Evolution of the Photographer : Cameras In Review

I love photography. There. I said it. Although it’s evident in my life, I’ve never actually said it.

But here I am declaring my love for the hobby.

I don’t remember my first camera. I’m not one of those people who will get all nostalgic about such things.
I’ve always had a camera though – whether it be a point and shoot film camera, or one of the first ever digital cameras.
I once threw over 5000 photographs of mine into the trash because I didn’t want to hold onto them. That was a stupid mistake. I haven’t deleted or thrown away an image since. I haven’t printed very many out either though. They’re mostly digital.

However, since 2012, which is when I moved to the USA, my passion has picked up.

The reasoning for my passion increasing is unknown – maybe it’s due to the fact that I am no longer frequenting the bars and pubs every night. Perhaps it’s due to me wanting to show my new location and life off to those back in England. Maybe it’s because I am experiencing new things every day and want to remind myself through photography how blessed I am to be where I am in my life.

Whatever the reason, I can safely say that I have had a journey through photography already in the past 3 years for which I am grateful for getting me to where I am today.

boulder colorado
Boulder, Colorado

I want to run through the cameras I’ve had since moving to the USA.

Nikon D90

Living in Boulder, Colorado, I bought this in Seattle shortly after arriving in the USA. We were on a trip to visit my wife’s father. It was only my second DSLR (the first one was a Canon 350D which my dad now owns and uses) and I was only used to pointing and shooting with it on fully automatic mode.

San Juan Islands, Washington

I enjoyed the photographs that came from this camera – I think it was THE Nikon which most people my age have owned – very popular and kick started many people’s love affair with photography. We traveled to the San Juan Islands in Washington. Toured boat yards, and drove countless miles through Colorado with this camera.

Canon Powershot s110

I sold my D90 in Boulder because we were moving. We were moving to Oregon – which is now my home. I wanted something smaller, lighter, and to be honest, pretty impressive looking. So I bought this point and shoot. As always, my first test shot was of our cat. Greta. Although light and compact, it wasn’t fast enough for me. This camera came with us to the Oregon coast, on various fishing trips, and is still hanging around in the car in case of an opportune moment.Northern Oregon Coast

Nikon D7100

Now this camera got me working on my photography! It was heavy, it was fast, it was expensive and cost me a lot of money in lenses. I wanted to take it (and the lenses) everywhere but I just couldn’t – but I got the bug back for photography with this camera. I enjoyed learning, shooting, sharing and telling stories with it.

I had a multitude of lenses – the 35mm, the 50mm, the 14-24mm, the 70-200mm, the 24-70mm, the 60mm and the 105mm macro lens, the 150-500mm super long lens, the 55-300mm lens, the 18-105mm kit lens – and a few others!

Alas, it got too heavy and I decided to sell it all off so that I could go for the mirrorless system that was being introduced. Guaranteeing compact, lightweight photography.
The D7100 came with me on roadtrips, boating trips, fishing trips, our honeymoon to St Lucia, Connecticut and Seattle.

Olympus OM-D E-M1

One of the most configurable cameras I have ever seen – seriously – every single button, dial, knob and twisty thing could be programmed on this camera. It was THE enthusiasts camera. It was small, lightweight, easy to travel with and above all – pretty quiet when taking photos. The image quality was GREAT and the flip screen allowed me to shoot at angles I hadn’t previously. It re-lit (again) my passion, and made me think more about composition of my images.
I had various lenses for this camera. The 12-40mm, the 60mm, the 17mm, the 40-150mm and I think that was it – it was a pretty robust system – the only downside was that I was not able to keep a continuous focus on a subject – the AF tracking was terrible!
So it got sold.
This camera came with me to Costa Rica and helped me shoot some beautiful images of my sister in law’s wedding. It also helped me compose beautiful images at Oregon’s Lincoln City coastal town.

Zeiss Ikon (unused)

This camera I picked up at an estate sale for $30 – I loaded it with film and tested it out – took the photos to be developed, and surprisingly they came out! Blurred. But it worked! I have not used it since. It’s more a collector’s camera.

Nikon D810

Here we go. Professional quality. Professional price. Professional I was not. Although I loved absolutely every image that came out of this camera, and bought it because I was able to afford it, I kept thinking back to it being too bulky (like the D7100). But not before I had bought a bunch of lenses for it. the 16-35mm, the 50mm, the 105mm macro, and the 70-200. I am frustrated at myself for going back to a large DSLR.
The D810 ‘s only real outing was to Oregon’s Zoo.

Oregon Zoo
Oregon Zoo

Leica M9

Well, technically, I have the Leica M-E version. It was less expensive and has every single feature of the M9 except 2 (a USB port and brightline changer). I can live without them.
This is a fully manual camera. All of the lenses are manual focus.
I tell a lie – it does have an aperture priority mode.
I love it SO much. It’s brought back the passion I had. It’s making me learn photography again – and composition – like the OM-D E-M1 did.
The character of the lenses make me love this. I have an inexpensive lens on it right now (Voigtlander 35mm f1.4) and it has some serious flaws – but at the same time, it’s one of the sharpest lenses I’ve used!

Now that’s a long list of cameras for 3 years. I am sure there may be some more added – although to be honest, I am in love with Leica. Right now, I can’t see me switching – although I have accepted that I will not be using giant zoom lenses, or anything like that – I will be using either a 35mm or a 50mm, as those are the focal lengths that I love.

It’s been quite the journey, and a strange one some might say – but it is my journey, and each step has had a reason and a purpose for me photographically.

Right now, I am finishing up the sale of my Nikon D810 equipment, and with the proceeds will be buying the following equipment:
Summicron 50mm f2 lens.
Manfrotto mono-pod.
Polarizing filter for the 35mm (may be hard to find as it’s a strange size ring).
And a nice case to put it all into.

I don’t need a flash at this point in time, nor an actual tripod. I have plenty of SD cards, but may need a new battery or two.

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