August 2019

We all have worries about our size - even if we insist that we don't. The too-small want to be bigger and the too-big want to be smaller. The just-right are nervous in case they appear to be too average. And these mental games we play are carried over firmly into our shopping for cameras and lenses. We are helped out by the fact that the makers of the gear want us to buy more and can play this size thing to make the sales happen. Sorry to be crude there, but that's what it has been in many cases. This fact was recently pointed out by the editor of Pro Photo magazine when he wrote that sensor size is largely irrelevant. That'll set the cat amongst the advertising pigeons, of course, now that 24 x 36 frame sensors are becoming more common and even larger ones dubbed " medium format " are coming cheaper to the market. The sensor-size debate rages unabated. Yet the people who purchase images - the very reason that there is such a thing as professional photography...

Camera Electronic has always been a good place to come to when you wanted to do a bit of peering. In Ron Frank's day you could do pondering as well, because sometimes the stuff on the floor or on the shelves was the sort of photographic gear that did not explain itself at first sight. I remember circling an automatic colour paper processor on a tea trolley ( we were not quite as sophisticated in product presentation in those days...

These last two days I've been explaining and praising the secondhand sales of cameras - and the retail of ex-rental stock. You can also add the sales of ex-demo and refurbished stock from the major manufacturers. These sorts of sales and prices are all very similar. But it is time to trot out a few from the CE cabinet to prove the point. These are cameras seen recently at Stirling Street - all at good prices and all in extremely good condition. You'll recognise consumer, enthusiast and pro cameras there. Not the rejected pups that we might see in a pawnshop. Cameras that people want to own and use. And there will be flashes, lenses, and other accessories there as well - it can be a mixed bag in the pre-owned sections. There's even an underwater housing:  ...

You know, once upon a time in Perth there was a thriving trade in secondhand photo gear - mostly cameras and lenses - and right in the centre of the town. Wizard Photos, Plaza, Alfred's Emporium, Jim Norman, Kevron, all had lots of secondhand cameras that moved in and out of their shops all year long. Of course they sold new equipment as well, but really the fun for the enthusiast was going past the windows or through the shops to see what had come in during the week - and then thinking whether it was a good idea to trade in what you had to buy it. Outside of the centre of town was Ron Frank in Camera Electronic in Angove Street, North Perth. One day he moved to Fitzgerald Street. And then one day to Stirling Street. In all of these premises he maintained an extensive secondhand dealership - and Camera Electronic still does. That's no mean feat nor is it a light responsibility. There are some pretty strict laws involved in a secondhand dealer's license and now Saul...

Peering into cabinets at Camera Electronic has been a major part of photographic culture in Western Australia for nearly 50 years. In some cases it has been peering and lusting and in others peering and wondering. It doesn't matter which degree of interest you take, as long as you take a good close look. I used to do so in Angove Street, then Fitzgerald Street, then Stirling Street. Now I can take the train down to Perth and peer into Murray Street. The staff are good enough to let me do this unobstructed, though occasionally I catch them peering back at me. In any case, it is exactly what Ron Frank used to encourage when he was setting up a store - the photographer who stands and ponders is the photographer who eventually reaches for their wallet. The older cabinets at Fitzgerald and Stirling Street were ex-library structures fitted with glass sliding doors and key locks. There were wall cabinets and floor ones - the floor ones could be ranged out like little glass tower blocks on a housing estate. They had...

And the last post of the recent PhotoLive 2019 series. Look at the heading picture and see if you can find yourself in it. If you do, remember that you are what make it all worthwhile for the staff and exhibitors at this annual event. Those halls was full...

Being the old guy in charge of the film and book desk was a good deal at Photo Live events - I got a chance to scoot off occasionally and look at the other exhibits. Now you'd think that I might have seen everything before in the shop, but remember that there are representatives of firms that I don't normally get to meet and they've brought the newest of their offerings. So even I can be wowed by things. Before I go, a word about the Analog Line - the film business. To the surprise of many and the delight of others, film sales are tootling right along very well. There were enquiries and sales all day from our stock box and a half dozen people seeking film and developing information. Of course, for a lot of this I referred them to Fitzgerald's Photo Laboratory - the third stand down - but I was delighted to talk to the two ladies who enquired about normal grain and plate grain films. They knew what they wanted to do and pretty much how...