Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Search of the Holy Grail of Cameras

As a youth the only camera I had access to was a simple "Brownie" style--no focus or exposure settings.  It took acceptable pictures in ample daylight.  Here is an example photo--my coed softball team at BYU in 1971.

And another from my mission in Oberhausen, Germany.

On my mission in Germany I purchased a pocket sized fully manual camera, the Rollei 35.

The portability was outstanding, and I enjoyed manipulating the exposure settings for shutter speed, aperture, and film speed.  It had a light meter on top to help with the settings, but the focus had to be guessed based on distance and a scale on the lens.  A flash could be attached to the underside (which had the unfortunate unflattering trait of casting a shadow up the face). I got some good shots with this camera, but also many with poor exposure and/or focus.

This was our primary camera during the years our kids were growing up, until 1989.  Lots of hit and miss on quality, but here are a few examples.

I love this photo, but the focus is off--see the sharp counter top behind them?

This next one's pretty good.

 Here's an example of underexposure.  Lots like this in our archives.

Here is an example of the upward facing flash.  Cute picture, but technically poor.

And two examples of camera shake.  With low light conditions the shutter is open longer so a tripod or very still hand is needed.

It is interesting as I look back at photos taken with this camera.  There were entire rolls of film with underexposed images, perhaps due to a low battery or incorrect film speed setting.  Focus and camera shake were persistent problems.

In September 1989 there was a dramatic change in the quality of our photo archives.

To be continued . . .


  1. Enchanted Forest!!!

    Is that a Twilight Run picture? I think so.

  2. Yes, the Twilight Run in Hillsboro. We did that a few years running (haha). One year I did the two-lap 5 mile version after accompanying Blair the first lap. Without any preparation or training. I was so sore I could hardly walk for a few days.

    1. Why does this not surprise me...

    2. What doesn't surprise you? That I would do such a thing with no prep, or that I was so sore?

      By the way, I think this photo is not the Hillsboro run. I can't quite place the background, and the date of slide development was June 1989, so earlier than that run (which would have been July or August). Can you tell from the photo where it is?

  3. I wish we had had a better camera when our kids were small.

  4. I love the pictures of your family long ago. I've never seen Bridget as a child so it's neat seeing her and comparing her to her daughters. I think Bridget looks a lot like you - she's definitely got your big, friendly smile!