My First (Real) Camera – Essay 2

I am not a camera geek. I don’t get into all the machinations of new this and new that.

Not a part of my DNA it seems.

I tend to find something I like and stick to it as long as it works for me. I watch other cameras with shiny this and awesome that and think “wow, that could be pretty cool…”. But usually I go back to my standby’s and keep shooting what I shoot.

I know some photographers who buy and sell cameras like some folks trade stamps. Hey, that’s cool. Sounds like fun too.

But I don’t.

This Nikon was my first REAL camera, and it has been with me for quite a while. How old is it? Look it up online. It is a Nikon F2 Photomic and I got it when it was brand new.

Nikon F2 Photomic camera

Nikon F2 Photomic camera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The guy at the camera store was doing a demonstration of photography and was presented by Nikon.

I had originally gone to the store to see the show and buy my first Canon. But the presenter was so smooth in not slamming the other lines of cameras, but talking up what this baby would do that it was a no brainer.

I left with my first Nikon, and a 43-86MM lens. Wonderful camera.
Terrible lens.

Soon went all in for three primes and was off to the races.

I tend to be pretty pragmatic about my tools. There is a cool factor, but there is also the usability factor.

And the emotional factor.

In fact the emotional factor probably wins out (after the usability and quality issues are passed).

The camera felt (feels) good in my hands. It became an extension of my eyes, and there were fewer hours without it in my grip than there were with it.

I photographed everything.

I was poor from the film and processing costs (and of course the enlarger, lenses, developing stuff, chemistry and paper. Lots of paper.)

And I loved the camera. The shot you see is the camera with one of my favorite lenses attached. The amazing f2 35MM. My other favorite lens is the Nikkor f2.8 180MM. These two lenses put food on the table and paid the mortgage more than any other pairings. Wide for environmental, telefoto for fashion/beauty.

I shot with this beauty for about 8 years. My next camera was the Nikon f3 and man oh man do I love that camera… but there will be time for that later.

I do become attached to things. I know that is ‘bad’ in some folks eyes, but it is a way I work. It helps me understand the context of my life and work and how the tools I use become a part of the entire process.

There was something familiar when the eyepiece found my right eye, and I looked through the lens and saw the little floating needle… begging me to trust it this time for a great exposure. Occasionally I would, and it rarely ever failed me, but most of the time I used the Luna Pro for finding out what to set on the Nikon.

The camera is sitting on my shelf now, and inside it is a roll of Kodacolor that I started shooting a couple of weeks ago. It will be there in a few weeks when I head to the coast to do some lifestyle. Yep, it will join its brother F3 for some film shooting.

Your first love is always one you remember, and the day I bought this Nikon is a day I can still see clearly.

It changed my view of photography.

It changed my view of myself as a photographer.

And it made/makes some incredible photographs.

Over the years I have purchased a lot of cameras and lenses. But this little camera will always be one that I remember the most.

(Essay Two of 30 Essays in 30 Days.)
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I was recently on creativeLIVE and have┬áreceived┬ásome rave reviews of the workshop. If you are interested in taking a look at the workshop, you can find it on creativeLIVE’s web site here. I think it is a tremendous value and if you are unable to attend any of my workshops, this may give you a ton of information you will want to have to push your photography to the next level.

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About 

I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out www.project52.org. Thanks for visiting.

3 Comments

  1. My first serious camera was a Canon AE-1. Coincidentally i just did a first camera blog about mine, too: http://mftadventures.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-first-serious-camera.html

    By the way, thanks for the wonderful weekend you did on CreativeLive. I purchased it a few hours in, and am getting ready to really step up my object photography. I’ve got 4 kids and just moved, so I’m not quite there yet, but can’t wait to put some of your workshop ideas into practice !
    Brad Calkins recently posted..My first serious cameraMy Profile

    • Great to hear, Brad. Keep making shots and building that still life book. Every time you shoot, you learn something that can be applied to every genre of photography.

  2. I kind of feel like that about my D100… Of course it rarely comes out any more. Of course I think my biggest attachment is to my Pentax K1000. I LOVE that camera, and it goes everywhere with me.