Cameras I have Owned

[img_assist|nid=6|title=James Taking a picture at the Stein River|desc=James Taking a picture on the Stein river during a hike in 199x. (Johanna OM10)|link=node|align=right|width=241|height=300]

I have owned a number of different cameras over the years. Each have had their individual advantages and disadvantages. Most cameras have been second hand. Most of them have been purchased at local camera stores. I still have and use most of the cameras mentioned. They are generally presented in the order that I have owned them.

Rollei 35 - This was the first 35mm camera that I ever owned. Before this I had a few different 110 instamatic type cameras. My dad got the Rollei for me when I was in high school. This camera is a very nice small camera. One advantage and disadvantage of this camera is that all of the meter reading and the settings are all done from the top of the camera, ie not at eye level. This means that everything is set setting everything up without the camera at eye level and then look through the camera to compose the picture and shoot it. It has a special plate that holds the film tightly against the back plate, and because of this and the very high quality lens very sharp images can be achieved.

[img_assist|nid=7|title=James with Minolta Maxxum 9000|desc=James with his Minolta Maxxum 9000 Camera and 70-210 lens. (Johanna Canonet)|link=node|align=left|width=300|height=195]

Unfortunately it didn't last very long. I was on a camping trip on the beach and I was taking pictures around the campfire when I finished the roll, I rewound the film and put the camera in my pocket. Later that night we decided to do a midnight walk down the beach, and when I got back to the campsite I couldn’t find my camera. In the morning I looked for it but never found it. Another day later, a friend found it washed up on the beach. Needless to say it never took anymore pictures. However, the film that was in it (and spent a full day in the water) turned out quite good once I could find a place willing to develop it.

GAF L-ES/2 - After I wrecked the camera I got as a gift, I knew I had to get another camera. I got this camera second hand. It is a good simple SLR camera. The lens mount is a Pentax screwmount, the camera is quite large, and entirely mechanical. I have only the 50mm lens that came with it which is a fast f/1.4 lens. I have taken a number of very good pictures with it over the years. This is probably a very good introductory camera, the only disadvantage is that due to its large size and weight it is quite inconvenient to carry and difficult to be inconspicuous.

I now generally keep this camera loaded with black and white film and use it when I want to take black and white pictures.

[img_assist|nid=104|title=Johanna taking a picture|desc=using OM10 camera (James M9000)|link=node|align=right|width=300|height=255]

Olympus OM-10 - When the GAF camera jammed on me I decided to get a newer SLR camera. I was drawn to the OM-10 because of its price and its size. After carrying around the quite large GAF camera I liked the idea of carrying around the much smaller OM-10. It was only after I took it home that I realized there was no manual mode on the camera. The idea that a company would sell a SLR camera without a manual mode never even occurred to me.

One day this camera also jammed on me so I took both this camera and the GAF to a repair shop and had them both fixed. Johanna has been the primary user of this camera every since. She likes it because of its small size.

[img_assist|nid=9|title=Minolta Maxxum 9000|desc=Minolta Maxxum 9000 and the 70-210 Minolta Lens and James' motorcycle helmet (James Canonet).|link=node|align=left|width=300|height=229]

Minolta Maxxum 9000 - I decided I wanted to get more seriously into photography and get different lenses. I was trying to decide what system I wanted. I considered the Olympus OM system as I already had one body, but I decided that, as many of my pictures didn’t seem to have very good focus, I wanted to have an autofocus camera. After much research on the web, I decided that the Minolta Maxxum 9000 was the camera for me.

I bought a used one with a 50mm lens. I have since added a 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 lens and a 70-210mm f4 lens. I really like the 70-210mm lens. It is a very sharp lens and has a very nice focal length for many uses. I often leave the camera with the 70-210 lens on and then also carry one of my compact cameras for taking wider angle pictures.

I have also obtained a Tamron 28-200mm lens. I find that this is useful primarily for times when I can't or don't want to carry around multiple lenses, but may want both the long lens and the short lens end of the spectrum. A perfect example of this is hiking, where wildlife photography would require a long lens, but landscapes would require a wider lens.

[img_assist|nid=105|title=Rangefinders|desc=Side by side picture of the Canonet and the Olympus RC Camers. (James M9000)|link=node|align=right|width=300|height=177]

Canonet 17QL G-III - Although I think the Maxxum is a great camera, it is too big to fit in my pocket, and therefore I missed many opportunities to take photographs when my camera was not with me. I decided I wanted a more portable easy to fit in my pocket camera. As, I am not a big fan of flash photography (see thoughts) I wanted a camera with a fast lens. Originally I was looking at something like the Olympus Stylus Epic, but after doing some research on the net I found out about the 1970's range finder cameras. These addressed one of my biggest concerns about the point and shoot type of cameras which is that it is difficult to know what the camera is focusing on.

Olympus 35 RC - Although the Canonet is quite small I wanted an even smaller camera. I just recently bought a worn RC35 camera for very cheap. I was at a camera show and somebody was selling one. While I was checking it over, the self timer jammed. I showed the seller, and he cut the price in half to buy it as is. I figured that a jammed timer shouldn't be too hard to fix. I was right. I was able to fix it in about 10 minutes.

Minolta Autocord (James M9000).

Minolta Autocord - I got this old TLR camera from ebay. I got it to play with medium format photography. This camera uses 120 film with a 6x6 format. It is a TLR camera meaning that it is a "Twin Lens Reflex" camera, that is the top lens is the viewing lens and the bottom lens is the photographing lens. This was a Rolleicord copy, but Minolta made a number of improvements on the original. This camera dates back to 1965, but is generally in quite good shape after I got a little problem with the reset spring fixed. It is going to take me a little while to get used to the focusing system. It doesn't have any of the focusing aids that I am used to, so you have to focus by eye.

Minolta Maxxum 7 - I actually broke down and bought a brand new camera. I was getting a little tired of the slow autofocus of the 9000 and was drooling over some of the features of the M7. If you are looking for a really cool autofocus SLR camera, I can highly recomend this camera.

Canon Sure Shot A-1 - This is a nice (and relatively cheap) underwater camera. It is a point and shoot that above water uses infra-red focusing and underwater sets the camera to fixed focus. The maximum Aperature is F/3.5 so it isn't too slow for a point and shoot camera. My daughter uses this camera quite a bit and because of how rugged it is I don't usually worry too much about it.

Minolta DiMage A2 - I finally decided to join the digital age and get a digital camera. After much deliberation, I decided on a "prosumer" camera.

Other Digital Cameras - The place where I work we regularly use both an Olympus D-320L, and Olympus D-400 Zoom for field inspection reports. These camera's are missing or at least difficult to access many of the features that an experienced photographer takes for granted. However, they serve their purpose and inevitably I end up taking some scenic photos with them when travelling for work.

[img_assist|nid=106|title=Sea turtle|desc=Picture of a sea turtle taken while snorkeling in Hawaii with an AGFA disposable camera (James Disposable).|link=node|align=right|width=300|height=179]

Disposable cameras - Another type of camera that I have frequently used are disposable cameras. I have primarily used them when I was taking pictures where I didn't want to risk damaging one of my other cameras. I used to like to have one that I could put in my pocket when I didn't want to carry around a big SLR camera before I had the small rangefinder cameras. Another very useful disposable camera was an underwater camera.

Some relevant links
VariousOlympus FAQs
Classic Camera Guide
Classic Camera Information on the Canonet
An interesting site on Canonet 17QL Cameras
Classic Camera Information on the Olympus 35 RC
Minolta Users Group
Autocord information