Saturday, February 6, 2010

Computerized Cameras

Nowadays most everyone uses a digital camera without film. Back in 1983 I became involved in the old fashioned sort of photography. My brother Neil sold me his Canon FTb-n camera and a couple of very nice lenses. This was a completely mechanical SLR camera, the only electronic part being the meter which was a real meter with a physical needle that swung back and forth in the viewfinder.

A couple of years later my brother sold me his Canon AL-1. This was a smaller camera based on their popular AE-1 model. It had a computer in it, and needed batteries just to fire the shutter. It also had an early autofocus system. It didn't actually turn the focus ring on the lens with a motor like modern cameras do. Instead the computer in the camera controlled a red LED in the viewfinder to tell you to turn the focus one way, another red LED to tell you to turn it the other way, and a green LED in the middle to say that focus is achieved.

This was a nice enough little SLR I suppose, but it wasn't as durable as the FTb-n. Also, the batteries didn't last very long.

My attitude at this time towards computers in cameras was "computers are wonderful computers, but computers are not wonderful cameras." I still feel this way about computers in automobiles, but digital cameras have finally come into their own. I still love film, but it's too expensive now.


Dave Colglazier said...

Hey Carl, I'm more ancient than you. I cannot believe your background and perseverance. I came upon your site looking for people interested in Pascal as I have access to 5 AIM-65 machines just built for that purpose although they had custom Basic ROMs. I used to be a Rockwell distributor in the late 1970's so I have lots of info. is my website. Dave Colglazier

Carl Gundel said...

Hey Dave! That's really cool. Do you have manuals for that machine. I'd be interested in the manuals for the BASIC they supported in particular.