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  1. #1
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    Does anybody else miss Spiratone?

    Showing my age, I know. And yeah, I know, Spiratone's been gone for about 20 years now, but I gotta say that I still miss them. Kinda like the JC Whitney of photo gear. I got to thinking about them just now, and started getting all sentimental.

    I still have a few odds 'n ends I bought from them back in the 80s. Probably my most prized Spiratone possession is a "poor man's light box". It's just an adjustable metal frame to which a sheet of diffusion material is attached, made so that it can mount onto a light stand, and with the right accessory -- probably another item I bought from Spiratone, come to think of it -- an adapter that will hold the frame and allow a flash to be mounted on it as well, it worked pretty well. Just fired the flash through the difuision material and you had nice, soft light. Always liked it better than umbrellas for taking pics of things that had reflective surfaces.

    I also owned one of the ubiquitous 135/1.8s that Spiratone and others marketed. A pretty soft lens, but that actually made for some nice portraits. I still have one of their cheapo slide duplicators -- it actually worked pretty well.

    I guess the need for such a company has passed, and that's too bad. But dang, it sure was fun poring through their catalogs.

    Best,

    Michael

  2. #2
    eric's Avatar
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    I miss going to the store I *think* on 32nd street? Or was it like 18th street around the block from old B&H?
    Ooops, there goes my age....

  3. #3

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    That's a good analogy to JC Whitney! I agree 100%!

    As a teen, I spend hours, pouring over their catalog, dreaming of my own darkroom. I miss them too!

  4. #4

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    Last edited by Kino; 01-27-2009 at 08:25 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: duplicate

  5. #5
    David Brown's Avatar
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    "Spiratone" is one of my routine searches on ebay. I rarely actually buy anything, but it is fun to see what turns up.

    Anybody besides me still have their 400mm "sharpshooter"?
    David
    Taking pictures is easy. Making photographs is hard.

    http://www.behance.net/silverdarkroom
    http://silverdarkroom.wordpress.com

  6. #6
    eli griggs's Avatar
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    I never bought or used anything from Spiratone but looking at some of their offerings was fun and the prices always seemed right. I think they had a nice little light meter I liked the look of but I bought something else, Vivitar I think.

    Last year, included in a bunch of free darkroom gear I received were several Spiratone items; filters and miscellaneous stuff I can't quite figure out. One of these is a B&W paper processor that I've got stored on the carport; very basic with a two chemical set-up. I won't use it for photography but the rollers look good enough to salvage for making woodcut brayers out of and the motor might see some use in a future project. I guess the only reason I haven't pulled it apart yet is that nostalgia for the name-brand has stayed my hand.
    Last edited by eli griggs; 01-27-2009 at 09:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    Phil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    Anybody besides me still have their 400mm "sharpshooter"?
    I've still got one - complete with lenshood, UV filter and case.

  8. #8
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    The Sharpshooters were, and still are, good lenses.

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eli griggs View Post
    One of these is a B&W paper processor that I've got stored on the carport; very basic with a two chemical set-up. I won't use it for photography but the rollers look good enough to salvage for making woodcut brayers out of and the motor might see some use in a future project. I guess the only reason I haven't pulled it apart yet is that nostalgia for the name-brand has stayed my hand.
    That's a stabilization processor. As I recall from browsing through the catalogue in my teenage years it required special paper and the chemicals were a developer and a stabilizer, and the prints weren't particularly meant to last a long time. It was a quick method of making proofs or prints for reproduction that didn't need to be around for six months.

    I remember they also made a macro bellows for 35mm with full view camera movements.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  10. #10
    Curt's Avatar
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    Yes, I remember Spiriatone, I guess I never realized they were gone. I'd like to get out a 1970 issue of Popular Photograph and look up the advertisers and see if they are still in business. I know of at least two right off the top of my head, Freestyle Sales Company and B&H Photographic.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

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