My camera history

Originally written 2008

My first camera was a funny old thing that my Granddad Tuijl found in his fish pond! He cleaned it up and found it worked. It only took black and white film. There was a screen on top that you looked down on and the image showed there. Holding the camera near your tummy. Then the shutter release was by the lens. After this you wound the film on and saw a little number in a little red perspex hole at the back for the next frame. I wish I had kept it but film was no longer made for it, though it should have been kept as a curiosity. The pictures were quite effective and stylised.

After that I had a more conventional camera that was my Dad’s. It was done in grey plastic with a big silver flash mirror which would kill the bulb with each flash. It was designed to do that. It did take colour pictures. Eventually film was no longer made, it had always been expensive film.

I made this page as many people have asked me what camera I used for the pictures on this site. The original pictures were mostly taken with my traditional trusty old Pentax SFX-n (35mm) SLR. My job used to be scanning and I have scanned about 90.000 images in my time, so I know a few tricks.

I got the SFX quite sometime ago and it was a shop display item, I offered them cash, and initially they said no, but finally gave in. That was on 29/4/92 for £245!

Pentax SFX-n

Since then it went with me to many locations not to mention taking it around India and to Hong Kong.

The scanner was a cheapie and cost £20-30 as I say I know a few tricks to get the best out of it. I used to scan straight into Photoshop. They were all saved for web on medium quality setting. Then I had a new scanner Cannon Canoscan 3200F which provided some great results, although I mostly just download pics form the new digital camera now.

Going digital 2004

In May 2004 I got a digital camera: Fuji Finepix M603 for £220 and the poor old SFX had took a back seat.

Fuji Finepix M603

I sold my Pentax SFXn on ebay for £32.55(!) then I had the fuji digital camera used with a stand alone HP 6×4 printer. After this the Fuji got broken and I had a couple more cheapish compact digital cameras.

Nikon D40 Digital SLR Camera (18-55mm Lens) 2007

On 23/07/07 I got this for £320: much better having a ‘real’ camera again. I still have this camera and a 3 in 1 printer/scanner. Mainly I use my mobile phone with a 5 megapixel camera for snaps and the Nikon for more serious stuff. I am really impressed with both the Nikon and the Nokia E72 phone. The Nikon takes great pics and the Nokia for a phone is a most impressive camera and takes the worry out of taking the Nikon places if it is not needed, certainly the 5 megapixel camera on the phone pretty much sold it to me. The Nikon is a 6 megapixel and I have the image setting on max and fine. I know the D40 is getting a bit old, but I have no plans (and funds!) to upgrade.

Of course Photoshop can hide a multitude of sins!

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens 2011

In Ecuador I was tortured by not being able to photograph wildlife very well, it was a big step but I invested in a 300mm zoom lens (Nov 2011 for £255.99) I hope if I can sell some photos it will pay for itself, though it is of such a benefit to conservation to have the lens. I find 300mm fine, without the bulk in my luggage and the worry of a bigger lens. It has image stabilising built in so no need to carry a tripod around. As the camera is set to max quality I can then zoom in / crop to an area on the computer if the subject was too far away. It is heaven to get the results.

Obviously I am always petrified that either the camera or the lens will get broken or stolen and stupidly have had travel insurance to cover them several times when in my situation it was money thrown away.

Update 2024

I still have the D40 and the 300mm lens. The lens isn’t used much. My phone camera is reasonably good, though not as good as the Nikon. I don’t have a top of the range phone, in-fact, a fairly bottom of the range one. As a note, I was unable to sell any photos. The D40 is just fine and I have no desire to buy another DSLR.