Vintage Ads: Summer Part 1

5/28/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

It's Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S., and to kick off a weekend of BBQs, pool openings, fun and sun, I present to you a summer-time activity themed set of vintage camera ads.

PS- We are off on Monday, so posting will resume on Tuesday.
Have a great weekend and don't forget the sunscreen!

Word Search Answers

5/27/2010 0 Comments A+ a-


























*I was given a sheet with the jumbled words with NO answers, and had to find all of these myself. It took me a little while, but I got them all without help. Voigtlander and Gossen were some of the last ones I found... How did you do?

Our Grading and Checking System

5/26/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

We get lots of questions regarding our grading and checking system for used equipment, and have recently noticed that some people have been searching for this information. This is going to be a pretty long post, but if you're interested in how it all works then read on.

First, here's an explanation of our grades:

As packaged by manufacturer complete with manufacturer's USA warranty. Not previously owned or used by a consumer. *You have probably seen the words "NEW" or "LOWER PRICE" listed online or in our catalog where prices usually appear. Due to certain manufacturer's minimum pricing requirements, we are not permitted to publish the price if we sell it less than the manufacturer's Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). While these listings may seem inconvenient, it is our way of letting you know that when you call or click-through on the website, you will be quoted the lowest pricing anywhere for comparable items.
As packaged by manufacturer complete with manufacturer's USA warranty. Never owned by a consumer but used for demonstration.
"Like New" Includes original box and instructions.
"Like New Minus" Extremely slight wear only seen upon very close inspection. Box and accessories usually not included. Glass perfect*.
"Excellent Plus" Exceptionally nice. May have slight wear on finish but visible only under close inspection. Glass very clean*.
"Excellent" Shows moderate wear. May have small dents and/or dings and slight finish wear. Glass may have slight marks and/or blemishes that will not affect picture quality*.
"Bargain" Shows more than average wear. May have dents, dings and/or brassing and finish loss. Glass may have marks and/or blemishes that should not affect picture quality*.
"Ugly" Very rough looking. Multiple impressions in metal, excessive finish loss and brassing. Glass will have marks, fungus and/or haze which will affect picture quality.
"As-Is" Usually to be used for parts only. All equipment sold in As-Is category carries no warranty nor return privileges. The equipment most likely doesn't work and may have missing pieces. Defects will include, but are not limited to the problems listed on the description.

All grades are for cosmetic condition and are in full working order (except for AI). The same criteria is used when we purchase equipment. Also, a huge thing to understand is that this is a grading system we have created. It may not match another companies grading system, the same grading standards as Shutterbug, B&H, or others. Thus, it cannot be compared to with the standards of other places. For example, a camera in excellent condition with us may mean something completely different then another companies excellent. This is why it is important to fully read our descriptions when purchasing or selling.

We also post a Glass Disclaimer - Occasionally, lenses, even when brand new, will have a slight amount of dust visible within the lens elements. This is a result of the manufacturing process and will not affect image quality or resolution. As a result, some used lenses may exhibit the same consistencies.

Some people get confused when we say we sell used equipment. To clarify, the stuff is used, not refurbished unless it specifically says "refurbished".

Now, a few things that factor in that customers may not think about...

While we have set standards for each grade, it's not always cut and dry. Within each grade is a range. So some things may be on the high end of a particular grade, and some things may be on the low end. While marks that we know will affect picture quality automatically go UG, the amount of dust a lens may have, or the amount of wear is subjective. We currently have 13 techs writing up equipment. Each persons understanding and views on a piece is along the same lines, but may slightly differ, especially on items that are on the borderline of two grades.

Another factor is also the path of the equipment. We first receive equipment through our receiving department. Equipment then goes to tech support for testing and evaluation. Next, the equipment goes into the warehouse to be shelved. Once a customer purchases an item, it then goes to fulfillment to pack. Then it gets shipped out and goes through who knows how many hands before it arrives on your doorstep. This unfortunately leaves some room for a piece of equipment to get damaged once it leaves our building. We have no control over what happens with the shipping companies once it leaves here.

Even though all of the equipment is tested (unless specified in the description as "Untested") older mechanical equipment needs to be used on a regular basis to function correctly. If a particular item sits on a shelf for a long period of time before it gets sold, the possibility of a malfunction is greatly increased. Fortunately, most of our equipment sells quickly so that it does not sit on the shelf too long. Electronic equipment usually does not have mechanical issues, because of less moving parts, but they are susceptible to computer related issues (unusual error codes or having to reset the functions by removing and re-installing the battery). Those types of issues may test the patience of someone who is unfamiliar with the equipment.

You may wonder where "repair" comes into the picture. If a technician in the Tech Support Department determines an item is not functioning correctly, it is then sent to our Repair Department. If the item can be repaired to good working order, the repair is completed, then the item is put on the shelf. If the item needs parts that are no longer available or if the item is beyond economical repair, it is then put in the AS-IS section and sold for parts.

Unfortunately, because of the diversity of equipment we sell, a common issue we encounter is equipment that gets sent back to us for "not working properly". When the Returns Dept., re-checks it, many times it is working fine. This usually happens when someone buys equipment they are not completely familiar with and the customer has not purchased an instruction book to completely understand how to use it. Some cameras are very straight forward and easy to use, and some are quite tricky. There are many cameras that have specific "tricks" that may need to be performed. Some require you to attach accessories in a certain order. Some require that you hold down one button and then another in a certain way to get a function to work. The list goes on and on, but for a few dollars, the addition of an instruction book is well worth it.

As you can now see, there are many factors that may be a reason for a grade that looks different then the last time you purchased a piece in that same grade, or why a piece of equipment may arrive with a broken function. Buying used equipment means you are taking a chance. There are many positive reasons to buy used gear, but there is indeed a small risk factor. Because of this we do offer a 6 month, non-transferable warranty (except on AS-IS/AI equipment). Some equipment an additional extended warranty is also available for purchase, and all items have a 14 day return period (again with the exception of the AS-IS/AI equipment).

Mini Digital Cameras

5/25/2010 2 Comments A+ a-

Above: Then, using a subminiature camera
Below: Now, mini digital cameras
The subminiature was reinvented into digital form, mimicking some of the classic (normal size) cameras. These cameras are super small, shown in relation to a AA battery, and will fit easily into a pocket. They're cute and they work, but are usually purchased more for collecting purposes than for use.

Above: Rollei Rolleiflex mini digital 5 megapixel camera, takes a CR2 battery and a mini SD memory card. Not all the controls work like a typical Rollei, some are just for looks, but the viewfinder does pop up to reveal the LCD screen. Sold, EX+, $235.
Above: Minox digital Leica M3, 1.3 megapixel with CD, cable, instruction book, display case. No memory card needed, has internal memory storage. LCD inoperative. In stock, EX, $45.

Word Search

5/21/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Something fun that will get your brain working!

Here's the challenge: Find the hidden photographic brand name in the collection of letters below. The names can be spelled forward or backward. You'll need to know your camera equipment brands. I'll post a hint on Monday for those of you who are stumped, and the answers later in the week.


























Hint: If you're stumped, here's a list of the brands you're looking for (not in order): Linhof, Hasselblad, Bronica, Canon, Nikon, Kodak, Pentax, Leica, Sekonic, Olympus, Casio, Holga, Yaschica, Mamiya, Rollei, Sony, Fuji, Minox, Gossen, Ashi, Minolta, Sigma, Argus, Zeiss, Voigtlander.

Thanks to Grant in our purchasing department for this one. Have a great weekend!

Gear Theft and Damage Tips

5/20/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Since summer is on its way, we thought now would be the perfect time to cover tips for preventing gear theft, and the best ways to get it back. Some of these tips also apply in a situation where your gear may be ruined due to an unfortunate disaster such as fire, flooding, or other natural disasters.

Keep Good Records:

1. Record in detail what equipment you own- brands, models, and serial numbers are a must.
2. Take photos of the gear you own.
3. Store this information in a few safe places. Keep a copy for yourself, in an at-home safe or safe deposit box. Give a copy of your inventory to a close friend or relative. Or, send the info. to yourself through email.
4. File receipts from purchased gear, and any paperwork proving ownership such as registration and/or warranty cards.
5. If you are traveling with gear, make a list of what you're taking with you, and keep it in a separate place from your gear, such as in your wallet.

Mark Equipment/Metadata:

1. There are multiple ways to mark your gear such as engraving, permanent markers, and stickers. The issues with these options are: stickers can come off, and engraving and markering can bring down the resale and/or trade-in values of your equipment.
2. Metadata- If you have a D-SLR with one of these options, use it. Sure, a thief may know how to delete the info., but they also may not. Set your copyright and contact info. in your camera menu.
3. Keep a business card (slightly hidden) in your camera case. If you loose the case, or if it's stolen and then ditched, someone will hopefully find your card and know who to contact.

Be Smart:

1. If you own a lot of gear, or own expensive gear, insure it.
2. Keep your gear out of site and locked up when it's not on you. Never, ever leave your stuff in the front or back seat of a car where someone can spot the camera or bag. If you're putting gear into the trunk of your car, do it when people are not watching. Some cars also come with a trunk lock so that if someone breaks in and they don't have the original car key, they can not pop the trunk.
3. Don't show that you're traveling with a lot of gear. Be discrete, look like you know what you're doing. Keep a low profile.
4. Travel light- don't take everything you own with you.
5. Keep your camera bag closed up at all times, and remove any long zipper pulls. Wear your bag in the front of you instead of slung behind your body. If you have locks, keep your cases locked, or invest in a specific bag or case just for traveling that is secure and doesn't scream "camera bag" like your day-to-day bag may.
6. Pay attention at all times to where your gear is. Keep it close and don't leave it unattended.
7. Back up your photos on multiple memory cars. If you're traveling with an external drive, keep it in a separate place from the rest of you gear so you don't loose your photos as well as your gear... those can't be replaced.

If your camera gear ends up in a disaster such as fire, flood, etc. the first thing to do is to take photos of the ruined gear (if you still have it), and alert your insurance company. Having before and after photos, as well as gear lists and documentation will make the insurance claim process much easier.

If your gear is stolen, first file a police report. Then, alert your insurance company and get the word out for people to be on the lookout for you gear. Tell other photo friends and colleagues. Alert used camera dealers. Keep an eye out on Craig's List and Ebay. Most likely the thieves will try to resell your gear, and you will have a much better chance of recovery if you have proper documentation and get the word out to the appropriate places.

If you have insurance questions, this is a good article to start with.

Messy Lenses and Picture Quality

5/19/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Today's post is in reference to issues with lenses.

Factors that will not affect picture quality:

1. Small- medium amounts of dust inside the lens (this is extremely common and nothing to worry about).
2. Light fungus (while light amounts of fungus won't affect quality, if it's not taken care of the thing about fungus is that it keeps growing).
3. Light scratches on the glass.
4. External wear of the lens body.
5. Minor coating damage (lenses have a protective coating on the glass. Sometimes it can be damaged or etched by water marks that aren't cleaned off, salt, or other substances that haven't been removed in a timely manner).

Factors that will affect picture quality:

1. Super heavy dust (will create a haze or soft focus effect).
2. Heavy fungus (also creates a haze or soft focus effect).
3. Tons of scratches, deep scratches, chips, cracks in the glass (if you're shooting with a large depth of field, these may actually show up on your images as spots, lines, etc.).
4. Lens separation.
5. Glass elements that have fallen out of place/off track (this will prevent being able to focus properly, but is rare).
6. Major coating damage, etched glass (this usually occurs if there is extreme fungus, or if the lens hasn't been taken care of properly. Example: Soda was spilled on it and not cleaned off well).

Ways to prevent these things include first and foremost taking proper care of your equipment! Keep caps on your lenses at all times when not in use, use protective filters, keep stored properly, keep away from food, liquids, dirty environments, extreme weather conditions and humidity. If some of these issues have already started, a professional cleaning may be a good idea. For more information on how to keep your lenses clean, and how to clean, refer to our previous posts: Camera Killers: Dust & Fungus, and Keeping Things Clean.

Simple Tabletop at Home

5/18/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Even if you don't have a studio set-up, you can still produce a great looking tabletop shot. Here, a few basic tricks to get the job done, at home and cheap.

The final shot.

For this shot, some pretty cookies are stacked up on a teacup saucer, and placed on a seamless backdrop of fabric. What you may not notice from this photo, is that the fabric is a regular small piece from a local fabric store, nothing fancy. The fabric is actually clamped with a couple of large binder clips onto the back of an office chair.

It was shot with an open aperture (small number F-stop) to let in more light, and to throw the fabric out of focus. It was placed near a window with natural light as the primary source of lighting. Also, a bounce flash was used (flash pointed up towards ceiling, thus being bounced back onto subject) to add a little extra light and eliminate any unwanted shadows.

Pulled away from the mini set.

Super simple, quick, easy, and cheap! You probably already have most of the things you would need at home!


1. Camera (w/manual, or AV settings)
2. External flash unit with bounce feature
3. Fabric or paper
4. Chair (or table and back prop)
5. Window with natural light

Brief History and Old Photos

5/17/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

A brief history: KEH Camera Brokers was founded in 1979. We began advertising in Shutterbug Magazine to buy and sell high-quality used photo equipment for professionals, serious amateurs, and collectors. Soon after, we also became dealers of new equipment for numerous brands. In 1984, we acquired Atlanta Photo Supply, which was the oldest camera store in Atlanta. Both companies were brought under one roof in 1986 in a 12,000 square foot building on 14th street in Atlanta.

We are currently located in Smyrna, GA (right outside of Atlanta city limits but still considered in the "greater Atlanta area"). Our building is now 24,000 square feet, and the warehouse occupies 16,000 of it.

Now a few photos, circa mid-late 1980s. Most of these were taken for our catalogs, and the people pictured are employees that still work here!

Does this shot look familiar? Look at this post again.

Promo shots above, to show our "friendly returns" person.
Promo shots above for sales brought on stalkers for this gal!

If you look closely at this contact sheet, you'll notice an Atlanta Photo Supply sign on the wall. When we bought Atlanta Photo Supply, this guy came with the deal.

Photography Meetup Groups

5/14/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Whether you're interested in getting more involved in photography, learning more, networking with other photographers, receiving feedback, going on shooting field trips, or sharing your knowledge with other photographers, a meet-up group may be just the thing you were looking for.

If you're not super connected, don't have good Internet research skills, or are new to an area, the site makes it super simple to find a group with similar interests near you. They have listings for over 1,000 groups in 22 countries.

You will first select your country, then zip code/postcode/Province/City. The listings will tell you: the name, a short summary of what the group is about, covered topics, location, distance from you, number of members, and a rating.

Groups range from tiny informal clubs to large well-known photo societies. Most of them are open to anyone- both pro photographer and amateur/hobby photographers. It doesn't cover every group or society, but it's a great place to start looking for the right match for you.

Keep this is mind: Networking is a huge part of our industry and a good photographer never stops learning!

Old Catalog Covers

5/13/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

We went digging to find a few of our old catalog covers and selected the ones below to share. (If you'd like to see any of them larger, just click on the image).

KEH 10th Anniversary (1979-1989)

Since it's almost summer, the funny baseball cover seems appropriate. 1992.


This one is not a cover, but an internal page that was too good not to share. 1987.

"The Classic Collection" Premier Issue Catalog, 1996.

4x5 Leonardo Pinhole

5/12/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

We now have one of these 4X5 3" Leonardo Pinhole cameras in stock. Designed by Eric Renner. Wooden camera with brass shimstock micro-drilled laser pinhole measuring approximately .012 inch (will give f/250). Accepts 4x5 film holders and the Polaroid 545i and 545 backs. Features a moveable shutter, a positive locking film holder mechanism and two tripod mounts. Wide angle, with a 3" focal length and view of 75 degrees (the same as 28mm lens on a 35mm camera).

EX condition, $69. Purchase online here.

8X20 Wisner

5/07/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

8X20 Wisner Technical Filed large format camera.

Comes with 65 hole board, 2 film holders, case. (Does not come with lens).Wood with red bellows. A true beauty! Condition: EX+, $3,959. Buy it here.

Polaroid and Poladroid

5/05/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

The "end" of Polaroid: 2008.

The release of the Fujifilm Instax Camera: 2009.

The Polaroid 300 Instant Camera: 2010.

A lot of people freaked out about it a few years ago, but instant film is still alive and well. But there's also another alternative for digital shooters, which is the Poladroid application. Just download, and turn your digi photos into Polaroid-looking digi photos. We found that this app is fun, and could be used for some neat graphic design work or scrap booking, but not to be taken too seriously. We decided to run through the options and show a comparison between a real Polaroid photo, and a Poladroid photo.

Above and below, real Polaroid photos.

Shot above taken with a DSLR, which will be used to turn into a Poladroid photo below.

It takes some time to go through the process. You drag and drop your image onto the camera icon and it takes a minute, and then "spits out" your Poladroid. The funny thing is, it actually takes a few minutes to "develop". Well, it's funny at first, but then if you're doing more than a few, it ends up taking quite some time to sit and wait for them to be fully developed.

We tested the different options, such as: heavy vignetting, no vignetting, stripes on paper, stripes on image, and blur. The results were slightly inconsistent, and didn't show extreme changes.
Heavy vignetting + blur (No difference in blur here).
No vignetting + no blur
(No difference in vignetting, just less overall dark tones and less contrasty than the heavy vignetting).
Stripes on image
(Looks like tiny flecks of fiber and dust. Click on image to enlarge).
Stripes on paper
(See little fibers on border and the little black finger print on the left? No idea why this shot is all green and off-colored though).

If memory serves, the older version also had the "fingerprint" option and a vintage tinting option which both are not in the newest version.

The application is free to download, so with no money invested it is fun to play with.   However, we still think nothing beats a real Polaroid, not even the Poladroid.

Last Minute Ideas For Mom

5/04/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Hopefully you've already taken care of what to get Mom for Mother's Day, it is only 5 days away. But if not, here's a few last minute accessory ideas (and yes, we can do express shipping or pick-up). The below items listed are all brand new, in the orignal packaing.
The Gary Fong Puffer Pop-up Diffuser- Above, For use on any camera (point and shoot or SLR, film or digital) that has a hot shoe and a pop-up flash. Used to soften the light of a harsh direct flash. Great for taking family photos! $17.95
The RS-4 Black Rapid Strap- Above, Innovative strap design for quick access. Worn diagonally across the chest, padded with zippered pocket for memory card storage. Screws into the tripod mount socket on the bottom of a camera or lens bracket. $54

Manfortto 3292 Car Window Pod with 482 Micro Ball Head- (not pictured) This little clamp and ball head attaches to a car window or other thin sill. Great for road trips! Supoorts up to 4.5 lbs. $49

KEH Trading Phone Cards

5/03/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

We recently stumbled on a box of KEH "trading" phone cards. Come to find out, back in the mid 1990's we created these "Collectors Series" phone cards to give to customers so that they could call us and place orders since there was no free 1-800 number at the time. Six different cards were created including: The Rangefinder Collection: Leica IIIF, Contemporary Classics: Nikon F, The Subminiature Collection: Hit 16mm Subminiature, The Nostalgic Collection: Kodak Brownie Holiday Camera with Flash, The Antiques Collection: Rochester Optical Tele-Photo Cycle-Poco B, Exceptionally Rare: Zeiss Nettel Tropen.

In the Premier Issue (1996) of "The Classics Collection" catalog, we also offered them to customers to use how they like in exchange for feedback. There was a form included in the catalog where you could choose which card you wanted.

On the back of the cards, there is a sentence about each camera featured, and the phone card information.  This phone card was printed in a limited edition run of only 2,000.

There was also trivia information on the back.

- Built with the famed craftsmanship and attention to detail of Leica rangefinder cameras, the IIIF was the first Leica to include built-in flash sync.
- Built to withstand demanding use and backed by a full system of accessories, the Nikon F quickly became the favorite of photojournalists and is still widely used today.
- The classic of subminiature cameras, the Hit was usually ordered from ads on the back of comic books and was for many collectors their first camera.
- Marketed extensively for vacationing families, the classic styling from the 1950's makes this Kodak Brownie Holiday camera an attractive addition to any collection.
- Designed in the 1930's for use in the tropical jungle, the Zeiss Nettel Tropen is beautifully crafted from polished teak.
- African mahogany, Moroccan leather and ivory name plates show the quality and elegance of this turn-of-the-century jewel.

So now we're wondering, does anyone still have one of these?