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Thursday, December 02, 2004


Global Garage Sale

Praktica MTL5I've decided that my next Big Boy's Toy will be a Canon i9900 wide-carriage printer. I wanna make those big prints!

Big prints, sure, but no big wallet. So Sandy says, "Why don't you sell some of your old cameras?" Why not indeed - I don't have any expensive equipment, but every little bit helps. And somewhere in early 2003, I got a little Praktica-crazed (not that there's anything wrong with that!) and managed to by 8 or 9 1970's/1980's-era Praktica SLRs before the fever broke.

Nowadays, although I occassionally take one of my beloved Soviet rangefinders for a spin, I never get around to excercising these Ostie beauties. I also have a few lenses, the best of which is a CZJ (Carl Zeis Jena) 135mm f/3.5 Sonnar.

So out came the tripod and a slightly-chipped frosted diffuser panel from my basement's drop ceiling. I tooks some photos, I wrote some ad copy, and by nightfall, two cameras and the CZJ lens were on the auction block at The Devil's Own Website.

CZJ 135mm SonnarThis morning, when I stumbled downstairs to my PC, still in my gatkes to check my email, I found a welcome correspondent in my Inbox: "endofauction@ebay.com".

Just moments earlier, at 03:42:53 PST, I was informed, someone had purchased my lens using the "Buy it now!" option. Wow, that was fast!

As I looked more closely at the email, I noticed that my buyer wasn't just someone from Omaha - it was a gentleman from Hong Kong!

Over the course of the day, we exchanged several genial emails. We discussed things like shipping costs, for sure, but we also just chatted aimiably like two friendly people at a garage sale. It turns out that we both have Canon 300D digital SLRs. He's ordered a M42-to-EOS adaptor and will use the solid, metal-bodied old Zeiss glass on our favorite Wunderplastik camera. Why not!

The lens is now on its way, in the good care of the U.S. Postal Service, and should be in his hands by next Wednesday at the latest.

Part of me is just taking this experience in Twenty-First Century stride, but part of me is in awe of the whole thing. I'm still old enough to remember how exciting it was in tenth-grade in the 60's to get a letter from a pen-pal in Nice. As an engineer at GE in the 70's, I still remember "telecopying" pages, one page at a time, feeding the paper clumsily onto a stupid drum and watching it spin like an idiot for six minutes a sheet. Now I got a guy twelve time zones away on the other side of the world to buy my lens ...in six hours... while I slept! That part of me is happily flabbergasted. Wow!

Now, anybody want a really nice Praktica MTL5?

Word Fashion

Just a little aside to this story: As I was writing this post, I jumped to Merriam-Webster Online to use their thesaurus. And on their front page, I saw this headline: "Pleather" - The New Word in Fashion.

I followed the link to this article, which lists a number of neologisms in their new Eleventh Edition, including the aforementioned "pleather."

Now I'm quite impressed with myself, as I had just used "pleather"...twice!... in my "ad copy" for the two Praktica cameras, each of which, I proudly proclaimed, came with a pleather case.

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