« Exposures Aren't Free | Main | Honor, Ethics, Character, and Cameras (Blog Notes for the Week) »

Thursday, 21 July 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

6-MP Canon 10D. Still my favorite.

The Olympus E1 has to be in that discussion - CCD sensor, built like a tank. Still have mine paired with an old OM zuiko macro lens. Still bring it out from time to time for its rich, painterly look

I always thought my old Olympus c-5060wz was pretty good, with its 5.1mp sensor...


I'm another fan of the Sony 6mp sensor that found it's way into so many of the early APS-C DSLRs. Mine was packaged in a Pentax *ist DS that, aside from it's mediocre autofocus, was a great little camera. I can't completely discount nostalgia because that was my first proper digital camera and I haven't been able to muster up as much excitement for any camera I've owned since, but I made some of my very favorite images with that humble little machine.

For many years, I used the tiny FujiFilm F31fd compact camera. It had only 6 mpixels but, in my opinion, had besutiful color output (but only jpeg - no RAW capacity). I took many pictures in an abandoned school, complete with peeling lead paint and curling asbestos floor tiles:

The original Canon 5D had something special. I never owned one--I had a 20D at the time--but I bought a 5D MkII as soon as it was available and was always vaguely disappointed that the files never had that rich feeling I got from 5D files, as though the 5D files were velvet and my 5D MkII was producing nylon.

Not a different choice but a further '+1' for the KM 7D - lovely colours ('Minolta Colours' even?) and I produced some very fine work with it in the early days of use. I'm lucky - I still have mine and it does get a rare outing from time to time which also serves to remind me what an ergonomic dream it was to use as well. I would, possibly, argue about the sense in going 6Mp - with the advances in electronics and build these days it would be interesting to see just what level of performance could result from such a sensor (and Sony went half the way there with the A7S let's recall!).

I still love the images from my D70 and D200. Reds never went nuclear like they tend to do sometimes in current cameras. Might just be nostalgia but they were great cameras.

I briefly owned a Pentax K100D Super while my K10D was away for many weeks getting fixed. It was a 6MP camera (vs the K10D's 10.4MP sensor), yet it went up to ISO 3200 (vs the K10D's 1600 maximum). It performed so much better in low light, and I remember some very nice colour files from photographing a friend's band playing live.

As someone who generally shoots at high ISO (above 1600), I would love a 6MP camera. It's one of the reasons I've been advocating for interchangeable sensors in cameras. My request has fallen on deaf ears, of course, but I know you and I are not the only ones who'd like a 6-8MP sensor.

I am NOT looking forward to upgrading my Fuji X-E2 to an X-T2 and have to leap to a 25MP sensor.

Back when I still shot with my 10.4MP Pentax I routinely said that I'd wait to upgrade my camera until sensors reached 40MP, at which point I would use it in 2x2 binned mode, for an effective 10MP file :-)

I'm with D Huffard ......after temptation of Fuji to take me away from my Pentax K5 and its little lenses.
But on reflection this is because
I love the X100 and its two f2 extension lenses giving me 28mm/ 35mm/50mm all without exposing the sensor.

The files esp B and W are gorgeous.Its limitations slow me down.

In the end I dont want a X trans sensor and using a different program. Am
I alone in thinking that if Fuji were to bring their magic to a 24p Bayer sensor they might reach a wider audience.

As it is I love my gorgeous Black X100 ....Other cameras I might sell but this one stays put. In this case I will go first! The S and the T versions may be superior in all sorts of ways. Just not so loveable.

I still rely on my old 6MP Canon 10D for some exacting work (product photography and occasional portraits) because it handles delicate colors so well. I bought it for that reason and it never fails to impress me.

My very first "inexpensive" digital, a 1.3 Mp Fuji circa 1999, had the most wonderful color quality. I do not have the camera in front of me, its model number is unknown. 1.3 Mp does not get you far but it made some very nice 5x7 inch prints.

So far as B&W files, my ancient Nikon D2H, all of 4 Mp, look quite good to me. Contrasty, they remind me of tri-x prints I used to make in a long ago darkroom I had.

Back in the ancient pre digital days we all had interchangeable "sensors" just change film types and fire away.


Well that was disheartening. I scrolled through my LR catalog looking at images from specific cameras (during lunch break !) The 7D has a lot of pretty files. Also a lot of problematic files. Many technically poor (OOF) and some where it handled artifically lit scenes poorly. The A700 had quite a few pretty files. The old Canon A610 had files that would be pretty except for a slightly pixelated look, even viewed small. The Nikon D7000 that replaced the A700 doesn't have especially pretty files; rather, I seem to have to work more with them than with other cameras. The A6000 is very technical. Nothing pretty about it, but nothing problematic, either. The NEX-5 I had before it had ugly green-gray shadows. Probably the newer camera I have with files that I like is the RX100:

I'm not sure what to take away from that. Maybe I should consider finding a camera whose files I like better ? Maybe I like cameras that generate more contrasty files because they capture less dynamic range ? I can't read too much into it because it's mostly an apples to oranges comparison, where my earlier digital photos included lots of charming candids of little kids and later ones have lots of high ISO indoor sports & performance shots. But if I'm ever wowed by a photo any more, it's because of the moment or the lighting - the content. Not because the camera rendered it especially well.

There may be a bit of nostalgia in these kind of things and I am not at all sure they would hold up to objective scrutiny but I was extremely impressed with the Nikon D70 as well as both the D40 and D50 . We still own them.
On the canon side I still use a 40D and love it anytime I don't need the resolution of my 1Ds III.
While I clearly understand how newer sensors have increased abilities which are measureable by things like DxO Mark as well as by just looking at the files, when judged by "Picture Ability" old and new seem closer together.
There are clearly some qualities that are not easily quantified, so reducing rating systems to easily quantifiable data is probably less informative than many think it is.
I'm not a Luddite, I appreciate technical advances, and look forward to them. For paying work modern sensors increase the odds of getting the shot , but for expressive pictures we've been way past sufficiency for a long time.
I think it's why we can look at pictures made with 6,8, or 10 Mp sensors and still say wow.
The lesson of course is that if the picture is good, it's good.

I keep a Nikon D70s for flower macros and such. The files out of that old 6Mp cameras are so "juicy". Scenics are spectacular as well.

Always admired the files you posted from the 7D, especially the elegance with which it handled dark values.

Also admired the D40 from afar. But closer to hand, though I didn't know how special it was at the time, the Canon 20D may have had the best of the 8MP APS SLR sensors (which likely was used in other Canon cameras as well).

Like most everyone else, I admire Foveon images, but not the pain involved in getting them. And the gritty B&W from the first Ricoh GRD, in the right hands, was wonderful.

The original 12.2 megapixel Canon EOS 5-D of course. With a full-frame sensor and a relaxed 8.2 micron pixel pitch, it flattered the 2005-vintage EF lenses and made it clear that digital capture could be outstanding.

My absolute favorite camera for haptics and image quality outdoors was the K-M Dimage A2. It had a 2/3" 8MP CCD sensor with a fixed 28-200mm 'G' lense which produced beautiful RAW images at its native ISO of 80 (anything over ISO 100 was so noisy, I rarely bothered even trying to bump the ISO).

I look back and still am astounded at the quality of my landscape photos using that camera. The body was the perfect size too! I also loved the EVF, but unfortunately it needed today's resolutions to be acceptable to the masses.

The rear LCD left a lot to be desired. I never did bond with my K-M Maxxum 5D like the Dimage A2, although like you, I still have (and love) my K-M 28-75mm f/2.8.

Perhaps I can't respond to the "fondly" part of your request, because my memory is frankly very hazy about my first Nikon and Canon digital cameras. I do recall how excited I was about how "good" 6 MP's could be. OK, one does pop into mind - the Nikon D2x. I could have just stopped right there at 12MP's. For practical purposes that camera did enough. And another 12 - a borrowed D700 - also was fantastic and the only full frame digital I ever shot with. I took it into the mountains a few times with a substantial tripod and took images my 44" Canon iPF8000 "loved" to print. The secret to me was that each photo site was large and capable of capturing more light.

Yep, I could have stopped at 12MP but, like so many others, automatically thought more MP's was better. The real important changes (to my way of thinking) has been to processor design and the circuitry inside the camera which has lowered noise, etc. If you applied all of the newest (Sony?) tech to a 12 MP APS-C sized (Fuji) body, I bet the results would be everything I could ever realistically need.

A few years ago I was prepping images to print for a show, all taken with my then-current Nikon D700, and I stumbled across an image that was perfect for the show -- taken years earlier with my Nikon D70. And I was surprised to discover how gorgeous the image was. Sure, it didn't push the boundaries of ISO or dynamic range, and I couldn't print it nearly as large as the D700 files, but it was a beautiful capture, everything I could have wanted, and it taught me not to be so smug about the superiority of the latest sensors.

I loved the files from the first model Canon 5D.

I've always had a fondness for the files from my first digital DSLR - the 6 MP Fujifilm S2 pro. The flesh tones in those files were especially nice. Of course, it's been replaced several times over by cameras with higher pixel counts.

My old 1D Mk II w/a 50 SuperTak _U0I1345-128

Does a 6-year old 12MP GXR-M qualify as old? In my defense the lens I used was a 58-year old Tele-Takumar.

Dog in window (larger)

Hands down, the original 5D. Yeah, the sensor got dirty, yeah the high ISO was crummy, but man the files were great!

Nikon D300 for me, although I am satisfied with my current (D7200) camera. Considering how many people on various internet forums still seem to use or at least pine for the D700, in retrospect it seems like there was something special about the D300/D700/D3 generation of top-end Nikons.

The first digital camera I had was the Olympus C2500L. I remember shooting a job on color transparency, and then literally plugging the pc cord into the adapter I had on the hotshoe, and setting the camera for daylight, and the same iso, and shooting the digital files. The looked as close to the transparencies as anything could back then, and the camera shot native .tiff, so I just passed the results right on to the agency, no problem (everything should shoot .tiff today too). Might have been 3 megapixel.

I still have my 12 megapixel Nikon D90, and the results out of it are still great, better than what I'm getting out of any of my M 4/3rds stuff...makes me wonder if I just should have concentrated on Nikon. I did shoot something on M 4/3rds the other day, in native square, and I thought: "I don't know why all cameras can't do 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, and 16:9." I want my sensor in my D90, in a mirrorless, shooting at those aspect ratios...

To Don Craig's point, the 12 megapixel Canon 5D was the first digital camera I ever saw the output from that I thought: "..well now, this IS starting to look like film...".

Isn't enthusiasm for so-called legacy lenses on the rise? So half the fondness survives.

Never had an Epson RD-1, an early digital rangefinder, but great photos can be found on the Web.

Sigma DP1s. I haven't use it for a few years, but I love the look of the images. The colour reminds me of film and approx 4.5 foveon megapixels seems more than enough. The camera weighs nothing too. Heck that's it - just put the battery in the charger and I'm taking it out this weekend!

My first digital camera is still the one I use half the time - I was late to the party. Pentax K20D. I thought at the time it was a huge improvement over my film camera but that may have been just the auto focus (compared to manual). My newer (and only second) digital (Olympus OMD-EM10) is better again and often truly good (IMHO).

Many of the early digital cameras were pretty okay. Some was slow focusing.. The Panasonic LC1 gave me some good shots, and the Ricoh GR1 (2006) comes to mind. And of course dslrs like Nikon D70, D50, Olympus E410 were very good and just worked. The problem was there was a lot of cameras coming out all the time - and you never got to really know them before they were "outdated" and trade them for the Latest & Greatest" Now in 2016 we have some very, very good ones. So we start to complain that the VIDEO is not up to date. Oj, Oj..!

Nice to see I'm not the only person here who still likes their D70.
Keep the ISO and print size at sane levels O(400 and 20x30) and it still delivers lovely files.

The Olympus E-1 I think deserves consideration. I recall heated debates about how at 5MP it could compete with the 6MP Canikons (hint, when cropping to 8 by 10 inches there was little loss in pixel count. And of course, now we know better anyways. Personally, I think a large part of the E-1'a charm was the amazing kit lens (14-54mm 2.8/3.5). I always though it was the best kit zoom lens ever offered by any manufacturer, as it was a premium optic).

Your supposition about a SOTA 6MP APS-C sized sensor makes me wonder one thing: If the latest semiconductor tech could be put into the giant pixels afforded by the 6MP size, how would we benefit image-wise? By which I mean we would end up with several stops more low-noise latitude, and wider dynamic range. But unfortunately, we're still limited by display and print tech that wouldn't show it off. I don't discount the likelihood I'm missing something here.


The Sigma DP3 Merrill isn't quite as old as some of the other cameras named, but its files has a certain look that's very appealing to me. Its exposure behavior reminds me a lot of slide film, too: limited latitude and a little unforgiving, and the processing workflow is slow and messy.

But in return, it gives you more detail than you might expect and a particular kind of color and detail rendering that you can't find anywhere else. It also makes the best-looking photos of clouds among all the cameras I've used!

There's a little sailboat barely visible here, but printed at 13x19, it's obvious and full of detail:

Olympus E-20N (5 mp). Fixed zoom lens. Very sharp, beautiful color processing with in-camera TIFF files.

Chalk me up for the original Canon 5D. I'm still shooting with mine and there is just something so lovely about the color it provides.

I've been fighting a wave of envy for new cameras lately. What with their see-in-the-dark sensors, fancy live view controls, improved AF, etc. I'll probably make that jump sooner or later but there's a big part of me that worries that I'll not like the new files as much as those from my rusty, trusty 5D.

Sigma DP1 , slow but every now and than make you just sit back and stare at your image amazed ,very inspiring for start working with fix focal lens only for a longer period of time

A couple of a cameras stand out in my image library. First was the Sigma SD9. It was a quirky, often frustrating beast usable only to about ISO400. The software to get the most out of it was purely awful. But oh, the files that machine produced when it all worked right.


The other camera that I think was magic was the Fujifilm F31fd (mentioned elsewhere in this thread of comments I believe). Nothing I have ever owned produced color in files the way that little pocket cam did. I mean Fuji really baked in some secret sauce. It wasn't until the original X100 that Fuji had something that came close in terms of color.

Great thread!

The 18mp Leica M9 CCD sensor. At base ISO the files were absolutely lovely. I still miss it to this day.

Another vote for the 5D. I still smile whenever I open some of those files.

I also liked the results from that little 6.3MP 1/1.7" sensor in the Fujifilm F10-20-30 series. It first appeared in 2005, the same year as the 5D. Obviously a fine vintage for sensors, before they began to chase big pixel counts.

Some of my favorite pictures were taken with my Leica Digilux 2. The lens had magic in it, and I often regret letting it go.....

I saw an original Canon 5D the other day for £249. I still have a soft spot for my first, proper, digital camera. I still have some lovely prints and wouldn't think twice about revisiting the files in lightroom.

But, there a files from several other obsolete cameras there too, many of which are lovely. Often the match of conditions, exposure, lens and body just works. The M9 makes lovely pictures in a lot of circumstances. The GX7 made lovely files, but I didn't bond etc etc.

However, the xpro2 files stopped me dead the first time I opened some in lightroom. It is the first camera I've owned that really makes files that remind me of colour film. I think this is, at least in part, the dynamic range. However colour accuracy could be a part and the metering that generally does a very good job of protecting the highlights. I really like it with my very old breechlpch canon fd 55 f1.2. Lovely rendering.


I'll agree with Ken N. My first serious digital camera was an Olympus E1 and the files were simply wonderful, other than small size. I wasn't happy taking the files up over 12-inches wide (though I sold quite a few decor prints a lot larger than that), but color and tone were great. Also, I used RAW+JPEG for personal work because quite often the JPEGs were better than I could get out of the RAW files in ACR, including higher resolution in a final print. That certainly hasn't happened with the Pentax and Lumix cameras I've used since. They are about the "prettiest" files I've seen, and I get to look at files from lots of different cameras when I teach. My current digital cameras work fine and they get along very well with ACR, but there's a certain little bit of magic gone. It was like having Kodachrome, with 3-4 extra stops of subject brightness range.

I often miss my old Sigma SD9 with the first generation Foveon sensor. It was 3 megapixel, strictly ISO 100 camera, a nightmare to work with, but its image quality was truly special: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alex_virt/albums/72157624944187807

Some say SD9 photos look like Kodachrome, but I don't think any film comparison is valid. To me they look ultra-digital.

I sold it in 2012 with all my Sigma gear when I saw Foveon development going wrong way, and still regret it from time to time.

The Canon 40D - something about that 10meg sensor made it a sweet landscape camera. Still have it, but haven't used it in years.

Panasonic L1, for me. I don't use it often as I find it a otherwise flawed body (VF is tiny and dark). Works beautifully with the Olympus 25mm f2.8 pancake.


Does my Canon P with the collapsible 50mm Summicron lens count???

JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!

With best regards,


Not so old but I always like(d) the files from the 16 MP Pentax K-5

Olympus OMD EM5 II, in high res mode, produces (to my eyes) lovely files... but it's easier, and quicker, changing lenses than changing cameras to achieve different looks.

Taken with a 5 MP Leica Digilux 2 at Kauai's Lihue Airport in February 2007:

It is such a shame that Panasonic/Leica didn't see fit to update it as sensor tech improved, because I'll bet its lens would acquit itself admirably if placed in front of a modern 2/3"-format sensor.

My very first digital camera, Olympus E-20, produced images which had the look of a Leica Kodachrome II slide shot with a Summicron. The only way I have ever been able to describe it is "soft but sharp."
The camera, unfortunately, weighed a ton and was like molasses when processing the 5MP file. Maximum ISO Was 320.
In 15 yeas I've never had another camera which produced such beautiful images.

How about the Pentax *ist Ds ... I loved that camera, and going back and looking at it's original RAW files, the modern Lightroom can even get more out of the files than any raw converter could back in 2003-5.

BTW, I bought it based on your recommendation ;-)

Without a doubt, the Leica M9. Every time I import a batch of raw files into Lightroom, I keep thinking "I really ought to tweak these some..." only to find out there's really nothing that needs to be done to them. When used within its limitations the M9 is still a spectacularly good camera and the "digital negatives" are flat out superb.

Add me to the list of folks who really like the files of the original pre-X-Trans X100.

Thankfully, I never "traded up" to the T or S.

It does color and monochrome so very, very well:

Syd The Paisley Tele And A Madcap Amp, September 21, 2014

Roast Chicken From Plum Creek Farms, November 25, 2013

Rocketship Gothic, October 10, 2012

Dan in the Studio, August 26, 2012

Nikon D200. Lovely skin tones. Generally soft files due to the stronger AA filter but they held up well with additional sharpening as long as the dynamic range of the scene wasn't too wide and you kept the ISO not much higher than 400.

The M9 really could generate some wonderful files. When I scroll through my catalog thumbnail images from the M9 always seem to catch my eye. It could also generate some horrible files!

I had two Nikon D40 cameras. The first was a cheap used one, my first DSLR, which eventually was given to my stepdaughter. The second was a freebie from a friend but then lost in a flood last April. Those 6MP CCD sensors in cameras of that vintage have a sweet look, no doubt.

My 10MP Nikon 1 camera files make for great b&w conversions. They have an inherent contrast that causes the converted files to look much like film.

The Leica Monochrome M with the original full frame CCD sensor gives photos I lust and drool for. Hardly a chance I will ever have one.

I often gravitate back to my Sony R1 - there's definitely something pleasing about the files from that lens/sensor combination. I also love flipping the LCD over and using it like a waist level finder...

It may sound odd (and certainly not as grandiose as some of the DSLRs mentioned!) but I rather miss my Canon Powershot Pro1 - the more I look at the images I took with that camera the more I think they have a particularly lovely look and "feel" to them.

Since you mention the Nikon D40, I feel like I must say that some of the files mine made were beautiful. Maybe the sensor being CCD had something to do with it?

Maybe I should be waiting for the Pentax 645D (not the Z) to come way down in price, so that I can shoot with a large CCD sensor? :)

Nikon D50!

And after that the Nikons D600, 610, 750... "juicy" is the word I use for the files from the 24 MP Nikons.

The other camera whose files were similarly rich was the Olympus E-P5.

I often found my Pentax K10d's Raw files surprisingly rich and sweet.

Just some well balanced design decisions, I think.

Another vote for the Olympus E1. Still going strong after a year of almost daily use. Have an E3 and Sigma SD14, but keep returning to the E1. Great colour which translates into great B&W. Use OM 50mm lens.

I'd agree about the Nikon D40. I bought one for my wife at the time, and came close to confiscating it for myself. The photos from that seemed to have a "smoothness" to them, sort of closer to film than digital, I thought. It was only a few years newer than the D70, but the sensor was much, much better. It was the least expensive digital camera I ever user to any degree, but one with which I took one of my favorite photos: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/drhufford/4712152418/in/photostream/

Nikon D200 with CCD sensor.

Last time I looked at my old photos that I took when I had a D70 (6 mpix) I hated how the shadows where thin and the tonal separation far behind today's state of the art. Now I can easily go ISO 3200 and not having the look of really pushing it. I say that we're better of today than ever in capturing scenes as they are.

I did, however, shoot many memorable photos back when I had the D70 and I'm happy to have them; most images are not dependent on pushing technology to its limits, they can be enhanced by superior image quality but not made by it.

Having read all these interesting comments it is obvious that Mike 'struck a nerve' with this post. Bonding with tools is not unique to photography. Having a history of good results with any tool or technique, is a large part of successful creative work.
Holding it in our hands gives a quiet confidence. Good tools that become extensions of our eye or hand quietly encourage or allow us to concentrate on the more important part of things.
This can be deeply satisfying.
Our relationship with these tools can be the very satisfying embodiment of the idea that 'it's the craftsman not the tool.' Even though we are smart enough to revere the tool.

But I also think part of the success and fondness we feel foe certain older cameras that have served us long and well, comes about precisely because of the length of our relationship with them.
We get to know and understand them more deeply, which causes us to learn to use them better.
WE get better.
The Idea of mastery, or the 10,000 hours we've all read about.

The rapid rate of change we have experienced since the first popular digital cameras is wonderful, but it is an anomaly, and thoughtful creative people appreciate it but also find more comfort in the creative side than the technical side.
Maybe the slowdown in camera sales is not just an indicator of sufficiency of current tools, but may, as a serendipitous side effect, make us better.
Just look at all the great pictures attached to this post.

Wow, I don't think of my M9-P as an "older camera," though it obviously is, what with the CMOS M cameras.

I can't imagine that there's a better color camera out there and I've little to no desire to "upgrade" it either.

The DNGs have so much depth to them!

South Sudanese Delegate With Local, Panda Center, May 22, 2016

Bamboo Graffiti, Panda Center, Chengdu, May 22, 2016

Three Women, Chengdu, May 21, 2016

Cauldron Fires, Muslim Quarter, Xi'an, May 19, 2016

(Yes, those bokeh fireflies below are hot embers flying out of the pan)

Cinders, Fire And Wok, Muslim Quarter, Xi'an, May 19, 2016

I remember your posted picture of the family in the porch from a Black & White magazine article.

I miss "My Pocket Rocket," the Canon G9. I did not want to let it go, but I was not using it for a couple of years and an amateur with a MFA and a good eye begged to buy it from me. I sold it cheap and 2 weeks later she told me she took it to the beach and got sand in it. I was crushed.


My first digital SLR, a Canon 300D 'Digital REBEL' had an 6 megapixel array of big fat squares that I loved. Here's a picture I took with it on my first road trip in the US:

Zabriskie Point, California, July 2015.
Zabriskie Point, California, July 2015

I wanted full-frame and was still looking for where I liked to stand, so I bought a 5D, then sold it and all the lenses and got an M8. Then an M9, which has been my main camera since 2009.

I've given away a fair number of superseded digital ILC cameras, but one camera that I'll always retain ready for use is the 2005 Sony R1. The Zeiss lens makes the most of that 10MP sensor, producing very good images even at 18x24. When I look at images accepted into juried competitions, those made with the R1 lead the pack even though I have had, and still have, a variety of excellent Olympus and Pentax cameras since then.

In a way, I’m kind of glad that I was too unsophisticated to perceive a qualitative difference between the images from my Konica-Minolta 7D and my Nikon D200 and D300. The debates that the D200 images (skintones) were better than those from the D300 went right over me without pause. I knew that my wide variations between how I took photos and how I processed them in Aperture, then Lightroom, made a more pronounced impact to how “good” my photos looked, and their subjective qualities.

That said, I loved my Minolta 7D. The ergonomics on the Nikon D200 were a big step down in comparison (and the Canon EOS 20D, which I was considering at the time, was much worse). The Minolta is my sentimental favorite because it took one photo that convinced me that I could maybe become an OK photographer. That 6MP photo I made into a 20" x 30" poster:

I’m sure I could do a better job of processing the image in Lightroom today than I did in 2007. Still, the photo motivated me to get serious – and I did.

The Minolta 7D is still in use in our household – my daughter uses it for her hobby photographs. The camera turned 11 this month. (She gets the black frame problem on occasion but just shrugs it off.)

While not really "Old" in digital I do like thek Sigma DP Merrill bodies. Shoot more like a view camera often as they are somewhat clunky and slow to write to the card - taking 15 seconds or so. But the images really do look good. ISO 100 is where I keep them and rely on a tripod much of the time.

I still love the files produced by my Fuji X100, but I don't consider it obsolescent.
The camera I really found punched well above its pixel weight and age class is the 2004-vintage 6MP 1.5x crop-factor Epson R-D1 -- the first DRF. Files from that camera still hold up well in 8x10 prints, and its performance in black and white at ISO 1600 is still remarkable.

The lead singer of the band Peak Mod, taken with my circa 2005 Pentax *ist DL, in 2012. Coupled with the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4, it was capable of great photos in good light. The DL was the budget model version of the earlier *ist D & DS models and had the same 6mp sensor. It had a top LCD though, which I made extensive use of and sorely missed on my subsequent K-30. My DL, after having survived a snowmobile accident in Utah, is now tooling around Thailand with a friend.

They are all just tools. It's the results that matter.

Another here who longs for something similar to the 6MP sensor in my old Pentax K100D. I have an 8x10 of my then baby son on the wall in front of me right now and there's something about the colours and skin tones that is so natural. While my slightly newer K30 produces objectively better images, they don't have the same look.

I upgraded when the speed and low light capabilities started to bug me. I did pull out the old beast a few months ago after looking at how good those old images were, hoping to test it out again, but alas it would not fire up again. I'm almost tempted to find another one.

On the strength of this post and fired by fond memories I charged up the battery and loaded it into my Canon 450D (12 Mp APS-C), attached a reasonable lens and took a few shots...only to be reminded of Will Rogers: "Things ain't what they used to be and never were".

Fortunately things have moved on but I have fond memories of the subjects.

I still have my six year old Canon S95. I've found that both the RAW files and Jpegs are wonderful. I still use it daily for work and it's been dropped several times and has still works fine. I have no idea what I would replace it with when it finally gives up the ghost!

Here's a couple of examples:

It'd have to be the K10D for me. Like many Pentaxes, its focusing was awful -- all that hunting about and whirring of the lens.

Tracking? Forget about it. There was a lot of hair-pulling and venting from using that camera. Nearly thrashed the damn thing too.

But the files were lovely. Any K10D user would be able to tell a file from that camera. I loved the colours from it. And b&w conversions were great. The camera was also fantastic in rendering scenes with deep shadows and bright lights.

Later on, being very much a masochist, I got the K5. The new camera could see right into the shadows. ISO, for the time, was off the charts. But I could never get the high-contrast portraits that always intruded into my mind's eye and made real by the K10D.

What gives?

Still use my 12-years old Nikon Coolpix 8400. 8MB CCD Fun.

The Fujifilm F31fd was a tipping point. I owned or used several digital cameras before but I always grabbed back to Kodak Portra. In 2008 on a long trip to Patagonia I decided to leave my DSLR at home and take my Mamiya 7 and the F31fd instead. The Fujifilm files were used as a reference for the large Mamiya prints. Here are five of them that I once send to a tv program and now are eternally floating around in Flickr cyberspace.


+1 for the original 12MP X100. Prefer it to my other X-Trans Fujis, an X-Pro1 and XT10. The colours are better but so is the acuity from the capable f/2 lens. It is interesting that Fuji's wonderful X series lenses can't rescue, in my eyes, X-Trans files from mediocrity.

Another camera I still like the images from (but sold it a while back) is the original Olympus m43 E-P1. At base ISO with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens the images were great. Perhaps 12MP was the magic number for APS-C sensors?

Some lovely photos in these comments. Ken N mentioned the Olympus E-1. That was the Kodak sensor and Kodak software -- the master class which has guided Olympus cameras (at least 43 and m43 cameras) ever since.

Cheers, Geoff

Another fan of the original 5D ... and the first of the line, the D30. I presume its to do with the low pixel density of these sensors - they images are very silky.

But I'm also very fond of my current Oly EM-1 -certainly the most "film like" of any digital camera I've owned, esp. in B&W. Not that being like film is necessarily a good thing :)

What a great collection of writing and pictures! I do love my Pentax K200D. But, I really have a hard time consistently producing colour images that I like because I don't feel that I have a good eye for colour. Perhaps we could have a discussion in which people who've produced some of the lovely images shown here could share, generally, how they produced them. In camera or out, for example.

[Hi Julian, Take heart, Ansel Adams was reputed to not have a good eye for color either. You know his solution. All best, Mike]

Another vote for the quirky Ricoh GXR with the 12mp no AA filter M mount that I still use with my 35mm Summicron. I affectionately refer to it as my poor man's Leica. Most of my Leica friends are surprised by the image quality.

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157656036799563

I feel quite sentimental about my first digital camera, which was also my first camera ever: an Olympus C-2000 that a friend bequeathed to me early in 2004 when he upgraded to the C-3000. Not sure about those model numbers, the aging brain here is losing its ability to recall that level of detail, but the "C-2000" was a 2 MP beauty and some of the best (subject, composition) pictures I've ever taken were made with it in the first flush of passion for my new-found, uh, passion. I still have it, and occasionally play with it.

BUT: the most beautiful images ever were those from my first "real" camera, which I got about six months later: an 8 MP Olympus 8080. I still marvel at them, sometimes they seem so tasty I just want to lick them.

I'm sorry I ever sold it; it would be ideal for a walking around camera, which my present FF gear is not. And despite all the marvelous things the present gear can do that would have been utterly impossible with the 8080, it's never delivered images that have the same (to my probably eccentric eye anyway) lusciously sensual appeal as the 8080's.

I was always pleased with the results I got from a Nikon D70 I had - I also had the 18-70 DX lens.

That said, I think it was also my first DSLR, and (being a happy snapper) I was using it in amazing and beautiful places that I had not visited before; e.g. Mykonos and Santorini in the Aegean. The results were very pleasing to me - actually, they knocked me out. I probably - no, certainly - didn't have the ability to understand the difference between a camera doing a decent job with knock-me-out landscapes, and another camera producing something respectable with much harder material.

Nonetheless, I did love that camera. Then I made the mistake of 'upgrading' to a D80, and returning to the same places. It wasn't the same....

I currently have a Kodak DCS Pro-C. It was built by Sigma and the price on the box is $7000+. It's previous owner dubbed it the 'Kodachrome camera'. It's rendition of blues and greens are uniquely beautiful. However it is 14MP FF.

I strongly suspect that a great amount of the nostalgia here, maybe most, has little truly demonstrable basis in cameras.

Good discussion. Perhaps some nostalgia, though. When I look through my older digital files I see a lot of range compression, noise and blown highlights.My first DSLR , the Canon d20, was particularly unspectacular. Caused me to go back to film until 2008.

At conservative ISO the files that strike me as particularly nice are from a Leica M8 I used for a whileafter I gave digital another try. I don't feel at all gooey when I think about it though, it was a pain to use .

The Panasonic Gx1 is another one that seemed to give much more than it should have. That one was probably the best quality/value proposition I ever used.

I might be late to the party, but here it goes:

For me it's the Nikon V1. Not as old as some other cameras mentioned, but it's a camera (and system) that gets snobbed a lot. More photographers should give it a try, it's quirky no doubt, but they might be surprised by this little camera.

My V1 still gets a lot of use and that smallish 1" 10MP sensor continues to impresses me with a detail and dynamic range that such a sensor wasn't supposed to deliver.

Here's an example of the excellent latitude it can achieve (RAW unedited on the left, edited on the right):

And some photos:

Olympus E-1 and then Leica M8, my first "full blown" digital cameras. Some of their pictures have not been equaled.


Ricoh GR digital I (small sensor.) I have purchased 2 spares. I do not ever want to be without one. The monochrome results are exceptional. It is truly a case where nothing was gained, through sensor upgrades as each succeeding generation was brought to market. Oh how I wish the GRD IV (image stabilization added) had the same sensor as the I

I still love many shots from my first digital camera, a Canon Digital Elph S230. 8x10s were sometimes a challenge, but the right subject, on matte paper, glowed.

I'm late to the game on this one but I really liked the colors I got from my Canon D30 (yes, the original 3-megapixel one, not the 30D, which I also own but whose colors don't pop quite as much.) I was looking at some photos from 2003 and the color were so vibrant. Canon may have improved the resolution of its sensors, but the color on that one was special.

Another vote for the wonderful Leica Digilux 2. I found a virtually new one at a very low price in a Leica dealers shop in Cambridge (UK) a few years ago. Leica replaced the sensor (at no cost) and I use the camera regularly. The combination of this sensor plus a great lens give special results. Thorsten Overgaard is a great fan of the camera: http://www.overgaard.dk/leica_digilux2.html

Here are some Epson R-D1 sample photos - not bad for a 12-year-old 6MP APS-C sensor....

Epson R-D1 at ISO 200 with Konica 50/1.2 M-Hexanon

Epson R-D1 at ISO 400 with Minolta 28/2.8 M-Rokkor

Epson R-D1 at ISO 1600 with Canon 25/3.5 LTM

Leica Digilux 2 produced magnificent images despite a miniscule sensor and early processor. I rue the day I sold it (to upgrade to a "more modern" camera with full-frame sensor). The Digilux's zoom lens gave it great versatility and sharp images. I have several times come very close to hitting the buy button on eBay for a replacement.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007