PM   #28
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B Grace, German companies were in denial into the late 1960s. Japanese camera sales were virtually banned in Germany until the late 60s as well. Not only did Pentax introduce the automatic return mirror in 1957, they set the standard on what an slr should look like that still holds today. In addition, they kept pushing the envelope with things like automatic counter resetting, ttl etc.

Edit: Take Pentacon and Contax and you come up with Pentax.
01-26-2009, 08:54 PM   #29
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I' m not so sure, Blue. I've held one of the original Exaktas and it's remarkably similar to an original Pentax in size and shape. If there is one standard bearer for modern SLR design I would consider it to be the Nikon F and, yes, the pre-Spotmatic Pentaxes were quite similar. The Nikon F was nothing more than a Nikon SP rangefinder with a mirror box grafted on. The SP was the ultimate development of the original Nikon rangefinder which was a direct copy of the German Contax rangefinder from before the war right down to the lens mount thumbwheel. Compare the body of a Spotmatic or a K2 to that of a late 1930s Contax. The similarity of shape is there. When you boil it all down, the shape we expect a camera to take is based entirely upon how a cartridge of 35mm film is wound past a shutter and we have Leica to thank for that. But then of course the Germans simply let the Japanese pass them by during the 1960s.

Oddly enough, if it weren’t for a few products like the Pentax the German made Kodak folding Retinas might have maintained their popularity. It would be quite cool today to shoot with a folding digital rangefinder that would fit in a coat pocket when closed. Or a digital Kodak Vest Pocket camera which was more or less a pocket sized medium format camera.

Good stuff. The catalog posted in this thread sure shows the transition from the older European cameras to newer Japanese designs. I keep thinking the next transition will be away from the SLR format. Perhaps the K50D will be a point-and-shooter with a built-in DA*7-45/2 zoom.
01-26-2009, 09:14 PM   #30
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B Grace, I recently mentioned in a couple of recent posts how Nikon and Pentax had the Germans in denial until the late 60s. The sale of Japanese cameras were not allowed until the late 60s.

I'm aware of the Exacta cameras. I was referring to the penta-prism hump on the cameras and sleek lines of the origanal Pentax (1957). The Nikon F came out in 1959.

Pentax Original

Nikon F - Camerapedia.org

These 2 set the bar. Pentax defined what basic features were supposed to be on an slr.
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