Point and Shoot

Dean McCormack Peterson        1963             Camera                     

It’s hard to imagine today what photography used to mean in the times of silver halide films. Tediously fiddling the film strip into the camera mechanism (ideally out of the sun) and slowly advancing the film, you had to prepare your camera to be ready for action. This American inventor started nothing less than a revolution when he made putting a film into a camera an easy one-step process by offering films in plastic cartridges. They included the two reels for used and unused film and the backplate to keep the film level for exposure. With fixed aperture, focus and shutter speed, the camera was cheap to manufacture and easy to use, continuing the tradition of the manufacturer’s promise that the user would only have to ‘press the button, we do the rest’. The attractive price and the simplified, comfortable use made it immensely popular and, with more than 70 million cameras of this type sold, became a part of almost every American household. Later models improved also the flash, featuring a rotating cube with four bulbs instead of the one-time bulb fixture that had required refilling after every shot. The facile operation of this camera created a completely new category of so-called ‘point-and-shoot’ devices and the sales increase it caused can only be compared to the introduction of Kodaks roll film 75 years before.   


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