Why on earth would someone do this?

circa 1972

seven year since this drawing and some hair ago !


I am constantly seeing many camera stores as well as camera manual sites disappearing.  Many have not had any additions since 2006 - 2011.  I have tried to contact some of these sites and get no reponse.
I'm still here and still adding and buying new instruction manuals I do not have.
July 2018

Where these request come from (outside of USA)

One quick fact, I have to check my links pages every few months.   I can't believe (well, yes I can) on the number of camera web sites that are disappearing. 
A number of big companies have called it quits.  Just saw Leica is trying to sell 45% of it's stock.  Many companies are dropping their small digital camera as
cell phones have taken over the market.  Yea, they are handy, but zoom and wide angle lenses are no match for them.  Nice for small Facebook posts,
but nothing to be enlarged.


Fast facts: 

1.) I own some 15 cameras.. mostly K-mount Pentax and Ricoh film cameras.  So I don't know about Canons or Nikon rangefinders.  I just have the manuals posted.

2.) I'm just a photo guy from the '70, not an expert in photography.

3.) I do this for fun.  I can say to people I have the largest film camera manual site around. There are other "manual" sites around.. and if you try to find a manual on one of theses sites you get a "run around" as the more they have you look at their pages.  The more money they make as you look at their ads.  And some are very deceiving, wanting you to "click here" to download some "program" to make the download easier... it's just a trap.

4.) It's just me posting information. No group or professional backing.  I do what I can and as of 2017 still buy and post more instruction manuals I don't have, when I can.

5.) I do not have the time to print anything for you !  So don't ask for me to print the pages.  Go to your local library.  I do have links to someone that does that for a living.

6.) Butkus.org/chinon and Butkus.us are the same.  Just two separate names going to the same camera manual site. 

If you wish to see how this site develop over the years.  Check out the links below.
This is why they say nothing disappears when posted on the web ! ! !   Believe it.

These links below take some time to pull up.. worth the wait !

1997 http://web.archive.org/web/20000915114457/http://www.butkus.org/chinon/  This is how it started... silly me.   CLICK HERE FOR A PDF VERSION

2001  http://web.archive.org/web/20030404072231/http://www.butkus.org/chinon/   the beginning of my "long" listing     CLICK HERE FOR A PDF VERSION

2006  http://web.archive.org/web/20060901094529/http://www.butkus.org/chinon/       CLICK HERE FOR A PDF VERSION

2008 http://web.archive.org/web/20081101091719/http://www.butkus.org/chinon/  my "grey days"    

2011 http://web.archive.org/web/20110716104950/http://www.butkus.org/chinon/   buttons... !     CLICK HERE FOR A PDF VERSION

This is and has always been a one person operation.  I am a Certified N.J. School Media Specialists. I am accustom to providing information to people.  When the web was in it's infancy, everything was free.  Not true these days, with web site that attack you with ads flying in and videos that must be viewed before continuing to the site.  I guess I started early enough with the web to not tease you with information, only after you give me your E-mail address or require some form of payment or have videos playing while you search.   Everything on my site is free and can be viewed or download with ease. 

You don't need the latest version of Flash or Java to view anything.  The PDF format is a free program (check out Foxit, it's better and faster) most computers have a PDF Reader installed or can install one for free with ease.   So it's not for any economic gain.
You must have Adobe X or the latest Foxit software to view newer PDF files as the newer "compression" techniques require these updated readers.  They are safer as there are web sites that use PDF files to infect your computer with spyware/malware.

MAC users.  Many, many files state you need Adobe 10.  These are encrypted files and need newer PDF READER programs.  You MAC program tries to open the file to edit.  Not going to happen.  Write to me and I am changing my Adobe  10 files very, very slowly to Adobe 8 "certified" PDF.  MAC and every other PDF reader likes them.

From 1994 to 2003 I have spend hours, days and weeks scanning the individual pictures in the many camera manuals, then scan the same manual for the text.  I finally reassembling them (45 min to and hour and a half later) into an easy to read and print manual.  The reason, Adobe PDF program cost hundreds, and web sites costs were based on the amount that was downloaded each month and storage space.  Doing them in HTML kept the files very small.  The hand scanned manuals were not that easy to print as text and pictures would not align on the same page.  I later added PDF conversion choices to all the old HTML manuals for better printing. 

The older HTML manuals can be converted to different languages via Google or other HTML readers, but not that good.  That is the reason I still have the old HTML formats available from my web site.   I have not found any way to convert my PDF to other languages.  Word documents converted to PDF can be translated back.  This is done by Word by keeping the standard text in a section of the PDF.  So converting back only finds that text and bingo you have a Word Document again.  These new PDF to Word programs only try to OCR "read the page" and find text.  When a PDF is scanned, it creates a photo of that page.  Text and dirt and writing on that page is also on that page.  Trying to convert them via OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is very difficult.   From 2004 to 2016 I'm still spending time on new manuals, some older manuals I'm redoing over. 

I started this around 1994, I worked at a college and had access to a PC, a scanner (around $1000 back then) and more importantly, a web site, hosted by the college. I found a Chinon CP-7 camera at a local camera store.  It was great, taking Pentax lenses and having an auto wind. A very, very advanced camera back in 1987 when it came out.  I decided to allow other to see how wonderful this camera was.  I did that with the newest technology, a web page.  I had to learn everything from scratch and using Netscape Composer, the only item available at the time and for free.  In a couple of weeks I had the page done and transferred. That scan is still one of the originals. I then got a CP-9AF camera and manual.  This was an auto focus before most other brands in 1988.  I scanned and posted that manual.  I then started to scan the other manuals of cameras I had.  They were all K-mounts like Ricoh and Sears models. 

From there, it just grew out of control.  I found E-bay and picked up hundreds of manuals over the next few years, all expenses out of my pocket.  Using the free web sites that were popping up in 1996 to 1999 I posted hundreds of manuals.  I quickly outgrew those free sites due to the disk space needed for all the images.  Around 1999 I bought a web page and the name butkus.org.  Since I had mostly Chinon stuff, I created a sub folder called CHINON.  Hence since 1999, I kept the subfolder the same since search engines were already listing my site.  Changing the subfolder would kill the links.  The links were your life in those days.  No Google was around.

Workspace.. if you can call it that.

Sit in front of the TV for hours and scan

I took pride in my work, scanning the images just so and checking the text for errors as I had to scan the text separately.   But from 1997 to 2001 or so 640X460 screen size ruled.  A 15” monitor was a big thing.  So now the old HTML manuals show up with pretty small images on these 1680X1050 and larger screen sizes.  At least all this work was related to my job and that actually help me get some extra work, creating basic web pages at my college.  It also taught me more about computers, people, and it help me land my former job at a public school.  Few people could setup and maintain a web page in 1998 or 2003 when I put my school on the web.  School closed, check the web site.  Now, just check the Facebook page for activities, photos.  Facebook has changed computing again.

Some other camera manual sites just scan the entire page as a low quality image or provide a poor scan that was placed it into an Adobe Acrobat format that was still hard to read.  My early manuals were HTML, taking four hours to make a single manual.  I had to scan each photo, then scan the text and use OCR (Optical Character Reader) to create the text.  Some people actually thought I typed the entire manual by hand.  Later, when disk space on the hosting companies became larger, I started to use Adobe PDF.  I quickly started to run out of disk space as these files were larger.  I needed to buy a new site, just to hold the hundreds of PDF files. It still takes more then an hour to do a single manual, start to finish.  I still scan each individual page in most of the cases.   Most scans are in color when needed. Those little colored arrows or lines are important to the reader.  Most other sites just use black and white.   Even the black and white scans I made are in high quality mode.  When I can, I even enlarge the camera parts pages so you can enlarge them to see detail.

THE CHANGE:  I was in a local Shop Rite in 2003 and their "one hour service" was gone.  A few days later "digital printers" were set-up.  Then in 2004 I saw something happen to the web.  Former personal camera sites disappeared, many on specific camera makes or models.  Just gone.   Plus I see many web sites about cameras with "last updated" 1999, 2002.  They are static and no new information has been added.  I update mine every week.  Some times every few days.  So I started to copy the information from these web site that still had film cameras listed.  An yes.. as the years went by those sites closed.  There were personal web sites offered by hosting companies like Yahoo and Internet Providers.  It proved too problematic for companies to host user sites so they closed them.
 Those are the "other manuals" I offer, if you E-mail me the the exact name and location.

In August, 2006 I decided to make a big change to the site.  I had started with just a few manual in 1994, I now had some 2000 manuals.  All of the manuals were in a single long list on the web page and also on the web server.  Very confusing for me and the users.  So I organized and made folders per camera maker.  I spent a little more then a week moving and checking the links to the new group folders.   Thank goodness Microsoft Front Page changes the links automatically as I dragged folders here and there !  I also changed my page layout to two columns.  One column with the major camera names. Clicking on that name would bring you to a single page of just those camera models.   The previous web page only had one list that was way, way too long.  The biggest problem with this change; all those links from forums and other sites over the years were lost!  They would no longer work because the location of the individual web page has changed. Still, continuing in that format would not work either.  So, if you came upon a link to my site from a forum, and it was older then 2006, most likely it would not work.  To fix that, learned to I created an "error page".  When an old link is used, this web page informs the user about the changes at my site, and after 15 seconds automatically sends the use to the new main page.  I guess it worked as I still get hundreds of hits a day.

Some time in 2004 I was getting request for flashes and light meters.  I found no one posted these items.  Many of the older cameras need a light meter, everyone needs a flash once in awhile.  Sooooo, off to E-bay and I have a few hundred of those manuals in it’s own section.  Lots of people download them, it’s amazing.

Along with the scanning, I spent hours on the computer searching for and buying instruction manuals.  Hearing many times from my wife "honey it's time to leave" or "are you coming to bed or not?"  Those words are not heard as much anymore as I do better E-bay searches.  Automatic bidding was a God-send!  Yes, a better mouse trap was built.

I get letters / E-mails from all over the county with actual messages like "I picked up a camera from E-bay, could not figure out how to use it.  Someone told me to search the Internet.  I said to myself;  no way, why would someone do that !  But there was your site.  Many thanks."
OR "my child needed an inexpensive camera for a H.S. camera class but it came with no instructions, thanks.  She's learning a lot with your help".   The best one was "found this in my grandparent’s home after needing to clean it out and now I know how to use it so I have something to remember him/her by".  FYI - I get may letter from various countries too; Norway, South Africa, U.K, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, Iceland, Sweden.

I still enjoy doing this, all the work, scanning, posting and searching for new manuals.  Just Google  “butkus.org/chinon”  I get some 55 pages of links from web site all over the world.  Many of the sites in foreign languages.  But who knows how I'll feel five years from now...

I doubt if I would ever remove the site.. it's pretty historic and film cameras will be around another 10+ years.  Whether or not film will be around, that's another story.  As of 2007 every store has closed their 1 hour processing and changed them to digital prints.  Polaroid, as of August 2008, stopped making their instant film for most cameras. (some other company bought the license and it's back !)  Time will tell what will happen to film.

Film cameras have all disappeared from camera store shelves in 2007.  Only digital cameras are for sale.  Just used film cameras are available on line, found in closets, garage sales (boot or bonnet sales in the U.K) or given by relatives.   How long they will survive is anyone's guess. Point and shoot cameras are only good for 10-15 years.  Only those SLRs will be around after that.  Digital cameras are changing, just like all technology, they are getting smaller, better, more images can be saved and printing can be done at most stores or wireless !  You can get 20 digital prints in 10 min. for just a few bucks.  Gone is the $18 processing.  The killer for film was the instant viewing digital cameras, prooving the photo is good or not.  The nail in the coffin for film, when the big chain stores allowed you to walk up and print your own.   That's when I knew it was over, mid 2004, when Shop Rite stopped processing 1 hour film and a sign went up saying a digital printer will be here in a few weeks.

 P.S.  I only own a few cameras.  I don’t collect them, well I have a few oldies just for fun.   Sometimes I go to antique stores or camera shops and see some of the actual cameras that I have on my site.  It’s interesting to see the actual model rather then a photo.  Some seem smaller, some seem larger but all cameras all carry stories.

One camera store in Vermont had a FOTRON COLOR, a camera sold door to door.  A very advanced camera in its day.  Built in flash and charger, simple focusing, auto advance, cartridge drop in.  These were features found in this camera in the 1960s that no other camera could match. Of course it cost some $450, a fortune in those times.   But the company had a payment plan, of course!  You could only take 10 photos at a time as the flash went off for every photo and the rechargeable batteries those days were not that powerful.  Plus you were locked into buying the film and processing from this one company.  Well in this camera store I stopped at, during a vacation, sits this monster camera.  It had to be 11 inches wide, 3 inches deep and 5 inches high.  Must have weighted a ton.  I never saw one, but I had a manual and a flyer posted on my site for years.  When I travel I try to find Antique or Flea Markets.   I love to check out the actual cameras that I have the manuals, and I'm amazed by the size of many of these.

Now, about camera manuals…. I got a few of them.
I still own every manual I post.  I have a room stuffed with boxes, tubs and bags to prove it.
I did start to organize them in 2004.
I’ll be finished in 2022 !
There are still many, many film users.  Some just like it, some are using film cameras for a class, some find that old clunker when cleaning out your parents/grand parents house.  Many old cameras use 35mm, many use 120 film that is still available.  Others use long gone versions of 620 that can now "work again" by buying adapters to make the current 120 roll fit in the camera.  Check for Film Spool Adapters on the Internet.  Science working backwards !

 - Thanks for coming -
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