eyes view world
A Romance with Photography
my Camera story
Although, I have had the chance of using several cameras till date, I feel that cameras manufactured by Nikon were and are my best companions.
I started with a simple point-and-shoot compact camera, dabbled with Polaroid cameras and finally moved to SLRs.
All of a sudden, with SLRs. I realised there were no limitations. I was free to compose, shoot and create my own photographs rather than the camera doing all the work.
The joy of borrowing my father's Praktica SLR camera for a short period was immense. I furthered my knowledge on this art form. Nikon F301 was my first SLR camera that I bought. It was like a dream come true. I loved this camera for its flexibility or versatility as I was not crazy about all those automatic gizmos and motorised functions. This camera body had an in-built motor capable of taking 2.5 frames per second! It was then I learnt I had to be very rich to afford Nikon lenses. I had to settle for third party lenses. I was advised to buy Tamron lenses with Nikon ring mounts as an alternative. Thinking back, it was a good substitute and valuable advice from the retailer, I would say.
I started to work with zoom lenses rather than fixed focus, popularly known as prime lens. This was a wise move, in my opinion. I would have to carry one lens with multitude focus lengths instead of multiple lenses. It also meant I did not have a lot of gear to carry around or constantly change lenses depending on the composition. A 28-70 mm zoom lens was a good start as it provided a decent range from wide-angle (28 mm) to telephoto (70 mm). A 70-210 mm and a 17 mm fixed wide angle lens seemed to cover my needs at that point in time.
I was delighted with the quality of photographs that my first camera produced. I was fascinated to see the results. I would have been delighted to see just a couple of good photographs from a set of twenty four or thirty six exposures. But, the results were really amazing as I was only disappointed with a couple. Some of my friends, when I shared the photographs, they saw the results and called the images ‘picture perfect’ or ‘picture post cards’.
Soon, I discovered the joy of shooting on slide rather than on paper. The discovery of third dimension (the depth) made me make the switch. I preferred Fujichrome Velvia film as opposed to Kodak chrome (sorry Simon & Garfunkel!) as it gave warmer tones.
To view the slides, I got myself a good quality Kodak slide projector with a zoom lens. Once again, it was the possibility of looking at details pushed me to purchase a zoom lens rather than a fixed focus lens.
Then came the time for an upgrade! I bought myself the famous FM2 from Nikon. It was a simpler and more versatile camera than F301. It did not have any motorised function. In fact, surprisingly enough, there were no issues of batteries of any sort as it was powered with a mere button cell. This operated the light meter, that's it. To many, this may not appeal as an upgrade. Thanks to the initial prudent advice on Tamron lenses, I could use the same set of lenses on my FM2. I could manipulate the film and get twenty eight pictures out of twenty four exposure film and near forty from thirty six exposure film.
Then dawned the Digital Age. I never thought I would switch to this new medium. I always believed there was some joy and an element of surprise and suspense by purchasing film, getting the slides and photos developed. I soon realised that I was wrong. I got attracted to this new technology as duck would take to water. I was forced to moved with the times.
The very idea of not lugging multiple lenses, flashlight, batteries, camera body as well as the added angst of waiting for the results of the shots was very appealing. Neither did I have the heart nor was I willing to give up the gear altogether. I bought myself a compact digital camera from Nikon – Coolpix 5200. It reminded me of the point-and-shoot camera(s) of the film era to some extent. It was a wonderful compact camera to have, I think. It provided a very accurate image and represented or reflected the conditions very well. There was also some room for manipulation. It was very handy, performed well and was easy to use. It was just great to use it as a back up to my SLR camera.
With time, it was becoming apparent that it was the end of the film era. The price of film shot up and its availability was getting scarce. Film developing and printing labs were going burst. The writing on the wall could not have been clearer. It is sad and hard to accept that my own Nikon FM2 had lost its value. It was now part of history and is considered to be a dinosaur. The ideal camera that I loved had turned into a mere piece of obsolete technology.
Quest for versatility in digital format gave me a chance to explore the possibility of using my Tamron adapt all lenses with Nikon mount rings on digital format. I was not willing to trade-in my lenses and SLR camera to re-start the collection in the new format. It made sense to invest in a digital SLR body alone. The very thought that I was forced to give in or give up all the accessories such as lenses, flashlight and SLR camera itself was revolting. Needless to say, when I realised the investment I had made in it all, I knew, if this were at all possible, I had to count on Nikon once again. After a lot of search, a long wait and a lot of patience, I found the answer in Nikon D200.
Persistent and patient wait for prices to come down paid off. I got one dedicated lens, my first Nikon lens – 18-135 mm zoom lens. At last, I was the proud owner of a Nikon lens! The retailer assured me that I could use my current lens collection on the camera body. I have tried out all of them, and believe me, it worked like a charm. I have yet to see and experience something as versatile and flexible.
An addition of a Sigma 135-400 mm lens over the years had completed the lens collection for my photographic needs.
As time went by, my collection grew. I laid my hands on a brand new Nikon D700 – a full frame digital camera body. This camera is the equivalent of a 36 mm film camera but in digital format.
To this new full frame camera body, I turned my focus on lenses and decided to splurge a little. It made perfect sense to add three new zoom lenses from Nikon – 14 to 24 mm, 24 to 70 mm and 70 to 200 mm all f/2.8 lenses. A further addition of a few prime lenses from Nikon like 24 mm f/2.8, 50 mm f/1.4, 60 mm f/2.8 macro and 135 mm f/2DC just made it all complete. But, as always, it never is. A new purchase of Nikon 200 to 500 mm f/5.6 was the icing on the cake.
I have never been attracted or believed in using filters. The results, in some ways, are either manipulated or artificial, in my opinion. Let us just say that they do not appear real. I believe in composing and capturing photographs under natural light or conditions. As a matter of fact, I seldom use the flashlight.
In case of action or night photography, situations where the shutter speeds are high such as in sports or when trying to capture images under low light with long shutter speeds, like capturing monuments or buildings lit by artificial light, it will pay to think of a monopod in former and a tripod in latter cases.
These accessories are useful as they can support the weight of the camera and the various lenses used during the course of the shoot. It makes it a little easier on the photographer's shoulders and arms. Although bulky, a tripod is strongly recommended for photography where slow shutter speeds are used. When shots are taken under 1/30 sec or when the camera cannot be held steady due to the weight it is preferable to use a tripod.
Do note that a tripod is more stable and versatile than a monopod.
Well now, that I’ve written my opinion, it’s time for yours. So feel free to comment on this blog. Cheers!