According to Beaumont Newhall, director of the George Eastman House of Photography, "You can't go anywhere on a vacation these days without a camera. You're not considered well-dressed unless you have one draped around your neck."
The mere fact, therefore, that Fred R. Smith is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Associate Editor in charge of the Sporting Look might seem sufficient background for him to write a major report on new photographic equipment.
But actually, Fred has written extensively on all kinds of new products that help Americans enhance their off-duty hours, for example, swimming pools (SI, April 29, '57) and private planes (SI, Aug. 25, '58). And as a graduate himself of the school of camera acquisition, from box camera to twin-lens reflex and 35 mm., he shares next week with his fellow amateurs the discoveries of a year's research on the photographic industry's outpouring of new stepping stones to picture-making excellence. (The biggest problem on the project, according to Fred, was that "every time we found something really new, another manufacturer had made it obsolete a week later.")
For the amateur who wants simplification, there are now "fully-automatic" cameras with electric eyes that suggest the good old days of "you push the button, we do the rest." However, gone forever are the bad old rules about keeping the sun over your right shoulder while you tell Junior not to move. Now you can shoot Junior in the ninth-inning shadows around home plate and then shoot him again in the sunshine at third (if he gets that far)—the camera will set itself for proper exposure.
On the other hand, if you feel that the effort of getting the picture is at least half the fun, there are hundreds of new and complicated devices for you to experiment with: new films, meters, a still-camera adaptation of TV's zoom lens and an electronic flash unit you can carry in your pocket. You will find drawings and explanations of the twin-lens reflex, the single-lens reflex, and the 35-mm. rangefinder camera, plus discussions of subminiatures, stereo, press cameras, modern movie outfits.
In short, if you have a camera fan on your Christmas list I would suggest waiting until you have seen our issue of November 16—or you might just want to pass it along as an enclosure in your annual solicitation to the old gentleman at the North Pole.
CAMERA ENTHUSIAST FRED R. SMITH