Digital single lens reflex. If you don’t know cameras the initials stand for big serious camera with interchangeable lenses. …if you care. Go on. Use that iPhone… I always considered myself to be a serious amateur photographer. May 25, 2004, I received my Nikon D70. I opened the package near midnight. Yes, I worked late in those days. I like to say it was the last time I shot slide film from that day forward. It pretty much was the case. Digital was seductive and in my head I had a quality camera capturing the images that would be comparable to slide film with way less processing. Of course, the rest is history. I have been through several iterations of DSLR and now am using advance point and shoot cameras. The iPhone remains a distant (second) device though for many it is the camera of today. iPhone is $1000 as are advanced point and shoot cameras like the Sony RX100. Each has a purpose. I believe a camera dedicated to a single purpose is better than a smart phone.
No more film… well, yes, if you are persistent. As I have said in the past, my last roll of film was shot on David’s graduation from high school. He recently proctored the SAT at his old school; he was at least ten years older than the test takers. My digital cross over came with the Canon G3, point and shoot. It was fairly advanced and given as a birthday present by Lisa. She did treat me well in those days. Digital was not on my radar at the time. Prices were too expensive and I was too snobbish to use anything but an SLR. The Nikon D70 changed all that. Suddenly there was a DSLR and it was the right price point. The D70 was retired as I shot the US Tennis Open and discovered that the high end Canon DSLR’s were eating Nikon’s lunch. But that is another story covered elsewhere.
The first camera I handled in the ’60’s was an Argus C3, affectionately known as the brick. There are so many still around that the ebay price is as low as $5. No one shoots film, remember? My mother had it and she let me take it to Charleston, West Virginia, when I won the Golden Horseshoe award. Clueless, I shot that camera with a roll of BxW and came away with essentially nothing. Later a Kodak Instamatic 100 allowed me to shoot the tail end of the Worlds Fair in Flushing.
When I made college I was advised by Chi Ming Pang a fellow Merit Student’s Encyclopedia salesman to buy an Exakta even though I lusted for a Nikon F. The Exakta has since been lost when it was stolen from John. But Uncle Pete (Lisa’s) gave me his Exakta. It really is a great camera. Mine was almost exclusively BxW, Tri-X film. After I made my fortune in selling encyclopedias, my father traveled to Hong Kong and with specific orders returned with my Nikon FTn.
He kept it in pristine condition. And a little while (many years) later I was at a flea market and picked up a Nikon FTn. Yeah! I felt restored. The seller threw in the roll of film (undeveloped) in the camera and gave me a view camera for free instead of lowering the price of about $150. Okay!
I’ve been a help to Susan in developing her photo skill. I must say she’s pretty terrific (photographer) right now. I mean to say some of the photos she shares with me are simply great. In appreciation, just before I left for Saudi, she presented me with her Dad’s old Argus. It was very sweet of her.
J’s Nikon D60 sits on the shelf. She’s gone over to her iPhone and a Canon G12 since she returned from Africa. There’s a Polaroid in the mix somewhere. Mostly I kept to the Nikon line and went F2, F3, and later the F100. The Spartus was a toy camera (plastic) I got from Maggie Sherman. She was a well known photographer, friend of Lila (Grandma), whose houseboat mounted upon a floating barge, was where we (Lisa) were married. She was evicted from her pier mooring and called the Captain of the Intrepid (aircraft carrier) to see if there was room at his pier. Yes, she admits she was clueless about aircraft carriers.
Grandpa had two other treasures. He did work professionally for a short time. He was unsuccessful but did leave some great cameras to me. His pride was a Leica. They’re still valuable on ebay but to me it’s priceless. It’s hidden and not on the shelf.
Then there is the 5×7 view camera complete with wooden tripod. It had been in the basement storage closet when I discovered it in Grandma’s house. It, too, was pristine. I set it up and it sits in front of Yvonne Chang’s work…both works of art. There’s video new and old as well as some odd point and shoots. Except for the gifts, I used one and all pretty extensively.
I travel pretty lean these days. No film to claim space, but suddenly there are three digital cameras and an underwater housing. I thought things were simpler but it looks like I have not succeeded. Oh, and there’s the iTouch for the emergency image when nothing else is at hand.