July 20, 2010

Film to Digital: A journey

Been dying to write this post for a while! Now that I'm a proud owner of a DSLR, I surmised I should dedicate a post to all the cameras Iused since childhood. The cover picture is pretty much everything(plus the one that clicked it!). I used a total of 6 cameras before going PRO...ehh...budget pro anyway.

Back when a camera was a dream gadget(for me) clicking pictures on film, I stared awestruck at photographers clicking away on their filmSLRs and reloading their rolls like soldiers repleininshing their magazines. I had no idea what lenses were or how the whole photography stuff worked. I'd haggle my Dad to let me take one photo...just one photo pappa.... He even taught me unloading and reloading rolls that later helped me in my School trip a decade later!

The camera: Yashica P-500. A typical rangefinder of the early 80s era, the bold red color is typical of that age too. No autofocus, no motor rewinding... just frame the picture and click the shutter. Howewer there were a couple of dials for changing ISO and ASA which Dad had told
me were for "photographing fast objects". This Yashica has the honour of taking all my Childhood Photographs.

The year was 1999 and it was my uncle's wedding, I was gleefully eager to click away with my Dad's camera. The shocker came when my Dad handed it over to an elder cousin who I was sure hadn't used one her whole life. I was heartbroken....Mom came to the rescue and bought me a brand new Kodak KB10(second from left), an ultra basic point n shooter. I spent hours playing
with it photographing mostly my grandma and uncles. Their was no motor winding in this one either and Autofocus was unknown. On our Araku trip,when Amulya ma'am handed me her camera to take a shot, she instructed me to press the shutter button half way until the
light went green. I didnt know what she meant. I pressed the button all the way doen and got the shot, It'd long before I came to know thatshot must have come out blurry...

In 2006, when digital cameras were fast becomng the norm and Dad just wouldnt hear about it, I decided to get one myself and ordered one from Indiatimes shopping. Benq DC1500, a small 1.3 mp camera which looked more like an oversized webcam. What's funnier was that the
LCD screen at the back ws 0.80 inch in size, that's smaller than an optical viewfinder on some cameras! It turned out the CMOS sensor on the cam was too noisy for my taste and before long I was looking for replacement soon enough.

Next came Benq DC2300, this was a different beast altogether. A 2 megapixel CCD sensor and a decent screen at the back and an acceptable body shape made this a winner. The Autofocus was still missing but 3-way focus selector made things easier. All my Ooty tour pics were shot with this obsolete piece of hardware(at that time). Some were so good they'd easily be mistaken for pro-camera pictures.

My dream for a performance camera was fulfilled when I bought a Panasonic LZ8 in 2008. I know a decent photography enthusiast will probably die laughing reading the last line but the truth is... being financially very very constricted... I have always settled for budget stuff. LZ8
maybe basic but it's one those rare cameras that has P, A, S and M on the control dial. And that's what matters. And who gives a 60 second shutter on a basic camera? I took numerous abstract photos as well as landscapes which recieved good praise online.

All was going well when one day my cousin commented I should get a DSLR. I was bitten and there was no stopping me...but no matter where looked the cheapest kit cost atleast 20k. the now discontinued Nikon D40 itself came at a hefty 18k price tag. Bhaiya saved the day
again and recommended a Dubai classifieds website which I scoured like crazy for weeks until I hit the Jackpot. A Sony A200 at a throwaway price. Bhaiya sent a friend over to check if the deal was genuine and had it bought. It took a full month to reach me. I was entralled... a piece
of advanced hardware with a sensor larger than all my previous cameras combined! The great thing about this cameras is the backward compatibility with Minolta lenses of the 80s and 90s, manual or autofocus.

Guess what I'm hunting for now? Lenses, of course! The journey continues...

1 comment:

Suzanne Vega said...

envy you man.. i am looking for lenses too..