Having been an amateur photographer for over 50 years, I have used quite a variety of cameras. From Box cameras to Digital, here I will list them in chronological order.
1930s ENSIGN Junior Box Camera
My first camera was an Ensign Box Camera. There is one in my collection. Whether it is my original camera or one very similar which I acquired since, I do not know!
According to Red Bellows: “The Junior Box Ensign camera was sold by Houghton-Butcher as part of its range in the early 1930s. It is the first camera listed in an Ensign catalogue for 1932 and is described as a “reliable camera of simple design”, and was sold for a very modest price”.
1959 ILFORD Sporti
For a few years I used this 2 1/4″ square format camera, with mixed results as focussing was by zone only.
This camera was not actually British, being a rebranded Dacora from West Germany. Although quite well made (it was metal) it only had a fixed shutter speed and only two apertures. I think a lot of my pictures were blurred and/or under exposed!
1960s PRAKTICA IV F
This was my first serious camera. Acquired in the early 1960s this was, at the time the cheapest 35mm singles lens reflex.
Made by VEB Pentacon in the DDR (East Germany) this camera was quite basic, although I think it was fitted with an instant return mirror, differentiating it from the Practica IV. Speeds were 1/2-1/500 +B, and the lens fitted was a Meyer Domiplan which I described as having the resolution of the bottom of a beer bottle (I couldn’t afford the better Zeiss Jena Tessar, also 50mm F2.8).
1964 Miranda Fm
This purchase was inspired by a test report in the AP (Amateur Photographer) by Neville Maude who praised this camera, particularly the quality of the f1.9 50mm lens. I ordered a black one through my father’s firm, but due to some error I received this Fm with a built in Cd exposure meter which actually proved useful. Dixons bought the name and remaining stock of these when the company closed down and I was able to buy some accessories at a low price. The quality didn’t disappoint – I took all my Paris street photos with this camera.
1980 Pentax MX
This was my last film camera, and what a beauty it was! I bought it in October 1982 from Rother Cameras in London’s famous Tottenham Court Road (for the princely sum of £129.95). At the time it was one of the smallest full frame 35mm SLRs, and I used it for many years until going digital. I invested in a 24mm Pentax lens which was superb and a very useful focal length to have. Sadly it was all sold on ebay to cover the cost of my first DSLR. Black ones are quite rare and go for at least £200+ on eBay these days.
2001 Fuji FinePix 6900
This was my first digital camera, and considering that the sensor was only 3.3MP the image quality was amazingly good. I used this camera to take the photos for my LRPS panel. When I owned it, I also still had the Pentax MX, which I eventually sold to buy my first DSLR.
The zoom lens had quite a good range which made up for the lack of interchangeable lenses.
2003 Canon EOS 300D
My first DSLR, when this camera was introduced in 2003 it was the first affordable DSLR (although I still had to sell the MX to be able to afford it). At 6.3MP and with a moderate zoom lens image quality was very good. Plastic construction made it light to handle. I used it to photograph my first and only wedding. This was quite a tough assignment as I had to prepare prints to display in the evening reception. I was quite proud of my achievement, and considered a move to professional. However my first booking was cancelled and I therefore decided to practise accountancy instead!
2005 Canon 350D
Being a loyal Canon user I upgraded to the slightly better 8MP 350D back in 2005. Otherwise quite similar to the 300D which was quickly sold on eBay!
2003 Nikon D100
My loyalty to Canon ended when my father offered me his Nikon D100 (FOC) when he upgraded to the 200D. I sold the Canon, and used the money to buy one of the first A3 printers capable of printing true black & white (Epson Photo R2400).
The 6 megapixel D100 was Nikon’s first “prosumer” digital SLR and cost around £2,000 in 2002 so my example (pictured with the Nikkor 24-120mm zoom lens my Dad gave it me with) was something of an eBay bargain at £30 (sadly I sold the original body to a friend when I myself upgraded to a D90).
2008 Nikon D90
After owning the D100 for a few years I upgraded to the 12 megapixel D90. I bought a body only, as I still had the lenses used with the D100. What attracted me to this camera (apart from its impressive specifications) was that it was the main tool of my professional photographer friend Chris Birchall.
When I bought the Sony A7 I sold it to mbp.com, whom I can highly recommend.
2018 Sony A7iii
This is my current camera, although I have a few others in my collection I use from time to time. It was bought by all the kind relatives and friends who donated funds on the occasion of my 70th Birthday.
According to Ken Rockwell “Dollar-for-dollar, the Sony A7 III is the world’s best full-frame mirrorless camera ever created. Look(ing) at the sample images; there is nothing this A7 III can’t do, and do expertly. The A7 III is a brand-new, cutting-edge camera with exactly the same performance, features and quality — or more — as Sony’s other two top full-frame cameras from last year, the A7R Mk III and A9, except that this A7 III sells for half the price! This A7 III runs in complete silence with full autofocus at 10 FPS!”
Another great benefit of a full frame digital camera like this is that legacy lenses can be used, such as my Rokkor 21mm f2.8.