Technical Stuff

Equipment

Film Cameras and Gear

Minox C

Voightlander Vitessa L

Mamiya 1000 DTL
Konica AutoReflex T

Nikon F2A, F2AS
Nikon FM
Nikon FG
Nikon N90s
Nikkor 24mm f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm f/2, Nikkor 200mm f/4, Nikkor 500mm f/5
Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm, 70-210mm
Samyang 18-28mm
Promaster 12-24mm f/4

Koni-Omega Rapid, Rapid M (90mm f/2.8, 180mm f/4.5)
Mamiya C3, C330 (80mm f/2.8, 55mm f/4.5)

Speed Graphic 4×5″ press
Burke and James Orbit 4×5″ view
Nikkor 75mm f/5.6
90mm f/6.8
135mm f/4.5

Rollei SL66 medium format camera, 80mm lens (for copy work)

Digital Cameras and Gear

Sony CyberShot F505 (2MP, P&S, Zeiss zoom lens)

* Canon Pro90 IS (2.7MP, P&S, Canon zoom lens)

* Fuji FinePix S2 Pro (6MP APS-C DSLR, Nikon F mount, N-AI compatible)

Fuji FinePix S3 Pro (6MP APS-C DSLR, Nikon F mount, N-AI compatible)

* Nikon D2XS (12MP APS-C DSLR, Nikon F mount, N-AI compatible)

* Nikon D600 (24MP FF DSLR, Nikon F mount, N-AI compatible)

* Nikon D5200 (24MP APS-C DSLR, Nikon F mount, pre-AI compatible)

* Canon 20D (8MP APS-H DSLR, Canon EF-S mount)

* Canon S400 (4MP P&S, 3x zoom, with underwater housing)

* Fuji J10 (8MP P&S, 4x zoom)

* Fuji J20 (10MP P&S, 4x zoom)

* Nikon P900 (16MP P&S, 80x zoom (24mm to 2000mm 135 equiv.))

* Panasonic GF2 (12MP, Mirrorless, Micro Four Thirds, interchangeable lens)

* Panasonic G2 (12MP, Mirrorless, Micro Four Thirds, interchangeable lens)

* Olympus Air (16MP, Mirrorless, Micro Four Thirds, interchangeable lens)

* Olympus E-M5 (16MP, Mirrorless, Micro Four Thirds, interchangeable lens)

(* Still in possession and operational.)

Discussion

In the late 1970s, I was able to use my high school’s two 35mm SLR film cameras as yearbook photographer. The school had a Mamiya 1000DTL SLR, an M42 screw-mount with match-needle metering, and three lenses, a 55mm f/1.4, a 135mm f/2.8, and a 28mm f/2.8. More interestingly, they had a Konica Autoreflex T2, which provided shutter-priority exposure automation. There was the same focal length lineup of prime lenses for the Konica, with the normal lens and the telephoto being Hexanons and the wide-angle was a third-party 28mm f/2.8.

My personal collection of photographic gear started differently. My photographic mentor, Lamar Philpot, used Koni-Omega Rapid 6×7 cm medium format rangefinder cameras. He advised that it was possible to find a good deal on a used Koni-Omega, and with money from my summer job, I located such a deal in a photo store in downtown Tampa. I walked out the owner of a cosmetically beat-up but functionally solid Koni-Omega Rapid with 90mm f/3.5 standard lens and two 120 film backs. This became my carry-around camera. Paired with a light meter from a department store, I was able to do some pretty nice work. Not long after that, I picked up a Nikonos II underwater camera with 35mm f/2.5 lens from Lamar. Another friend of the family, Jesse Harpe, gave me a gift of a Voightlander Vitessa L folding rangefinder 35mm camera.

But I wanted a 35mm SLR. The ability to do macro work was a feature I wanted. I was looking to outfit myself so that I could do some professional work if the opportunity arose after high school, and it seemed that going into a 35mm SLR system was the next logical step. I collected just about every camera brochure that passed through the Camera Shop on Memorial Avenue in Lakeland. I had been impressed with the convenience of the automatic exposure on the Konica Autoreflex, and was seriously considering the Autoreflex T3 as the camera to get for myself. But Lamar intervened in this as well. He pointed out that if I wanted to fit into the professional scene, I would likely want to have a camera that other professionals often used. He advised that he had seen stunning work done with Nikon lenses. We visited a camera store together one day, and it happened to have a Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lens for sale, used, at $275. Lamar noted that it was a lens of very useful focal length for photojournalism and was at a good price. So my selection of a system crystallized there, and I had my first piece of Nikon gear, though as yet no way to take a picture with it. It took another couple of months for me to settle on getting a Nikon F2A camera, bundled with a 50mm f/2 lens. Those decisions carry through to my gear today.

In 2002, I went digital with the Fuji S2 Pro digital SLR camera. The excellent skin tones and resolution of the Fuji sensor are a complement to my skill in getting the picture. My kit included the Fuji S2 camera, a Nikon N90s film camera, Nikkor AF VR IF G 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, Nikkor AF D 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, Nikkor AI 24mm f/2.8 lens, and Promaster AF 12-24mm f/4 lens. The Fuji S2 provided excellent low-light performance, providing for better event coverage.

The Fuji S2 and three lenses were stolen in October, 2006. My late 2006 kit included the following items:

Nikon D2Xs camera
Nikkor AF VR ED-IF G 70-200mm f/2.8 lens
Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 lens
Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 lens
Nikon SB-800 flash

I’m currently using a full-frame Nikon D600 camera with a variety of Nikkor and third-party lenses. This is the highest image quality system I have currently, especially paired with the Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AI, 105mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, or the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lenses.

I am also using Micro Four Thirds system bodies, lenses, and extensively use adapters to put other lenses on these cameras. The image quality is not far behind the Nikon D600, and the cameras are much more portable. Plus, the Olympus E-M5 provides in-body image stabilization that works with whatever lens I put on it. The E-M5 paired with a Nikkor 300mm f/4 lens is a formidable combination with the equivalent view of a 600mm f/4 rig on 135.

A recent addition was an impulse buy of a heavily discounted Nikon P900. For a point-and-shoot, this is an amazing camera with decent wide performance (24mm equivalent) and stunning reach (2000mm equivalent).

Photographic Processes

Minox, 35mm, 120, and 4×5″ B&W negative developing
Developing agents: D-76, HC-110, POTA

35mm color negative development

B&W printing and toning
Kodak “R” color printing from negatives
Cibachrome color prints from slides

Digital photographic enhancement and manipulation:
GIMP, Corel Photo-Paint, QImage, ImageMagick, Luminar

Scanners:
Epson Perfection V500 (unfortunately lost in a move)
Plustek film scanner
Nikon CoolScan film scanner

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