|The cover of one of the thousands of film camera user manuals available on Butkus.org, free of charge.
In this week’s Fim Friday, I want to call out one of the unsung heroes of the modern film photography era – Michael Butkus Jr., the owner and operator of Butkus.org / OrphanCamera.com, the Internet’s most complete library of film camera user manuals (as far as we know).
Michael has been operating the archive since 1997. And though the site’s design looks as if it is unchanged since that era (there’s even a spinning camera .gif at the top), it does the job. Michael’s archive of manuals is available, free of charge, for download in PDF format. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up at Butkus.org over the years while researching cameras for work and pleasure. If you’re into film photography, my guess is you, too, have graced the hallowed halls of the site at some time or other.
Michael Butkus Jr. is the owner and operator of Butkus.org / OrphanCamera.com, the Internet’s most complete film camera manual library
Michael started the archive because he felt there was a need to preserve camera manuals for future generations of film shooters. Scanning began three years before the site launched and he’s still adding to the archive to this day. You can read a bit more about his mission with Butkus.org here, and if you’re feeling particularly grateful for his multiple decades of effort, he’ll gladly accept donations.
So next time you pick up an old Miranda Automex from a garage sale and want to figure out exactly how it works, take solace in the fact Michael’s got you covered. The manual is but a few clicks away.
Do you know someone else we should feature as an unsung hero of the modern film era? Let us know in the comments below!