Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thrifty Finds a Camera

I went to the thrift store for the first time since I've been back in Lubbock, and it was awesome! I love thrift stores, especially the ones that sell a bunch of random things people don't want anymore.

Thrift stores in Japan were anything but thrifty. Most of the ones I went into only sold used clothes, I mean "vintage" clothes, at astronomical prices. I once saw a worn out pair of Converse All-Stars selling for 8,000 yen ($80); the new ones: 4,000 yen ($40). Go figure.

But there I was, wandering the isles of the great American thrift store, trying on polyester sport coats and plaid breeches with no intentions of buying. I try on the most outlandish garments in sight attempting to try on the past; older fashions, a different way of life. Usually the old-times constrict and itch.

Finding nothing worth $5 on the racks I ventured into the rest of the store and looked at the unwanted artifacts of years past. White plastic TVs, plastic woodgrain VCRs, and mobile phones the size of footballs sent out their rescue cries. Other peices of the past just sat lifelessly on the shelf waiting for the dumpster to ease their rejection pains.

Walking slowly to consider each object, I stopped in front of purse sized, duck-vomit green leather case. I knew there was a camera inside, probably an old winder-upper. I never expected what I saw inside: a 1957 Keystone Capri K57 8mm Cinemaster II movie camera.

"Wow!," I thought, "This things gotta be worth more than the $9.99 tag." Along with the camera was the tattered original instruction manual and a mail in waranty postcard. The action on the reels still worked so I bought it. I'm sure 8mm film is next to impossible to get these days, but what the heck.

The camera has three Bausch & Lomb lenses to shoot through: a 9mm f/1.8 wide-angle, a 12.7mm f/1.8, and a 25mm f/1.8 telephoto. An exposer ring helps the user control the shot with 5 simple settings like, "hazy sun," "cloudy dull," and "bright sun" to name a few. In 1957 this camera must've been the bees knees.

With my new old movie camera in hand, all I have to do now is find some 8mm film (tough), a place to develop it (hard), and way to watch my movie (don't even know where to start). Sounds expensive but it's worth a shot, at least once. Maybe I should go back and buy a polyester jacket to complete the look.

If anyone has any information about purchasing or developing 8mm film I'd love to hear from you. Here's the wind-up... Action!

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