I was cleaning out a closet and came across some boxes that used to be in my darkroom. I found several boxes of Spiratone Psychobrome paper. That stuff was awesome! It was basically day-glo paper coated with an emulsion. You could make your own psychedelic posters (a definite age giveaway). Now, if only I could find that 400mm tele...
I miss Spiratone all the time. Where else can I go for unusual gadgets?
I still own a light metal rifle stock mount tor camera and telephoto lens. It was cheap and it still works.
No, I don't miss them. The 400mm lens I got as a teenager was a very poor performer. The 'galvometer free' light meter I got was big and clumsy and used incandescent lamps, requiring frequent battery changes. The photo bag I got had an odd zipper on the side, making it difficult to get things in-and-out of the bag. It only had a single compartment inside, so everything clanked together. The LENTAR 135 mm lens I got was an extremely poor performer. The 28mm lens I got was had a unique soft-focus effect when wide open. I wound up trading all this stuff, with the bag, to pay for the taxes on a Rolleiflex when I was in graduate school.
I used to order products from them in the early 1970's. As one example, I was living in Montreal, and it was actually cheaper to order cardboard slide mounts from them, pay for shipping and Duties and Taxes, than it was to buy them from a store in Montreal.
When I was sorting through my old slides I came across several trays-full (Sawyers straight style; how many people remember those?), in which the slides were mounted in Spiratone slide mounts. The slides were on Agfachrome 50S Professional film, which I processed myself.
I still have the bulk film tongue cutter I bought from them in 1974. I recently discovered it when I started to bulk load again, in with my old Watson bulk loader and the rest of my bulk loading stuff. I also have a fixed-ratio 35mm slide duplicator, which attaches to any SLR via a T-mount adaptor.
Ah, the memories...
Some of Spiratone was good.
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I actually bought one of their 500mm mirror lenses years ago which I replaced with a 600mm Sigma. I still have (and use) my darkroom equipment (Saunders LPL 67 with Dichroic, trays, etc.) purchased from them in the '80s. I still remember all those shops I'd frequent whose advertising kept the photo magazines afloat back then: 47th Street Photo, Cambridge Camera, Olden Camera, Minifilm...
Originally Posted by David Brown
Yes, Spiratone and Fred Spira are also among the nice memories in my photographic history. I was able to purchase a few things from them when I was back in Washington, D. C. in the 1960s. And, like many others, I was also curious about the right angle mirror adapter that could thread onto a telephoto lens. I finally found a couple of them in a camera shop just two years ago. Yes, I bought them, more for nostalgia than anything else.
Learning just a couple of years ago that Fred Spira had died was a serious reminder that also I have developed an excessive accumulation of years. Still, I do miss having MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY and POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY (I subscribed to US CAMERA for only one year) arrive in the mail and sitting down and looking through all of the fine print and illustrations in the Spiratone ads in the back.
Regarding the 6.3/400mm pre-set telephoto T-mount like lens that Spiratone had, I think they can also be found with both LENTAR and VEMAR labels on them. One of each are here now, although I did need to clean and reassemble the diaphragm in the LENTAR. I know that the LENTAR and VEMAR were made by the same people. I do not know if they were Komura.
Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington
There is no digital effect or computer program or an "add-on" or "plug-in" for Adobe PhotoShop
Creative Suite 5, that can simulate or equal watching the magic that happens in the developing
tray when you can turn on the safe light, and see the image begin to faintly form on the print and
come up on that paper in the developing tray.
Wow, that was the old Spiratone Stabilization Processor. I actually used it when my college newspaper purchased one to use when we had to meet deadlines. The smell was awful and the prints always curled and faded. Fast forward 45 years or so to today's modern ink jet technology!
Originally Posted by eli griggs
I'm with ic-racer. Spiratone's stuff was junk. I eventually (and rather quickly) replaced EVERYTHING I had in my first Spiratone darkroom.
I could not believe the difference when I bought a "real" enlarging lens, an El-Nikkor. That's when I learned that stopping down a bad enlarging lens made it BETTER - it did NOT, in fact, make it a GOOD lens....it's still junk.
Ahh! The nightmares. (Maybe they were from the Petri)
Originally Posted by Terrence Brennan