Lights on Bourbon St, New Orleans

Photographic Equipment

Here are the cameras that I've owned over the years:

  • Leica Mini 3 P&S

    In September 1998, after seeing the number of good photographic opportunities that I'd ruined by using cheapie single-use cameras, I decided to get a real camera. I carefully read the articles at, and decided that the best thing to get would be a simple point & shoot. Then followed another three days of reading of articles and Q&A forums on which P&S camera to buy, and I decided on the Leica Mini 3: it is a very simple non-zoom-lens P&S camera with a real Leica lens, that takes great pictures.

    I loved it so much that I wrote an entire article on my experiences with it.

  • Minolta Hi-Matic 7S II rangefinder camera

    The images from the little Leica were satisfying enough that I got seriously interested in photography. In using the Mini 3, I was increasingly finding myself wishing that I had more control over various paramters, like aperture and exposure. Being fascinated with rangefinders, in March 1999, I decided to get a Minolta Hi-Matic 7S II rangefinder camera.

    The 7S II has a sharp 40mm lens (6 elements), and the lens can be opened out to 1.7, which is good for most low-light situations. Mine was made in the late 70s. I bought it for about $60, and it came with the flash. There is a metered automatic mode (exposure-priority) , but I've always used it in completely manual mode, the way I intended to use it. And I never used the flash.

  • Canonet QL17 GIII rangefinder camera

    In September 1999, I got a Canonet GIII camera, and took both the 7S II and the Canonet on my trip to London, Spain, and India.

  • Minolta SRT 101 SLR camera

    I'd been looking for still more control, to add different lenses, and it just so happended that on a trip to India in 2000, my father gave me his Minolta SRT 101 SLR camera, and that became my primary camera. I sold off both the HiMatic and the Canonet on eBay, gave the Leica Mini 3 to my mother, greatly simplifying my life. My current lens collection includes 28mm, 50mm, and 135mm lenses.

    I liked this camera so much that I got a similar body (SRT 102), which was a cleaner with a smoother shutter. I also got a 200mm lens (like everything else, from eBay), which has fast become my favorite lens for portraits.

  • Gowland Pocket View, 4x5 view camera

    In April 2001, I took my photographic nerdiness to a new level when I gave in to my long-standing desire to own a 4x5 camera -- this is the simplest, lightest view camera I could find. I bought it used from the classifieds at The next month, I got a general purpose, Rodenstock APO-Sironar N 135mm lens. And then some Polaroid film, and a holder, and a tripod, and life was good.

    As it turned out, in my zeal to go large format, I didn't take into account how poor I was as a graduate student, and how expensive large format photgraphy (at $2-$5 an exposure) really is. As a result, my fancy view camera sat in largely in the closet, looking at me sadly. Soon after I became a postdoc and moved up to Boston with even lesser money, I sold my entire view camera setup on eBay. Now I stick to more conventional 35mm SLR photography. Some day, when I'm much richer, and have much more time, I may go after an 8x10 camera and have another go at large format.

  • Nikon D40 Digital SLR

    In November 2007, after Kavi was born, I realized that I couldn't afford to (a) wait the few days it took to see the results from the film camera, and (b) lose shots because of under-exposure and other idiosyncracies of the film camera (I once lost a whole roll of film because it didn't load properly). So I bit the bullet and got a Nikon D40 (with the kit 18-55 and 55-200 lenses), and a NB-400 flash, which I use in bounce mode, and I've never been happier.

    The photographs speak for themselves.