Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What would Lord Lichfield say?

7 Cameras of History

I've been thinking back to the very first camera I ever had, and then I started trying to piece the journey together of the line of cameras that led me to where I am now. I know I say 7 cameras, but there are 9 listed here (I don't really count the pocket cameras).
Here we go.

Christmas 1978, so I would have been 10. Like a lot of kids in the 70's I got this camera, or a similar Kodak as a present. It took a small cartridge film that slotted in the back. We took pictures of our pets, our bedrooms, our toys and our families. Maybe we got to use it for 3 or 4 films before it was broken or lost, after all, we were kids and it was seen as a bit of a toy that after our parents stopped paying for the film to be developed lost it's interest rapidly.

Flash forward to 1987. I'm almost done with school, thank goodness, and looking to go to art college. My Mum decides to buy me a camera from the local second hand shop in Newport, South Wales. A photography boffin/friend accompanies us into the shop and we walk out with the Petri GX-1 for £50. The boffin tells me it's a beauty and I treasure it for a long time. It's an absolute joy to use and I wish slightly I still had it. I only had the one lens (50mm) but that was enough. I later purchased a Gnome projector from a college girl and turned my bedroom into a dark room.
Suddenly all my money was going on paper, chemical, film canisters. Everything was black and white, and it looked amazing.

I wish I'd kept the Petri but I somehow managed to get some money together and bought my first Nikon, the EM. I still only had the 50mm lens, but I entered a world of a popular camera that my friends had, so I borrowed their lenses, discovered Cokin filters and was hooked by Nikon.

My next camera story is a bit disappointing. I was given a present of a Nikon F501, and 2 lenses. I couldn't believe it. I still had my EM, but this was autofocus! I shouldn't have got too excited as I had no autofocus lenses! Still I thought the camera was superb and spent a lot of my time courting in 1989/1990 walking the hills with my girlfriend taking pictures. The disappointment came about a year later when I was asked for the camera back! I didn't think I could say no, so it went back to the generous person.

I should just mention here that I have also owned 2 pocket camera's as an adult. The first I found in a camera shop in basildon, Essex for about £20. The Olympus XA1. A beauty of a camera. It had a built in light meter that basically gave a small green or red indicator come up in the viewfinder if the exposure wasn't right. I have no idea how it worked as there were no batteries! It also had some connections on the side to add a flash, but I never found that. As a compact camera it was the best I had ever seen.

I now jump ahead to 2001. I still am using the Olympus and Nikon EM but digital is becoming more and more talked about, and cheap enough for the likes of me. A friend at work where I am now in merthyr Tydfil, South Wales is selling his Sony DSC F505V. It's a strange looking thing this digital camera, but works very well. It's 3.34MP (wow!) swivels around so you can take high or low shots easily. Has a cracking lens (Carl Zeiss) and I have this for quite a while. I also sell all my old film cameras at this point as I can't see it surviving the digital onslaught.

I eventually replace this camera in 2003 with another fixed lens camera, the Olympus C8080WZ. Proper DSLR cameras are still above most amateur budgets. The C8080WZ is 8MP, a big step up and a very capable camera. You can still buy these on Amazon for around $100. I have this camera for about 4 - 5 years.

In 2007 I was there as my Mum passed away. We are not a rich family, and my Mum left me a little inheritance. Nothing to retire on, but enough for me to do something I think she would have approved of. Because she bought me my first camera, it seems fitting I use the money to buy a good camera, one that will last a long time. I spend a long time getting advice on this. It seems the most important purchase I will make. With very good advice on camera's and lenses I buy the Nikon D300. The best camera I've ever owned or used. I'm now in my 6th year of using this camera. I have no plan to 'upgrade' as I don't see any real advantage over this camera. If anything, I think one day I may buy a second body as a spare.

My final entry, I decided I needed another pocket camera to carry around when I don't want to take the D300 or it's not practical. I bought the Nikon S3100, about the size of the old Olympus. A simple point and shoot. Not the best in low light, but great for most things that a camera of this size/style is expected to handle.

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