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General photography questions and answers: Discuss A Journey....I've just been sitting playing with the 20D, and thinking how cameras and indeed photography has changed out of all ...
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Old 25-03-2005, 00:50   #1 (permalink)
CT
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A Journey.

I've just been sitting playing with the 20D, and thinking how cameras and indeed photography has changed out of all recognition since I first started, which is my excuse for boring you all to death with this post.

Early on it dawned on me that the family Box Brownie had severe limitations, and when someone remarked to me that 35mm was the way to go, after a rigorous scrimping period, I went and bought my first 35mm camera - A Kodak Coloursnap 35.



My first serious foray with the camera was to Dudley Zoo, where I made straight for my favourite critters, the big cats and then the gorillas. I was shooting on colour film, which at that time I'd never processed myself, so I had to entrust my cassette of masterpieces to the chemist in Market Street. The wait to see the results was unbearable, but it was nothing to the disappointment I experienced when I finally got the postcard sized prints back. The distant blobs in the shots could just as easily have been a household moggy as a Bengal Tiger, and you'd struggle to tell the Goriillas weren't chimps. Big mistake, I hated that camera with a vengeance after that, and what didn't help matters was I'd learned a new expression -Single Lens Reflex, which only served to drive home the size of the mistake I'd made. All this new found knowledge came about as a result of subscribing to Amateur Photographer and also to hungrily grabbing and devouring anything I could find which was photography related at the local library.

SLR's in those days were horrendously expensive, they're actually cheaper today in real terms than they've ever been. My first choice would have been the original Nikon F which I could only dribble over in the mags, or the Pentax SV or slight cheaper S1A. All were totally unattainable on my meagre earnings though, and after a considerable period of saving I finally bought my SLR, a Practica 1VF, AND I managed to hold out for the top of the range option with a Carl Zeiss 2.8 Tessar lens. I don't think I've ever experienced the pride of ownership I did with that first SLR. I have to smile thinking about it now. It had shutter speeds from 1 sec to 1-500th and B, a lever wind on the bottom of the camera.- hey don't knock it, that lever wind was a real power trip compared to twiddling a knob, and visually raised your standing as a photographer at least 3 rungs!! The mirror went up when you pressed the shutter button and stayed up - coming down again when you wound on.But best of all was the viewfinder, the joy of actually focusing on a ground glass screen with a split image rangefinder in the centre of the screen, and no more parallax problems - sheer bliss! No metering though, so a hand held meter was a necessity.

SLRs didn't change much for a few years, but gradually they got metering - usually via a metering window and a match needle type display window. Finally Pentax launched the Spotmatic the first SLR with TTL metering and of course other manufacturers quickly followed suit.I'd changed cameras a couple of times by then. The next big step was the first aperture priority camera, which I'm fairly sure was the Pentax ME, and I bought one as soon as it came out. It was around that time that Canon launched the incredible A1 which took the market by storm. Aperture and shutter priority, a fully Auto mode as well as full manual overide, and all the info in the viewfinder via red LED displays.It also looked the dogs dangly bits in black.This camera was years ahead of it's time and it was the first serious challenge to the flagship Nikons which had really had it all their own way in the pro market for years.Most pros bought an A1 as it was considerably cheaper than the top end Nikons, and most of them soon became sold on it's total flexibility and ease of use.That camera alone was responsible for placing Canon as a serious competitor to Nikon, a position they still hold today.

It wasn't long after that that strange letters and articles began appearing in the photo mags. "When are we going to get automatic film speed setting?" Eh?
"Why can't we have automatic film handling?" (loading and rewinding) WTF?
The one that really got me going was " When are we going to get autofocus lenses" Such a thing was clearly impossible, and anyway, even if it couild be done what would it choose to focus on?? I think what really narked me was the thought of someone taking all that manual lens twiddling away, which was the hallmark of a 'proper' photogrpher. It was the subject of much heated and sometimes angry debate in the mags. I remember writing to AP myself along the lines of "What IS the matter with these people - what's so difficult about loading a film leader and rewinding a film?" What's the big deal with setting a film speed on the ASA dial?" "As for autofocus, clearly such a thing is pie in the sky and who needs it anyway?"

Of course DX coding, auto film wind and rewind and autofocus, all made their appearances in due course, and the last two film cameras I owned a Nikon F4 and an F90 were all the better photographic tools for them. It's a little sad to see what these cameras are being sold for on ebay now with the massive exodus to digital. If I were to write to AP today it would be along the lines of "Just How Wrong Can One Guy Be"

And just look where we are today- no messing about with chemicals, and clearing up after you. No more fumbling around in the dark loading developing tanks. If you've never developed film, you wont appreciate the escape from dealing with dust spots on your negatives. But to process your shots on your computer with a cup of tea and a fag is surely as far as we can go - isn't it?

The journey continues....
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Old 25-03-2005, 03:40   #2 (permalink)
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Steve is just really nice
Steve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really niceSteve is just really nice

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Nice read, sir but with so called progress come new issues. My personal wish for the next round of developments as the journey continues, would be self cleaning sensors. I believe that several manufacturers are working on this technology now, for me, it can’t come soon enough.
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Old 25-03-2005, 20:06   #3 (permalink)
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very interesting read, i know the feeling about the blobs in the distance, i get that now though with the kit lens of the 300d, need to get a longer one!!!
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