Top 5 Advancements Since 1936
By Lauren Lochetto
Special occasions have a tendency to evoke feelings of nostalgia. As celebrates its 70th anniversary, the dramatic evolution of the industry since 1936 inescapably comes to mind. As a result, we searched out those best-equipped to identify these changes; past PTN Dealers of the Year.
Of the handful of Dealers brave enough to address this goliath question, most decided the answers should come in the form of past products/inventions that revolutionized the industry, starting with the first pro digital camera system, the Nikon F3 camera equipped by Kodak with a 1.3 megapixel sensor. Since the camera's debut in 1991, the popularity of digital has advanced at an overwhelming rate; a truth that has stirred mixed emotions in the hearts of many traditional film shooters, but is generally viewed in a positive light. According to Michael Woodland, of Dan's Camera City, PTN's 2002 Dealer of the Year, "While some may regret the advancement of digital as they feel less people are printing, we should remember how many more people are taking more images as a result of the benefits of digital. With more images being captured, there are more opportunities for putting them to use."
"People are finding many new pleasures in sharing their lives with more media than ever before possible. Many of these options actually inspire people to take pictures in the first place. Previously the impetus was having a record of an event. Its a huge shift in the motives and habits of our consumers," says Woodland.
We here at agree with our past Dealers of the Year, who felt that the second largest industry advancement since 1936 was the introduction of the one-hour minilab. The concept of One-Hour Photo, first introduced by Noritsu in 1979, received a very favorable reaction; and Noritsu's QSS minilabs were quickly introduced all over the country. The result was faster, more affordable processing that encouraged the growth of the entire industry.
Nipping at the heels of minilabs in our hierarchy is, "the SLR automation revolution embodied by the photographic amateur's mass acceptance of cameras like the Canon AE-1," as it was so aptly stated by our 2005 Dealer of the Year, David Guidry of Lakeside Camera and Imaging. First introduced in 1976, the Canon AE1 was marketed for mid-level photographers who desired high-end features—auto exposure modes like Program and Shutter Speed Priority and interchangeable lenses.
Shying away from digital is our fourth-most mentioned advancement, multilayer color films such as Kodachrome and Kodacolor. First introduced in 35mm format in 1936, Kodachrome was the forerunner of modern color film. There were earlier color processes, such as Autochrome, but none had the clarity, speed, latitude, or tight grain that Kodachrome did. It was above all, a more natural color, and nothing like it in photography had been seen before.
Finally, the introduction of the Polaroid Land Camera concludes our top five. Dennis Nagel of Idaho Camera, our 2003 Dealer of the Year emphasizes the significance of the occasion, "For those who are old enough to remember (I was just a kid), the introduction of the Polaroid Camera was quite an event. Polaroid sent out representatives demonstrating cameras, young ladies dubbed 'Polly Polaroid.' Polly came to our store and shot Polaroid Instant Pictures of our customers. Of course, our customers were amazed and they loved it, now they didn't have to wait a week for a photo, only a minute. An entire new category of photography was launched."
Other answers included the introduction of the compact automatic camera, company convergence in favor of higher-quality products, and the use of the internet as a means to move, share, and print images. As for the future of the industry, the consensus is, there's no looking back. The age of digital is here to stay, and long-time industry experts like 1972's Dealer, Frank Denevi—Denevi's Camera—believe we will only delve further into the world of megapixels and memory cards to unleash the full potential of digital. "The future is unbelievable. We have been amazed in the past, but we haven't seen anything yet. Digital imaging and manipulation is the ninth wonder of the world."
So Many Streams, So Many Horses
By Don Sutherland
I am proud and honored to place a mini-memoire in the 70th-anny issue of , and humbled that I've spent over half those years composing it.
Straight from high school graduation, diploma in hand, I wandered from store to store, looking for a camera salesman's job. Does everyone remember Dave Yasner? He hired me, and taught me my first acronym, GTM ("get the money"). My introduction to was that very day, in the form of the Master Buying Guide—a cornucopia of authoritative info and a heck of a selling aid in the hands of a Dave Yasner. It was June, 1961.
I was an aspirant author, and by 1965 was on staff at an ad agency writing about Hasselblad and Bolex cameras (16 mm). A year later I was at Gilbert & Felix, writing about Nikon, Bronica, and Mamiya. A couple years afterward, Bill Clark assigned me my first magazine article, for U.S. Camera: a review of a Nizo movie camera, using the radical new "super 8 film cartridge."
How many things have we learned and forgotten since June '61? How many horses got shot out from under, midstream?