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Friday, 29 March 2013


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Had an Olympus C8080 that I still miss in some ways - specifically the way it felt in the hand and the (relatively) fast fixed lens.

RAW write speed? Not so much...

I started with the Olympus C3030Z. I shudder when I recall the price. However, to ease your sense of loss, here are some images.

I started doing photography in the digital era. Before that my parents bought me a really nice Japanese rangefinder for Christmas around 1965 (I think) but it only lasted a week before being stolen.

My first digital camera was an Olympus C2000z. It is sitting in my office in a lens bag. It still works and I even have a couple of memory cards for it. Not sure why I keep it around.

While weeding images on my pBase site the other day when I ran across a couple made with the tiny Oly. I left them for old times sake.

I think the first digital camera I owned back in 2003 was an Olympus something or other, metal bodied with a sliding front.

Shutter lag ran on a geological time scale.

Mike, Up to April, 2005, I lived in Waukesha and visited Crivellos fairly often. I do miss being able to visit a good camera store where I live in Montrose, CO. I suppose the front range has some stores but I don't go there very often.


My cycle of spending too much on gear sort of paralleled the digital era, but more so with the start of my "real job". Making real money, coming out of college, now suddenly being able to afford experimenting with medium format film, new and $$$ dslr's, lenses, etc, that's a big temptation.

Through my photography days in school, I started with a borrowed canon ae-1 and a fifty, then a nikon d200 and 17-55, and that was it for a nearly 7 year span.

Once I had the means to try all these new things i felt i was missing out on in my poor days, it quickly became about playing with and acquiring gear, not making pictures.

So now, after looking at my work over the past three years from this camera experimenting phase, I'm kicking myself for spending all that money on gear rather then trips, all that time on shopping rather than shooting. I've ditched it all for my little X-E1 and zoom lens, and I've started shooting new projects.

So for me, I hope I've gotten it out of my system for a while. I can't say ten years out of one camera, but three would be good!

My c3050 sits in a drawer..still operable, so I haven't recycled it.
A very few of the photos I took with it in the day are as good as anything i get with a modern pocket digicam. But oddly enough, test pictures with it today don't match what it would do back then.
I'll have to drag out the trusty old Canon10d and see if it's the same story with it. I guess the darn things do age, even if some of them never die....

Remember when there were camera stores and electronic stores, and they were different from each other? (And grocery stores didn't sell televisions and patio furniture?) It's such a treat to go into a camera store and dig around the used junk. Glad they are still around!

Funny story. My first job was working in The Camera Shop Inc. in the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, PA. I remember a group of us guys standing behind the counter at the back of the store, while a saleswoman stood at the front of the store. A gentleman came through the front door and she asked if she could help him. Without breaking stride, he walked past her and said, "No thanks, I'm looking for an expert on lenses." He came to the back of the store where the three of us pointed to the saleswoman.

Yeps, the RX1 sure has a guy named Steve looking cross eyed. To me nobody said it better then the infamous Ken Rockwell on this equally infamous page:


And in the words of Ernst Haas.....

"Leica, schmeica. The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE."

On that note I scanned the last 7 frames of film from the GSW690 today.....maybe I'll clear them tomorrow, maybe never.....now I wonder what rhimes on Fuji.....

Greets, Ed.

My RX100 is so near perfect for me, that I really dread the day when they come out with the RX200. K-ching, K-ching.

Here's a question for you: how many cameras do you own?

Quick count in my head gives me 13 including my iphone and 4 Mamiya TLRs (3xC330 and 1xC220). But I just sold off quite a bit of stuff, and a few ended up in the garbage (jammed K1000 and a Polaroid 900 rangefinder that I had to admit was never going to get converted to 4x5 and was worth $5 on ebay [a very, very clean example of a totally useless camera])

I have a Pentax Spotmatic with a 1.8/55 (bought on your recomendation, I think) that I've yet to get a roll through. And my Dad's Petri Racer, that he carried in Vietnam (well, he thinks he did, he claims a foggy memory). A new OMD that I haven't really figured out yet, and the 5D that it replaces that I have yet to have the heart to sell (although most of the lenses are out the door). And I'm down to two LF cameras, a 5x7 Kodak that's my good luck charm despite being a fairly poor user experience and my Chamonix 4x5 that is just lovely.

But...you weren't asking. Just wondering what you have.

My first digital was also a c3040z. Still got it, last used a couple of years ago, pressed into service as a meter for a 4x5 camera, using Olympus's classic multi spot meter thing, worked great too, except the mental arithmetic of always converting a reading at the camera's smallest aperture (f/8) to f/22!

Since then I've only owned 2 more digitals, D70 and my current GF1.

"Don't forget to visit your own local camera store once in a while, if you're lucky enough to have one."


"'All right, but I am not going to buy one.' Marty just looked at me. He was probably thinking, 'Okay, but you might.' "

Steppenwolf - The Pusherman - YouTube

My first digicam was a 2 mpix Pentax EI-200. It came with the ability (limited) to be programmed by the user, although you had to know how to program computers to really take advantage. There was a developer interface for it (forget the name of that API) but you could write your own script on a PC, download it to the camera's memory card, and the run the script. For example, you could write a script to do time lapse. This is similar to what that "hacker" CHDK system permits for Canons, I believe. That idea disappeared quickly enough, not sure it survived even into their very next generation models.

And I can't find any of the pictures I took with it either. I have an old 486 PC in a box somewhere, maybe they're on it. The few prints I have from that time are fading fast. It's possible to keep digital information for a long time, but I bet not many people will.

I just used Camerasize to compare the RX100 to my E-PM1; with my 17 mm f/1.8 attached, the two cameras would be just about exactly the same size. Wow.

Now, if only they could make exactly the same camera with the same sensor and the same body, but with a bayonet mount and about four prime lenses...

I find the expense of my digital camera acquisition syndrome (or DCAS) is due to the inexorable advances being made in (1)image quality and (2) functionality.

When I first got into "serious" photography in the halcyon days of analog images, the technological development went on at a comparative snail's pace.

The Canon F-1 I bought in 1972 was capable of images every bit as good as the T-90 I was using beside it 20 years later and the EOS-1 camera I was using ten years after that. Functionality had increased noticeably in thirty years, but the image quality obtainable from the F-1 remained equal to the newest gear.

On the other hand, the elimination of film, development costs, and labor have much more than offset my current equipment costs.

"Remember "Smart Media" cards?"

Remember them? I'm still living in that world of pain; by my own free will, for now.

I mostly shoot film, but still have my 2002-era Olympus C4000Z. It still works despite some rather Heath-Robinson alterations I made when I was getting into the whole Strobist thing (flash sync available in a 3.5mm socket, cold shoe glued to the top), and a few falls onto hard ground one of which left the lens barrel cracked and another which broke one of the buttons on the back. It's somewhere between "walking wounded" and "living dead".

I have a *whopping* 128MB card for it. I get about 55 shots in the highest quality settings. Switching to film actually gave me the ability to shoot *more* freely, ironically enough.

Around the same time I bought the Olympus I also owned a Toshiba laptop which had a SmartMedia slot built in!

Hi Mike,

Still using and loving my 7D. That's the Konica Minolta 7D.

I went through Zenit E, Praktica B and a Nikon Nikomat before finding my true love, the Minolta 7D. Still works like new, never had a problem and I actually make prints with it! A4 size is big enough for me. If I ever feel tempted by something new, I just take the 7D to the camera shop and look through the viewfinders. Somehow, my money stays in my pocket.


I have a real action-shot with the Olympus 3040 from 2002.
How can I attach it to my mail to you?

I can't remember the last time I had to toss a camera. It would have to be really broken for me to be able to do that. I usually sell them off when it is time to upgrade. Or I hang onto them and repurpose them. I currently have an old clamshell Olympus 3mp SmartMedia digicam as my garage camera. It is perfect for documenting the work on cars and getting all greasy. If it dies due to this abuse then I am not going to be very disappointed. But in the meantime it is really great at its job as you can see below.


you're screwed whether you're on or off the hamster wheel. i knew digital would be a pita, but so has sticking with film. now that mirrorless and full frame dslrs are finally shaping up, it won't be long until i'll see whether putting off digital was worth it. i've got my fingers crossed.

A few weeks ago after hearing Tom Carter in an interview I bought his book China: Portrait of a People, all shot with a 3mp Olympus point and shoot (the more affordable, slower lens version of yours). He said he mostly kept it wide and got close, and it worked. Two years of work led him through every province in China.


My first digicam was a Kodak DC50. A whole 756x504 pixels! Jagged diagonals and no JPEG output either. It jammed and was replaced by the DC120, which wasn't a whole lot better.

Happily, Nikon came out with the CoolPix cameras around then and I progressed through a series of those. Now my RX100 goes everywhere with me, and I often marvel at how far we've come since 1995.

Since I first became seriously involved with photography in 1998, I have had three film cameras and four digital cameras, all of the latter within the past seven years. My upgrade path for Pentax DSLRs was from K-10 to K-7 to K-5--all fine cameras. However, almost immediately after purchasing each of them, I started thinking about the next upgrade.

Recently, I found myself swept up in the excitement over the Sony RX1 and could not resist buying one two months ago. With the RX1, for the first time I have no thoughts of future replacements. The lens and the sensor are absolutely superb, and the camera body itself exudes quality and is a wonder of simplicity and miniaturization. It is not perfect, but then no camera is or ever will be. So although it is virtually certain that technologically superior cameras will be forthcoming, I am planning to stick with the RX1 for more than a few years and possibly for the rest of my days as a photographer. I accept its limitations as a fixed prime lens camera, and in turn, it does everything that I want a camera to do.

I shot commercially for about 15 years with a Hasselblad system and three view cameras. Then it was time to go digital and I started out with an $18K Imacon (now Hasselblad) MF back and a Fuji 680 system to get some approximation of view camera movements. Five years later I sold the Imacon for $2,500 and could barely give the Fuji system away.

My first digital camera was an Oly C2020Z in early 2000, for nearly AU $2000 (US $1250 at the time.)

I'd been lusting after a digital for a while, and justified the expense when I realised I was budgeting that much just for film and processing for a 6 month European camping holiday with my kids!

The boys and I took a lot of great photos with that little camera, as long as:
(a) the subject was stationary (Mike, I also have some photos like yours - the subject is gone!)
(b) there was plenty of light

I've got a number of 13x19" prints from it on my walls - despite the 2MP resolution it holds up very well under enlargement.

After a detour into Canon Rebels I'm now using an Olympus E-PL5 and remembering why I always liked their gear so much.

C5050z was my first digital camera. Over $600 if I recall. I shot about 100 raw images of a Florida trip. Big mistake. It took my computer and the Olympus raw converter about 5 minutes to open each file. Nice pix, though.

Yea digital is more expensive than film. My first digital camera was a mind blowing 1.4 megapixel Olympus 600DL. It was auto everything. But when properly controlled it could make a nice 8 by 10 print on a ink jet of the day.

Being that it was auto everything and I was using it in my makeshift home studio to shoot shoes I needed to figure out how to get some control over WB, exposure and focus point.

My home brewed solution was to tape a big grey card to a golf iron, put it on the shoe, half press the shutter, pull the card away and fire. True Rube Goldberg category, but it worked.

Since then I've purchased about 30 digital cameras, Canons, and Nikons both. A few have been handed down to my girls, most sold on Craigs list for maybe 1/3 of their purchase price. a few years later. The sad part is the first DSLR I purchased was a Canon D10 and it would still work for 95% of what I do. But if I showed up to a job with it,I would be told to go home and collect $200. :)


It looks like there was a lot of love for those Olympus C---Zs.

My first digital was a 4MP Nikon Coolpix 4500 in 2003; the last of the "twisty" Nikons. I've still got it.

My first digital camera was an Olympus D340R (yeah, that's right, ONE whopping megapixel) and it used Smartmedia cards (I still have them but nothing to read them with) and I loved it so much I still have it. It metered really well, even with flash. After that, I bought an Olympus C2100UZ (a two-megapixel ultra-zoom with a HUGE f2.8 lens) that I sold to a co-worker. Ten years later and I still regret having done that. Older cameras don't have a lot of megapixels, but good glass is good glass and those old images hold up. Especially for web use and small prints.

Ah, the first one still stirs fond tboughts -- a Nikon 990 with add on wide and teles, bought at the counter at B&H itself in June of 2000 on my first trip back to NYC in over 40 years. I loved and still love the twist/swivel body. It works well still, all 3 MPs, especially macro. Worth about 10 bucks on ebay nowadays, so I will keep it. You never know when it might come in handy.

I just picked up one of the C-3030's successors a C-7070 with broken mode dial it works in AP,SP and P but still takes nice photographs. The high price for this bit of nostalgic fun machine £1 so say $1.60. It takes quite good images too when you live within its abilities. I use a lot of older compacts where they cost a little money so I have on my desk and around Fuji E510 (£3) and E550 (£8), Ricoh GX (£4) and CX2 (£10) A 12mp modernish Fuji that my wife keeps in her bag for (12). Going off the compact groove I got a Fuji S3 for £25 with a Nikon 50mm 1.8d. I use all the compact camera frequently just flinging them in a coat pocket with little worry if they go kaput. But when they were new some of them seemed an awful lot of money for what they could do.

Mike, do not, I repeat, *do not* try the RX1. You will buy it, even if Ctein wouldn't sell a single photo, and even if no affiliate link would be clicked.
I've handled it twice, for a few hours, and it struck me. I wanted to sell all my other photo gear (four cameras and a backpack full of lenses) and get that just one 35mm wallet nightmare. I'm still thinking to do that, and one of the reasons is... you; for me the photographic year is beginning, airshows and nature and roadtrips and concerts and... I couldn't imagine any single task of mine that I wouldn't be able to do, during the project „one year, one camera”; and, as far as I'm concerned, the RX1 could very well be what Thom Hogan aptly named „my last camera”. No, it's not the ultimate camera, and it's not what more than 10% of the shooters would name their last camera. But... It looks an awful lot like what you would name DMD, and it has 35mm; coming around to the idea in the beginning, it's a certain death for your savings if you rent it even for a single bleak Wakeusha clouded day.

Kodak DC4800 in 2001. I waited until an affordable (sub $500) 3 megapixel camera came along, then dived into digital. DCP_0003.JPG, 6/16/2001, is the first of its images on my drive. I'd embed it here, except I can't see any way how.

Still have the camera. Also my Canon AE-1. Also my Argus C3. Don't know what happened to the 1930's era Ansco Cadet box camera, inherited from my mother.

The picture of your C3040 Z really brings back memories for me. My first digital camera was an Olympus C 4040 Z with a whopping four megapixels resolution and yes, I did spend $800 for it. It looked identical to your 3040 Z and like you I don't know what I ever did,with the pictures I took with it either. I also didn't know what the hell I was doing with respect to managing and editing digital images at the time, and it wasn't until 2003 but I started to really understand things like resolution, digital image dimensions, and then begin to master digital workflow, and color management.

My first digital was an Olympus C-2020Z and I know that it still works because I got a couple IR shots with it today.
Latter in the day, the brown truck dropped of my new D7100. Boy, what a difference!

I bought my wife a 3 mega-pixel pocketable Canon in Y2K. I was amazed by how sharp the image was, but disappointed with the color and terrible shutter lag. Fourteen years later, I am shooting with a Nikon d800. It's amazing how fast digital imaging has evolved over the past 15 years.

The Olympus C3030z was our first digital camera in 2000. Paid ~ $700 for it I believe. Still have it and took picture with it a few months ago. I received my first photo award from it. The subject was one of my sisters overlooking a foggy cliff near Bodega Bay, CA.

After an 8 year exodus from 35mm film, I stuck my toe in digital 3 years ago. Now seven digital cameras encompassing four separate brands later, I'm learning to pray.

I've held on to my C3030z just because it was my first digicam. I bought it in 2000. Still works and I do have quite a few pictures from those early years in Lightroom. I wonder if the cameras of today will still be operable in 2026?

That Olympus reminds me of the days when certain UK retailers used to refer to CF and SmartMedia cards as 'digital film'.

I took up photography in 2004 at the age of 58. My first camera was an Olympus c2000z given to me by a friend who had just graduated to an 8080 (I still have it, it still works). My next camera (that same year!) was an Olympus 8080 that I bought after seeing what my friend's could do (I don't still have it, but wish I did). I guess you might say these two bracketed the 3040.

The rest of the story is pretty typical: in the first few years of my new enthusiasm I went through a lot of cameras and acquired a ridiculous number of lenses (I just had to try everything). But I've had a Canon 5dM2 for over three years now, and have whittled my lenses down to just three: a 50mm, a 28-90 zoom, and an 80-200 zoom. I'm hoping this kit lasts me the rest of my life — well, actually I'm hoping to live longer than that, but I would like to get several more years out of the camera (though if Canon comes out something akin to the Nikon 800, I'm a goner). The lenses really might last me "forever."

Inevitably, even annoyingly sometimes, a few of the pictures I took with the c2000z are among the best I've ever taken. At the time I got it I wasn't interested in cameras at all, but I was very interested in taking pictures, so I looked long and hard at whatever I was shooting before pulling the trigger (the short battery life and the small memory card capacity were also an inducement to shoot carefully). It's taken me quite a while since then to get back to that kind of looking, and I'm still working on it . . . .

The first camera I bought of any kind was in the late 90's. It was a Sony Mavica MVC-FD7. I used to load the floppy disk in to it with a wobble of my head like Herman Munster leaving the house. It was about as good looking as Herman Munster to

My first digital camera was actually a Sony Clie PDA bought in 2003. I intended to use it like a tablet today, (Bluetooth was possible), but the 2Mp camera wasn't too bad and I still have the shots I took. The lens was about 40 - 45mm angle of view, I think.

After a couple of years, the sensor developed severe noise problems and I gave up using it. The amazing thing was, I came across a Sony service note saying they would replace the sensor, no matter how old the unit was. Mine was nearly 5 years old by then, but I sent it off to Sony in Sydney and they returned it with a new sensor, good as gold. Well done, Sony!

It was also a stealth camera. I belong to a club where each Friday night we have a visiting bar girl who, shall we say, is proud of her body. I was showing off my new PDA and camera to the guys in 2003 when the girl said, "Oooh, what's that?" I said, well, it's a camera of sorts. "Oooh, take a picture of me", she said, and posed. Well, next week, the next girl was happy to pose too, and so it went on for about 6 years, and now I have a lovely collection of beautiful girls. Very private, of course.

All I can say is, young women sure have a different attitude to showing their bodies than when I was a teenager. Vive la difference!

My first was an Olympus D-550. It still works. It's my take-it-anywhere-I-don't-care-if-I-fall-in-the-lake-with-it camera. I have had hundreds of pictures published that were taken with it. Only three megapixels but good enough for small photos in magazines.

My first was a Kodak DC3400. I bought it from that geek Mecca, Panthip Plaza, on a trip to Bangkok.

What I remember most about it was that it ran off 4 AA batteries...but actually required 7.2 volts to run. Do the maths on that on.

You needed fresh batteries every fifty shots or so, as the BNIB batteries, being slightly overcharged to something like 1.8-2.0V ran down to their stated capacity.

That olympus was really fabulous. Just turn off the screen, shoot through the adequate optical viewfinder. If you did this, the battery would last forever, and nearly every single image turned out great. The only camera that could compete with that meter was my old minolta maxxum 5000.

Sadly lost both cameras (and a ton of others) to a basement flood a while back.

My whole digital experience is only 2 cameras. An Olympus E-300 body bought used in 2008 and a E-410 w/kit lens new but discontinued in 2009. Still have the 410 and I'll keep it till it dies.

On the other hand my film cameras date from the 70's and, with a little TLC are still working. A fresh sensor is pulled into the focus plane with a flick of the thumb or twist of the wrist.

The first digital I worked with was an Epson PhotoPC 850 in 2000/2001. Loads of cool features like time-lapse, full manual control, a sunlight-assisted viewfinder and not-too-bad image quality. So much fun to play with. Didn't touch digital again until the first Digital Rebel came out, which I nabbed pretty quickly. After supporting the Rebel line for years it's now plateaud and I find I'm lusting after the NEX range. Wish I had the disposable to just try a few of the new systems.

My first digital camera when I started experimenting with the possible digital change-over, was the Olympus C2500L. I think it was 2.5 megapixels, and it shot TIFF too, excellent. I traded a decent 300mm Schneider for 8X10, and had to add money, to Calumet Photo, to just get into testing digital. I remember being very sad about getting rid of the 300, but advanced drum scanning for reproduction had just about killed 8X10 anyway and everyone was happy with getting 4X5 instead (and catalog shooters weren't shooting "in-pro" anymore), so I said: "...well, here goes...".

I remember doing a series of studio lit photographs of Jim Romenesko for the Poynter Institute on black & white neg and color neg; and they were going to scan the negs for the quality they needed, but might need large prints for something (that's why I shot color neg instead of transparency). Towards the end of the shoot, I just unplugged the PC cord from the Hasselblad, and plugged it into a hot shoe adapter, put the C2500L on the tripod, and shot about a dozen exposures on the Olympus.

I distinctly remember when I opened the files on my Windows 95 PC, that the "look" of the files: contrast, color, saturation, density; looked remarkably similar, if not exactly, like the contact sheets on the color film from the lab (something my Nikons can't do today!). I remember being pretty amazed. I also remember just hitting "high-quality" on my Epson printer, and getting really great prints, no setting profiles or anything; in fact, when I tried to set the profiles, the prints came out terrible, so I just put it back to whatever it wanted to do.

I was going through my file cabinet the other day, and ran across those prints, and was still amazed at the quality of the "look", altho you could easily get much sharper results today. I think I threw a CD of the files in with the job to the Poynter Institute, and they actually ignored all the film and went with one of those. That was a wake up call.

I remember that Olympus was marketing that camera specifically to pros, in big magazine ads in the photo trades, like Photo District News, and I have to say their early internal processing software certainly seemed to be more "film-like" than anything else I looked at, at that time. I also remember it had terrible shutter lag, and files in low light, and very flat light, especially non-professionally-lit stuff, looked like mud, too. I still think the big changeover happened when the Canon Rebel came out, but the C2500L certainly made me think digital could be more than a toy...

It still convinces me to this day, that all those camera manufacturers need to go back to TIFF as an internal setting. My work flow right now is to shoot JPEGs and RAW for clients, and 70% of them never ask for RAW selects to be processed (and stored as TIFFs), and just go with the JPEGS. For guys that shot transparencies for years, the TIFF setting is golden. The idea of shooting RAW in a controlled environment, just to open it up, and go through the process to get a high-end TIFF for an ad agency, when I'm not making any "corrective" moves on the file, is just a waste of my time!

I still have my first digital camera, a 1.3mp Olympus C-100. It takes 32mb Smart Media Cards. Then got an Olympus C-5060 which I would still occasionally use f it weren't so slow. Then I went into Nikons from the D70s, Stopping after buying my wife a D40 and a D300 fro myself. Went to M43 and am now much more interested in lenses than buying a new body. I have actually had more film cameras than digital.

The only one I ever threw away, except for maybe an Instamatic I had as a kid and various Polaroids---I hated Polaroids and enjoyed throwing them away---was an Olympus rangefinder with sticky aperture blades. I had bought it used in Tokyo for $40 when I still lived in the US and since I already had several Oly RFs, I didn't want to waste more time and money on it.

I bought a Rollei SL 66 in 1968. It was very expensive but simply the best camera for my purposes. I used it for 35 years, because there was nothing better that would have suggested a replacement.
In digital, I started with the Sigma SL/c (FF 12 MP)in 2004, replaced it with the Canon 5Dc, then with the 5DII, and I would now love to have the Nikon D800e if I were not stuck with too much good Canon glass and worried about Nikon QC.
So when a mature technology was displaced by rapid technical evolution I found myself buying/wanting four expensive cameras in less than ten years, compared to one in 35 years.

BTW, a few people on here mention the Canon 10D...last fall, I visited a cinematographer buddy of mine who did a driving trip of Central and South America back in the early 2000's, and he used a then "new" Canon 10D for the stills. Long story short, I was looking at some new prints he made from the camera, jpeg files, converted to black & white, and blown up to fit on 11X17. They were spectacular. We had to go back and look up the specs of the camera to realize it shot 6 megapixel. We were both in disbelief. If there was ever a visual cue to use in an argument against the pixel race, that was it. It made it evident to me that I need more software features that I like incorporated into modern cameras, more than I ever need to go beyond 16 megapixels!

I've never felt that old necessarily equals obsolete. (It's probably due to my stingy Slovak and Scottish bloodlines.) To that end, I still have and occasionally use my old Oly C4040 and (more frequently) my Nikon D1. Ive even thought about breathing a second life into the D1 by picking up a fresh battery and converting it to an IR body.

After reading this post, I charged up four AA cells and dug out my first digital camera, a 2003 Minolta Dimage S414. 4 Megapixels. Bought secondhand for £50 in 2006, I only took about 70 photos with it, mostly preferring my manual focus film SLRs, with their rather better viewfinders.

Today I took about 40 more photos. The metering is rather good, in most cases spot on despite the snow drifts or large amounts of sky in most of the shots. The mid tones looked a little pale at first glance, but accurately portrayed what I saw. The colours are quite accurate too. I shall use it again.

I haven't used the film SLRs in ages (I have a DSLR now) and I was thinking about selling them and the pile of lenses. Well, most of them.

From Coolpix 990 in 1999 to D800 in 2013. 14 years of amazing progress. No rose tinted bifocals here. I'm over the moon. I actually have gear that's a joy to use, files that are a joy to process and the possibility of making poster size exhibition prints I would have needed a 6X7 camera for in 1985. For the first time in 14 years I actually feel I have room to grow. I feel some new lenses coming on...

But the hamster that really made it all possible is the one employed by the storage industry.

In 1985 I bought a very nice Canon A1, a present to myself on getting a job with IBM and just about the best SLR on the market at the time. IBM's huge UK data centre used ranks of giant 3380 storage devices, each with a capacity 2.5 gigabytes. We had around 30 arrays from memory, around 75GB on a 1.75 acre floor with 20 mainframes supporting 3,000 software and hardware developers.

Switch to 2013 and I can buy SD cards bigger than that, whereas my humble home PC has 8 Terrabytes of disk space. That's more than 100X as much as that whole data centre.

To put that in context, the entire book collection of the Library of Congress is estimated to be around 10TB (or 20 million books) so my little PC is already able to store 80% of every book ever written. Pretty soon I will be able to download it all to my Kindle....

And I am using all this amazing technology for a mere hobby. Technology is frankly amazing. We live in a golden age, even if we haven't figured out what to do with it yet. Personally, I am just glad I was alive when it happened.

I just want to know what they use for hamster feed these days...

No hamster wheel for me. I use one camera: a Leica MP. It's my first real camera, and it will be my last.

I was never interested in taking pictures and knew almost nothing about cameras before I bought it. That was about six months ago. I happened to walk past the Leica store in the IFC mall in Hong Kong and saw a black paint MP in the window. I knew it must be a film camera because I recognized the lever that advances the film. On a whim, I walked in and asked to see it. I had only the vaguest idea of how it worked, but it was love at first sight. It was one of the coolest objects I had ever held.

After a few weeks of research on the Internet, I went back to the Leica store and ordered a black paint MP and Summilux 35 mm. They arrived within a week. I started taking them everywhere I went. I bought a scanner; I learned to develop film in my kitchen. The first roll was a disaster, but I persevered; and now I have six or seven pictures I really like.

True, I have only had the MP for six months; yet I am certain I will never buy another camera. Digital cameras (and the pictures they take) leave me cold. And nobody is going to make a 35 mm film camera that is better, or cooler, than my MP.

I often think about digital cameras that piqued my interest but I didn't buy. They were usually funky cameras in some aspect of their design or operation. A Sony that recorded image data directly to a mini CD-R disk, because memory cards were low capacity and expensive at the time. A Nikon that had a rotating joint between the lens and body. Another Sony where the lens pivoted up and down on the body, and had a fourth color in its sensor array (emerald, I think?). My reality? I waited until 2004 when the Nikon D70 came on the market, and before then, I'd borrow my company's little-used Kodak if I wanted to play with digital.

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