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Toy troubles

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 03:36 am
pin'hole cam"era


a simple camera in which an aperture provided by a pinhole in an opaque diaphragm is used in place of a lens.


Same idea = different use. I understand that early camera obscura used pinholes.



Polaroids must be the ones that come straight out.

They might be good for a little kid? Instant result? Watching the picture develop like magic?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 03:43 am
What is a camera obscura?
Camera = Latin for ?room?Obscura = Latin for ?dark?
Go into a very dark room on a bright day. Make a small hole in a window cover and look at the opposite wall. What do you see? Magic! There in full color and movement will be the world outside the window ? upside down! This magic is explained by a simple law of the physical world. Light travels in a straight line and when some of the rays reflected from a bright subject pass through a small hole in thin material they do not scatter but cross and reform as an upside down image on a flat surface held parallel to the hole. This law of optics was known in ancient times.

The earliest mention of this type of device was by the Chinese philosopher Mo-Ti (5th century BC). He formally recorded the creation of an inverted image formed by light rays passing through a pinhole into a darkened room. He called this darkened room a "collecting place" or the "locked treasure room."

Aristotle (384-322 BC) understood the optical principle of the camera obscura. He viewed the crescent shape of a partially eclipsed sun projected on the ground through the holes in a sieve, and the gaps between leaves of a plane tree. The tenth century Arabian scholar Alhazen of Basra had a portable tent room for solar observation and gave a full account of the principle. In 1490 Leonardo Da Vinci gave two clear descriptions of the camera obscura in his notebooks. Many of the first camera obscuras were large rooms like that illustrated by the Dutch scientist Reinerus Gemma-Frisius in 1544 for use in observing a solar eclipse.

The image quality was improved with the addition of a convex lens into the aperture in the 16th century and the later addition of a mirror to reflect the image down onto a viewing surface. Giovanni Battista Della Porta in his 1558 book Magiae Naturalis recommended the use of this device as an aid for drawing for artists.

The term "camera obscura" was first used by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler in the early 17th century. He used it for astronomical applications and had a portable tent camera for surveying in Upper Austria.

The development of the camera obscura took two tracks. One of these led to the portable box device that was a drawing tool. In the 17th and 18th century many artists were aided by the use of the camera obscura. Jan Vermeer, Canaletto, Guardi, and Paul Sandby are representative of this group. By the beginning of the 19th century the camera obscura was ready with little or no modification to accept a sheet of light sensitive material to become the photographic camera. Portable and box camera obscuras from our collection are shown on another page on this site.

The other track became the camera obscura room, a combination of education and entertainment. In the 19th century, with improved lenses that could cast larger and sharper images, the camera obscura flourished at the seaside and in areas of scenic beauty. Visit the page that features images of camera obscura rooms from our collection. Today the camera obscura is enjoying a revival of interest. Older camera obscuras are celebrated as cultural and historic treasures and new camera obscuras are being built around the world.
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 05:25 am
Oh geez... dlowan's got the cut & pasties...
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 05:41 am
LOL!

Girl With a Pearl Earring made me interested!!!!!
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 08:40 am
Montana, I think I would have loved a digital camera at an early age too! A digital would certainly be the most cost effective if it held his interest.

You make a good point, sozobe, about a small outlay until I have a few results to base my decision on.....

Maybe I should pick up one of these cheap cameras and see where it goes before deciding to spring for something costlier.

But if he likes it and then the images fade and disappear, like Ceili says, I'll be heartbroken later.

Thanks for the info on the camera obscura, dlowan! It really is an interesting device. The painter, David Hockney, has recently written a book posing that the Renaissance masters used a camera obscura to help them get such realistic definition.

One of my favorite examples that he cites is Hans Holbein's (the younger) "The French Ambassadors. (http://www.artchive.com/artchive/H/holbein/ambassadors.jpg.html) For a long time they knew that if you changed the perspective on the weird blob in the foreground that it formed a skull but nobody was sure how he did it or why he did it. (http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/5702/holbein.html) The use of a camera obscura would be one way to get such a result.

Hi there SealPoet!
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 08:43 am
Polaroid shut down, they are no longer. I don't know if another company will take up production of their film and harware supplies.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 09:18 am
The stuff that made the polaroid insta-pictures was also toxic, as I recall. You sure wouldn't want Little Mo taste-testing!

There was an incredibly cool Camera Obscura set-up in the Greenwich observatory. I can't recall exactly how it worked, being of small brain, but you had to go into a very, very small, darkened building and then the skyline of London was projected onto a screen... upside down in a circular pattern... but you could walk all the way around it. Was amazingly clear. <cough, cough> Oh, nevermind.

Have you ever checked out the...Heathsong Catalog? They might have something worthwhile.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 11:18 am
The cameras and sticker film were available in Michigan and Wisconsin less than a month ago, and I've seen them here in the last week. Quick, cheap bang for a buck.

I've got some sticker pix that a friend took of Bailey and his best friend about 3 years ago. They're still in good condition (and they definitely have not been treated with any kind of respect). We've got some of those insta-Polaroid pix (yes the SX-70!) that are about 20 years old. I just found out they're still using one of them here at work!
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 11:19 am
You could probably still dig up a working SX-70 for fairly little outlay. They seem to appear in outlet stores infrequently.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 11:39 am
I had forgotten that Poloriod went out of business. I don't know who took over making the products but I saw a P-Zone and film at Target. Someone still makes cameras like the SX-70 - you can buy those at Target too! In addition, you can buy Poloriod backs for just about any camera but it uses the pull off backing, not the magically developing before your eyes stuff.

At about a buck a sheet for poloroid film, I think that would have to wait for Mo to get a bit older.

I can't believe I don't still have one around here somewhere. I have a lot of old cameras. My favorite is an old Minox that used 8mm film. Very James Bond.

Most photography stuff is pretty toxic. We won't be darkrooming for years and years and years (provided he stays interested anyway).

I read (in Smithsonian?) about a guy who does these very cool camera obscura installations all over the world. I'll bet thats the guy whose work you saw, Pifka. Very dreamlike. Beautiful.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 11:49 am
Polariod isn't totally out of business. They just released a new meduim format instant film and they have a new Line of LCD TVs out.

The current incarnation of the SX-70 is called the "Polaroid One".
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 12:15 pm
I've seen those Polaroid One cameras! I wonder if you can do the neat tricks with them that you could do with the SX-70, like double exposure. I'm betting that the film hardens too fast now.

What part of Polaroid went out of production?

I've been thinking a lot about what sozobe said about open ended toys. Mo likes that kind of stuff too, legos, lincoln logs, that kind of stuff but he always, and I mean always builds train tracks. I swear, if something isn't a "camera" it's a train. I find canned goods, candles, lumber, all kinds of things lined up as "trains" or "train tracks". One section of my bookshelves must always remain clear for train duty.

Kids are so weird....
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 12:31 pm
Hee hee!

We have a bookshelf that is a train track, too.

And one of the smallish rectangular blocks is often a camera. (Her latest quirk... she wants me to sign "cheese" instead of saying it. I don't think she gets the "cheese" concept.)

She's getting heavily into make-believe -- always has had that interest, but much more recently. Getting her a dress-up chest for her birthday (went around and got all kinds of costumes cheap after halloween... ladybug wings, fairy wings, crown, princess costume, little red riding hood costume, fire chief hat, etc.) Grandma (on request) is getting her a doll stroller, as her favorite thing to do at one of her classes is take a baby doll and wheel it around. She's heavily into the whole baby thing right now.

Geez, that's all kinda girly. Fire hat, anyway. Confused

Aside from that stuff, her very favorite thing is art. She loves paints especially. I think she likes the process, not just the product.

But the camera does sound really cool.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 06:14 pm
on my way home, drifting mentally, remembered that one of the things i used to love to make with my lego was 'cameras'.

so back to the original question - nope, i don't think the darling boy's too young to get his own starter camera. he might just want it to play camera with, or he might pick up on what it's really doing with it. or he might use it to hammer things into the wall. he's a kid! Very Happy
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2003 06:41 pm
I looked at a few cameras today while out shopping.

Wow! Even those teensy digitals can be really expensive. The P-Zones were $25.00 bucks at this store, though, lots more than at Target.

I bought the great cameras that I use at the studio on E-Bay. I think I'd better start shopping now.

The way I'm looking at it now is that I can take a chance on some other toy and maybe he'll like it or I can take a chance on something that he actually likes to play.

Sozobe, that's too funny about signing "cheese". Mo and I have been trying to learn a bit of sign language. I bought that very cool new sign language dictionary and we find words that we use a lot to practice. However, what I'm really learning is that putting those gestures into a sentence is an art form.

I've used my camera as a hammer so I'm guessing that that is okay.....
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2003 03:16 pm
I picked up one of those I-Zone (sorry, not P-Zone) cameras at Target today (under $10!) and gave it, unloaded, to Little Mo just to see what the reaction would be.

He played with it for hours, up until nap time. (We'll see what happens after that...)

The camera received a very enthusiastic reception. He ran around "taking pictures" of everything in the house. It only has one button and one switch, both of which he figured out right away. So far, it seems like a good investment for $10.

I figured I might as well start with the cheap one before I spend any money on something a little more permanant.

If you're interested, I'll keep you posted on his interest and progress.
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2003 03:20 pm
Yes, please let us know how this this goes along. I've very curious myself and am interested in knowing how things go. Good plan on the cheap $10 camera ;-)
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Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2003 03:31 pm
I think you made a great compromise, boomer. Sounds like a budding photographer!
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2003 03:32 pm
Yay! Sounds great.

(Plotting for Christmas...)
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2003 03:45 pm
Okay - I'll keep you informed.

One caution, sozobe. The film is kind of icky and comes with lots of serious cautions. Little Mo is not one to stick things into his mouth but I know we'll be bringing the film in slowly and carefully, with tons of supervision. Not that I think the sozelet is unspervised, Ijust don't know if shes one of those "mouthy" kids. I would probably reconsider ever loading the thing if Little Mo was.
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