User:Dustin McAmera

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My real name is Pete; on here and on Flickr I'm Dustin McAmera. I live in Leeds, in England.

I was promoted to be one of the admins here. If you're here in search of an admin, to ask something about CW, or complain about something, feel free to talk to me about it (best to do it next door on my Talk page).

I have more cameras than I can do justice to as a user (a few dozen), but I resist the idea that I'm a collector. That said, the pleasure of using the cameras is sometimes just as important to me as the photographs. My oldest cameras are from the 1920s, but I like to try to write about earlier stuff, just because it's under-represented here.

My own cameras include several that I feel guilty for owning, because they're so good, and I use them so little: in particular my Century Graphic, my Mamiya 645 Pro and my Ensign Reflex. I notice that since I started editing on here, that problem is worse. This year's new purchases are an Agfa Standard 208 (9x12 cm) and a Calumet CC-401 4x5-inch monorail.

On the other hand, the community of old-camera-owners on the web generates excuses for using them. Quite a few of my cameras are for 127 film, and I usually do something for 127 Days (12 July and 27 January). 2012 was the centenary year of Kodak's introduction of the 127 film size, and I think I did quite a good effort for the summer day. Although I've taken pictures for 127 Day since about 2005, I didn't know until 2012 that Summer 127 Day is also George Eastman's birthday; I'm glad we mark that.

I usually observe Take Your Box Camera to Work Day in February and Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day in April, too. Taking my box camera to work wasn't strictly possible this year - I've changed my job (reluctantly) to one which doesn't really tolerate such eccentricities. Instead, I took my cameras around town after work, and again the following day to get some proper daylight. A good session, but I made pictures of street corners, not of a workplace. I usually go out for Pinhole Day too, a little later in the spring.

I've had a bit of a lull in my own photography, but these are the latest uploads to my Flickr account:

For all its faults, there isn't anything else as good as Flickr.

Other camera-related sites I go to include these:

  •; set up as a replacement for the NelsonFoto forum after Craig Nelson died, and the future of that site looked uncertain. Discussion forum for a few dozen, mostly American, photographers.
  • The NelsonFoto forum; the forerunner of the site. Still going at the time of writing, but not so active since Mr Nelson died. It too has a mostly-American membership. It has boards for discussion of various aspects of photography, including tech stuff about the cameras, but is mostly a forum for people to show their pictures. I think it had its origins in a walkout-in-disgust from Having not-too-many contributors gave it a strong personality and the feel of a club.
  •, especially the 'classic manual cameras' board, but I also check the medium and large format boards, and a couple more. The site as a whole is dominated by digital users, some areas of it are sometimes argumentative and snobbish, and my ad-blocker has to work overtime. Nevertheless, it's a useful source of information.
  • I just registered at the Large Format Photography forum. It's quite big; more than 30,000 registered users; which isn't always a good sign, but I found some useful and interesting stuff posted.
  • The listings for past auctions at Westlicht in Vienna: a good place to see good pictures of some cameras that you may never see anywhere else. I have often used these pictures to check details of cameras for articles in the wiki.

A vague to-do list

These are things I hope to do some work on. Feel free to comment on these, especially if you think any of them is a really bad idea. (This isn't an invitation for anyone to insert jobs for me to do: I hate that! .. If you know enough to write one of these ideas up before I get to it, go ahead, of course.)


  • Finish adding patents to the links at Autographic
  • Start the list of patents at the (currently pretty pathetic) page on Carpentier
  • Follow through with my threat to re-structure the categories to do with plates, and get rid of the ugly phrase 'film plate'; I note that some plate sizes (and probably film sizes) are not served by cats: 8x10in for example.
  • Not long 'til the next Westlicht auction - always good for some good pictures of examples of things we already have, useful for fleshing out some stub pages; and worth checking for cameras we haven't got yet.


(realistically, this list hasn't changed in at least a year: if you feel like relieving me of one of these guilty burdens, please do!)

  • Write the Century Graphic its own page (perhaps the Crown should also be separated from the Speed too: a focal plane shutter is quite a big deal, and the lens usage of the two is different too). The CG isn't a small Speed, it's more like a small Crown; and what the hell is a flexible wire viewfinder? (Ross: if you want to do this, go ahead. I know you have one of these too! :) )
  • Check all members of Category:4x5 and its subcats: 4x5 is for 4x5 centimetre format (perhaps stupidly, since inch cameras are surely much more common); correct the cat to 4x5in where required.
  • While we're doing format categories, look up some of the stereo cameras; there are already cats for 6x13 and 47x105 I think. Check, and see if there should also be 9x18
  • Look at the Canon A-series SLRs: I think the AE1 page needs rewriting, and the AE1 Prog page actually says very little about the camera.
  • I have added links to related patents to some articles, especially ones on early and innnovative cameras. Patents may be available as PDF at Google Patents or Espacenet. Here's stuff to do: find out how we stand on using the diagrams from Patents. Some of these would be excellent illustrations.
  • Search the wiki for any existing page referring to the origins of automatic exposure. There are already aperture priority, shutter priority and exposure; of these, only aperture priority comes close to what I'm thinking of. Useful links include British Patent 5608 of 1903 which describes an invention by a Max J Richter (not Max A Richter of Ernemann). It comprises a mechanical shutter, with electrical timing (the mechanical system is restrained by an electromagnet) and depending on the variable resistance of a selenium crystal to affect the time of exposure. Need to do a bit more searching to see if this patent was ever exploited, and look for other early designs. The first commercial one I know of is patented by Durst and used fairly soon after by Agfa, using Durst's mechanism.

Another relevant patent: British Pat 4020 of 1905 describes a selenium-resistance circuit as part of a photometer (they don't mention photography as an application). Here, they note that the resistance of the selenium upon a change from dark to light starts fairly linear, then flattens out. They base the reading on the short-term change in resistance, to avoid the complication of a non-linear relationship, so they use the reaction of the selenium to operate a blind shading the cell after a short exposure. It's not much like Richter's design, but shows that more than one set of people thought the selenium cell was a workable idea at about this time. Search for selenium next.