In every family photographs are captured and provide an undeniable expression of the family’s story. My family was no different. My mother was the family photographer and after a time I took the spot behind the viewfinder. I remember receiving one or two cameras at Christmas and they had the famous Kodak slogan tag, “Open me first!”
As a kid I began with a 127 film camera from Kodak (Hawkeye Flashfun).
Then sticking with Kodak, an Instamatic 134 (film size the 126 cartridge and those funny flash cubes).
Then a Pocket Instamatic 110 (took some Kodachromes of the Syncrude Project on the Athabasca Tar Sands in the mid 1970s). It felt like
the poor man’s Minox spy camera.
Then I arrived at the promised land, 35mm.
First SLR a Pentax SP1000 and a Super Takumar 50mm f1.8 lens. Had to sell that to settle a debt right after university. Then a Yashica Electro 35. Around then I bought a Yashica D, twin lens reflex 120 film making 2 1/4 inch by 2 1/4 inch negative. Then a string of newer and hopefully better cameras (Yashica FR) and finally my high water mark with film the Pentax PZ-1 SLR. I had two lenses from Pentax for the PZ-1, both AF a 28-80 and a 100-300 zoom lenses. For low light, a f1.4 50mm M (manual) SMC Pentax normal lens. All three work well on the digital SLR I bought from Pentax about two years ago. Back in 1996, I took a trip to London, England, and took 19 rolls of 35mm film during an eight day visit. A fun trip and a fun photo expedition.
I bought my first digital camera a little too early, the Sony Mavica FD-7.
Around 2000 I started collecting old film cameras and then I was totally seduced by the digital photographic revolution.
These days I use a Nikon D3100 and a Sony H50.
Probably my nicest compact 35mm film camera – Voigtlander Bessa R:
Both the Bessamatic and Contaflex are German made, beautifully made, very solid Single Lens Reflex cameras. They were defeated in the marketplace by the 1960s Japanese wave of Single Lens Reflex cameras from Nikon, Pentax and others. That wave to a large extent killed the rangefinder market as well. One operating detail of these two German tanks, the non-returning mirror. When you look through the viewfinder with the shutter cocked you look through the lens by means of a mirror. When you release the shutter the mirror lifts up and the light goes through the shutter and strikes the film. With these two cameras the mirror stays up until the film is advanced. You are “blind” until the film is advanced and the mirror drops down to let you see through the lens once again. The Pentax SP1000 which was my first SLR had a instant return mirror.