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17 signs that you were alive before digital photography

By dpreview staff on Aug 2, 2013 at 07:00 GMT

Feeling old? Photoshelter has published a humorous list of 17 signs that you were around before digital photography became the norm. For those of us who were, the list is a nostalgic look at some tools and accessories that have fallen into disuse, as well as a reminder, possibly, that some things remain useful, even in the digital age. If you're too young to remember anything before digital, you should take a look at the list anyway.

You might learn something. 

Among the 17 items in Photoshelter's list is a bulk film loader.
There's a Photoshop icon based on this. Do you know what it is? 
Source: Photoshelter

Comments

Total comments: 149
12
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

There were lots of people who just shot slides and wouldn't recognize any of this, except the projector. I remember dusting the floor of closets in motels so I could load clean 4x5 film holders. But it does raise an interesting question. Were people more skilled, when it was harder to get a really great image? More committed to it because of the time it took? Or the fact that each shot cost money?

0 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (8 months ago)

Nice post and all, but...
Can anyone add subtitles?
Apart from the wire shutter release I can't tell duck...

0 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

cable release :^)

3 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (8 months ago)

Lusted after the Nikon. Know all of the list but knew enough not to buy a disk camera. My first camera pre-dated flashcubes so I went straight from available light to electronic flash.

0 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (8 months ago)

No. 7 is the "bokeh" (although we didn't use the term back then) from a mirror lens.

I never actually USED the Canon 1200, or the Nikon bulk film back, but I know what they are. Everything else is a yes, except that I only sold the stupid disk cameras, and was never stupid enough to buy one!

1 upvote
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

Or a 110 camera for that matter. "Donuts" have made something of a return with new mirror lenses - sorry to say.

0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (8 months ago)

What is No. 7? The ring like images.

The Canon 1200mm lens (I suppose), Nikon bulk film back, etc. are stuff that are special order items. Even if you have been shooting for 40 yrs you may or may not have touched those things.

Although I shoot b&w film and end up loading my own rolls too, there are many who only shoot in color (especially transparencies), and they do not load/process their own film. Hence no need to use or know about the loader, changing bag, etc.

The cube flash is probably one of the oldest on the list? I know people still used them in the early 80's but an electronic flash is much more convenient.

0 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Flip flash was better than cube flash

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

Even if you didn't use a loader or a changing bag, if you were into photography you'd know what they are.

0 upvotes
Fingel
By Fingel (8 months ago)

You used to be able to load E-6 in bulk, and get a kit to develop it yourself. I did it in college 20 something years ago. If you have good temperature control for you chemicals, not that hard either.
Number 7 is a catadioptric telephoto lens. I had the CZ 500mm Mirotar, not bad except for the donuts.

0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (8 months ago)

@Fingel, oh, the donuts from mirror lenses? I have the Tamron 500mm f8 as well. But the donuts are a little bit different in shape. Why is it on the list? Some are still in production and they are made for the latest mirrorless mounts too. Odd.

0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (8 months ago)

@BJN, You'll be surprised. Back in the days before info overload, there were people who shoots good images but never know a single thing about DIY processing or dark room equipment. I know quite a group of people like that. :)

0 upvotes
oklaphotog
By oklaphotog (8 months ago)

That stuff isn't old, except for the polaroid goo and the disc/110/flash cube stuff. Practically every high school and university teaches film in their photography programs.

What about the Minolta/Sony 500/8 AF mirror or the recently released rokinon and tokina mirrors? donut bokeh is as alive as ever!

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

The horrid zombie donuts refuse to die. Polaroid goo lives on ebay in unopened packs of Type 55.

0 upvotes
Neloy Sinha
By Neloy Sinha (8 months ago)

We came through transition in the busy traffic of digital revolution.We are taking more photos than we can preview.Not a single week had passed without new digital gizmo.They range from tiny compact to mighty full frame giant.There was a division wall & consortium among manufacturers.We may call it brothers in arm for the inconvenience of the confused customers who are at a loss with their old but good lenses.The junk yard & early graves were made for reliable & dependable mechanical foot soldiers.The final nail in the coffin was hammered when film makers lost interest to give us the negatives or chromes.We learn to remain happy with the minuscule sensors and inflated pixel count. Our phones have replaced the cameras within no time.But they are not going to stay. A deadly combination of Google glass & i-watch are going to wipe out many of the compact cameras in our sensual and voyeuristic generation who communicate in twitter and in face book without pressing the shutter by gesture.

0 upvotes
vroger1
By vroger1 (8 months ago)

...and serious photography will be relegated to those of us who can "see" and image...

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (8 months ago)

I missed 7, 9, 10, and 12:
7 & 12 because I was not that stupid
9 & 10 because I was not that well funded ;-)

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (8 months ago)

Looks like I've missed all the fun! The only thing I use from all those gadgets is my Olympus OM-2's focusing screen. The standard one, the first of fourteen types. Actually, it makes focusing a lot easier than the E-P1's 'MF Assist' magnifying function. The shutter release cable might be my next purchase - as soon as I come to terms with long exposures on film cameras.
Maybe I shouldn't admit it in public, but I'm also familiar with 110 film cartridges. I fed a few of them into a little Agfamatic Pocket 1000 that was my 13th birthday gift. It was awful: it never exposed properly. I ruined it in a few months' time.
By the way, this gadgetry constitutes strong evidence that the gear craze didn't start in the digital age...

0 upvotes
bosco1955
By bosco1955 (8 months ago)

burn and dodge tool

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

No, just the dodge tool. The burn tool icon is a hand making a little ring shape, just like you'd use for burning between the enlarger lens and the print. The extras on the dodge tool show this is a custom dodge tool made by someone serious about doing a controlled dodge.

0 upvotes
Mike921
By Mike921 (8 months ago)

Old school baby!!!

0 upvotes
003tvd
By 003tvd (8 months ago)

Is #7 the result of a catadioptric lens? Or heavy smoking?

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (8 months ago)

Heavy smoking of illicit substances.

1 upvote
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

And then a trip to the donut shop - bokeh munchies.

0 upvotes
Klindar
By Klindar (8 months ago)

Very familiar. Great article. But where's the "Jingle Bell" mechanical timer and that finicky stainless steel Nikor tank? How about that gurgling automatic print washer and blotter roll? Just yesterday I donated all my film equipment (Nikons, darkroom, etc) apart from medium format gear to the University. I'm 70 so it was time and I really do prefer digital. The "U" has a very active film program and were delighted to receive the bonanza (probably $15k worth of stuff going back to 1965). The department head says teaching film is still the best way to encourage respect for craftsmanship in photography even if the student then takes up digital. Tip: Kept my biggest blotter roll. It is perfect for uncurling (by reverse curling for a couple of days) sheets of inkjet paper cut from a roll. Don't give away everything ;-)

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (8 months ago)

I still have a lot of that kit. I still shoot film and as long as I can afford it I always will.

Your shiny new and probably expensive digital camera in 20 or 30 years from now will also belong to the 'Dark ages" and people will look at it scornfully and say "you didn't shoot with the crappy old fashioned thing did you?" Probably in 20 or 30 years time will your present digital camera even work? My 1918 Kodak vest camera will! (I just need the film for it) I just wonder in the future if a D700 will be as collectable (for want of a better word) as an Nikon F2 is today? I just wonder if people will say "16Gb SD card, that small a capacity, and look at how huge it is!". They will look at you with mock sympathy and say patronisingly "however did you manage Granddad?".

Show a little respect to us old guys because you'll be there yourself one day.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

All well and good to a point, but after about 2003, APSC sensored DSLRs could readily shoot at ISO 800 with good dynamic range. And I owned film cameras for a long time, even had a Leica Noctilux. But if you care about shooting in anything like a dark environment, you use a digital camera, with a good lens.

A used Nikon D3s in good condition is not going to sell for just say $400.

Bigger flashcards would mean more data storage, and yet the colour from a Nikon D4, with a good Zeiss lens, beats the colour from a Nikon D800 with the same lens, while the data is less from the D4. So in the future, better sensor tech will probably allow for better images made with the same amount of data. Yes, there'll be DSLRs with FF 100MP sensors for those who want to crop all day or spend $300 per print, but that race is next to meaningless. So bigger flashcards aren't that important for still. (Not true for true raw video though, but average computers can't really keep up with that raw data yet.)

0 upvotes
DFPanno
By DFPanno (8 months ago)

For better or worse I have most of the those items.

Good memories of hours spent in my fathers darkroom in the basement.

1 upvote
David 247
By David 247 (8 months ago)

I don't have any of that stuff anymore (except for a loupe collecting dust in a box somewhere) but used all of it sometimes during my 50+ years before digital. (started taking photos around age 11 or 12.) All of those were common tools in the 4 years I was a Navy Photographer, cept we used lightweight black cardboard or paper and old bent wire coat hangers to make custom dodging tools, if we had them.

0 upvotes
David 247
By David 247 (8 months ago)

Actually that should have read 40+ years before digital.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (8 months ago)

Hehe, once we couldn't do without it, and now it's "weird stuff". An interesting reminder of how the time flies. And even more interesting, when you grow old(er), it accelerates. Almost like sunrise and sunset speed compared to the rest of the day. So I guess it's natural.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (8 months ago)

I am only 38 but I still remember a lot of those things. Seeing the Kodak disc camera brought back a lot of memories I had forgotten about.

I remember using the projector to view vacation pictures as well.

My kids wouldn't have any idea what to do with any of that equipment. They have absolutely no concept of any type of film based media. They don't even use the film projectors in school anymore. Everything is done with an iPad and smart board.

It is amazing how much has changed in 1 generation. My father was much older than I am and he was born way before most of the things on that list were even made.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

"smart board"? um I've been in university lectures recently, okay 5 years ago. And don't remember anything like a smart board.

Okay Wikipedia tells me that term is a particular name for a commercial product sold by SmartTech. Seems like an overly expensive way to write on a whiteboard. (Or black board.)

I guess I could see reason for it if in a math lecture the terms of a slide (whatever the powerpoint term is) weren't correct or fully worked out. But then that would be a failure on the part of the person who assembled the PowerPoint slide. (And I guess there are many failures like that, but students would then have to be smart enough to ask: "But that term is wrong". Not something I've noticed students doing much of. Even in grad school.) So it looks like the smartbored is more distraction from learning and thinking. (Not saying you support such distractions.)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (8 months ago)

Real Dark Ages stuff. Loading your own bulk film is like rolling your own cigarettes to save money.

I'm missing the radioactive negative brush though.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ptodd
By ptodd (8 months ago)

I don't smoke anymore, but do you realise that rollies are much much nicer than straights, as well as cheaper?

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

High school photography - bulk film loading made the basic materials just barely affordable.

0 upvotes
stevez
By stevez (8 months ago)

Yeah - I've used them all. Thanks for reminding me what a relic I am - ugh.

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

Would absolutely love a digital camera like a Nikon FM2 Digital (or FM-D) that had a split prism view finder. It makes manual focus so easy. I have a couple of AIS Nikkors ready, I have a cable release, I'm just waiting for Nikon. :-)

The other stuff like the 4x5 film holder I still have, but I purchased it after I had already been shooting digital. Few hobbies are as fun and rewarding as large format photography. The prints just look so good.

0 upvotes
depscribe
By depscribe (8 months ago)

I have this to say to you, re. the finder: Katzeye. I have them on both of my D7100s and it makes photography a whole nother thing -- and has returned my bag of wonderful old Nikkors to productive usefulness!

Now, in return, you maybe have a good source of 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 cutfilm (as well as holders)? I cannot use my beloved Busch Pressman without them . . .

0 upvotes
Klindar
By Klindar (8 months ago)

Well, that is interesting. I still have my Arca-Swiss 2 1/4 X 3 1/4 view camera with the Wide Field Caltar recommended by Ansel Adams. There are 7 "Fidelity Deluxe" holders for the film and an unopened packet purchased in 1974 (could be getting stale). The holders each take 2 sheets of film. I have the Nikor steel tank for this film as well. If there were a source of the cut film I'd resume using this equipment today. You can use a Mamya RB67 roll film back (which I also have) on the Arca but that negates one of the big advantages of cut film: individualized development. The Fidelity holders had a problem with light leaking in at the corners but I plugged all the gaps with soft rubber back in '74 and they are fine. Maybe Ferrania will start making the film - http://www.filmbodies.com/newsviews/ferrania-coming-back.html

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (8 months ago)

Just take a trip to http://www.focusingscreen.com/ and order yourself up a new screen for your digital camera :)

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

Just forget about using your center spot meter with a retrofit focusing screen.

0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (8 months ago)

When grandpa passed away I found something like a few of those - weird stuff - in his belongings. Why aren't they wooden?

1 upvote
fimiank
By fimiank (8 months ago)

While you could have some standard favorite size dodging tools in the darkroom, sometimes you might have to cut them to size or make irregular shapes. I liked to make the edges jagged, to enhance what we today in the digital age call "feathered edges, blending" etc.
No market for wooden non adjustable ones. They also needed to be very light for easy rapid movement sometimes just for a few seconds.

However, I remember a store bought flexible version made of wire with an assortment of paper shapes.

0 upvotes
jaygeephoto
By jaygeephoto (8 months ago)

The category is, "Old Photographic Equipment". Bring on the Daily Double Jeopardy question!
Great stuff. I have two shelves above my computer work station devoted to what is (now) known as photographica (including the Speed Graphic in my avatar). I never owned that cool folding loupe but fashioned much more sophisticated looking dodging tools. There's a resurgence of film interest but a decreasing amount of knowledgeable people to pass on the techniques. This site is an indication of that in particular:
http://coolgirlsshootfilm.tumblr.com/

DK 50 1:1, LPD 4, Internegative, Bowens Illumitran, SX70, Polycontrast filters....holy s**t, where's the Tylenol?!

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (8 months ago)

OMG, know all of them, used all of them also, really remind me how old I am ... lol

2 upvotes
clodomir
By clodomir (8 months ago)

excellent !

0 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (8 months ago)

I still fashion dodging and burning tools from coat hangers and thin cardboard for my darkroom today. Not sure why people consider these old tools.

3 upvotes
Shengji
By Shengji (8 months ago)

Ray Mears grates cheese with a snail shell, doesn't stop it being outdated.

Though I for one am glad there are people like you who keep these old skills alive, they are very important.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
1 upvote
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (8 months ago)

What I have re-learned recently, is that film size, more than lens resolution (Lines per Millimeter) is what drives image quality. Everything else just makes it easier to capture sports, low light, etc. I get great photos with the Franka Rolfix 6x9cm which I only paid about $50 for 4 years ago, despite the price, when I put those negatives in the enlarger I am always amazed at the detail, they produce prints on par with the Bronica ETR-S.

3 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (8 months ago)

I still use a Kodak Retina IIIc Rangefinder that has been in my family since it was new (with the 35mm, 50mm, and 80mm Schneider lenses) and had it CLA'd a couple of years ago by a guy in Auckland New Zealand who used to work for Kodak. I sttill have the Nikons, recently bought an Omega 45D (4x5, with a Linhof Schneider Tele-Arton 240mm F5.6 lens). I recently purchased a Bronica ETR-S system (with 4 lenses, motor winder, AE-II Prism Finder and several film backs..one piece at a time over "The Bay",a system I used to own but had to sell in the late 1980's..divorce and all). I have recently purchased and regularly use a Frank Rolfix 6x9cm "folder" from about 1951 (I took a photo of myself with the camera in front of the Former Franka Kamera Werks in Bayreuth, Germany last year), and a Franka Solida IIIe from about 1956 (6x6 Folder with builg in non-coupled rangefinder)..both Franka's have Schneider lenses. I fashioned some filter holders from step up rings to use on both Franka's.

2 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (8 months ago)

I have been shooting since about 8th grade in 1975, learned to develop and print B&W film as a Freshman, before I was out of High School I was developing E-6 slides, C-41 Negatives, making prints using Cibachrome, as well as prints from color negatives, I even used the Kodak Ektacolor (how many of you remember that system). While in High School, I worked on a farm, a grocery store, a newspaper (as a photographer), and a Camera Store/Studio. Instead of cars, my money went in to camera equipment, Nikon F, F2, FTN, lenses, Besseler 23CIII with Dichroic Color head and an analyzer. In 1981, I took a bank loan out to purchase a Bronica ETR-S system (6x4.5).

Though I use Nikon DSLRs D700 and D300, I still shoot, develop, and Print B&W, film up to 4x5, making prints up to 16x20 in my traditional "wet darkroom". With the decline of B&W film production, I have started acquiring information about coating my own 4x5 glass plates to make my own "film", but I have not "pulled the trigger" yet.

3 upvotes
David Fell
By David Fell (8 months ago)

The image (circles of confusion) was a 'feature' of a particularly rubbish 600mm mirror lens I thought about buying for my Minolta XGM. I declined and in retrospect, now realise how much digital photography and lens technology has come on.

0 upvotes
David 247
By David 247 (8 months ago)

Ditto. The camera technology today is light years ahead of what I started with. 4 frames per second too slow? How about 4 frames per minute with an SLR that had a wind nob (not even a quick wind lever), and a mirror that flew up and stayed up till you advanced the film to the next frame. In a dry climate had to be careful to not advance film too quickly or you'd end up with static eletricity discharge marks across the film negatives. Amazing thing is I shot high school sports with that thing and an 135mm f4.5 lens. I got some good ones too. - crap there I go again dating myself.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Bob Janes
By Bob Janes (8 months ago)

I score on most, although I only lusted after 9 and 10...

I confess that I'm not familiar with 11 at all - can someone enlighten me?

Bob J

0 upvotes
Paul Amyes
By Paul Amyes (8 months ago)

It's fixer for polaroid black and white negative film

0 upvotes
David Fell
By David Fell (8 months ago)

Oh yeah, I remember! :-) That would have annoyed me all day! Got the rest - tragic eh?

0 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (8 months ago)

@ Paul Amyes, don't you mean the fixer varnish for the positive print peeled off from the Polaroid negative? That stuff stunk too.

0 upvotes
Marcin 3M
By Marcin 3M (8 months ago)

It's quite possible, that in a few years we will see similar setup of early digital age gadgets.
One of them will be dvd plate with photoshop, and noone will wemember what it is.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (8 months ago)

Those long lost toys do take me back...

I kinda miss "the smell of Sulphur Dioxide" in the morning... even though it was a killer for your health...

.

2 upvotes
Ken Phillips
By Ken Phillips (8 months ago)

Eat some egg salad before going to bed ... that should satisfy your jones for SO2 smell in the morning.

5 upvotes
Mike_V
By Mike_V (8 months ago)

There is a cool site for old graphic design tools similar to this list.
Awesome to see this stuff that is rare now, but back in the day was so common you would never think would disappear.

0 upvotes
OldSchoolNewSchool
By OldSchoolNewSchool (8 months ago)

They missed the 35mm film leader retrieval tool. You used it if you accidentally pulled the film leader back into the film cassette. "D'oh!" The sad thing is that I still know how to use a film leader retrieval tool.

2 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (8 months ago)

The invention of the 3M post-it note adhesive ushered the demise of the leader take up tool.

.

2 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

You have to be a safecracker to properly use a leader extraction tool. It's all in hearing and feeling the faint "click".

0 upvotes
Fingel
By Fingel (8 months ago)

I used to be pretty good at extracting film leaders when I worked at the one hour photo lab in college. You had to retrieve the leader to load the film into the machine. If it was busy, you really had to fly to hit the one hour deadline.

0 upvotes
Viramati
By Viramati (8 months ago)

still have a bulk loader though mine is black and red. probably still got some ancient film in it

0 upvotes
Total comments: 149
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