NPR Explores Eargasm from Film Camera Sounds

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The various sounds made by our film cameras are certainly music to our ears, and it's good to know that we're not the only ones that still find them fascinating. Listen to a podcast by npr where they share some insights from their listeners recalling some of their favorite vintage sounds made by cameras and other nostalgic equipment.

Credits: ibkc

In a recent podcast, npr shared the responses to their call-out for their listeners to tell about the sounds from older technology that they miss. These stories were accompanied by audio samples of vintage sounds made by all sorts of nostalgia-inducing equipment, such as phonographs, typewriters, and of course, film cameras.

I think we will all be quick to admit that among the myriad of reasons why we love shooting with analogue are the sounds that they make. While digital cameras have been designed to be as silent as possible, film cameras, on the other hand, all have their own signature click, snap, whirr, thud, or clank. Yes, film camera sounds can be so varied, which perhaps add some character to certain cameras.

A listener from Pennsylvania nicely described the sounds made by her Kodak Brownie Starflash camera, given to her as a present for her 12th birthday in 1959. “It was kind of a subdued crescendoing of a ratchety (?), clicking noise. It took two full turns to advance the Kodak 127 film to the next number. It sounded like the cicada makes on a summer night.”

I don’t know if any of you does it as well, but I also like listening to the high-pitched purring of flashes as they power up. Turns out I wasn’t alone in this auditory fixation, as another listener from Nashville shared a composition inspired by the flash charging sounds made by his Kodak 110 camera.

“The moment that the idea sparked for this piece, I had heard a sound that reminded me of the charging flash on one of the old Kodak 110 cameras. I remember walking around with, basically, that brick strapped around my wrist. And, flicking on that flash in order to get ready to take a picture and just hearing that shrill, electronic charging sound that rose in pitch until it’s finally undetectable…”

Listen to the npr podcast below:



What about you, how would you describe the sounds of your favorite film cameras? Share your thoughts with us with a comment below!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-03-19 in #news

6 Comments

  1. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    The best sound is the loud shutter of my Praktica MTL 5 camera! I do not hide whenI take a photo, and the very loud shutter of the Praktica camera makes it clear to everyone that I'm taking a picture!

  2. plasticpopsicle
    plasticpopsicle ·

    @sirio174 my Nikon FE2's shutter makes a loud "klack!" sound too, but I am never ashamed of how loud he is. The look on people's faces whenever they see him hanging from my neck or in my hands is priceless!

  3. blueskyandhardrock
    blueskyandhardrock ·

    Listened to this feature on the radio yesterday! I love NPR!

  4. diomaxwelle
    diomaxwelle ·

    I love the sounds of the cocking mechanism for the Nikon FM 10, but I recently got my old Canon EOS back from my sister and when I pressed the shutter, all my days of school-day photography came back. I guess we all have a soft spot for the shutter clicking. XD

  5. lomofrue
    lomofrue ·

    my zorki 4k and praktica plc3 have the best sounds, i could listen to those clicks all the time

  6. electrozity8
    electrozity8 ·

    I love the sound of my OM-1n. The slight sound of crushing walnuts as you advance the lever, the soft yet firm clack of the combination of the shutter and mirror moving in unison.
    Music to my ears.

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