Home    Training    Photography    Video    Book design    Technology    Links     

The history of my camera kit:

When I started working professionally as a freelance photographer in the early 1980s I had a minimum of equipment from my amateur days. The camera was a Pentax KM and the range of lenses consisted of a 50mm F1.4, a 28mm F2.8 and a 135 F2.8.
Over time I switched cameras to Pentax MXs and finally 'back' to Pentax KXs. I had two of each and gradually added a number of lenses from 24mm - 300mm.
My favourite film camera is the Pentax KX and the lens is probably a 135mm F2.5.
The Pentax 135mm is now adapted to work on my Canon Cameras.
When it became obvious that digital capture was going to replace silver on film I waited for Pentax to produce a good digital camera, it did not happen for a very long time. As a 'stop-gap' at the end of 2001 I bought a Canon G2 compact camera and quickly found that even this 'compact' camera was both more versatile and offered better quality than I could achieve with film. I used it alongside film cameras for about 18 months.      Built in zoom lens equivilent to:
34mm - 105mm F2.0 - F2.5

By 2003 I could wait no longer and even though it meant replacing all my lenses as well as buying a camera I had to move away from Pentax.

At this stage I was shooting most colour on digital and often scanning any colour negatives I did shoot. Black and white was usually shot on film, but my primary 'darkroom' was now a digital workstation.

The two contenders were Nikon and Canon and at that time Canon were the leaders in image quality. They adopted CMOS sensors while Nikon were still using CCDs.

Canon introduced the 3 megapixel D30 in 2000 and it revolutionised digital photography. By 2003 the third generation of this range, the Canon 10d was launched. It had a metal body construction and boasted 6 megapixels on an APS-C chip.

In 2003 I purchased a Canon 10d and I never worked on film again.

I gradually built up a range of lenses and soon after added a second 10d body to my kit.

20mm F2.8 (equivalent to 30mm on an APS-C camera)
28mm F2.8 (equivalent to 42mm on an APS-C camera)
50mm F2.5 Macro (equivalent to 75mm on an APS-C camera)
85mm F2.0 (equivalent to 130mm on an APS-C camera)
135mm F2.8 (equivalent to 200mm on an APS-C camera)
28mm - 105mm F3.5/4.5 zoom (equivalent to 42mm - 160mm on an APS-C camera)
80mm - 200mm F4.5/5.6 zoom (equivalent to 120mm - 300mm on an APS-C camera)

There were two reasons mainly for buying 'prime lenses' over zooms.
The first was quality. It is possible to make a lens to do one job very well but for it to do a number of things as well, is very difficult if not impossible. Only the top-end zoom lenses come close to the quality of prime lenses and they are very expensive.

The second reason was one of maximum aperture.
Most of my work in theatres, concerts and in documenting arts events takes place in relatively low light, so the faster the lens the better chance I have of being able to get pictures. In more recent years the quality of high ISO settings on cameras has improved considerably but in the early part of this century anything above 800 ISO was noisy.

I have since added three cameras to my kit.
I bought a Canon 40d as an upgrade. It is better in low light and has a 10 megapixel APS-C chip. When one of my original 10d cameras started to show signs of failing I bought a now even cheaper second Canon 40d body as a replacement. Both of these cameras were purchased second-hand for a fraction of the cost of my first 10d.
All my cameras are fitted with the optional battery packs, both to extend the battery life and to add size and weight to the camera.
The latest addition is a Canon 5D Mark 11 (21 megapixel), which was purchased to use as a copy camera for photographing artwork.

High megapixel count is not important to me as I rarely print very large.
The 10ds will give me a high quality print of about 20.0" x 13.5",
the 40d about 26.0" x 17.0" and the 5D 37.5" x 25.0".