The classic Roli-Flex twin reflex
The Konica Auto S2
Tri-X 400 classic black and white
The Vivitar 200mm fixed focal
The Omega B22 enlarger
The Canon G9
The fantastic S100
The Instamatic 126
5 x 7 view cameras
The Pentax Spotamtic, another classic
The Ricoh 500 G
The EOS Rebel Canon
The Canon G3
The 40D . The best when it came out.
The 7D : another classic.
My Personal History in Photography
This story is not unique. Thousands have no doubt treaded a similar path. I was into photos as a very young teen. I worked in an old community drug store and was intrigued by the cameras and the bright yellow film boxes for sale. I learned about them while helping customers load film and batteries and giving unsolicited advice to grown-ups. I got a ‘Brownie’ and a flash! Big blue bulbs. This is not my bio…it’s about growing up with photography and showing the great little gadgets that gave me so much pleasure in film and digital.
I soon afforded a Kodak Instamatic 126 on my drug store salary. What a blast. Used the meager skills learned to earn my way onto the high school yearbook staff using the school’s very well worn 5x7 view camera to shoot school events…..and there it was.
College loomed. No more time or money for hobbies but I still read and enjoyed learning about cameras and photo making. Lusted after an old twin reflex in a used camera store but got over it. Graduation came and along with it my first significant camera, the Konica Auto S-2 with the 45mm f/1.4 lens. It was a range finder with built in metering and manual focus. It turned into a classic.......without my help. I shot the old Kodachrome 64 transparencies, some print film and gravitated toward the classic Tri-X 400 black and white. Lots of failures with that until later getting a dark room and controlling my prints.
Just a couple of years later I landed another classic, the Pentax Spotmatic first built in 1964. Again, built-in metering, manual focus and a really nice 50mm f/1.4 lens. I kept it in a little leather bound box and hauled it all over Europe for 5 or 6 months shooting all Kodachrome 64 transparencies. For you guys too young to know, this film was a ‘non-substantive’ transparency with more color and contrast than print film. But it converted to nice prints if you wanted it. I guess at some point I’ll get those slides converted to digital media so I can show them. One day!
On return home, I kept shooting the Pentax and obtained a 200mm lens. I know it was an odd pair, the 50mm and then the jump up to the 200. It was a Vivitar f/3.5 I think but it came with a stout case and l loved the range. I still shot transparencies for it’s economy. You could experiment without spending on prints and just use a light table and magnifier to see what you got. But….now with Tri-X and a home dark room, one could get really going!
That’s what I did….converted the laundry to a darkroom (it had running water and only one window to seal). I obtained the excellent Omega B22 condenser style enlarger. Yep…for you younger guys, the condenser model gave best contrast! Got some plastic trays, a kitchen timer, and a stainless can with spool to develop the film roll. What you could do with negatives, print paper, and time was way before Photoshop and so much fun.
Well, time wound on. I found myself packing off on a long sailboat adventure in 1984. No darkroom. No easy way to maintain good equipment. I dropped back a notch and did what a lot of people do today. I went compact. I found that the recently offered Ricoh 500G was my best bet. It was slim, relatively cheap, had manual focus and a built-in light meter, f/2.8, 40mm. Perfect….I bought TWO…in case one was dropped or suffered saltwater exposure. Sure ‘nuf…one dropped and became unfocusable. I made it through with the other one obtaining some great transparencies.
After moving back to dry land in 1996, I landed my second SLR and sold the Pentax. It was the Canon EOS Rebel. My first EOS film camera. I liked it but was uneasy adjusting to auto-focus from all manual cams. The adjustment was complicated by having no dark-room available now. Just as well. I did not have to wait too long for history to solve problems. Digital photography was just around the corner..
Before you could say ‘Bob’s your uncle’ digital cams got affordable and everything changed. In April 2003 I took the plunge with the Canon G-3 and started learning some Photoshop. In November 2005 acquired the compact Canon S-80…a little brick of a camera with good controls except no RAW but I was just learning.
May 2008, I was looking for more control without breaking the bank so I went back to the Canon G-series with the G-9….wow! ..what a great one. But a little chunky and hard to call compact. It seemed just short of a small DSLR but gave me some great pics.
And finally, my first dip into DSLR: I got the Canon 40D while the 50D was coming out because the price was right. And of course, enjoyed playing around in the “crop camera” lens market. This was November 2008 and as usual, a very steep learning curve with new camera controls combined with post-processing software, etc. A complete new language; no darkrooms, just “lightroom” and DPP and PSD files.….and ‘workflow’?…..what?? But that 40D was all of my old cameras rolled into one.....fantastic.
OK, changing gears again. I restored my old interest in motorcycling. The same dilemma. How to carry a DSLR and gear? Won’t happen. Backing down to compacts again I discovered the absolutely wonderful little Canon S-100. I shot this cam for over 3 years more often than DSLR and still have it. Its flexibility, extremely small size, RAW, and an f/2 lens (at widest angle) was great and much of my site is populated with this little cam. I won’t ever go without a compact again but the old big DSLR camera seduction resides (I kept the 40D and lenses).
Now in 2014 I'm back to the larger format DSLR. The 40D was getting a little long in the tooth so I found a used copy of the long respected 7D. Wtih the 7D Mark II just around the corner, the original was a bargain. With expanded auto focus and more pixels than 40D it has great promise; we will see where this new thread leads.
I wonder.... because the seller to me was converting to mirrorless cams! Another big change coming? No matter, I am always optimistic and just having fun!
Good cameras have always been the salt and pepper of my life.
I hope you enjoy my photos. You can contact me on the menu bar above.
Thank you for visiting....