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
photo.net, 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
- 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 photo.net.
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
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.