Personal Camera Usage Evolution

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This website contains pictures taken by myself and others, mostly yours truly using several different camera formats over the decades and I will list the ones that I can remember.  I receive many positive comments about the pictures I have posted on this website and thought I would give a recapitulation of my camera equipment used.

Prior to my four year tour of duty in the US Navy, I had very little interest in photography and my first experience of pressing a shutter button on a camera was in the mid 1950s.  That camera was a Kodiak Brownie Box Camera and used the roll black and white film and owned by my Aunt Hattie and Uncle Douglas Coley.  They took many pictures with that ole box camera and sometimes you could get a decent picture in ideal lighting conditions.  Internet stock photo below.  Remember this camera?

I had to locate an internet pix of the camera since most of those ole cameras are long gone and in camera collections, however you can still find them for sale on EBay fairly regular.

When I enlisted in the US Navy in 1964 it seemed as if every sailor was snapping pictures to document our Boot Camp training experience and I had to get on the band wagon too.  I purchased a Kodiak Instamatic 50 camera that took the 126 film cartridges for 28x28mm exposures and made many, many pictures what that little camera.  I think I went through at least two of them while I was in the US Navy, whereas the built in flash or flash hot shoe was the first thing to go on them, otherwise a rugged, reliable and easy to carry camera.  While in the US Navy there were some serious "shutterbugs" that had the high dollar name brand 35MM SLR cameras with a camera bag with all types of different focal length lenses, large flash units, miniature tripods, shutter release cords, etc.  Internet stock photo below:


After my four year tour of duty was up with the US Navy in 1968, I continued to use the Kodiak Instamatic camera until it died and replaced it with a Polaroid Instant 400 Camera sometime before 1975.  Most of the color pictures taken by the Polaroid camera has faded very badly and they were stored under acetate photo album inserts which destroyed many of them, but did scan what survived to digital format sometime around 2001 or later. 


At some point either before or after the usage of the Polaroid camera, I used a Kodiak Pocket Instamatic 20 camera that took the 110 film and it was also a reliable compact camera.  Internet stock photo below:

I believe it was around 1975 that I decided to purchase a professional 35MM SLR camera following the advice of one of my musical customers, H. Armstrong Roberts of Philadelphia, PA who was a professional photographer that recommended a Nikon F2A camera with a 55MM Micro Nikkor lenses for close-up one to one capture of musical instrument inlays.   That camera along with an assortment of lenses has captured thousands of images up until around 2001 when I went digital.  The Nikon F2A camera was manual all the way although it did have a very unique diode image metering system but was manual focus.  My eye sight was beginning to change and took many hundreds of images that were slightly out of focus since you are focusing through the lens.  My favorite film was the Kodachrome 64 which produced some of the most vivid saturated colors of the time.  That was long before digital and PhotoShop.  At the time you had to send the exposed film back to Kodiak or licensed independent labs capable of doing the K-14 process.  Kodiak labs produced the best results IMHO! 

Since we are in an ever changing and dynamic world, film media has fallen by the way side except for specialized usage and the Kodachrome film was discontinued in 2009.   Picture of my antiquated but operational no longer used 35MM SLR film system:

NOTE:  I donated the below equipment to James Price in Wadesboro, NC for his antique business.

After purchasing the Nikon F2A in 1975 my next camera was a Hasselblad 500C/M with a Zeiss 80MM lenses with a film negative size of 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches and probably took some of the sharpest pictures due to the larger format size.  However, that was about the time the dollar devalued against European currency and other lenses by Carl Zeiss was just far too expensive to purchase.  I traded that camera for a 80-200MM Nikon Nikkor zoom lenses and took a sizeable loss.  The Hasselblad was not the camera for me and didn't like the waist level viewfinder and believe you had to use an auxiliary light meter.  Internet stock photo below:

I don't think I took too many pictures in the 1990s for whatever reason and it was our son William McKnight Porter, Jr. that got me into the digital age sometime around 2000.  Bill was still in the US Navy at the time and lived in Southern California with his family and had a training session to complete in Norfolk, Va.   With a few days down time before flying back to San Diego, he came by our home for a very welcomed visit.  He brought me a computer that he put together and had me subscribe to the then only local dial up internet service provided via Pee Dee Electric Corp. and that sparked an interest in the young internet.  I was already very familiar with personal computers, etc. installing the first personal computer, printer and modem at the Anson Correctional Center in Polkton, NC and learning current data processing and word processing applications to the Departments needs.  Well, that "free" computer Bill Jr. installed ended up costing  me about 3000 dollars since the peripherals like Photosmart printers, internal CD burners, digital cameras, dedicated slide media scanners and regular scanners were well into the 500 dollar range each for the mid to high range equipment.  Memory for personal computers were hundreds of dollars per megabyte too.  Pix below of my first digital camera being an Olympus D460 zoom at a humongous 1.3 mega pixel which was about standard at the time.  I looked at a Sony digital camera and it was a few hundred dollars more than the Olympus and the Olympus gave excellent images.  I still have the little digital camera and it is functional!  I used this camera with a home made telescopic monopod to take self portrait hunting pixs until I retired it.


The trend with digital equipment is faster processors, larger storage capacity and with cameras larger pixel size and more zoom to the lenses; guess I had fallen into the marketing trap as well.  My next digital camera was the Olympus Stylus 400 purchased sometime around 2004 which is 4.3 mega pixel and I use it very often.  It has a remote shutter control and great for taking self portraits, etc. and I think that was the main reason I purchased the camera.  Most of today's point and shoot cameras in the AUTO mode can handle 90 percent or more of the average amateur photographers needs.  The small point and shoot cameras will be used by more people since they are compact and small which means you will have the camera with you when you need it.  

A few months back, Bill Jr. sent me his older Canon 20D 35MM SLR camera and it is like being back into the SLR camera mode again.  The beauty part is you have the best of both worlds with the same capability one had with the 35MM SLR (single lenses reflex) camera but with digital capability.  The disadvantage of the 35MM digital SLR camera is their size and that presents transportation problems at times but the pros out weigh the cons for sure.

Since receiving the above camera and lenses, I purchased a radio remote shutter control and a manual remote shutter control which works very well allowing a longer set-up time.  The camera has a built in timer for self portraits and is very user friendly.  This camera has a ton of features and only scratched the surface of what it is capable of doing.  I find that I keep the Digital 35MM SLR camera on a tripod in our basement for set-up pictures of my recipes and other things requiring a better soft box type light source to control the shadows and glare.  I use this camera more in the manual mode setting as far as controlling the aperture and shutter speed.  I normally increase the F-Stop about 1 to 1 1/2 stops to get a white background without totally washing out the image.  I still have to use PhotoShop imaging editing program to get the white background exactly like I want it since the camera depicts a true white background with a certain percentage of grey color.  I have forgotten most of my 35MM camera techniques as far as controlling the amount and duration of light to get a proper exposure with less distortion but it is coming back.  The beauty part of the point and shoot cameras in the Auto mode; it does the thinking for you and most of the time will get you the desired picture.  With half a dozen or more program modes on most of the current digital cameras, you can usually find a program to meet your specific needs.

NOTE:  The above Canon 20D died on me after several months of usage and not feasible to have it repaired due to its age and parts not available.  I purchased a used Canon 30D from EBay and very satisfied with it.  I also added a Canon 60MM Macro lens which gives sharp and clear close-up pixs.   

Along with the above cameras, there has been many auxiliary light sources ranging from the small camera shoe mount ones to the large professional camera base mounted ones with a high guide number output.  I am currently using  "cheap" Cowboy Light Studio CFL soft boxes and they are working out pretty good but not for the professional photographers demands!  They are too flimsy and troublesome to take apart and transport and set up again.  They might last a few times and that would be it.  Like I have said many times, "Most of the time you get what you pay for" and these soft boxes are no exception.  My basement man cave "studio":

Currently, I don't see any need to purchase another digital camera unless my little point and shoot Olympus Stylus 400 camera dies on me since this is my everyday camera.  For web publishing, you don't need a ton of mega pixels but do need them if you plan on making high quality prints in the range of 8 x 10 and larger.   My sister Susan Pettigrew of Reidsville, NC gave me three or four Olympus digital cameras that she no longer used and one of them was the Olympus Stylus 400 of which my bride is now using.

Personally, I am happy with digital technology even though in my humble opinion it does tend to reduce ones ability to "think outside of the box" but the pros far out way the cons.  I can't image going back to the film media for day to day picture taking, analogy audio and video recordings, manual typewriters and word processors, etc.  One of my favorite clichés, "Time waits for no one".   You snooze, you loose!

Web posted by Bill aka Mickey Porter 10-13-12.


If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please take this moment to accept him by Faith into your Life, whereby Salvation will be attained.   

Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Open this link of Bible Verses About Salvation, King James Version Bible (KJV).

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”


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