The marvellous toy


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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The marvellous toy

18 Dec 2020 8:55AM   Views : 382 Unique : 270


Do you remember that Val Doonican song? Iíd quote it, but the lyrics are a bit obscure: if you donít know it, look it up on Deezer or SpotifyÖ

Anyway, itís come to mind because of the pictures I took for the Softar blog a few days ago: I realised that I needed to find something to hold a filter in mid-air. And I remembered something I bought a quarter of a century ago, and had never used: one of those gadgets that appear, get reviewed somewhere, and therefore get bought. It still goes on, especially around Christmas.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but what I had forgotten was that I didnít, at the time, ever take still life pictures, so a gadget consisting of a weighted base and three adjustable miniature crocodile clips was of very limited use in my hobby. My son, who was quite young at the time, adjusted it so that it resembled a meerkat on sentry duty (weíve had a thing about meerkats in the family since around 1990).

And so the marvellous gadget has adorned one or another bedroom shelf as the familyís major contribution to modern art, and never done an honest dayís work Ė until the other day. It held a filter by the rim, and did it magnificently.

There may be one or two other gadgets around that havenít fulfilled too much of a useful function around the house: and there are certainly a few that havenít fulfilled their primary purposes. I have quite strong views about the usefulness of the much-hyped Rotolight Neo (itís a decent and adaptable light source for those of us happy to open the bidding at 6,400 ISO, but itís not going to win any camera club prizes), but as a fill light, it has its place. Whether itís worth £200 (they were £300) for that is a very open question when there are so many cheaper alternatives.

So itís time to bring out your deadÖ Please tell me about the purchase that you regret Ė or the one that has only proved its worth long after you gave up thinking about it!

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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Dec 2020 9:04AM
I'd thought of adding a picture of a Rotolight. But failed. Maybe later on...
Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 16 1.1k 34 England
18 Dec 2020 9:10AM
I've had a fair bit of studio equipment and props used just the once on a whim and stored in the garage rafters for another time which never occurred, on a total house cleanse during lockdown 1, I donated them to a local studio in return for some free studio time in 2021.
Acancarter Avatar
18 Dec 2020 9:31AM
This is just the sort of thing I have in my bits and props cupboard! Main thing is that you have to keep looking at what you have regularly. Anything possibly optically useful must be kept!
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Dec 2020 10:31AM
I'm with Andrew. I'd hate to reach 87 and have to buy a new one because i threw the original away when I was 67...
PaulCox Avatar
18 Dec 2020 11:10AM
I have two of your featured gadgets I used to use them to hold wires for soldering, and yes they adorn the shelves in what we politely call the Study (ie the Junk Room). I will however add that as I was trained as a Fitter/Turner In the 1960ís and you never never dispose of any thing that might be useful. Any way I now have a new use for them to hold a filter. Paul.
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
18 Dec 2020 11:23AM
I bought one only a couple of weeks ago and was using my 'gripping gadget' only yesterday. They're still selling them and the price is now only £3, complete with magnifying glass in the middle. I recall that they were much more expensive in the past.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Dec 2020 12:13PM
I bet theyíre not made in Germany any more! This was from the enormous Hama catalogue, though I grant that it may not actually have been made by, rather than for that company.
GGAB Avatar
GGAB 7 31 1 United States
18 Dec 2020 1:29PM
I used to use these 40 or more years ago to hold wires that I was soldering, back in the day of tube amplifiers and point to point wiring.
It also was used as a heat sink for soldering wires directly to early transistors, resistors and capacitors. I haven't seen one in a very long time.

Jestertheclown Avatar
Jestertheclown 14 8.8k 255 England
18 Dec 2020 10:56PM
I've had one of those; with an attached magnifying glass, for about as long as you've had that one.

It did sterling service holding bits of plastic model aeroplanes while they were painted.

I've still got it somewhere. Along with some, now certainly collectable, unmade, model aircraft.
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 36 8 England
19 Dec 2020 1:33AM
I've got a camera bag full of stuff that I never use Smile. Come to think of it, I've got a garage full of stuff that would be more useful if it wasn't there.

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