A Fascinating Look at How Film Cameras Superimposed Dates on Photos

If you have ever shot with certain film cameras of the past, you have probably noticed that the prints came back to you with the date of capture superimposed on them in the bottom corner. It is a neat and very useful function, and this fun video will show you how cameras of the past made it happen.

Coming to you from Applied Science, this interesting video will show you how film cameras of the past superimposed the date of capture on the film (and thus on the prints). We sort of take it for granted in the digital age, but we did not always have the benefit of EXIF data to make it easy to comprehensively catalog our images. Back in the film days, you had to meticulously take notes on your shots to keep a good order in your personal catalog, otherwise, you could end up guessing at when and where a print was taken based on the image. For those who were using cameras more casually — family pictures, for example — it was often too tedious a process, which is what made something as seemingly simple as including dates on photos so tremendously useful. Check out the video above to see how it was done. 

Log in or register to post comments

3 Comments

Geoff Miller's picture

For you young whipper-snappers, "Focal" was K-Mart's house brand of photo equipment.

EL PIC's picture

My first 35 mm SLR in High School was a Focal 44 from the local Kmart. It was so embarrassing that within a week I returned it to Kmart and exchanged it for an Argus 35 SLR that they carried. Focal may of even been made by Argus but at least my friends did not laugh.
In 6 months I traded the Argus for a Nikon F2 with a bunch of cash at a pro camera store.
The Argus remained on the camera store used shelf for at least 2 years with little interest.