After many months of deliberation and hours reading the pros and cons of various models, on the internet and in magazines, I have finally upgraded my cameras. So here I am back with a new toy and finding the experience very rewarding. Even though I’ve stuck with a brand that I have been using for many years there is still much to learn and new ways of doing things.
This process actually started me thinking about cameras I have owned over the years. Funnily enough it wasn’t too difficult to delve back in my memory and jot down a list. The hardest part was realising that I was looking at a period covering some 45 years. So how do I remember cameras from that long ago and yet can’t remember what happened in the last edition of the weekly serial on the TV. Some things are worth remembering I guess!!
I start in the late 60s and move slowly forward to the present day only including cameras that have been owned rather than any that may have been simply used.
Kodak Instamatic 200
Introduced in the 60’s this was, from what I can remember, my first camera. Simple to load with film. This camera featured four aperture settings from sunny to dull, cross-referenced to flash distances for the pop-up gun.
produced between : 1964 – 1966
lens : f/7.1, 41mm
shutter : 1/40, 1/60
film type : 126 cartridge
picture size : 28 x 28 mm
Olympus Trip 35
The Trip 35 is a 35mm compact camera, manufactured by Olympus. It was introduced in 1967 and discontinued, after a lengthy production run, in 1984. The Trip name was a reference to its intended market – people who wanted a compact, functional camera for holidays. During the 1970s it was the subject of an advertising campaign that featured popular British photographer David Bailey. Over ten million units were sold.
The Trip 35 was a point and shoot model, with a solar-powered selenium light meter, and just two shutter speeds. In ‘A’ mode, the camera operated as a Program automatic, choosing either 1/40th sec or 1/200th sec. The camera could also sync with flash, and had a range of aperture settings, from f2.8 to f22. In flash sync mode the shutter was set at 1/40. Apart from a simple four-position zone focus system, and an ISO setting from 25–400, the camera had no other photographic controls. The camera had a Prontor-Compur sync connector and a hot shoe. Its lens was a coated Zuiko 40mm f/2.8, with four elements in three groups.
The camera had an ISO range of “only” 25–400, but this was acceptable, as films faster than 400 were uncommon and not of high image quality. 25 speed allowed the use of Kodachrome, while 400 speed allowed use of Tri-X and similar fast materials under low light.
Earlier models, from the first few years of production, had a maximum ISO speed of 200.
The use of a selenium photocell to select the shutter speeds and aperture let novices use the camera as a “point & shoot”, with good results obtained most of the time. And no battery was needed to power the camera, an important consideration when travelling where batteries might not be available.
The lack of more than two shutter speeds was not a problem. At 1/200 and f:22 with 400-speed film, the camera could deliver correct exposure in full sunlight, while at 1/40 and f:2.8, correct exposure could be obtained under bright fluorescent light, without a flash.
The aperture could also be adjusted to cope with sunny/dull conditions etc., so again this allowed for better results, but in low light conditions, with perhaps a smallish aperture (for long depth of field), the camera would probably set itself to the lower speed of 1/40th, so camera shake was a possibility if higher-speed film was not used.
Pentax ME Super
The ME Super has an electronic focal plane shutter with metal curtains and a vertical movement. Shutter speeds are selected with up and down buttons rather than the conventional wheel. They run from 4 seconds to 1/2000 of a second, with flash synchronisation at 1/125 of a second. The hotshoe features an additional shoe contact for dedicated Pentax flash units, not seen on the preceding ME.
In the event of battery failure, the camera can continue to operate at a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second. This feature was lost in later, more fully automatic models such as the Pentax Super-A, contributing to the long-lasting popularity of the ME Super.
The camera has a 0.95x viewfinder, covering 92% of the field. The finder screen is fixed, with a split image and a microprism ring in the centre. The exposure meter is a TTL open aperture centre-weighted type. The shutter speed chosen by the camera or the user is displayed in the finder, the aperture is not. LEDs display the shutter speed and inform of over/under exposure, possibility of shake, use of the EV-compensation and use of Manual mode.
The selector around the release button has five positions: L (lock), Auto, M (manual), 125x, and B. As with some other M series cameras, there is a window next to the winder arm which indicates film movement, and assists the user in rewinding film into the cassette without losing the tip of the film.
The lenses are interchangeable with the K bayonet mount, and a series of SMC Pentax-M compact lenses were introduced during the lifetime of the M series models.
The body was available with a chrome or black finish on the upper parts and base (the central body being always black). There was a special edition called ME Super SE, only sold in chrome finish; the differences are the SE marking and the diagonal instead of horizontal split-image device in the focusing screen.
The Nikon FE2 is an advanced semi-professional level, interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, single lens reflex (SLR) camera. It was manufactured by Nippon Kogaku K. K. (Nikon Corporation since 1988) in Japan from 1983 to 1987 (available new from dealer stock until circa 1989). The FE2 used a Nikon-designed vertical travel focal plane shutter with a speed range of 8 to 1/4000th second, plus Bulb and flash X-sync of 1/250th second. It has dimensions of 90 millimetres (3.5 in) height, 142.5 mm (5.61 in) width, 57.5 mm (2.26 in) depth and 550 grams (19 oz) weight, and was available in two colours: black with chrome trim and all black.
The FE2 is a member of the classic Nikon compact F-series 35 mm SLRs and was built upon a compact but rugged copper aluminum alloy chassis similar (but not identical) to the ones used by the earlier Nikon FM (introduced in 1977), FE (1978), and FM2 (1982) cameras. The FM2/FE2 twins were improved successors to the successful Nikon FM/FE cameras with enhanced features, but minor external controls and cosmetic differences.
The Nikon F-301 is notable for being the first Nikon SLR sold that lacked a film advance lever. As a result the selector knob, also used to lock the shutter button, has a continuous option in addition to the single shot. It was also the first Nikon SLR to feature DX film decoding.
A standard hotshoe flash mount sits above the viewfinder, with which a flash may be attached to the camera. The Nikon F-301 does not feature a built-in pop-up flash (the F-401 was the first Nikon SLR to have this feature).
It was also the first Nikon to use polycarbonates in the building of the camera, and was considered by many people as the dawn of a new era for Nikon.
This camera is powered by four AAA batteries, loaded from below, necessitating removal of the baseplate. A MB-3 battery pack could be used instead of the standard MB-4 enabling AA batteries to be used instead of AAA. The placement of the batteries meant that the tripod bush on the baseplate was extremely offset from the centre of the camera, the AH-3 tripod adapter could be used to rectify this but it added extra bulk to the camera.
The F-301 can be manually preset for film speeds from ISO 12 to ISO 3200, or this can be left to the camera through the DX feature.
The Nikon D100 is a discontinued 6-megapixel digital single-lens reflex camera designed for professionals and advanced hobbyists. It was introduced on February 21, 2002.
Although the name D100 suggested that it was a digital version of the Nikon F100, the camera design more closely resembles the Nikon F80, which is a much more consumer-oriented camera than the professional F100. Nikon continued to produce the D100 until 2005 when a more advanced and professional-oriented successor, the Nikon D200, was released.
Nikon Coolpix 8800
Vibration reduction headlines the set of features of this 8-megapixel Coolpix 8700 replacement, which also includes a longer zoom lens (10x versus 8x), support for Nikon’s i-TTL SB600 and SB800 external flash units, improved design, and a higher-quality JPEG mode (at a 1:2 compression ratio). Throw in the Nikon Coolpix 8800’s extended flash range, faster USB 2.0 camera-to-computer transfer, a beefier battery, a handful of new scene modes, and an included infrared remote control, and you’ll see why it’s attracting the attention of photo enthusiasts.
There are trade-offs, however. Nikon reduced the top sensitivity setting from ISO 800 to ISO 400, its shutter speeds now top out at 1/3,000 second instead of 1/4,000 second, and its picture quality could be better. Overall, however, this Coolpix improves upon its predecessor and remains a decent 8-megapixel option.
At a little more than 680g with a chunky, 116 by 84 by 122mm, plastic-clad, magnesium-alloy frame, the Nikon Coolpix 8800 has the pleasing heft of a serious photographer’s workhorse. It’s studded with control buttons and dials that will take a while to learn, but Nikon has significantly improved this camera’s design over the 8700’s. Most important, the company relocated the stray buttons from the lens barrel to a more fully featured mode dial. Once you’ve learned the placement and use of the controls, you’ll find that trips to the menu are pleasantly few and far between.
The top of the camera houses the flash hotshoe and the flip-up internal flash unit, plus a monochrome LCD status panel (with 8-second backlight option) that displays 12 indicators, including number of exposures remaining, flash status, shutter speed, and battery condition. To the right of the LCD panel is a mode dial used to set exposure modes, image quality, ISO, and white balance; to play back images; to set up the camera; or to activate minimovie mode.
This camera may seem a little out of place as it doesn’t follow a natural progression up through and on to better technology. The reason for this is my beloved D100 was stolen while on holiday and the insurance payout was insufficient to get me back to where I was. Although it proved to be a very capable I just couldn’t cope with the slow switch on time of a DSLR. After a fairly short period I sold it and bought a replacement D100 from eBay. Happy again.
The Nikon D300s SLR Digital Camera (Body Only) builds upon the success of the D300 by adding 720p HD Video Recording. With a 51-point autofocus system, 100% viewfinder accuracy, 7 frames per second continuous shooting, and low light sensitivity (expandable to ISO 6400), the D300s boasts a professional-grade feature set in a compact, highly durable, metal body. The 12.3 megapixel image sensor coupled with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED processor ensures ample resolution for discerning shooters with vivid, life-like colour and stunning detail.
Advanced Live View Technology allows users to compose photos and video with the camera’s bright, 920,000 dot LCD. HD Video is captured in true broadcast-quality 1280 x 720 at a smooth, cinematic 24 frames per second. An integrated mono microphone allows you to capture spontaneous audio with video, and a 3.5mm stereo input offers higher quality options for professional applications.
Rugged and reliable, the D300s now adds dual slots for both CompactFlash and SD/SDHC memory cards. Either card can be used for primary storage; the secondary card can be configured for overflow, mirror capture, or video recording. RAW and JPEG files can even be saved to separate cards for convenience. Images can also be copied between cards for easy sharing. With a host of new features and next-generation photo and video technologies, the Nikon D300s offers extremely high levels of performance and functionality to photo enthusiasts and professionals alike.
The Nikon D700 is Nikon’s, and the world’s, best serious digital camera. The old professional D3 costs more and runs faster for sports, but the D700 is newer, smarter, smaller and lighter.
The D700 has image quality indistinguishable from the klunky old D3, both in terms of sharpness and at high ISOs. The D700 has the same superb 3″ LCD, but handles even better than the old D3 better due to a new INFO button and smarter firmware. I own a D3, and I prefer the D700 except that the D700 lacks the 5:4 crop mode I often use (most people don’t care).
Unless you’re a full-time sports, news or action pro, the D700 replaces the D3 for studio, wedding, portrait, nature and landscape pros, as well as all advanced amateur photographers.
The D700 wins for just about everything, especially action and taking pictures of your friends, family and kids. my D3. When I got a D700, there wasn’t much difference. The D700 has exactly the same image quality, and handles just a little bit better. I can’t say anything better about the D700 than that. The D700 is a D3 with a smaller battery (unless you add the grip) and a cheaper finder screen system, and that’s it. The D700 even has the superior rear thumb control of the D3, not the crappy single-piece thing from the D300.
It was officially announced on February 7, 2012 and went on sale in late March 2012 for the suggested retail price of £2399 in the UK. Shortly after the camera went on sale, Nikon’s UK subsidiary increased the price of the D800 in that market by £200 to £2599, saying that the original price was due to an “internal systems error”. However, Nikon honored the original price for all pre-orders placed before March 24, and added that no price changes would be made in other markets.
• 36.3 megapixel FX-format (full-frame) CMOS sensor with high signal-to-noise ratio, wide dynamic range and 12-channel readout
• ISO 100–6400: extendable up to 25,600 (equivalent) and down to 50 (equivalent).
• 4 fps consecutive shooting in FX/5: 4 crop modes. 5 fps in 1.2x/DX crop modes. Up to 6fps when using MB-D12 battery grip in DX crop mode.
• Multi-CAM3500FX 51-point AF system: individually selectable or configurable in 9-point, 21-point and 51-point coverage settings. Sensitive down to -2 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F).
• Multi-area D-Movie records FX- and DX-format Full HD (1080p) movies in 30p, 25p and 24p. Max recording time approx. 29 minutes 59 seconds. Offers uncompressed HDMI output to external devices and high-fidelity audio control