Damien's profile photo
+Damien Walker

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back to the future of photography No.1.

What will your next camera body be and what features and specifications would you most like? I bet you’d love full frame, 25 megapixel equivalent and 16-bit depth. How about a top shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second and a flash sync at 1/250th?

They’re pretty nice features. I have something for you with all that and more - how about 10 frames per second with no buffering? Yep, no buffering. I know of a body that will shoot continuously at 10 frames per second until you exhaust it’s capacity.

Don’t believe me? Then how about this? I’ll throw in zero mirror vibration and no viewfinder blackout while shooting.

Interested? Well you’re more than 15 years late to the party. This amazing list of features was included in Canon’s EOS-1N RS way back in 1995 and today’s dSLRs are barely matching it.

The RS was a marvelous film body and it was one of Canon’s early models featuring a pellicle mirror which didn’t flip up between exposures and it was a body that pushed all the speed limits. Today’s 5D MkII looks positively glacial by comparison. The 5D has a shutter lag of 0.4 seconds, the RS was 0.006 seconds. The 5D shoots at 3.9 frames per second - in the same second the RS could take more than twice as many exposures. Ever wondered what it would be like to fire a machine gun? Something like shooting an entire 24 exposure roll of film in 2 and a half seconds, I reckon.

Want one? There’s one on eBay right now for $425. The price on release was $5,575.

This is just one of the great finds I rediscovered while looking back through my back issues from 1995 of Better Photography Magazine. I wrote about that great publication here a few weeks back.

Other developments from 1995 included a wonderful new film called XP2 by Ilford. This was the first chromogenic black and white film which meant it could be developed and printed at the local mini-lab where your colour film was processed using the same C41 chemistry. (Anyone younger than 25 probably has no idea what I’m talking about, right? Well, get your parents to tell you about the time it would take a week or more between pressing the shutter button and seeing the picture.) At $9.95 for a 36 exposure roll XP2 was a cheap and high quality way to shoot black and white without needing to invest in a wet darkroom (again, ask your parents!).

Another new product release of note was the Rolleivision Twin MSC 300 P. A twin lens projector that let you dissolve from one slide to the next for a truly professional looking slideshow! It even let you project the slides in any order without having to rearrange them in the magazine. Genius. And only $3,500.

The editor of Better Photographer is Peter Eastway and back in 1995 he was sharing all the pro tips. Peter suggested photographers may be interested in displayng there digitised slides on The World Wide Web. He said “Imagine hundreds of thousands of computers all around the world, all left on. You turn on your computer, dial up a single telephone number and suddenly you have access to all these computers at the same time!” Sounds thrilling, Peter.

He goes on “with the internet you can send your photograph from your computer to another computer in full colour and it could take as little as 20 minutes to send.” Revolutionary.

Peter finished his piece by asking readers to share any locations they’ve found on the World Wide Web that have good photographs on show. He said “in a couple of issues I’ll be brave enough to give you my email address”, until then please write or fax him the details. 0_o

Some things in 1995 were as relevant then as they are today and as the were in 1895. Much of this issue was dedicated to how to be a better photographer. Can you guess what the advice included? Tips on using the direction, warmth and quality of light; how to create a pleasing composition; and creative use of depth of field and shutter speeds. The technology can change, but the ingredients for great photography will always remain the same.


  1. Fascinating. There is much more about what was in photography in this book:

  2. Excellent blog& presentation. Keep writing more and more. I voted for your blog and suggested your blog to my friends also.
    Porsche 924 AC Compressor