I got my first camera when I was about 13. It was an Agfamatic 3000. It was the only agfa matic 110 model with a built in flash as far as I know. The other models needed external flashes added to them (see here for more details about the Agfamatic line of 110 film cartridge style cameras)
(Images of Agfamatic 3000 from here)
These cameras took the 110 size film cartridges like those shown below. The film was wound on by pushing the left end into the body of the camera, much like those tiny spy cameras that you use to see on movies, before spies got tiny digital cameras with impossibly high resolutions for the size of lens and sensor chip they have.
(Picture of 110 film cartridges from here)
My next camera was a film SLR which my dad bought for me from Adelaide in about 1991 when I was 16. This was a great camera which took fantastic photos which I would later learn were due to its larger aperture size and of course its much higher quality glass lenses. The kit came with, the camera, a (lens size) normal lens, a (lens size) wide angle lens and a (lens size) telephoto lens. It also had a flash and a set of various flash and lens filters which all came in a foam filled metal carying case. I completely recommend foam filled carrying cases if you ever have to transport your camera gear anywhere. I dropped that case off so many buses over the years since I took it with me everywhere I went, and the camera never got damaged.
While the camera had a light meter built into it, the camera itself was completely manual so you had to adjust the aperture setting and shutter speed yourself. It was good practice doing that as the adjustments you needed to make to take particular shots just became second nature, whereas I suspect these days where the cameras are quite good at handling most situations themselves, the everyday, non-professional photographer, is probably not as aware of what exactly the camera is adjusting when it accomodates distances to the subject and various lighting levels. The down side was that I am in very few photos during that era on my own camera since few other people could work it very successfully unless I set it up for them.
I have got boxes upon boxes of photos that I took with that camera which I would like to get around to scanning one day. One of my projects for the future is to put together “My Life in Pictures” where I first of all put together all of the photos I can find of my life. Once I have that I can then write comments about them, where and when they were, and little stories about each one etc. I tend to remember things visually so while I doubt I could sit down and write some memoirs in text like many people do, I think I could construct a more interesting and complete story through photos, even if only to jog my memory, but I think having the pictures of the events would make the stories more interesting anyway.
[PUT PHOTOS OF MY SECOND CAMERA HERE]
My third camera, stricly speaking isn’t mine. We bought a bunch of Canon EOS D400 and D450′s to attach to some microscopes at work. With one of them we bought a Canon EFS 18-55mm lens and a Canon EF 75-300mm zoom lens so we could take normal pictures with any of the cameras when we needed to at work. Every now and then I have borrowed one of the D400s over the last few years in order to take pictures of my pets, events and things. This has been a great camera and I have some great photos from it too. Particularly useful has been the fact that it is a digital camera which means I don’t have to scan the paper photos in, they are easier to store and catalogue and send etc. They also have the date and time so you don’t have to remember or write down such things, or burn them to the image its self like you use to for the film cameras (though you do have to make sure you have the date and time set correctly on the camera).
As good a camera as the D400 is though, it is not mine to use as widely as I might other wise do. Plus there are certainly more advanced cameras out there. I am a big fan of wherever possible getting the best equipment there is and using that rather than making do with cheaper alternatives. Cheap crappy alternatives are a waste of money and resources, since they don’t last as long, they don’t do as good a job and are generally capable of far less so you own abilities or output is often constrained, not by your ability but by the capabilities of the equipment that you give yourself to use.
There are somethings that the cheaper alternative is fine. Woolworths or Coles milk for example is every bit as good as Farmers union milk and so, the ethical dilemma over whether the supermarkets are using their superior purchasing power to force farmers out of business aside, it could be said that the cheap alternative in this case is effectively the same product as the more expensive version so why buy the more expensive version. There are some things however that the more expensive version should be the only thing that is allowed to be sold. The absolute crap that gets sold as cheap electronics is just garbage that goes to landfil. I bought an electronic microscope for my nephew for christmas for example. It was only $99 but had been reduced to something like $30 or so so I thought it sounded like a great deal, but the picture quality was useless. I am use to working on very high end microscopes and even on them you sometimes have to work to get a decent picture so I could eventually coax an interesting enough image of a planarian (water dwelling flat worm from my mum’s pond), but there was a grid shaped fault in the optics which appeared on the image shown on the screen, the contrast was crap, the colour was crap, the LED lights were too dim to show anything on the really substandard sensor chip to the point that it was virtually useless. None of this was of course pointed out on the box and I don’t live in their state so wasn’t around to deal with it and take it back to the store. No doubt this device has not been touched since christmas and never will be again. One day it will just get thown out. There is no reasonable justification that such rubbish should have been allowed to be produced in the first place. Sure not everyone could afford the highend $600,000+ microscopes we use, but particuarly when a product is marketed to the general public who are not use to operating such instruments there is the expectation that it might do something like what you are suggesting it can do and that it can be done easily by the people you are marketing it to.
Anyway, don’t get me started!! To summarise, cheap stuff breaks, it produces substandard results, wastes your money and time dealing with it, is a waste of precious resources in an overcrowded world and you eventually end up throwing it away. Now while I certainly wouldn’t suggest that anything short of the best professional gear is worthless, one of the pieces of equipment I have always wanted the very best of is my camera. I want it to push the boundaries of what is possible. I would like my photography to be limited by my ability, not by the capabilities of my camera equipment. For years I have had my eyes on the Canon EOS 1ds mk III and so I was going to get one of them when I was able.
Last year, around August I think I got payrol to increase the amount of tax they take out of my pay so that when I do my tax return I get more money back which I was planning on using to get my EOS 1ds mk III finally. But then I think in November or December I heard how Canon are bringing out a new version of their flagship camera. It would be the next version of their EOS 1d mkIV (sports) and their EOS 1ds mk III (studio) line of cameras. The new camera would marry both of these lines together to produce the EOS 1dx.
(Images of Canon EOS 1dx from here)
The specifications sound absolutely spectactular. It is a full size sensor and is capable of HD film recording, it has Canon’s supurb low light capabilities so it is great for studio work but it has a shutter speed of 12 frames per second with the mirror down or 14 frames per second with the mirror up. So of course come tax return time when I have the money this is what I will be getting. The specifications can be seen here. Supposedly the release date for the camera when we will finally hear the price is April this year. I am very excited and can’t wait to hold it in my hands and take it for a spin!
More of this to come…