Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

The Cameras With The Wonderful Lenses

johnriley1uk

I hope you enjoy browsing the images in my Portfolio - all comments are welcome!
...Read More
Profile

The Cameras With The Wonderful Lenses

17 Mar 2021 10:21AM   Views : 935 Unique : 639

We step out into the misty world, in black and white no doubt, of 1963. Perhaps later we'll catch the first episode of that new science fiction serial on the BBC, but first let's open the new booklet we've just picked up from Johnsons of Hendon. It's called The Johnson Way to Better Photography and at 6d it's a cute way to try and charge us for a small catalogue.
22471_1615974738.jpg

This 1963 edition of this small booklet has a long history and they could make a nice little collectors item as a set. But we only have 1963 and inside we are offered a series of pages describing the full range of the cameras with the wonderful lenses, or Voigtlander if you prefer. It's fascinating what these cost and what that would be today, using the Inflation Calculator online.
The lowest cost is the simple Vitoret at 12 15s 9d. This would be 279 today, the equivalent of a week's work for many and more than a week in 1963.
22471_1615975194.jpg

22471_1615975218.jpg

Top of the compact camera tree is the Vitomatic IIa at 68 0s 2d, or at current prices 1456. The 2d might seem irrelevant, but in those days we had resale price maintenance (no discounting!) and PT (Purchase Tax), one of the weirdest concepts ever IMHO. We are taxed when we earn money, taxed when we spend it and if we ever get to negative interest rates maybe even one day taxed as we own it.....But back to Voigtlander and I think a staggering price for what we get.
22471_1615975484.jpg

22471_1615975494.jpg

Of course there are also SLR cameras, and the Voigtlander range are indeed superly made. They are also incredibly complex, using leaf shtters in the lenses rather than focal plane shutters. This makes everything expensive and was really their ultimate downfall. There is nothing more magnificent than the chrome finish on say a Bessamatic and nothing more amazing than the clarity of the view through the viewfinder. However, that view is an aerial non-focusing one, apart from a central ground glass disc. The lenses are also lovely, but a standard lens focusing to 3 feet does not compete to the Pentax ones at 1.5 feet of the same era. Likewise, the Super Dynarex 135mm f/4 focuses down to 13 feet, as against a Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5 focusing down to 4 feet. Then check out comparitive prices for those....
So, a Bessamatic with Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.8 lens was 105 15s 9d (equivalent now 2270) and the automatic Ultramatic with Septon 50mm f/2 was 125 11s 0d (equivalent now 2700).
22471_1615975904.jpg

22471_1615975914.jpg

Looking at those prices, we can today comfortably buy a Pentax K-1 II with 28-105mm lens, all weather resistant and full frame, for less than the simple version of the Voigtlander SLR. Very few people could afford that in 1963 and the standard camera club camera would probably have been a simple viewfinder model, maybe with a better lens than the standard and maybe with a rangefinder if we were lucky. Even by 1975 when I could afford my first Pentax Spotmatic with 55mm f/2 lens we were getting much better value, but most second and third lenses would have been third party ones.
I'll finish with a few useful accessories.
22471_1615976186.jpg

Recent blogs by johnriley1uk

The Pentax and the Butterfly

I always carry my trusty Pentax MX-1, probably the best compact camera that I have ever used. It is staggeringly useful in terms of functions, not too large or heavy and sturdily made. It also has a great lens, the SMC Pentax 8-25mm f/1.8-2.5, comple...

Posted: 25 Sep 2023 3:37PM

Historic Tyldesley - Frank's Cafe and More!

There was a cafe in this building for many years, well loved by local people and run by Frank and his wife. Eventually, of course, Frank retired and the building has been under restoration for some time now. If you look on YouTube one of the urban ex...

Posted: 24 Sep 2023 10:55AM

Historic Tyldesley - The Technical College

There is a road sign that says "Welcome to Historic Tyldesley" or something similar, and for a while we scratched our heads wondering what excatly was historic about Tyldesley. Well, slap on the hand for us, because there are plenty of things that w...

Posted: 23 Sep 2023 2:41PM

Buile Hill Greenhouse - Progress Report

We were down at Buile Hill Park in Salford today, just to see how the mansion and the Greenhouse were getting along. The mansion is under restoration at the moment, but the greenhouse was set to be demolished. This was such a wonderful place, with bi...

Posted: 11 Sep 2023 12:42AM

Always Carry a Camera

I make a point of always carrying a camera, just to capture anything and everything that catches my eye as we carry on with the minutiae of life. I was in Atherton and just heading for the shop that sells fuses and passed a small alleyway that used t...

Posted: 7 Sep 2023 8:59PM

There are no comments here! Be the first!

Login

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.