Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Low-tech in the Magic Kingdom

So, it looks like we're going to Disneyland. The kids are of prime age, and it's been about five years and one child since we were there last. Aside from the featureless drive that is I-5 (or "the 5" in So-Cal parlance) I'm looking forward to it. Sneer at the crass, sanitized commercialism that is the Mouse Empire, but I say that it's a totally different thing with kids in tow. Growing up, I made the trip to Orlando a few times -- most notably for my honeymoon -- but Disneyland has a much cozier vibe to it. Anaheim is still relatively low-key, and the park itself feels more snug and compact, more kid-scaled than the sprawl of D'World. (Those missing the sprawl should spend time at the newer California Adventure park, which lacks that soulful quality of the Magic Kingdom proper.)

Anyhow, I've been known to kill cameras, and I want to document this visit, but not at the cost of my digital camera. Fussing about it all day in a park filled with water rides, jostling, bumping, and smacking doesn't appeal to me. What I need is a Don't Care camera, something I can toss in my bag or the stroller, and not Fret About for the week. Ask, and the thrift gods deliver...

Ansco Vision Compact 35 Panorama

There's usually a selection of cameras at the store, but this one caught my eye because:
  • It is, as claimed, compact, a comfy pocket-size, just a touch thicker than the Lomolitos.
  • Classy, all-plastic construction.
  • The flash might work: hard to tell, since there were two batteries hopelessly encrusted inside (now removed.) Also, the promise of red-eye reduction. We'll see.
  • Oooh, panorama mode! Check out this photo set for some (nice!) examples
  • It was a buck.
That last selling point got to me. Armed with this, and somes rolls of film from the 99-cent store, I can go on a snapping frenzy for less than an in-park sandwich. After all, aren't family vacations made for random snapshots? I might just leave the megapixels at home this time.

Update: after de-crudding, the score is Red-Eye Reduction 1, Flash 0. The capacitor charges up and the red-eye light comes on, but no flash. Flash photography is generally forbidden anyhow, so this will be the outdoor snapshot camera. I'm running a r0ll of expired film through it now.


Grace said...

Ah, the promise of a $1 at the thrift store! I totally agree with a camera that is worry-free and can capture nostalgic images free of mega-pixel sharpness. They will make great photos for the heirloom album :)

Enjoy your time on Main Street USA!

olivander said...

Another selling point is that it has the classic cheapo-camera Ansco name on it. I think the only reason Lomography caught on is because Anscography didn't have quite the same panache.

Ah, D-Land. Fond mid-'70s cross-country family roadtrip memories for me. (I think somewhere there is a picture of me standing in the bed of my uncle's El Camino, wearing his motorcycle helmet while pretending to be an astronaut, with my new Mickey Mouse ears situated on top of it.) I'd go back there any day, but you couldn't pay me to go to D-World.

mpclemens said...

I knew the Ansco name from box cameras, but I didn't make the connection until I got online and looked up the model. The big "MADE IN CHINA" stamped on the bottom was a clue, though.

Disney World isn't bad, per se, it's just like Disneyland 2.0 -- what Walt could do if he wasn't bounded by the confines of zoning and an established town boundary. That said, I think I still prefer 'Land. Maybe it's just my developing sense of left-coast snobbery that I'm working so hard to refine, but I like the quirky stacked-on-top-ness of the older park. Despite nearly identical attractions, Disney World feels like it was laid out by urban planners (and likely was.)