Monday, August 01, 2011

Weeds Redux, XVI

Woodbury, Connecticut

If all you're interested in here is the picture, that's fine. Have a look, and click on to the next stop on your blog browsing. If you're interested in my musings about making equipment purchase decisions, here's another installment. Perhaps I should digress for an element of context. Let’s go back to 1974.

We were living in the third floor of an old farmhouse about halfway between Philadelphia and Wilmington. I had clients in both cities, and the assignments I was getting were stretching the equipment I had. My Pentax equipment was excellent, but extremely limited. My Leica equipment was superb, but largely irrelevant to the work anyone would pay me to do. I looked hard at what was available, really looked at everything about the entire systems offered by Nikon, Canon, and the recently introduced and exciting Olympus OM1 system. Maybe I chickened out since I really liked the Oly, but I had clients to make comfortable, and I decided to go with the obvious choice at the time. Got a pair of Nikon F2 Photomic bodies and 28, 50, 105, and 200m lenses. Gradually over the next years I replaced the 28 with the f/2 lens I really wanted, and the 200 with 180 f/2.8 I really wanted, added the 24 f/2 (an all time favorite) and added the 35mm focal length that I had for my Leica but needed to cover in the SLR kit. 35mm and 28mm shift lenses came next, and I paid no attention to camera gear other than to pick up the items I needed from the Nikon system to deal with the assignments I was handling.

About this time, roughly 1980, I got my Deardorff, the only 8x10" camera I’ve ever owned.

That was essentially the end of my decision making process for the 35mm equipment I used for professional photography. I don’t know anything about what Canon equipment was like at any time during those years. I switched from F2 to F3 cameras because while the F2 body was wonderfully designed, the motor drive system was clunky and ridiculously expensive. The motor for the F3 was still officially an accessory, but the combined package was nicely designed and handled wonderfully, though it’s possible that someone with small hands might have been a little less enthusiastic about it. I used F3 cameras for personal work as well as assignments, including this Carnival Color project from the mid-1980s.

Eventually I got a pair of F4 bodies and several AF Nikkor lenses because it was clear that auto focus could be useful for some of the work I was doing, but I never liked the F4 camera as much as the F3. And that was it for the thirty year stretch until I had to make the jump to digital capture in 2004. Picked a system and upgraded a couple of times to newer models that offered valuable new features.

2 comments:

Richard Alan Fox said...

Carl you are killing me with suspense. I am exactly one day younger than you and every year about this time I get the craving for a new camera, some years I do and some I don't make a purchase. This year is problematic as sixty two is very significant in terms of time available for photography, (retirement from the day job) but I do not see anything on the market that I feel worth the distraction, (perhaps I just described the plight of the senior citizen).
Happy birthday and thank you for the pictures and the words beneath them.

Carl said...

Richard, just two steps to go, all will be revealed by Wednesday, in plenty of time for your birthday...