Friday, July 23, 2004

Camera bug bites again....

Again I was bitten by the camera bug. It seems to be a summer infestation. I have plenty of cameras. Some funky items I have had for years. And you never know what camera I might be taken with next. Reluctantly I also face the possibility that my little Mini 3 might give out on me due to the fact that I have dropped her about four times. But she trucks on and is giving me fine pictures. I also have a Minolta SLR, a Yashica Mat, and now a little Rollei Prego. None of which are top of the line photo equipment by the criteria of serious photographers, but they all have excellent glass compared to most consumer level point and shoot cameras. I love to take pictures and I always have. I got the Rollei because she was on sale used at B&H Photo for a very good price, as far as I was concerned. And I was amazed to find when it arrived, that included was the manual in new condition, and the original box, though sadly the case was missing. However, in the ad online, B&H had made no mention of anything included at all - just the camera. Factory refurbished (interesting definition - refurbished is to furbish again, according to the OED online). As usual - great dealing with B&H.

Back in 19?? I got my first camera, a little Kodak Brownie Holiday which took 127 film on a roll. Yes, kiddies, film used to come on a roll. It then wound itself up unto another spool as it took the pictures. I loved that camera. I have still got some "super-slides" that it took. They were larger than 35mm slides, but fit into the same mount, so you could show them on a standard projector. I had that camera for several trips to various scenic spots in the West, and then for the trip to Spain. While living in Spain my mother bought me a used Zeiss Ikon folding 35mm camera at the "thrift shop." I haven't a clue which model that was, all I know was it was small, and it was all manual, and you have to cock the shutter before you took the picture. Excellent lens though. I had that camera for several years, until the urge for glitz and convenience sadly led me to sell it for a song to a friend. I then rushed out and bought a Kodak Instamatic 304, with the cool new-fangled "electric eye" exposure meter.

This lasted until I was living in Okinawa, at which time the camera bug seriously bit the whole family. This is where the Yashica Mat comes in, as well as my first SLR, of the trusty Pentax K series. This camera is still working fine as my daughter's main camera. She loves the manual nature of the Pentax and it's excellent glass. Somewhere in those years I bought and loved a little Kodak Cameo 35mm with the flip flash that also acted as the lens protector, and the lens retracted when the flash flipped down. That was a keen little camera. It was so small and convenient that I sacrificed using the better lenses I had on my other cameras to go for the convenience of size and portability.

I inherited the Minolta SLR from my mother. It is a flexible camera which can be used in manual mode, aperture priority, or fully programmed. I always use fully programmed, but the fact is that I have not got the confidence in it that I have in the Pentax or in my little P&S cameras. I don't know why, because it always gives excellent results and has an excellent lens. It can focus the closest of any of the cameras I have ever used.

After the Kodak Cameo's flash just stopped working about five years ago, I had to get a new camera or take all my pictures outside. Since I wanted convenience, small size and all automatic, I knew I had to move up the ladder into the more expensive point and shoots. I knew I wanted a better lens. I had a family wedding coming up, and I needed really good results. After much suffering and comparison shopping, I bought the Mini 3, and I have never been more pleased with a camera. As I say, I have dropped her four times, and two of those times were rather harsh. I was all set to take my punishment in finding her dead, but the camera works fine, and the lens is still excellent. That camera is built like a little tank. I just bought the Rollei prego to have as a backup camera, and because I want to have a camera with B&W film in it sometimes.

I know that to lots of techno-persons I am a troglodyte when it comes to cameras. WHAT! NO DIGITAL? Nope. I like film, negatives, archival storage and the fun of getting the film processed. Call me old fashioned, I know you will. My mother was teaching photography classes when I was in grammar school, and I had the pleasure of a period early on when the family had a small darkroom and did our own B&W, including enlargements. I even sold my prints to friends when I took pictures of the high school basketball games. I never intend to do that again, but the memories remain of the good times, and that is a part of my fun with cameras. And, once in awhile, very rarely, I see a print of one of my pictures, and it is good.

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