First a disclaimer:
My first hundred or so mediocre pictures, taught me that it's the photographer -- not the fancy equipment -- who makes the picture.
Geniuses with very simple cameras have sometimes taken award-winning photos.
Having gotten that out of the way, may I give honorable mention here,
to some of the fine image capture equipment, that facilitated my journey to photographic self-education.
I started photography in 1984 with a 1959 Ihagee Exa version
4.2 SLR camera, my late father bought during a 1961 visit
The overpowering initial motivation to learn photography was,
so that I could take pics of Aniruddh, my firstborn son, born on 26th September 1984.
The 1959 Exa SLR did not have a built-in exposure meter. And it was designed to have a optional detachable reflex pentaprism.
Not having the optional pentaprism, I had instead the focusing screen with folding reflex finder hood and folding magnifier.
Missing the pentaprism, one saw a mirror-image on the ground glass screen.
The Exa had 1/150, 1/100, 1/50, 1/25 and B settings. It had
separate flash sync terminals marked F (for regular flash) and X (for
The lens was a very good prime 50 mm f/2.8 Tessar by Carl Zeiss Jena. It could stop down to f/22.
I had a 1960 Werralux (batteryless) exposure meter. It worked off a Selenium photoelectric cell.
This was a separate handheld meter with a
galvanometer needle to indicate how much light was incident on the
The face of the meter had a slide-rule dial-in-a-dial. You set the Film speed (ASA/DIN) on the inner dial, and rotated the outer dial which moved a red pointer.
When the pointer aligned on the galvanometer needle, you could read-off exposure value, shutter-speed and aperture reciprocals -- match needle metering!
It had a brown stitched leather case with a burgundy velvet inner surface.
My first automatic was a Minolta 110 zoom SLR Mk II purchased in December 1984.
It looked like a looked like a miniature 35mm SLR and thankfully had a built-in meter. It had aperture priority match-LED autoexposure.
It accepted Kodak 110 format drop-in film cartridges. Could use 100 and 400 speed film.
Each frame on the film was 13×17mm, with one registration hole. The film's plastic cartridge housing also registered the image when the film was advanced.
The lens was a Minolta Rokkor two-touch zoom: 25-67mm/f3.5 with macro capability (focusing down to 8 inches!). This was equivalent to a 50-135mm lens in full frame 35mm.
For such a tiny camera, the lens had 12 elements in 10 groups.
My first travel outside India was to California, USA in January 1985. In that visit, I purchased a Nikon FE2 SLR camera (black version) with a Vivitar Series 1 28mm-90mm f/2.8-3.5 varifocal lens at San Jose Camera & Video, Campbell, CA.
The unique feature of the Nikon FE2 in 1985, was its
Seiko Titanium-honeycomb vertical travel focal plane shutter
Its competitor, the Canon A-1 had a rubberized cloth shutter curtain.
The titanium shutter gave the FE2, the world's highest shutter speed (in 1985) of 1/4000th of a second, a speed range of 8 to 1/4000, plus Bulb and Xenon flash sync of 1/250th second. These were quartz oscillator timed speeds. The FE2 also had a mechanical shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, for batteryless operation.
Also it was compact and rugged. While the Canon A-1 had a plastic body, the Nikon FE2 had a Copper-Aluminum-Silicon alloy chassis. It also had interchangeable focusing screens and a depth-of-field preview lever.
Over time I added useful accessories.
In June 1986, I added a
This had a main flash head capable of zoom, tilt and rotate for bounce flash.
A secondary flash head could fill in the shadows in the eye sockets and be a small catch light for the eyes.
The flash had a guide number of 105 feet at ISO-100 with zoom head set at N (35mm).
It put out a near-daylight colour temperature of around 6,000° K.
Its MD setting allowed the flash to synchronize with the motor-driven camera firing at 4 frames per second for shooting 8 pictures in series.
Recycling time at full manual output was approx. 11 seconds, with more flashes and shutter recycle times in TTL mode.
And a Nikon SC-17 TTL remote coiled cord. This lets the flash unit be used up to 1½ m off-camera preserving TTL automatic flash operation.
With two slave flash sync terminals and tripod socket.
My first digital camera was a 2002 Nikon Coolpix 4500
purchased in August 2002.
It has a swivel-body and a 4 megapixel sensor. The sensor size is 7.18 x 5.32 mm (0.38 cm²).
The lens is a 4.1x Zoom-Nikkor; 7.85-32mm f/2.6-5.1. It has 10 elements in 8 groups and is equiv. to 38-155mm format on 35mm format.
The camera has a 1.5 inch LCD Screen.
Since 2005, I have had a series of mobile phones with built-in
cameras of increasing quality and capability.
My first mobile cameraphone was a 2005 Nokia 3230 (1.2 megapixel fixed focus, no flash) purchased in March 2005.
This was acquired in September 2012.
My children gifted me this Nikon D5100 with a Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3
DC OS HSM II lens.
This is a Nikon F-mount digital SLR camera with a Sony IMX071, 16.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor.
The sensor is the same as in the Nikon D7000, Pentax K-5, Sony Alpha A580 and Sony SLT Alpha A55 cameras.
Pixels are measured with a 14-bit ADC.
DxO Labs awarded this sensor, an overall score of 80%, above much more expensive competitors.
It delivers full HD 1080p video at at a choice of 24, 25 or 30 frame per second frame-rates.
It has a 3 inch articulated 921,000-dot LCD monitor.
Has HDMI HD video output.
It has an Expeed EI-154 (EXPEED 2) DSP controlled by an integrated Fujitsu FR-81 32-bit RISC microcontroller core.Features
The first lens on the Nikon D5100 is the Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 mk II DC
OS HSM lens.
This is a compact high zoom (11.1x) ratio lens with optical stabilizer.
Accomodating wide-angle to telephoto focal lengths, it seems to be an ideal daily travel lens.
It has 18 glass elements in 14 groups. These elements are:
And this is the story of my tripod.