my digital darkroom

sharing some images from my digital darkroom – by steve howland

my camera history

Looking back on a history of my cameras from 1973 to today

Gordon Padgett

Having previously borrowed family cameras when needed I finally took the serious plunge and bought an SLR with my first real wages from Padgett’s Camera Shop in Saville Street in Hull.

Gordon Padgett saw a lot of me in those early days as I built my own darkroom and changed cameras. He always had practical advice on my next purchase – or was a good salesman…

It was, however, a focal point for the type of photographer characters who permanently wear cycle clips around their ankles even when there is no sign of a bike. It was impossible to call there without the same faces being in there, seemingly standing in the shop for hours, allowing this long haired youth to jump the queue on the basis they were “just visiting”.

My Cameras

Not a complete list I’m sure. And not many that are actually very good. Driven by low cost and a penchant for new technology before it actually worked I avoided the expensive big names for far too long, the Canons and Nikons.

Fortunately this also meant that I effectively avoided the devoted clan rivalry between those two makes.

Zenith B

My first SLR and immersion into the hobby back in 1973. All manual and required a hand held light meter. A real learning curve.

Yashica TL-Electro

About 1975. I had this as a second body for while when I was dabbling in wedding photography. Drawn to it by the electronic shutter I sold it after that shutter failed at a wedding shoot. Good job I had two cameras.

Yashica Mat 124G

A Twin Lens Reflex camera that used 120 or 220 roll film. I bought a used version in the 70s because I wanted to dabble in larger format high quality negatives. A poor man’s Rolleiflex.

Fujica ST901

About 1977. This was was one of my all time favourite cameras. Quite compact, a joy to use and great results. I sold it in the eighties for ‘newer technology’ and immediately regretted it.

Yashica FX3

About 1979. I have no idea why I bought this.

Chinon CE-3

Cameras were so expensive but this was a budget model that became a second body for me around 1979.

Canon T70

Around 1984. Computerised technology supposedly – high tech was creeping in with 24kb of RAM onboard to control the settings.

Just one raw image on my current kit is around 1000x larger in memory.

Canon EOS IX7

1996. Oh dear. Regrets. My worst ever photographic mistake. It was the future. A lightweight and small camera using cassettes with up to 40 negatives on small format APS film. As at the time I didn’t need large prints, the quality was fine. I later realised I have a six year period of 2500 images that are in fact very poor quality for reproduction – on safari, the Nile, USA, Canada…… it hurts.

The move to digital and the first steps into the world of digital darkroom software

Konica Minolta Dimage 7

2002 A digital ‘bridge’ camera. 5.2MP

As an early embracer of technology I had already dabbled in digital compacts to explore the technology. This seemed an excellent all-in-one that fitted my travel needs at the time.

Konica Minolta Dimage A2

2005 8MP. Technology was moving fast. This upgrade on my previous model proved to be much more capable.

Sony Alpha A100

2006 10MP DSLR

Digital imaging was working well for me and I began to take photography and post processing more seriously by moving back to an SLR type camera with interchangeable lenses with this new entry from Sony, who had taken over the Konica Minolta brand and their intellectual property.

Nikon D700

2008 12MP Full Frame

The best (and heaviest) camera I have ever had and was still excellent when I sold it ten years later. The full frame sensor coupled with excellent lenses gave superb results, including in low light. 12MP may not seem a lot but quality outweighs quantity.

Why did I change then? Read my post Goodbye Nikon, Hello Fuji

Panasonic Lumix GF1

2010 Micro Four Thirds. 12MP

A superb quality second camera to the Nikon. When I didn’t want to cart 7kg of kit around this was the one to take.

Fuji X-T2

2018 24.3MP Mirrorless

Along with a range of excellent lenses this remains my current main camera, its capabilities and features making my pain at moving on from a Nikon full frame disappear and enhancing picture taking creativity. As yet I have felt no need to upgrade on this kit.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

2020 12MP

Now functions as my second camera. The lenses, camera software plus the ability to use apps allowing full control raw image captures makes this a very creative tool with less limitations than there used to be.

My other compact cameras over the years…

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