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.