13 DECEMBER 1963, Page 33

Snap Decision


PHoTotaanmv, even for amateurs, is much less• ∎ ,i 1 complicated these days

than it once was (and still can be—if that's the way you want it). It is now very easy to get good pictures round the clock and round the year. Film is faster and more sensitive and so gives more latitude for error.

Lenses are better and aper- tures are wider, so you get

a sharper picture even with the cheapest cameras, And, in colour film, you ttet better quality than you do even in a cinema, because yours is the first and only print from the negative, whereas the cinema's is the ump- i$.s-Nuth copy. Moreover, cameras arc now much Nnipler and the fully automatic ones are so 1114de that you Couldn't go wrong if you tried.

have the feeling, though, that the trade, Renerally speaking, has not made this as obvious as it might have done. Too often, when you go into a photographic dealer's, the assistants like to demonstrate their expertise by blinding you with science and they talk as if you were a professional or, at least, a keen amateur who knows all about cameras. There are 4,000 still camera clubs around the country and 500 tine clubs, but their members positively enjoy the Complications of photography, whereas you (may I take it?) and I merely want to be able to take Rood photographs effortlessly.

For advice on how to go about the simple life in photography I went to see Mr. Boobyer, the Photographic buyer at Harrods and a man who knows that what he, as an expert, wants in a camera is different from what I want, but that what I want is more important. His first principle is that you should have a camera with a built-in light meter. This kind of still camera can be either fully automatic (reads the light, sets the aperture and shutter speed and gives you a light signal when all this has been done, so that all You have to do is press the button) or semi- automatic.(reads the light but you work out one or two simple settings). In the fully automatic field Mr. Boobyer recommends the Agfa Optima II at £43 13s. 8d., and in the semi- automatic the Kodak Retinette at £34 16s. 7d. If You're prepared to do a little work with a camera that is not fully or even semi-automatic, but is, none the less, very easy to operate, a very good buy is the Voigtlander Vitoret at £14 15s. 3d. (all prices include leather case).

A new still camera was announced recently by Polaroid, the American firm whose policy has long been simplicity for the benefit of the amateur. This brilliant innovation, the Automatic 100, will give you colour prints in fifty seconds and black and white prints in ten seconds. Load- ing is done by inserting a pack of film in the camera. No winding on to a spool is required at all. The Automatic 100 costs £114 12s. 6d. and you pay £2 18s. 6d. for eight colour prints and £1 13s. I Id. for eight black and white prints. An earlier version of the Polaroid which is still available, the Model 160, costs £69 18s. 5d. Prices arc high, but you are paying for simplicity and speed—and for surprisingly high quality allow- ing for the fact that the Polaroid gives you a colour print in fifty seconds whereas normal colour film requires processing in a laboratory through twenty-two separate' and carefully controlled stages in an hour and a half.

In the past eight years there has been a tenfold increase in the number of tine cameras sold, and many non-experts start with tine these days with- out bothering to go through the apprenticeship of still photography. Built:in light meters are again the secret, and good fully automatic tine cameras include, the Kodak• at £27 2s. 6d., the Bell and Howell at £31 8s., and the Sankyo 8-CM at £53 5s. (all including leather case). You'll also need a project& and a screen. Projectors are becoming simpler and safer. Automatic threading of the film is now pretty general, which saves a great deal of bother, and low-voltage lamps avoid over-heating. Prices can be high. If you want slow motion, still frame, backward and forward running and various voltages, you can pay as much as £70. The Kodak Brownie 8 is nothing like as sophisticated as that but it is perfectly adequate and costs £22. You may find it worth while to spend more money—on, for example, a Bell and Howell at £36 or a Eumig at £44— knowing that, with projectors, you get your money's worth because there is no purchase tax on them.

It's advisable to have a screen for tine (you lose a lot of quality if you use the drawing-room wall) and it can, of course, be used also for pro- jecting colour slides. Screens are either matt white or beaded. Matt white is the better of the two and slightly cheaper. Beaded gives a better picture but it is directional and pictures only look their best if you are sitting straight in front of the screen. A Hunter matt white screen costs £6 (40 in. x 40 in.) or £8 2s. 6d. (50 in. x 50 in.), both with tripod.

Contempt for the customer, immortalised in the catchphrase 'one born every minute,' dies hard. How hard was revealed recently when Duomatic, self-described as 'one of the biggest direct-selling organisations in Britain,' published simultaneously two advertisements in two different newspapers with two different offers to two classes of customer.

In the Daily Express the half-page advertise- ment for the Duo-matic Popular (the hyphen seems optional) at 38 gns. threw in two single electric blankets or one double with the two-year guarantee and two years' free service. In the Daily Telegraph the half-pagepublished that same morning for the Duomatic'SuPer de Luxe (50 gns.) said in heavy type, 'We believe that intelligent peoPle are sick of "free gifts,' and raised the free servicing period for:t6Se superior people to, three 'years. The copy ;added, 'We can think of no other way of giving our public honest-to-goildriess value for m#ey.' Which public. hone,t1■.? *

Two short stories, one of theft tragic, to illustrate how necessary it is to take care with

the servicing and-checking of potentially clangerous household -equipment. • •

In Derbyshire • recently a younecouple were found dead on a six-year-old' electric: blanket in their bedroom.

And the Ironmonger reports the case of a retailer who had an oil heater sent to him for servicing. Inside he found two' dolls' legs, a plastic boat, a rattle, a spoon, a wrapped bar of soap, a hair clip, part of a matchbox, some grape stalks, three and a half jelly babies and a letter to a doctor—as well as 'the usual grease, dust, burnt matches and bits of paper.' The re- tailer's comment was that the letter to the doctor should have been addressed to the .fire brigade.