D. Hufford wrote on the "Oops" post that he really liked the files from the original 2011 pre-X-Trans X100. I've heard that said before by others.
Paul De Zan chimed in to say "I feel the same way about the now-antediluvian, 6-MP, CCD-sensor Nikon D40, which to my eye makes the best outdoor, natural light color of any digital camera I've ever used." Ken Rockwell was a big D40 fan too. Harvey Bernstein added, "since some are talking about the ineffable characteristics of certain cameras, I claim the ancient Nikon D2Hs as one of that group. The files are small [4.1 MP] and the sensor is challenged by scenes that have wide dynamic range, but within its limitations, they can be lovely."
Can you think of any now-outdated camera you had that gave you files you still remember as being better than average?
For me it was the 6-MP Konica-Minolta 7D, introduced in early 2004 and effectively orphaned when Konica-Minolta exited the camera business in 2006. It had very accurate color, lovely low contrast, and yielded files that I thought were just lovely. The lens was a zoom without much in the way of pedigree, but it was a honey on a crop-sensor camera.
I might actually still be using mine today, except it broke. I tried to get Sony to fix it but their policy at the time was to replace it with a then-current Sony camera, and I didn't qualify for that.
A few samples:
I loved that camera. In fact it kind of spoiled me for later cameras, a bit. I had no problem printing the 7D's files, even way past my then-standard size of 10.5 inches wide. Some people claimed an allergy to "uprezzed" files when printed, but I liked them. In fact I've sometimes wondered, in the back of my mind, whether 6 MP might not be the ideal size for APS-C pictures. It's one of those things we can never know, because of course it would be marketing suicide for a sensor maker to make a state-of-the-current-art 6-MP APS-C sensor now.
Typepad's Comments sections are not set up to accept images, but you can add simple HMTL in comment text blocks, and here's how to put an image in the comments. Use this code:
...Where "http:///image.jpg" is an sRGB image on the Web (not on your computer, mind you, the Web) that is no more than 470 pixels wide.
...Samples not required, of course.
Any digital cameras from the past you fondly remember?
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Christopher C Fuller: "Loved the JPEGs from the Fuji X100, but at some point I remembered how much I enjoy the colors from Nikon cameras I had used in the past: especially the D70 and D2H. So I purchased a used D700. Match that with Nikon's great (and mostly inexpensive) manual and auto focus prime lenses and the files, both JPEG and raw, are glorious. There's little more that I need now than my D700 and the 35mm ƒ/2 AF-D. The X100 helped learn to love the 35mm field of view and the rendition of the 35mm ƒ/2 AF-D is wonderful."
Ken N: "Olympus E-1. I still use it the most of any digital camera. Best colors and skin tones."
Kevin: "Funny, I was just perusing my photo library the other day when I noticed a short period of photos that just had a wonderful, simplistic 'feel' to them. I was surprised when the EXIF revealed that they were all taken with the Nikon D40 and 18–135mm lens. I eventually gave that setup to my father. I may have to trade him my D500 to get it back. :-) "
Rodger Kingston: "Dear Mike, I like several of your recent posts, which I would generally group together as 'Cameras that best suit my needs.' I decided about five years ago that the Fuji X10 and X20, with their little fingernail-sized sensors, suited me just fine. A joy to use, they feel a lot like an old screw-mount Leica in hand, and produce files that allow me to make prints as large as my printer will allow (17x22"), which look great on walls—even gallery and museum walls. I'm going to France in September for a documentary film on WWI that my wife is involved with, and because I don't want to lug a big Nikon kit, I bought a new Fuji X30, and will bring the X20 as a back-up. Some laugh at me for using such 'toy' cameras, but they laughed at Henri Cartier-Bresson for using a toy as well."
Jean: "The 2003 Olympus Camedia 5060 Wide Zoom has already been mentioned. Lovely camera! It was a high-end compact camera with a magnesium body, a fully articulated screen, a big battery and with an adapter, you could get 19mm-e wide-angle. The ISO topped out at 400, and it...was useless. If ISO 80 was selected however, the pictures had a lovely color, just like many Olympus cameras. Olympus made a small nice leather holster that could hold an extra battery. TIFF and raw was built in, but was excruciatingly slow. The lens was ƒ/2.8–4.8, and 27–110mm-e. ISO 200 max, ƒ/4.8 and 110mm-e, was a challenge. You had to pre-focus, or the shutter lag was long.... It had a hot shoe and Olympus had a nice speedlight that worked well. Startup time was 'Extremely fast, 3 sec.' According to Olympus.
"I loved this camera, and took it everywhere. And it really sets today's complaining about how bad the newest gear is into perspective. I paid US$1500 for the camera, and about $600 for a gigantic solid state 1 GB Compact Flash card. (No Micro drive, thank you). The adapter, bag and second battery was another $500. :-D The Fujifilm X100T or X-Pro2 is my go everywhere cam today. OMG what a rocket! Still, the old faithful gave excellent pictures!"
Gary: "It's great that so many are happy with older digital files, but I think exactly the opposite! I switched from film to digital when Nikon brought out a digital SLR. I forget the model; it was about 6 MP. At the time I bought into the idea that 6 MP was more than enough to warrant abandoning 35mm film. But looking back I now believe that I made the move to digital way too soon, and should have stuck with film for several more years. I look at my early digital files and think, I'm fairly happy with that shot, but I'd be even happier if it had been on film."