My current cameras
Updated: May 29
I thought as another introductory blog I would just tell you about the way I ended up with the cameras I currently use.
How I ended up using the cameras I curently use.....
It all started for me about 20 years ago when I went on a visit to Pentre Ifan burial chamber with a colleague/friend from work. He was going there with his camera to take some pictures and I came along with a 35mm instant camera loaded with Boots ISO 400 colour film. He had as I recall a Minolta 35mm SLR and tripod and was obviously already a keen photographer. Needless to say I was disappointed with the prints I got back from a technical point of view , from an artistic point of view and suffered at my first attempt, the 2 disappointments - disappointing negatives and disappointing prints. Nowadays there is the extra one of, disappointing files on the PC if shooting digital.
After a while decided to get a "proper camera" and bought a second hand Olympus OM10 and a 50mm lens and that is all I used for a number of years. I shot colour slide film and started to get the sort of quality I had hoped for when projected onto a screen. I then discovered AGFA Scala film, (black and white positive slides!!!!) and I started to see that the way I saw was in black and white.
I used this and some colour film for a few years and amassed a lot of images. I read magazines the day they came out and absorbed as much as I could. The first books I bought were The Camera / The Negative / The Print by Ansel Adams because of course I was going to have a darkroom. I bought lenses and cameras (all second hand) and all manual. Finally stopping amassing 35mm cameras with a Nikon F4.
At this point ....digital happened or at least was happening and I was not interested. IMHO at the time a 6Mp camera would not give me the quality I wanted ..... but slowly as Megapixels increased..... it did. So I took the plunge and bought ..... a medium format film camera ( hah! keep up with that digital !)
I bought a Bronica ETRsi and 3 lenses and produced 6 x 4.5 cm negatives and finally started keeping them all in box files which I still have. I learned how to scan them using a flatbed ( and discovered the next disappointment - the quality loss of the scans !)
Naturally digital systems were now starting to become the 1st choice for new photographers and many pros were also "going digital" ......so I bought 2 Large format cameras. A Linhof technikardan 4x5 and a Horseman 45FA, along with many lenses and film holders and a very very big , very very heavy tripod (nicknamed "The Oilrig" by a prominant Landscape practitioner on a Light and Land workshop)
I dabbled with a Canon 5Dmk2 for a few years and gave up, for a while with the film cameras but my biggest problem with this kit .....was me. It changed how I did things too much, I am naturaly lazy....so having the ability to fire off hundreds of images, just took away some of the joy for me. I managed to do it properly on occassion but had so many folders full of junk that in the end I deleted 95% in the "great cull" prior to returning to large Format.
I sold the Linhof and bought a mark 2 Intrepid 4x5 and it is a very amazing camera. Does everything I need , weighs about 2lb and cost £280 I think.
I sold the Canon gear to a "mug punter" for a very large mark-up..........(he will read this and know that's not true) but nevertheless it was the most money I have ever "made" from photography.
Then one day, I dropped my Canon G10 compact and damaged it such that it worked but only on Aperture priroty and always on F5.6 as one of the dials was embeded into the camera body so I needed to replace that. I wanted an extremely capable compact to replace it as going out with just that was becoming an option due to time constraints.
I searched and found a few compacts that were suitable and thought if I am going to spend that, why not get a consumer SLR instead? I went to the fabulous Carmarthen Camera Centre and looked around and ended up walking out with a Sony A7ii, as I couldnt afford the A7Rii, but really wanted it. I went back a few days later to get an L tripod bracket ..... and there on the cashiers desk, ink still wet on the label was a used A7Rii..........and the trade in was completed within seconds.
My current outfit.
Intrepid 4x5 camera (ready to go)
90mm/150mm/210mm/300mm lenses (ready to go)
12 4x5 film holders loaded with Ilford FP4 ( in fridge (downstairs one) ready to go )
Lightmeter / notebook / loupe / darkcloth / red/green/yellow filters (ready to go)
200 sheets of FP4 (deep freeze)
Sony A7Rii Body (ready to go)
28mm/55mm/85mm/135mm primes (ready to go)
Horseman 45FA (camera shelf - semi-retired)
Olympus OM10 (camera shelf - retired)
Nikon EM (camera shelf - retired)
Nikon F4 (camera shelf - retired)
Canon G10 (camera shelf - RIP)
Future Blogs - (in no particular order)
Approaching a scene
Processing straight away or leaving it a bit of time after shooting
The books that gave me the most powerful insights (review)
The Ashness Bridge story and how I learned to turn the other way