Adventures of a father and a photographer. Tales about the mystery and excitement of family travel.

maanantai 18. syyskuuta 2017

Knives, swords, sabers and a zoom lens

Back in the 80s the home computers were not all-round tools but mainly for game purposes. I had a Spectravideo SVI-728 back in those days, the dawn of the home computing era. It had even an external floppy disc drive which was a huge improvement to the tape recorders everybody else was using.

However, I wanted to be a serious nerd and wanted to buy an IBM PC clone, a sleek Atari PC. So, I needed to get rid of the game machine to get the money. Ebay wasn't invented yet, so I put an ad to the local newspaper.

After a few days of frustration, somebody finally called about the computer. He wanted to know if he could attach the machine to a thermal printer. I had no idea about that, but I knew the connectivity of the little computer was better than average. I told the caller what I knew, he pondered for a while and told me he wanted to see the computer for himself. I asked him to come over and he promised to arrive in half an hour.

The guy came by and I noticed he was a bit older than me. He certainly was no teenager, a typical game computer user. He had a greasy hair and a messy beard. I showed him the machine and he seemed to be very interested. I showed him the game cartridges I had, but he didn't care about them. He kept asking about the printer connectivity. I couldn't be sure if the printer could be connected to the computer, so he asked if I could come to his place to see the printer.

He also mentioned that he had could not pay for the device, but he had an SLR camera he could give me for it. I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to buy a new computer, not a camera. On the other hand, SLR cameras were very expensive and I only had my dad's old camera to take photos with.

The offer was so tempting I decided to take the computer gear with me and go to his place. The house was a dark place at the outskirts of the town. He showed me in and asked to be quiet because his father was watching TV in the living room. A flickering light showed me that there seemed to be somebody sitting on an armchair in the dark room. The buyer asked me to come to his room.

In his room there truly was a surprise for me. The room was decorated with all kinds of blade weapons. There were knives, swords, sabers, bayonets, the lot! I think there wasn't a square inch of the walls not covered with these horrifying things. I was looking at the blades and started to sweat heavily. When I turned around I saw him standing beside me with a camera in his hands.

The camera seemed to be the Olympus OM-10. It even had a long zoom lens attached to it. The guy told me the lens was excellent if you wanted to spy on your neighbor or take photos of the chicks on the beach. I felt very, very uncomfortable but forced a smile on my face.

Then he showed me the printer. He told me he needed the computer for a little program. The program should make the printer to print out the following sentence in an endless loop: Thank God for the mental illness medication.

At that point I thought the camera for the computer was an excellent deal. I told the guy the computer could easily do what he wanted. Here you are, the computer is yours, just give me the camera and the deal is done. I ran out of the house with the camera as fast as I could, but very quietly, because I really didn't want to disturb dad watching TV in the dark. His room might be decorated with firearms.

Vivitar 100-300mm F5

The zoom lens appeared to be a 100-300mm Vivitar. I didn't know much about the cameras or lenses back then, but the lens was an excellent companion to the OM-10. It's very sharp and 300mm is quite impressive, don't you think? And the aperture is the same at the both ends of the zoom! F5 is not bad for a long lens like this.

The only problem with the lens was, that it was my only lens. It's really not an all-round lens at all. Now that I had an expensive camera, everybody was asking me to take photos at the family parties. I had to go to the other side of the street to get the photos.

You can read more about the lens here.

And, you can read about my adventures with the lens here.

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