Have you ever wondered what those white letters and numerals printed on the lens mount of Olympus OM Zuiko lenses mean? Similarly they appear in the film chamber of some OM Camera bodies, but not all. As serial numbers cannot be used to accurately date OM System bodies and lenses, these relatively inconspicuous codes give away tell-tale information as to when an item was manufactured and at which factory it was assembled.

My office is a cluttered place and fundamentally unchanged for 15 years, so filing cabinets and desk drawers have slowly piled up with detritus over times steady passage. I was exploring one of the drawers this morning and behind several tins of plum tomatoes, mackerel and an old VHS video recorder, I unearthed a Sirius 28-200mm zoom lens. I cannot recall the last time this was fixed to the front of a camera, nor why its final resting place was the back of an old office drawer. But handling it again made me realise just how hefty these things were.

There was a time when projecting slides was a very popular method of viewing images. Aunts, Uncles, Children and Friends gathered together in darkened rooms preparing themselves to be bored by the latest bunch of holiday pictures, and sometimes hours could pass by before the victims stepped back into daylight. Humour aside, it was undoubtedly the image quality and cinematic size of projected images that made slide shows popular. Chromes, transparencies, slides, E-6, reversal film - call them what you want – their enduring qualities have captivated photographers for more than 70 years. And although viewing prints is far more convenient, much detail is lost if the prints being handed around are small. The use of slide film is also less expensive in comparison to producing good quality and size prints from negative film.

Over the past few months we have been working extremely hard on a major update to PhotoArk, dubbed ‘3.0’. This is the third major update we have done to the site, and by far the largest since its launch back in 2012. Like most things, web technology moves forward pretty quickly and we want to make sure we are on the cutting edge offering the best experience we possibly can. So back in February we began work on a new theme centred around improved mobile device compatibility. At first, the project was quite small with just a handful of things we wanted to update; within a month we found ourselves overhauling pretty much everything!

Recently, I came across some poorly executed scans of photographs taken when on holiday in Santorini, Greece, during the summer of 1986. They were taken at the height of my enthusiastic use of effects filters, when starburst, fog, centre spot and lurid colours stamped an undeniable 1980’s hallmark on each.

March 2nd saw us attending the annual Photography Show, housed at Birmingham’s NEC. Up until 2013 it was known as Focus on Imaging but Mary Walker Exhibitions announced that the 2013 event would be the last. As this left a huge hole in UK photographic events it was not long before Future Publishing stepped in to announce that ‘The Photography Show’ was born and scheduled to run from March 1-4th 2014.

There was a time before the internet existed, that photographers relied heavily on the ‘for sale’ columns of camera magazines or the shelves of their local camera shop for good condition used camera gear. I have spent many hours browsing stock and occasionally unearthed a real treasure that usually resulted in me taking it home. But with the rise of the internet things began to change as more and more dealers used this as a mechanism for advertising. As the public’s acceptance of the web gained in popularity, so did the services offered and it was not too long before the first of the internet auction sites appeared.