Oxford School of Photography

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Monthly Archives: May 2013

History of Canon Cameras

Canon have a virtual Camera Museum that has all the cameras and technology that Canon have brought to our loving hands over the years, there are a number of sections and one is called the Canon Camera Story, here is a brief synopsis

In the early thirties, the two most popular brands of miniature cameras were Leica and Contax, both made in Germany, the camera kingdom of the world. These two brands attracted the camera fans, receiving enthusiastic support throughout the world as super grade cameras…. in February 1936, the Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory released the “Hansa Canon (Standard Model with the Nikkor 50mm f/3.5 lens),” which was the first commercial camera made by Canon…..”Canon” became the new trademark of Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. “Canon” has such meanings as “standard for judgement or biblical scriptures,” which was most appropriate for the company striving for precision as its motto. 

Hansa Canon (Standard Model) J 35mm Focal-Plane Shutter Rangefinder Camera.    In the middle of 1937, strong voices were raised calling for production of the company’s own lenses. Yoshizo Furukawa, the company’s first optical engineer, developed some lenses on a trial basis such as the 50mm f/4.5 lens,


The Precision Optical Industry Co., Ltd., changed its name to Canon Camera Co., Ltd., on September 15, 1947. In 1951, the company introduced the “Serenar 50mm f/1.8” lens, which was accepted as a masterpiece lens. The first half of the 1950s was the years in which many new cameras were released one after another. These include the “III” camera equipped with a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 second, the first in Japan, and the “IV” camera that had a flash rail that enabled using a flash unit directly connected to the camera without a cable.

“IV Sb2”1954_4sb_kThe first half of the 1950s was the years in which many new cameras were released one after another. These include the “III” camera equipped with a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 second, the first in Japan, and the “IV” camera that had a flash rail that enabled using a flash unit directly connected to the camera without a cable.

The first Canon SLR camera was the “Canonflex,” introduced in May 1959. With subsequent advances in SLR camera technology, SLR lenses also evolved, from R-series lenses to FL-series lenses, which incorporated a fully automatic aperture control mechanism. And with this progress, debuting along with FL-lens technology, was the “FX” camera, introduced in April 1964, which featured a built-in CdS exposure meter, ushering in the era of TTL (Through the Lens) metering with the launch of such successive cameras as the PELLIX and FTQL.


Since the fall of 1964, there had been growing calls from both inside and outside of the company that Canon should embark on production of a most advanced SLR camera to meet the requirements of professional photographers. After five years of development efforts, the “F-1” camera was unveiled in March, 1971. The “F-1” has left the most glorious footprints in the history of cameras.1971_f1

Developed exclusively for professional photographers, the “F-1” satisfied them with multiple functions and the systematic configuration. More than 180 accessories including lenses and filters were made available for this camera. It proved to be durable, highly reliable and performed well even under the harsh conditions professional photographers are often forced to confront. Thus, the camera gained wide popularity among professional photographers. The “F-1” wasthe official 35mm camera for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, and the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, U.S.A.

Based on technology developed for the “F-1” camera, in 1972 the company succeeded in producing the “High Speed Motor Drive Camera” having the shooting speed of 9 frames per second.

Sixteen new FD-series lens were introduced together with the “F-1.” To compliment the professional “F-1” camera, its lens had been improved to ensure central resolution exceeding 100 lines per millimeter and to achieve high contrast. Good color balance throughout the series was achieved by careful selection of optimal glass materials and improved lens surface coating methods.

Unveiled in April 1976, the “AE-1” camera was the world’s first 35 mm Auto-Exposure (AE) SLR camera equipped with a Central Processing Unit (CPU). The camera integrated the latest electronics and optics technologies. Together with the “A-1” camera having five AE modes, which was introduced in April 1978


When the AE-1 came out, TTL manual-metering models (including the Canon FTb and FTb-N) were still the mainstream in the 35mm SLR market. Autoexposure models were still at the very top end of the SLR market. They were expensive and produced in small numbers.

The AE-1, however, was designed from the ground up with five major units and twenty-five minor units. They were centrally controlled by a microcomputer. By incorporating electronics, the parts count could be reduced by 300. The manufacturing of the camera was also highly automated. This made it possible to produce a low-cost camera having high-end features.

In March 1983, the company released the T-Series cameras, which realized high-cost-performance through employing various automated functions and competitive pricing. The T-Series cameras include “T50,” “T70” and “T80,” culminating into the “T90,” which was marketed in February 1986 as a professional model.


The T90 is a multi-mode SLR with built-in motor drive. The form of the pentaprism hump is a distinct characteristic. Instead of being sharp-edged like on previous cameras, it is rounded with smooth curves. The camera was designed to lessen the picture-taking burden on the user via automation. It aimed for seamless operation to respond to the user’s will. A lot of top-notch technology and thought went into the camera.

The camera has three metering systems to suit diverse shooting conditions. Eight autoexposure modes and two manual exposure modes also make the camera highly versatile.

Under the development project called “EOS (Electro Optical System), ” Canon confirmed that “a highly-refined AF SLR model deserving Canon’s name should be developed with the target market release date of March 1, 1987, the year of Canon’s 50th anniversary. ” The EOS development efforts bore fruit with the introduction of the “EOS 650” on March 1987 as scheduled


The EOS 650 boasted incomparable autofocusing. Each EF lens has its own optimum built-in motor for autofocusing

With the advent of the new millennium came groundbreaking new EOS-series digital camera products. Launched in 2000 was the EOS D30, a full-fledged AF digital SLR featuring a high-resolution CMOS sensor. In 2001, EOS-1D hit the market as a professional digital SLR targeted at sports and news photographers, while the EOS-1Ds featured an 11.1 megapixel sensor and was designed to be the perfect high-end photographic tool. Canon’s efforts to enhance functionality without compromising on cost performance were crystallized in the EOS D60 in 2002 and EOS 10D in 2003.


Premier AF Performance: The 45-point area AF gives predictive AI servo AF at about 9 fps (with the PB-E2 attached) for outstanding subject tracking and blazingly fast focusing, all automatically.

In 2005, Canon introduced the EOS 5D, a full-size 35mm digital SLR camera with a remarkably low price within reach of many consumers.

So the history of Canon from 1936 to today has been a road of innovation. Here we have only looked at the pivotal moments in that history and only at the more serious cameras so there are a wealth of compact cameras and video cameras as well in the Canon archive. If you want a more detailed history go here

Chicago Sun-Times lays off its photo staff

I know that all major news operations are looking to cut costs and that newspapers are in need of the greatest cost cutting, Sydney Morning Herald group (Fairfax) apparently didn’t send one photographer to the London Olympics and relied on agency pictures, but this news from Chicago is still disturbing

The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and plans to use freelance photographers and reporters to shoot photos and video going forward, the newspaper said.

A total of 28 full-time staffers received the news Thursday morning at a meeting held at the Sun-Times offices in Chicago, according to sources familiar with the situation. The layoffs are effective immediately.  

The newspaper released a statement suggesting the move reflected the increasing importance of video in news reporting:

I particularly hate this, oh and I especially hate the to shoot photos and video going forward, what is wrong with the words “in the future”

The company is also preparing to supplement its freelance staff with reporters to shoot more video and photos, according to sources.

So send anyone out with a camera and that will do, what about professionalism don’t they understand that a professional photographer is more than a person with a camera. Would they accept written pieces as journalism from someone because they own a pen?

As the places where we see most photographs, the news media, cut the use of professional photographers all that happens is that those looking at the photographs get used to poor quality pictures and loose the critical ability to know when a picture is good or bad because they are mostly bad. This is just further evidence of a world where the lowest common denominator is cost rather than quality.As we can see from the written word above “going forward” we will only have poor images, poor writing, poor editing, in fact poor everything in the future. Shame on you Chicago Sun-Times.

If you want to read all of this article you can go here but there is no happy ending

A Brief History of Nikon

Today, we are spoilt for choice – there are an incredible number cameras for us to choose from. What has remained fairly constant however is the manufacturers of those cameras. Although there are a few newer players, mainly from the consumer electronics  industry, there is still a hard core of the well known tr1aditional camera makers in any top ten list of photographic companies. Over the next few months we are going to take brief look at the history of some of the most iconic camera makers around today, starting with Nikon…..writes Jason Row is a British born travel photographer now living in Ukraine. You can follow him on The Odessa Files. on Lightstalking


Click Here: A Brief History of Nikon

Steve McCurry – Just a Moment

Steve produces sets of his pictures around a theme, if you have just a moment then have a look at these




ethiopia-10032all images ©Steve McCurry


Grief, Grind, and Glory of Work, pictures by Steve McCurry

Last month the world heard the tragic news that more than a thousand people working at a clothing factory in Bangladesh, were killed when the factory they were working in collapsed. Steve McCurry one of the greatest working photographers has put together this selection of his images themed around work, you can see all of the set here

afghn-127772  BURMA-10221NF, Myanmar (Burma), 07/1994  india-108441  yemen-10053nf4  yugoslavia-10068


all images © Steve McCurry

see more here

95 Amazing Photography Links

We get so much benefit from following Lightstalking, maybe you should too…..it’s been a really exciting week in the world of photography and Toad Hollow Photography has been searching everywhere for the very best links to share here.  This week’s comprehensive list contains some terrific tutorials, reviews, collections, special features, great photography and interesting blogs, enough to keep the avid enthusiast busy for quite some time!  The Toad hopes you dive right in and enjoy this list as much as he did in bringing it to you.

Here is a taste of those 95 links


How to fix skin tone in Photoshop: Video tutorial – this 10 minute video tutorial takes the viewer through the process of using a curves adjustment layer and its associated making layer.  Lee Brown’s comprehensive tutorial shares techniques that can be used in many other ways during post-processing, expanding the horizons of those who view this presentation.


Posing Tips: Expressions & Hats – a great article by Joe Farace that discusses the how’s and why’s of the importance of facial expression and props like hats for portrait photography.  This brief post shares some great insights into the topic, with the points being useful for a wide range of work.


How to Get the Perfect Photo of a Steaming Cup of Coffee – this 5 ½ minute video tutorial shows the viewer how to stage, light, compose and capture that quintessential steamy cup of coffee shot.  Commercial photographer Robert Grant takes you on a detailed and entertaining journey through the entire process, with phenomenal results.


Camera Settings for HDR Photography – this ten minute video presentation takes the viewer through the basic steps to get into HDR photography.  Richard Harrington and Abba Shapiro host this feature, both of them leaders in the field.



Gitzo Series 1 Traveler 6x Carbon Fiber Tripod & Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler Ballhead – Edith Levy writes and delivers a completely comprehensive review of this tripod and ballhead combination, sharing some great insight into how versatile and stable these units are.  Use cases and features are discussed here, producing a well-rounded article that covers the topic.



The Body in Nature: Unusually Beautiful Photographs – the human body has been used as an art subject since the beginning of art itself, so it’s highly unusual to come across a body of work that takes on an entirely different perspective of how the body imitates the natural world through a composition focusing on the abstract.  The black-and-white photographs by Arno Rafael Minkkinen are just this, with many of the pieces leaving the viewer with many questions left unanswered.


Silhouettes in a Giant Moonrise, Captured Using a 1200mm Lens – the compression effects introduced by lenses with super-long focal lengths are exploited in the creation of this picture.  As a full moon crests over a hill, Philipp Schmidli positions himself almost a mile away and has a bicycle and rider ride in front, producing a striking result.  This is an absolute must-see post in this week’s list.

Just for a bit of good luck let a caged bird go free….



©Keith Barnes Laos 2012

Click Here: 95 Amazing Photography Links

5 Worthwhile Blogs on The Business of Professional Photography

Over at Lighstalking they often come up with great posts that are really informative and useful, this one is providing information on resources available to people who are thinking about turning pro.

While photography can be a tough way for some to make a living, there are a lot of free resources for established professional photographers or those hoping to get into the game that are both great and free. The trick is to constantly work at improving your knowledge and your business and professional photography blogs are a great way to keep up to date with that. Here are a few of our personal favourites.

LaosThe photographers of Vientiane in Laos. They take your picture then huddle close to their computers and produce your print in minutes, well it is one way to make a living as a photographer ©Keith Barnes

Click Here: 5 Worthwhile Blogs on The Business of Professional Photography

A year in the life of That Tree,

You are interested in photography, you wouldn’t be here on this blog if you weren’t so how often do you take  pictures? There are many places that encourage you to take a picture a day but sometimes you don’t feel inspired to go and find something worth photographing, Mark Hirsch got around this by choosing one subject, a tree. How easy is that, you could do the same surely. He only had a camera phone, what could you achieve with your expensive camera?

Using only his iPhone, photographer Mark Hirsch spent a year documenting an ancient Bur Oak Tree and posting a photo a day on Facebook.

An iPhone Photo Journal documenting A Year in the Life of That Tree

January 20, 2012 – An awesome tree in a field I drive by on every trip to town. Shrouded in today’s snowstorm, I felt compelled to hike out and grab a photo of it. This was the first time I ever used the camera in my iPhone. Seems my iPhone camera has inspired me to capture those scenes I’ve previously captured only in my minds eye! That Tree is an ancient Bur Oak growing on the edge of a cornfield near Platteville, WI.

An iPhone Photo Journal documenting A Year in the Life of That Tree

Day 189, September 28, 2012. A colorful leaf on that tree is illuminated by the setting sun against a blue sky at dusk.

An iPhone Photo Journal documenting A Year in the Life of That Tree

Day 111 July 12. Visiting from Henderson, CO, I had a fun time early this morning introducing Lora Kohnlein and her sons Duggan and Patrick to that tree. The boys and I climbed the tree, examined dozens of bugs and discussed the finer points of the video game angry birds. Thanks boys for inspiring me to see things like a kid again!

An iPhone Photo Journal documenting A Year in the Life of That Tree

Day 116 July 17, 2012. Clinging to its bark, an interesting resident of that tree and it’s surrounding habitat glows in a shaft of sunlight.

An iPhone Photo Journal documenting A Year in the Life of That Tree

Day 101, July 2, 2012. In a timed exposure captured on an iPhone 4S using the iPhone app SlowShutter, the flight paths of  fireflies leave yellow brush strokes as they fly in and around That Tree at dusk. That Tree is an ancient Bur Oak growing on the edge of a cornfield near Platteville, WI.

So go and have a look at the rest of his pictures here and then ask yourself why you haven’t done something similar, you are supposed to be interested in photography


When the line blurs between sport photography and photojournalism

It is an often debated question, when should a photographer put down their camera and help. We have all seen pictures where it is assumed the photographer has chosen to continue photographing rather than doing the human thing and helping, what should we as photographers do?

Like Hillsborough before it, the Boston Marathon bombing has highlighted how sports stories can quickly turn into breaking news events. When this happens, photographers have to decide whether to help or keep on shooting The Photography Blog at The Guardian asks, read what they think here


The second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon

Don’t shoot? … the second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Click on image to enlarge. Photograph: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe/AP

Perhaps one of the most iconic images that brings this question to mind was taken by Nick Ut during the Vietnam war


This picture Kim Phuc running away from her bombed village when she was just nine is now instantly recognisable and seen as a defining image of the Vietnam war

This article about Nick Ut in The Daily Mail tells some of his story about being a photographer in the Vietnam War

It is one of the most recognisable pictures ever taken and an image that not only defined a war, but defined the career of the man who took it.

Kim Phuc was just nine years old when she ran naked towards Associated Press photographer and Pulitzer prize winner Huynh Cong ‘Nick’ Ut screaming ‘Too hot! Too hot!’ as she headed away from her bombed Vietnamese village.

She will always be remembered for the blobs of sticky napalm that melted through her clothes and left her with layers of skin like jellied lava. Her story has been told many times over the last 40 years since the shot was taken.

But now, to mark four decades since Ut took the picture he has released more moving images that he took during the Vietnam war that chart the horrors of that fateful day in 1972.

The following picture is of the attack that preceded the event that led to his memorable image


Huynh Cong ‘Nick’ Ut took this picture just moments before capturing his iconic image. It shows bombs with a mixture of napalm and white phosphorus jelly and reveals that he moved closer to the village following the blasts

When compared with the first image it becomes apparent that Ut actually started heading towards the village following the napalm attack. The sign to the right of the picture appears larger while what looks like a speaker to the left of the road is no longer in shot.

As he headed towards the town and took the photo, which Kim Phuc has now found peace with after first wanting to escape the image, he would have been unaware the effect his picture would have on the outside world.

It communicated the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way words could never describe, helping to end one of the most divisive wars in American history.

He drove Phuc to a small hospital. There, he was told the child was too far gone to help. But he flashed his American press badge, demanded that doctors treat the girl and left assured that she would not be forgotten. 

‘I cried when I saw her running,’ said Ut, whose older brother was killed on assignment with the AP in the southern Mekong Delta. ‘If I don’t help her – if something happened and she died – I think I’d kill myself after that.’

Read the full story and see more of Ut’s pictures from that war here

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2154400/Napalm-Girl-photographer-Nick-Ut-releases-work-Vietnam-war.html#ixzz2TwdINL00

The power of photography: time, mortality and memory

In the Guardian there is a really interesting article featuring a selection of artists, writers and photographers showing a photograph and talking about it’s importance and the importance of photography to them.

We take thousands of pictures nowadays, but do we still cherish them? We asked writers and artists, including Grayson Perry and Mary McCartney, to pick a shot they treasure – and tell us the role photography has played in their lives

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry in his Camden squat in 1985, making a Super 8 film

When I was about five, my mother made a bonfire in the back garden and burned a suitcase full of family photos taken by my father. He had been a keen photographer with his own dark room. I don’t know why she burned them, but it coincided with them getting divorced and my stepfather moving in.

For the rest of my childhood, no one in the family possessed a camera, so I have very few photographs of myself before art college. Family snaps are somehow celebratory of the good times so there was little motivation to record our lives. As soon as I could afford it, I bought a clunky Russian Zenith SLR….read more of what Grayson Perry and the other contributors say here

The Guardian has followed up this article with a space where mere mortals can share their most important pictures,

Photography – share your most precious photo

Share with us your most memorable photograph with a line to tell us what or who we are looking at and why the image is so special to you

You can do that here