Friday, August 2, 2013

Time Promotional Camera

It is possible the the Time Camera is both the most reviled and the most imitated camera in the history of photography. The Time camera was introduced in 1985 as part of a magazine sales promotion by Time magazine. At a time when many photographers were complaining about the increased use of plastic in cameras, Time decided to add metal in the form of lead weights to their otherwise plastic camera.  With this innovation the Time camera had the extra heft that many at the time felt was the hallmark of a well-made camera.

Apparently the Time promotion was a success and set off a wave of offering a free camera as a promotional item.  Most of these cameras were either a clone of the original Time camera with a different name, or were a minor variation on the Time camera theme.  Maybe there were a few people who thought that they were getting a high quality camera, however it appears that most people didn't value these cameras much.  Today this type of camera is a staple of the thrift shops and garage sales.  Many are found still in their original packaging.

Back when I was more into toy cameras than I am today I used many of the Time type cameras.  However I had never had used the father of the family until I recently bought one at our local Salvation Army Thrift Store.  The Time Camera offers the choice of four apertures, f/6,f/8,f/11 and f/16.  The shutter speed is 1/125. The pictures that this camera took are better than I expected.

Of course I took most of the photos on a sunny day while visiting some antique shops in Danville, IL.  Such conditions are likely to bring out the best in a camera with the capabilities of the Time Camera. Nonetheless I was pleased with the pictures it made which I can't say is true with every camera.

If you are anywhere near central Illinois, Danville is a worthwhile place to visit if you like antique and thrift shops.  The town also has a nice mix of old buildings to take photos of.

So now I have used a Time Camera and was not traumatized by the results. My biggest complaint about this camera is that it seems that what I saw in the viewfinder was only about half of what would end up in the photo.  Its maybe the most useless viewfinder that I have experienced.  Still if I had to I could probably make do with the Time Camera.