Dad’s Life-Long Hobby
Like most sons in those days, I grew up mimicking pretty much everything my Dad said or did – that included his love for photography. I don’t know how many cameras Dad had over the years but from the variety of film formats in his 1930s and 1940s collection, he must have had at least five at that point and the number kept growing over the years that followed.
The first one I remember was a Twin Lens Reflex like the famous Rolleiflex – popular with news photographers at the time, as a step down from the 4 x 5 Press Cameras used by the professionals. I am quite sure his was not a “Rollei” because they were quite expensive. Most likely it was one of the many less expensive look-alikes of the time – even Kodak made one at a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the quality. According to Ed Knapp, who owned the local camera store, if you owned or even knew someone who owned a Rollei you were in a special class of customers, deserving of his prompt attention.
They were called reflex cameras because they “reflected light” and used a so-called reflex mirror with a ground-glass focusing screen to view and focus through a lens, instead of a viewfinder alongside the lens. In dual-lens reflex (DLSR) cameras there were two lenses – one for viewing and one for the image path to the film. The two lenses were geared together so that their focus was always matched. That allowed the photographer to see exactly what was going to be in the exposure before clicking the shutter.
Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras came on the market some years later, which used their single lens for both manual focusing and film exposure. That was accomplished in one of two ways. The famous Reflex-Korelle [i]These were made in Germany before the War, so they became scarce afterward. I managed to find one in the 1970s, which I gave to Dad. No accessories were available for them so he literally made a close-up lens from parts he found in an Army Surplus Store and by cutting the fine metric threads on his 1937 South Bend lathe . used a focal-plane shutter and a mirror that flipped up out of the light path as the shutter was actuated. Others later used dual-path optics to accomplish the task, and that is similar to how modern-day digital SLRs work.
When color-positive-image film [ii]Also known as Reversal Film became readily available to amateur photographers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dad’s interest shifted from black-and-white to Kodachrome and he began to accumulate what would grow to over 1200 [iii]That is the number of “keepers”. He probably threw out as many others. 35mm slides. He used at least one Argus C4 look-alike and probably others that I don’t remember. I still have my Argus C3, with detachable flash unit, that I bought from Ed Knapp in the early 1950s for $30.00 [iv]Roughly $300.00 in 2021 dollars .
Take a trip through Dad’s collection of early black-and-white negatives at “Darkroom Mysteries”, or his Kodachrome slides, at “Snappy And The Days Of Kodachromeor”, or his family album at “The Orange Album”.
Written: June 2021
Published: June 2021
|↑i||These were made in Germany before the War, so they became scarce afterward. I managed to find one in the 1970s, which I gave to Dad. No accessories were available for them so he literally made a close-up lens from parts he found in an Army Surplus Store and by cutting the fine metric threads on his 1937 South Bend lathe .|
|↑ii||Also known as Reversal Film|
|↑iii||That is the number of “keepers”. He probably threw out as many others.|
|↑iv||Roughly $300.00 in 2021 dollars|