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Friday, July 25, 2014

My Bio, a Throwback in Time (Part 2)

Last time I touched a little on the film cameras that started it all for me (see it here). It was a nice little journey for me as I remembered those "ancient" pieces of beauty.

Today I would like to focus (no pun intended) on the digital cameras that I have had the pleasure to play with over the past 10 years or so. 

Digital cameras have been around for a long time...much longer than you might think. How about 1975? You bet. That's when a very smart man at Eastman Kodak built a prototype of an 8 pound, .01 megapixel camera that recorded images to a cassette tape. Pretty neat.

It took about 10 years for that technology to be put in practical form for you and I to use. Digital cameras started hitting the market for sale to consumers in the late 80s. They were very expensive and not many people had them however. It wasn't til the mid to late 90s that digital cameras started really taking off. Although available in the 90s, I didn't dive into digital until early 2000s.

Most of us have played with a few digital cameras over the years, and here are mine. For the sake of brevity, I am only going to include the 3 cameras I have in my possession currently. This is where I made the transition from film to digital...

50mm, ISO 159, f/3.5, 1/250th, strobe at 1/128th pwr
Don't laugh. This was my first digital camera, bought in 2004. The Aiptek Pocket Cam X. It takes 3.1 megapixel images and has a 1.5 inch display screen on back. It can actually record video as well. For its power source: no rechargeable battery uses 2 AAA alkaline batteries. 

Surprisingly, to this day, it takes pretty clear images as long as there is sufficient lighting (built-in flash is only good at very close range). On the downside, it doesn't have an optical zoom lens (comparable to cell phone cameras).
50mm, ISO 159, f/3.5, 1/250th, strobe at 1/128th pwr

This is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX12. It is a 7.2 megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom lens (35-105mm). It has all the bells and whistles of a fully automatic pocket camera.

Bought back in 2007, it is still up to par with most point-and-shoot cameras released today in the same price range. It takes great pictures. Its a wonderful little backup camera in case I can't take my DSLR camera with me.

The disadvantage of the Lumix is that you cannot put it into manual mode. 

Shot w/ the Lumix point-and-shoot, strobe added 1/100th pwr
This is the Nikon D300, the semi-professional DSLR camera I shoot with all the time. It is the source of 95% of the photographs you see on this blog.

Purchased in 2008, it has taken thousands of pictures and is still keeping up with me. It is fully manual, yet can be fully automatic if I get lazy. Shooting at 12.1 megapixels and equipped with an APS-C sensor (for more details see here), it is more than enough camera for me. Six years after I purchased it, I am still learning about it.

I have 2 lenses I shoot with. The one shown here is the 50mm fixed (or "prime" lens), and is great for portrait or "macro" shooting (more on that later). The other is an 18-200mm zoom lens, which is great for multipurpose use.

One of the key features of this camera is the Creative Lighting System. It allows me to remotely (and wirelessly) trigger multiple flashes (strobes). This is a magnificent way to let your creativity explode. I could go on, but I will stop at that (for now!). Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this camera system to anyone looking to step into the DSLR arena.

So that's the end of part 2 to my Bio. I have played around just enough with digital photography to make me want to learn more and more about it as I get older.

While I still appreciate film photography (and want to get back "into it" a little more believe it or not), digital is the way of the future. The possibilities to the average Joe--like you and me--are now endless. Just think, 15-20 years ago you had to be a professional photographer with access to a darkroom to really get into this field and enjoy this awesome hobby. We live in a wonderful time.

Thanks for reading!


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