My favorite camera of all-time is the Nikon DSLR and the very first one I ever used was the Nikon D1, which was released right around the turn of the century. The Nikon D1 was a big step up from the Kodak digital cameras and brought me into the age of GB camera cards which held much more photos than their MB ancestors. The Nikon DSLR D1 would be the first of many digital models the company would make leading to the evolution from compact flash cards to SD cards which we primarily use now in 2014 until the next big thing in camera cards emerges. Nikon’s most recent digital models, the D4S and D3X price for 6,500 and 8,000 dollars respectively, so it will be a long time before this photographer gets his hands on one of those unless just browsing at a store.
Nevertheless, the D5100 can be purchased for a much more mainstream price of 599 dollars. Some might even say 500 dollars is too much for a damn camera and who could argue with that logic except maybe Nikon or Canon.
Speaking of Canon, the two most notable camera companies have been the source of most of my photography in the last 10 years or so. I’ve either shot with Nikon or Canon and have found myself defending my preference numerous times. In case you’re wondering, one of Canon’s newest models sold in 2014, the EOS-1D X is going for about seven thousand bucks. That will be put on hold for maybe a decade or so as well.
Why Do We Love Photography? A Thirty Somethings Photographic Journey. Rapidly Changing Technology. 1987-1999 Part 13
Video cameras in the 90s went from large over-the-shoulder varieties to camcorders you could easily carry with one hand. The Sony Handycam was the first of the smaller video cameras I owned. Instead of using a large VHS tape, it used a Hi8 Cassette that could hold around two hours of film. The Sony Handycam of the late 90s and early 2000s was much larger than the camcorders of 2014 that fit perfectly in a closed palm hand. It also had a ridiculous amount of wires and did not hold a charge near as well as later model camcorders. Nevertheless, it had an amazing 400 plus zoom, could take still pictures, and had a popout viewing screen as well as an eyepiece to record action.
A lot of my college memories as well as my experiences working at my first job were recorded using this device. One of the downsides to owning one was because it used film cassettes, you had to remember where you left off filming and didn’t want to accidently film over or erase previous work. It was a welcomed change from the bulkier cameras of the past and had great picture definition which was perfect for recording sporting activities.
Why Do We Love Photography? A Thirty Somethings Photographic Journey. Rapidly Changing Technology. 1987-1999 Part 12
In 1996, for just under 300 hundred bucks you could get a piece of a revolution. Digital cameras had been invented in the 1970s, but were not commonly used because of their staggering price and other technical problems such as slow usage time and blurry images. In 1996, I purchased the DC20 in the hopes that I had stumbled upon the new wave of technology. Unfortunately, the quality of digital pictures at that time were not that great and that DC20 was more of a conversation piece than anything. I knew even then that digital cameras were a smart concept, but also knew that unless the quality improved that film cameras would remain my first option.
Two years later in 1998, I was introduced to the Kodak DC260 which had a larger zoom lens than the DC20 and had a picture review screen on the back so you could instantly know if you wanted to keep your frames or delete them immediately. The big hang-up with digital cameras in the late 90s were their large file sizes, 15 second photo storage time and the fact that it could only hold at best 30 pictures at one time. Ten megabit photo cards are a far cry from the much larger GB cards of 2014, but all things have to start somewhere. For a college kid, it was exciting to have two options of film and digital cameras. In the 1990s, several of my friends laughed at the digital cameras because of their poor image quality, but I knew it was the beginning of something big. However, I had no idea that as the 2000s approached, the film camera would give way completely to the digital revolution.
Why Do We Love Photography? A Thirty Somethings Photographic Journey. Rapidly Changing Technology. 1987-1999 Part 11
In 1989, I was introduced to the single lens reflex Pentax 35mm. The Pentax 35mm along with the Minolta version, would be my choice cameras as journalism student in middle and high school. The great thing about the Pentax SLR was the option to swap out a small lens for a much larger 300mm lens to shoot sporting events. Interchangible lenses and the option to change shutter speed and aperture settings along with adding a number of flash options made it the ideal choice for a young photographer.
The only downside to this particular camera was ensuring that the film roll was completely rolled properly so that exposure does not occur. Another problem was sometimes the back panel would pop open randomly exposing your film. An issue that later models fixed. Nevertheless, that silver and black camera looked cool and could be customized. Some of my fondest memories of newspaper and yearbook class were hauling around the Pentax to different events.
Why Do We Love Photography? A Thirty Somethings Photographic Journey. Rapidly Changing Technology. 1987-1999 Part 10
The year 1987 was a memorable one for several reasons, but when speaking of photography, it was the year I was introduced to Nikon for the first time. The camera brand that would ultimately become my primary camera of choice all began with a simple camera known as the “One Touch”. The “One Touch” used standard 35mm film and had a better flash than other light weight models of the late 80s.
This camera fell in between the disposable and SLR cameras because it was light weight and affordable like the disposable, but had automatic focus like SLRs. Unlike the SLRs, the “One Touch” gave photographers a bit more range than disposables but no opportunity to swap out for a bigger lens. Nevertheless, it’s portability made it the preferred companion for road trips in the late 80s and early 90s.
Why Do We Love Photography? A Thirty Somethings Photographic Journey. The early years 1976-1986 Part Eight
We all love photography for different reasons. As I take this stroll down memory lane through the earliest memories of my life, I am reminded of other electronic gadgets that I enjoyed as a kid other than cameras. There was my first ever personal computer, the Apple II. There was also my first ever video game console, The Atari and The Colecovision. I wish I had photos of them, but the internet is a great source of pictures that bring back great memories.
The 1970s and 1980s seem like forever ago now, but the electronic gadgets I used back then have made a powerful impression on who I am today. Simply put, once a gadget geek always a gadget geek. As I close this section of my blog, I will end it with images of the 1980s other than cameras that make us older folks smile a bit.