Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Two Camera Books

 Canon EOS 650 Promaster 28-80mm F/3.5 on Fuji 400

I recently saw Camera: The History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital on sale at Barnes & Noble so I bought it.  It has been out since 2009 so I imagine a lot of you have it or have looked at it.  The book is not an in depth history of photography, however I thought it was an interesting quick read.  The main appeal it had for me is the many photos of descriptions of cameras in the Eastman Collection. And for me the pictures were worth the price of the book.

Camera: The History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital also shows the important part Kodak played in the development of digital photography. I know that a lot of people have faulted Kodak for its seeming failure to take advantage of the digital technology that they developed.  Myself I can't say what Kodak might have done differently, however I can see why many wonder why they didn't avoid sinking to the low point they are at now.

A second book Glass, Brass, & Chrome by Kalton C. Larue and Joseph A. Baily is one of my all-time favorites. Subtitled The American 35 Miniature Camera Glass, Brass, & Chrome was published in 1972. Glass, Brass, & Chrome gives some in depth information about the 35mm cameras that were made in the US from the 1930's until the 1960's. Both of the authors used many of the cameras that they are talking about.  I think that this book may be one of the best ways to get a feel for the glory days of the US camera industry.  It has been out of print for a long time, however it is not hard to find a used copy. 

Both books make some predictions about the future.  Glass, Brass, & Chrome was finished at the time that Kodak's 126 Instamatic film was dominate.The authors seem to expect this dominance to continue with Instamatic film maybe replacing 35mm.  I wonder if Larue and Baily would be surprised that over 40 years later that 35mm is one of the surviving formats while 126 has been out of production for over a decade.  The author of Camera: The History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital appears to have no love for film.  To him digital is much superior.  His prediction is that the next advance will be a camera and media that can capture the kind of image that our eyes can see.  How that will work out I have no idea.