Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fujica 35EE (1961)

Occasionally, a camera comes along that is just wilful but brilliant in its design. The Fujica 35EE is one such camera:

At first glance, it looks unassuming enough. Clearly a rangefinder camera. The grid-like square suggests some kind of batteryless selenium-based exposure meter. There's dials round the lens, probably for focusing and aperture:

Closer inspection, oh look, there are the aperture settings - not phased at all. I set an aperture, take a look through the viewfinder. How do I set the speed of the shutter? and where do I find information about what speed to set it to?

Yes, that's right, the shutter speed dial is built into the lens and the exposure meter readings is given in a little window on the top of the camera. There's no focusing mechanism on the lens though. How do you focus? Ah ha, it turns out it's done with that little metal thumb wheel which simultaneously rotates that little disk with all those numbers on it - yes, that's right, there's a dedicated dial to display depth of field values at any given distance and aperture... Gosh...

And, now, I've focused, selected my shutter speed, selected my aperture, and am ready to take the shot. I gently squeeze the shutter button next to the exposure meter. It doesn't fire. Of course, you have to wind on the film. Where's the wind-on lever?

On the bottom...with a built-in reminder dial about the kind of film you've got in it. There's a cute little frame counter next to it to. And a tripod mount. Handy. The reminder dial reminds me that I've not set the ASA speed. Where's that?

And, yes, that is the film rewind crank sticking out of the side of the camera... Did I mention that you get shutter priority mode, despite not having a battery? That said, there may, actually be a battery compartment somewhere that I've not found...

I can't help but reminded of a certain crab...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Spartacus; or, Nothing New Under the Sun

In 1997, Apple released the 20th Anniversary Macintosh, codenamed: Spartacus. It retailed at $7,500, and shipped with a 250mhz processor, 32mb of RAM, a 2gb hard-drive, and a 4x CD-ROM. All this was reasonably high-spec at the time but the TAM's unique selling point was that it was an all-in-one desktop with a built-in LCD screen and thus looked very, very futuristic indeed. To make things even more futuristic, Apple took one of their laptop keyboards and turned it into a full-sized peripheral. Low-profile keys, you see, meant futuristic. Ooh...
(Photo: Wikipedia)

The low-profile keys are back, with the shiny new iMac:

Except this time you get a numeric keypad. Unless you go for the wireless keyboard option. In which case you don't. Because, you know, wireless is futuristic - and, as we saw in the TAM, the future doesn't do numeric data-entry. No, the paranoid android in the corner takes care of all the numbers :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007


Given that the epistolary form is, necessarily, a performative genre (with its explicit audience, and, often, its participation in a distinctly public discourse); and given that it is well known that, when we tell stories, the need for grand narrative effect often jostles with - and shouts down - the need for objective, verifiable truth ... I feel no compunction at all in having written to Amateur Photographer magazine with a lovely picture of me and my tiny Olympus XA2...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Feeling crafty....

And, for my next encore, I made a hard aluminium flight-case for the lenses currently scattered precariously round my room.

Case: £3.35 (£10 for 3), B&Q
High density foam: £5.50, Dunelms
Time: 1.5 hrs
Bear: Winnie by Bears of Eastwood


Take one dead iPod Mini. Crack open. Remove 4gb Microdrive. Insert Compactflash card from digicam. Re-assemble. Result: working iPod Mini with longer battery life and no moving parts to make music skip when jumping around!

Let us eat cake!

Even if they weren't as helpful and kind as they are, even if the quality of their books wasn't absolutely fantastic, Ashgate would still be one of the loveliest publishers in the world. Why? Because, at conferences, while others are offering crappy discounts and free ballpoint pens, Ashgate realises that you may have had a long trip, and may be tired and hungry. So, instead of stuff you don't want, they give you a muffin.
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