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My Cameras

I used to take my Nikon F70 with me when I took pictures. Nikon F70, a.k.a. Nikon N70, is an auto-focus single lens reflex (SLR) 35mm camera that was discontinued in 2000. I have the interchangeable lenses including Nikon 20mm/f2.8D, 50mm/f1.8, 85mm/f1.8D, 28-80mm/f3.5-5.6D, and 70-300mm/f4-5.6D, and a SB-28 flashlight. However, carrying all those soon becomes inconvenient, not to mention if I also carry the 3.2kg tripod (Manfrotto 055CB and 141RC, a.k.a. Bogen 3011 and 3030). I then picked up the Olympus Mju II, a.k.a. Olympus Stylus Epic, as an alternative. Mju II is a compact 35mm camera with a fixed-focus lens of 35mm/f2.8. It produces pretty good quality of images with a reasonable price tag.

I also shoot on 120 films, but strictly used my Holga as a toy. It was interesting, though. The images Holga produces are unpredictable and full of surprise. I started using it when my interests in developing B/W film and paper first emerged in mid 1990s. I even hand-made a pinhole camera at that time. However, as I entered different stages through my life, I have less and less time to pursuit those interests.


The Holga camera A picture taken with Holga at
Louisiana State University, 2001


I still take pictures nowadays, but most likely I will use a digital camera. I have a Fujifilm FinePix 1400, a.k.a. Fujifilm MX-1400, a Casio QV-R40, a Casio EX-Z120, a Canon SD780, a Panasonic DMC-ZR3, and a Canon T1i, a.k.a. Canon EOS 500D. FinePix 1400 is my first digital camera with a 1.2-mega pixels CCD. Before it I was using my brother's Sony DSC-F1 with a maximum resolution of 640x480 pixels. The 0.3-mega pixels CCD in the Sony DSC-F1 seems ridiculous now, but it was state-of-the-art back in 1996. Compared to DSC-F1, the FinePix 1400 is bulky. The later QV-R40 (4-mega pixels), EX-Z120 (7.2-mega pixels), SD780 (12.1-mega pixels), and DMC-ZR3 (14.1-mega pixels) are much smaller in size and produces decent quality of images. As the technique advances, taking pictures seems analogous to copying files between two machines. The Canon T1i is a digital SLR with 15.1-mega pixels. I got the lenses including EF 50mm/f1.8, EF 85mm/1.8 USM, EF-S 10-22mm/f3.5-4.5 USM, and EF 17-40mm f4L USM for this camera, in addition to the two kit lenses EF-S 18-55mm/f3.5-5.6 IS and EF-S 55-250mm/f4.0-5.6 IS. I also have a 580EX II flashlight.

Several years ago I also collected antique cameras from eBay. I got several Japanese rangefinders dated in the 1970s, some Kodak folding/box cameras dated from the 1930s, and other interesting stuff dated some time in between. It may seem an expensive hobby to collect the cameras, but in reality they were sometimes sold at prices as low as $1. Seeing and playing with those cameras is like getting back into the history of photography, and I must say that I have enjoyed the experience. Most recently I have collected some Asahi Pentax Takumar lenses in M42 mount.

Some Kodak folding cameras I got:*
Tourist II (1951-58), Tourist (1948-51), Vigilant Six-20 (1939-49), No. 2A Folding Hawk-Eye Special (1926-34)

Some box cameras:
Brownie Six-20 Model D (1953-57), Six-20 Brownie Model D (1946-53), Brownie Target Six-20 (1946-52), Six-16 Brownie Junior (1934-42)

Some Asahi Pentax Takumar lenses (M42 mount):
Super Takumar 28mm f/3.5, SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5, Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5, Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4, Super Takumar 55mm f/1.8, Super Takumar 135mm f/2.5, Takumar 135mm f/3.5, Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5, SMC Takumar 135mm f/3.5, Super Takumar 150mm f/4, SMC Takumar 200mm f/4, Takumar 200mm f/5.6, Tele Takumar 200mm f/5.6, Takumar 300mm f/6.5

*Reference: McKeown's Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras, 2001-2002 (11e). I bought this guide off eBay years ago and it contains nearly 900 pages of information on vintage cameras by various manufacturers.



Adam Y.C. Lei. All rights reserved.