Sunday, January 6, 2019

Lesson 2 - Cameras & Lenses - Part 1


There are at least 8 to 10 different types of cameras in use today. Some small, some bigger, and some that require rather large tripods to be used properly. They can be grouped as:
  1. Automatic cameras 35mm and/or digital - most everything preset and controlled by the camera itself using unique installed computer type components.
  2. Rangefinder - antique folding type, 35mm, and digital. Often allows for interchangeable lenses, not common to automatic camera, which permits for more manual control. The viewfinder is set off from the line of site of the lens and, even with the best correction for that, you may not get capture exactly the same image you see.
  3. 35mm Single-Lens-Reflex camera (film or digital, SLR & DSLR) - here the camera has a through the lens viewfinder which yields an image just as you see it through the finder. Lenses are interchangeable and accessories abound. Most give you the choice of fully automatic or manual operation. Tend to be light weight and somewhat compact. Perhaps the most popular type of camera presently in use.
  4. 2 1/4 Single-Lens-Reflex camera - this camera utilizes 120 format film and produces a 2 1/4" square negative, hence the term medium format camera as opposed to 35mm or digital. My wife and I used them years ago for portraits & weddings. Absolutely a superb camera, none better. Great for wall size enlargements. Expensive and bulky compared to a 35mm/digital SLR but very reliable. No need to rotate the camera from landscape to portrait mode since the square negative covered each. Interchangeable lens and all types of accessories were available. Not necessarily a "hobby" camera but our Hasselblads were cash cows for us. 
  5. 2 1/4 Twin-Lens-Reflex camera - medium format like #4 above but lighter and less expensive as the Hasselblads. The viewing lens was mounted directly above the "picture taking" lens. Interchangeable lenses (not on all models) were expensive since you had to change both the "viewer" and the "taker" lens as a single unit. Popular in the 1930's and 40's but then displaced by Hasselblads, 35mm, and digital cameras.
  6. Polaroid camera - amazing units that produced instant paper prints on the spot in either black & white or color. All automatic, no creative control, no interchangeable lenses, and little if any accessories. Great amateur camera but of little value to professionals. The only real pro use was with special polaroid backs used on pro cameras to get a "test" shot back in the film days. FUJI has bought the name and reintroduced camera & film.
  7. The View Camera - remember seeing a photographer from long ago with a large tripod, black cloth his/her head, and a strange looking camera, awaiting to shoot a static subject of some kind? Well, that's what the modern day view camera looks like. They have two major parts; one plate up front holds the lens and the rear plate holds the film. Connecting the two is a long black bellows. These are large format cameras as opposed to 2 1/4 cameras, using sheet film in typical sizes such as 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10. These are not hand held cameras but require a very sturdy tripod to capture any particular image. They are the heaviest, largest, and most bulky of all cameras. However, if you want a negative that can produce a billboard size print, the view camera might do it for you. 
  8. Video camera - captures motion by actually capturing "still" frames in very rapid succession. The expansion of digital photography and its technology has made video cameras very popular and easily accessible. Many are built into cell phones.
  9. Cell Phone camera - as I like to refer to it, it's a hand held camera with a phone attached. My guess is more images are caught with a cell phone that all of the above listed cameras combined. Not yet fully accepted by us professionals, to my knowledge, but the cell phone will only expand in capabilities and convenience of use as time goes on.
Part 2 - we'll explore the makings of a camera, all have something in common