Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sharp Center and Mist Maker

If you were doing photography in the 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's it is likely that you have heard of Spiratone.  The company sold a wide variety of camera accessories and advertised in the photo magazines.  They had a store in Manhattan and did a booming mail order business. The company started from a small photo developing operation ran by Fred Spira and his father in the 1940's.  Spira was one of the first to import Japanese made accessories.  Spiratone came along at just the right time, benefiting from the postwar boom in photography. The company survived until 1990, going out of business just three years after Fred Spira sold it. Fred Spira lived on until 2007. His obit was in the New York Times if you'd like to know a little more about him and his company. A lot of items from Spiratone are still around.  I did a search for Spiratone on Ebay just now and there were 284 results.

I came across a couple of Spiratone filters in a box of filters that I was given. The one used for the image above is called "Center Sharp Lens".  When I put this filter on and look through the viewfinder there is a in-focus center surrounded by a blurry ring. 

This filter seems to do a little more than just make the edges of a photo soft. 

It also seems add a glow to the image.

So far I have just made a few images with this filter, however I think it has the potential to be useful.

The other filter is called "Mist Maker".

To me the Mist Maker seems to diffuse more brightly lighted objects in an image.

Again so far I have just taken a few images with this one and while I think it could be useful it will take more trials to figure out how that can best be done.

Back in the days before Photoshop, filters like these were about the only way to add effects to your photos.  And I know that there are many who would say that such effects are more easily done in Photoshop.  I'm not going to enter into that argument since I don't think there is a right or wrong here. For myself it is still fun on occasion to see what these filters will do, however I am personally aware that Photoshop can yield the same pleasure.