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Clouseau returns


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Clouseau returns

9 May 2021 10:03AM   Views : 505 Unique : 308


A cardboard box that has sat under my computer table for several years has yielded treasure, of various sortsÖ Including, appropriately, an old-fashioned telescope, me hearties! But more to the point on a Silly Sunday, thereís a once-popular accessory. Mineís the cheap sort, which just looks weird (and thus might actually attract attention), though similar devices with a fake lens at the front were also availableÖ

Itís a mirror in a tube, and the idea is that you can face in one direction, pointing your camera into the distance, while actually taking a picture to your left or right. Thereís a filter thread on the back, and it has a release screw so that you can adjust the alignment, which is absolutely necessary to avoid seasickness when viewing.


Let us (appropriately) leave aside the human rights, common courtesy and legal implications of something that probably figures in an upskirterís fevered and febrile imagination almost as much as patent leather shoes (or would, if he knew about the device). Itís one of those ideas that probably seemed great at the time, but rapidly falls apart when turned into reality.

Optically, thereís a large and fairly cheap bit of mirror in there, and thatís hard to keep clean as well as distinctly dodgy in quality terms. And it simply wonít fit onto most modern long lenses, as the maximum diameter of the adaptor ring is around two inches. Typically, I think, it would have been fitted to a 135mm or maybe a 200mm telephoto lens.


The mirror may not be very well fitted: when I align the housing with the base of the camera, the thingís looking slightly down (or up, depending on whether Iíve fitted it to look left or right). And my viewfinder now contains a mirror image, which is back to front. Much waving around is likely to result from trying to line up a long lens with a subject: fortunately, the 49mm adaptor on the back of my ?????? means that I tried it out on a 45mm lens!

So if you see someone reeling around with what looks like an ugly black box on the front of his lens in a suspicious manner, nudge him with your elbow and suggest he knocks it off before the rozzers arrive. Anyone seriously trying to take pictures with one of these devices is clearly as thoroughly ept as Inspector Jacques Clouseau.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
9 May 2021 10:05AM
The shot through the device shows the difficulty of shooting level: and please note that my lenshood will be back the proper way round as soon as I take the right angle mirror off it!

There may be a whole blog to write about lens hoods on backwards.
James124 Avatar
James124 Plus
8 110 64 Portugal
9 May 2021 10:25AM
I remember these things being advertised, was never tempted tho.
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
9 May 2021 10:31AM
I remember those being advertised too. But I've never before met anyone who had the need for one, John! Lol
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
9 May 2021 10:48AM
Like much of the contents of that box under the table, it was from the 'make us an offer' box of junk that all camera shops used to have...
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
9 May 2021 10:54AM
I never saw any under the counter/table stuff! All my local jessops ever had were a few filters and lens hoods.
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 24.1k United Kingdom
9 May 2021 11:58AM
The mention of upskirters reminds me of the 'character' that I saw in a street in Kingston-upon Thames in the 1980's. He was walking along with an old style empty pushshchair, the sort with the metal platform for the child's feet. Secured to the front of this was an Olympus Pen camera facing upwards I guess that it might have been the half frame type for 72 exposures. The use of which was obvious.
I always wonder if he was apprehended.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
9 May 2021 6:45PM
Paul - the box is under MY computer table!

Richard - words fail me. There are some very sad people in the world. I wonder how he wound the film on...
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
9 May 2021 8:48PM
By coincidence, with reference to taking photos surreptitiously, I've just come across this website about the life of an Eastern Bloc photographer who used deliberately naff-looking self made cameras out of cardboard: which will leave leave you astonished and in awe in equal measure! Definitely worth a read:
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
9 May 2021 10:01PM
I knew someone at work who tended to need a new camera (and dental work) every time he went on holiday abroad...

One or two of his subjects seem aware and willing. But only one or two!
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
9 May 2021 10:05PM
I remember these too. They must have sold as the adverts kept appearing. I doubt many were used, like a lot of similar gadgets of the time. Fisheye converter anyone?
pink Avatar
pink Plus
20 7.5k 11 England
10 May 2021 1:43PM
A 'friend' of mine had one of the ones that resembled a lens, he used it on a 200mm tamron and the results were awful, I think he still has it (maybe in a box under his desk!)
I'll ask him next time I see him. I think it was called a 'Candid lens attachment'

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