Originally aired live on May 16,1991, this Gadget Guru Today Show segment featured the latest in cameras and answers the question: What causes red eye?. It’s difficult to believe there were no digital cameras on retailer’s shelves and the film in the cameras required professional processing. The cameras featured in this Vintage Gadget Guru segment are:
An Olympus model that sends a strobe-like burst prior to the main flash that promises to decrease the dreaded red eye. As you’ll see, due to the studio lighting, the camera’s flash feature didn’t work on Live TV!
Kodak Star 935 which moves the away from the lens to reduce red eye
Fuji Discovery 3000 with auto pre-winding which eliminates the ability of accidentally opening the camera’s back and exposing the film. Yes, it’s idiot proof! It also features a dual flash system.
Another camera that didn’t want to cooperate on live TV is the Canon Photura that looks more like a camcorder than a film camera with a hinged lens cap that incorporates the flash mechanism. It also includes a remote control.
Next up is the Minolta Freedom Zoom 105i that incorporates an infrared sensor that automatically frames the subject. It was quite innovative for its time! This binocular-shaped camera includes a 35 – 105 zoom lens and of course a dual flash system for its solution for red eye reduction.
The Fuji Discovery Mini Dual Date (who came up with these names?) had a featured that I really liked! If you remember, back in those days, loading 35mm film was a hit and miss proposition. You had to insert the cartridge and lay the film inside the back and make sure the holes were properly aligned with the sprockets. If you did it incorrectly, you might think you’re shooting an entire roll of film only to learn later that the film was just laying there. To load the film on this model, you simply inserted the roll into the bottom and it would automatically advance it to the first frame. Very cool camera for its day!
Konica’s Kanpai was a fun, set it and forget it, camera for parties, You simply placed it in the corner and it’s built-in microphone would listen for bursts of sound (such as people laughing), and automatically pan up to 100-degrees to the area and snap the picture. Again, very cool for its day.
And we can’t forget Single Use Cameras as those were a popular solution in the 90’s. They were available in a wide variety of configurations. And yes, they filled a lot of landfills and carried its share of environmental concerns.
As you’ll see, one of the fun parts of live TV is that not everything worked during the demonstration! Hey, that’s what Live TV is all about!
Here’s the segment as it appeared on NBC’s Today Show on May 16, 1991.
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