Photography is a hobby I have had since I was in my teens. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic, probably the cheapest and most useless camera I have ever seen. It was designed for use by people who did not wish to know anything about photography just to take a picture and being so cheap it was appallingly bad.

Kodak Instamatic 

Kodak Instamatic 110 c1960


My interest in photography increased when a year or so later, I acquired an old German Baldamatic I Camera. This was a proper 35mm film camera that was completely manual. This meant that I had to learn such things as film speed, shutter speed aperture and the hardest one to fathom for me was depth of field.


 Baldessa I

I used this camera for some years taking it with me when I joined the Royal Navy. It was a decent camera and the only time I had a problem was when I was introduced to Slide Film while in Gibraltar. I don't remember now why I bought slide film, I have a recollection that there was no print film available but that seems unlikely. Anyway the problem was that the film speed for Kodachrome was 64 ASA, while I had been used to using 100 ASA Kodacolour film. As I didn't allow for the difference the slides were all over exposed.

Correct Exposure means making sure that the correct amount of light is applied to the film.  Over Exposure means too much light has reached the film while Under Exposure means too little. With print film, the camera exposes light to a negative film this negative film is then processed to produce a positive print. Using slide film, the camera is exposing to a positive film as no prints are made and you view the slide directly. There are methods of printing from slides but that is a different method completely.

My next camera was an Olympus OM2n which I bought from Great Western Cameras in Swindon. I had left the navy and was married and eventually we could afford to allow me to buy a decent camera. I was fortunate in that the previous owner had just traded his kit in for a newer model so I was able to buy the Camera Flash and a couple of lenses for a decent prices. The previous owner was Cyril Major who at the time was Registrar for Births Deaths and Marriages in Swindon. 

Olympus OM2n

Olympus OM2n

I really loved this camera as it allowed me to expand my skills and knowledge. One feature that attracted me and I found so useful was that during the exposure of the films, it measured the light that was being reflected back from the film which meant that there was no room for error, as soon as the film had had enough light the shutter closed. This was revolutionary at the time, all other cameras took a light reading the moment you pressed the shutter and used that to expose the film. It was pretty accurate but if the light changed during the exposure the image would not be perfectly exposed. At the time I was taken by this feature and it meant never having to worry about the shutter speed just considering the aperture and depth of field that I had now mastered!. I also doubt very much if it actually made a measurable difference but I liked it.

Then digital arrived and the cost went through the roof so I stuck with the OM2 for longer than I wanted but I eventually bought an Olympus E10 from someone in Glasgow in 2002.

Olympus E10

Olympus E10

It was also a kit and came with two additional lenses. They were add-ons rather than replacements, you screwed either the wide angle or telephoto onto what was a standard lens fixed to the body. A bit fiddly but there was never a chance of dust getting inside the camera. The image quality was very good but the major problem was battery life. It was extremely poor and batteries were exceptionally expensive and rechargeable ones at the time not that good either. There seemed to me to be a delay between pressing the shutter and exposure taking place which was also frustrating. So as soon as I could justify the expense I bought a Nikon D200.

Nikon D200

Nikon D200

If anything the Nikon has been the most disappointing camera I have owned. All my life Nikon had been held as the 35mm camera brand  so when I came to move on from the E10 my first choice was Nikon, even though Canon had a pretty decent range. The first thing that hit me was the unbelievable number of settings and options that the camera has, far far too many in my opinion and it seems very many that do not appear to make a significant difference when taking a picture.  Over the years I have missed a lot of shots that I thought I had captured because the camera seemed to not like the setting. THE most frustrating thing is when the bloody camera just will not fire when you press the shutter! This is seconded only by the autofocus which really struggles when there is low light usually going through the entire focus range before settling or giving up by which time the shot has long gone. It is of course a lot to do with the photographer but I have lost a lot of my interest because of the succession of missed shots. Its not as if I have not tried to fathom out all of the settings . . honest!

I had a go at some studio work using Bowens Studio lighting and models which I thoroughly enjoyed. It allowed me complete control over all aspects, light levels, angles, model poses the lot. It has always been something I have wanted to do more but marriage, employment and money all kept me from it. Studio work can be quite expensive and unless your selling your work little an expensive hobby.