Of cameras and days past
I got a blast from the past today in the form of forgetting I had my camera in my bag.
I got to work this morning and realized that I had forgot to remove my camera from my bag after last night’s WordPress meetup. No big deal, really, just take it out and put it in my trunk. But someone in the office had asked what kind it was and I showed it to them. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a Nikon D3000. It’s a great DSLR for beginners and has just about everything that you could want to learn with.
It’s even got the learning part down to a science with a ‘guide mode’ to help you through getting the right picture.
Anyhow, it led to conversations about taking picutres and SLR 35mm cameras, etc. And I remember way back in the day of the Polaroid and the old 110 film camera’s.
I don’t know exactly what my parents had in the past, but I do remember the 110 style film camera. They took this little cartridge and loaded into the back. It had no zoom, no focus, nothing like that, it was the simplest point and shoot you could think of. It didn’t have adjustable f stops or shutter speeds or even a built in flash. But even today, there’s a number of cameras without flash. But the biggest thing was that you never knew how the picture was going to turn out. You had to finish the ‘roll of film’, take it to the camera shop and have them deliver it. It took about a week to get the pictures back and then, only then did you see the results of your photography skills. If you wanted a flash on the camera you had to either buy the individual bulbs that had 4 shots in them (one on each side) or pick up a flash bar that had I think 5 or 6 shots across it.
You’d get cut off pictures, shaky pictures, out of context, double exposures, over flash, under flash, flash too early or flash too late, just about anything you can think of that went wrong, went wrong and if you were lucky, you got a decent picture.
Then I remember them having a Polaroid instant camera. I remember those fondly, the smell of the picture as it’s developing, holding the picture and fanning it back and forth (even though it didn’t do any good, we all thought it did) waiting to see how the picture came out. That was the greatest thing and the closest to a digital camera of the day. It had a built in flash, but still no focus or zoom. You still had to load the cartridge in them and make sure you knew how many pictures were left as well as making sure you had the right “indoor or outdoor” film, or if you were taking ‘action shots’, you had to make sure you got the right speed film. You didn’t see the picture immediately after you took it, but within 2 minutes, you had a great picture that you could cherish. That is until the film faded and you lost the picture. But still, it was a great camera and they eventually came out with film that you could peel the back off of and stick to something or even cut out pieces of the film without ruining it. One of the best thing about the ‘instant’ camera’s was that they had the big white frame on the bottom of the picture that you could use to write something on. I think I’ve still got one of those cameras laying around somewhere.
Today they even make a newer version of the instant camera and although it has none of the features of an updated camera, it’s still a fairly decent hit with the retro crowd. There’s even a mini instant camera that has a pull out style film retriever. It still takes the instant film, although it’s a much smaller cartridge, and the same features as the original instant, but the style is updated to be a more ‘hip’ ‘younger crowd’ friendly camera. I’ve got one somewhere in the house, just don’t know where it’s at. Probably up in the attic somewhere as if it was in the basement, I’d have found it cleaning out after the flood.
Then there were the disposable cameras. Those 35mm film cameras with a built in flash, click wheel film advance and cardboard container (some were plastic as well). They actually take decent pictures and you can get them with all kinds of neat styles. There’s the indoor one, the outdoor one, the in/outdoor version, then there’s the water resistant and even the underwater disposable. They have the regular old film style as well as a digital one. I’ve used enough of those that I’m comfortable with knowing which speed to use for what as well as knowing that they’ll usually take a decent picture.
I then finally picked up a good 35mm SLR. I think it was a cannon. I got it at Sears and it was around $400.00. I remember then that it was a LOT of money, especially considering I was not only paying my own bills by then, but also only working as a bouncer/bartender and the money wasn’t the greatest. I remember thinking that I was going to take fantastic earth shattering pictures and only after getting the camera and realizing that I had absolutely no clue how to use it that I was most likely relegated to simple pictures that just about anyone could take. Nothing spectacular, but they were good. A LOT better than the instant and disposable cameras were taking. I’ve actually used the camera within the last couple of years and I’ve got it somewhere around the house, I think it’s in that one case that’s…
Anyhow, then I moved on to the digital camera. But not just any digital camera. I spent hours in the stores looking at and comparing the different digitals. The features, the zoom, the storage methods, everything. I finally settled on the Sony Mavica FD73. It used something that’s called a floppy disk to store the images on. It had a 10x zoom, built in flash and you could even use either the screen on the back to line up your picture or you could use the old style eyepiece. I LOVED the camera. And the greatest part, I didn’t have to take out any cables or pull out a special converter to get the pictures off of the special little media card. I could just pull out the floppy and pop it into any computer (at that time ALL computers had a floppy disk drive).
From there I moved on to who knows how many cheap digital cameras until I finally landed on the current point and shoot that I’ve got. It’s a Cannon Power Shot SD 1000 Digital Elph. It’s a fantastic camera. It’s got a night assist light, built in flash, digital and optical zoom, multiple different modes and has both an internal memory as well as a memory slot. It’ll take videos and stills and does overall an absolute fantastic job. It’s small enough to fit in a shirt or jeans pocket and quick and easy to use. I can use it one handed or two, has the tripod attachment on bottom and has both the screen on the back as well as the standard viewfinder. Does a fantastic job. I still carry it with me on a daily basis in case my primary on hand camera just won’t do.
Which leads me to my primary on hand camera. It’s the iPhone 4. You’ve all seen it, you’ve most likely played with them or even have them. Don’t gotta go into too much detail about it as even 3rd world countries are aware of what an iPhone is. So I’ll just leave it at that. I can say that it’s taken some great pictures and with the added flash on it, it’s become my primary on hand camera and ready at a moments notice. Between this one and the Elph, I’ve been able to get a lot of good off the cuff pictures. And I expect them both to be in service for a long time to come.
This finally brings me to my current ‘good’ camera. The Nikon D3000 Digital SLR. All my years of playing around with cameras, my parents, mine, the phone cameras, the digital point and shoots, the instant cameras, the stick cams, the toy cams, the web cams, the 35mm the disposable, all of them. They’ve brought me to this point. I’m glad I was able to pick this up. It’s definitely the most expensive camera I’ve ever purchased, but it’s also the best I’ve ever owned. It’s got a great feature that let’s me learn as I’m taking pictures. It’s got the built in flash, interchangeable lenses, and more accessories and attachments than you can shake a stick at. Overall, I think it’s going to be one of the best investments I’ve made in photography equipment.
Gone are the days of missed photo opportunities, cut off heads, chopped off legs, half a person in the film. You can now see at a glance right as soon as you take the picture if you’ve got it right or not. There’s even cameras out there that will do everything except aim for you. I also now have a great reason to learn how to use an SLR properly and look forward to sharing my future photos with you.
Who knows, I may even get one or two published or sold.
So what are your thoughts on how photography has changed over the years and what are some of your favorite cameras, or what cameras have you owned?
Let me know in the comments.