Tamara’s recent post regarding old-fashioned cameras got me to thinking. Remembering when.
When I was a licensed private investigator, I always wanted the literary trappings of it. The snap-brim fedora, the trench coat, the shoulder holster. And a fine 35 mm camera. A Speed Graphic was a bit to old-school for me.
Alas, I operated on a shoestring, and could not afford such finery. I did have my Dad’s very-well-used trench coat, that multiple dry cleanings failed to clean. I used it as an ersatz gun rug for my Ithaca DSPS shotgun. No fedora.
One of my then brothers-in-law took a job in Japan, and visited with Christmas gifts. An inexpensive pair of 12×50 binoculars, and a 80-200mm zoom telephoto lens for my then wife’s Yashica camera.
Sadly, the camera leaked light, and the mount had changed in years since the camera was purchased – so the lens didn’t fit.
I did what any reasonable person would do. I went on an obsessive search for a camera it would fit. No Internet then, classified ads in multiple camera magazines were the ticket. And I found one:
A Contax 137 MA. Contax is to Yashica as Lincoln is to Ford. And this model had all the bells and whistles, including an internal motor drive! And the zoom lens fit! I promptly bought a 2x teleconverter to make the zoom lens 160-400mm!
I went about town taking ‘candid’ shots of folks who had no idea there photograph was being taken. After all, that was the nature of the business, wasn’t it?
And took many other photographs. My camera bag was the perfect concealment whilst traveling all over California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho and Washington. 3-year-old Molly had no objection to having her picture taken. Walt Disney would have had a fit, if he had known about the 5″ 1911 in the bag with the Contax in his theme park!.
After my wife and I split up, she borrowed the camera and lens. And had a burglary. And it was lost.
I even went on-line a few years ago to see if I could locate a replacement model on EBay. They are out there, but not in the best condition. And what’s the point? It’s old photographic technology. And I cannot afford neither ammunition nor film, anyway.