Camera Gear History

Playing chess and travel by ice train while landscapes pass by behind the window

Every Photographer has some kind of  Camera Gear History to tell, here is mine …

In the late 1990s I started to make analog photographs with an ZENIT SLR made in Russia. My father introduced me to his camera, equipped with a 50mm f/1,8 prime lens. This fully manual analog camera was built like a tank and the learning curve it needed was quite steep for beginners like me. I started to fall in love with the ways of the film but during that time digital image sensors started to conquest the markets and my mind already.

Falling in love in Paris (Zenit SLR analog print scan)
Falling in love in Paris (Zenit SLR analog print scan)

Some years passed and in 2003 i had put aside enough of my student loan to afford my first own digital compact camera, the SONY DSC-W12. A tiny black camera with already great f/2.8 Zeiss-Optics, a big 3″ screen and very importantly powered by widely available & rechargeable AA-batteries. It even had a screw-on ring for adapting lenses, for example a fun to use Raynox semi-fisheye lens. It was the perfect unobtrusive everyday, everywhere camera. I liked it so much that until today i had bought it three times.

Sitting by the train window and looking at a chess game while traveling trough green woods.
Driving fast train outside and playing slow chess inside (Sony DSC-W12 with Raynox Semi Fisheye adpater lens)

In early 2006 i had read trough a ton of forum posts and gear-reviews, comparing camera brands and their lens systems. Finally i had chosen PENTAX to by my first digital DSLR brand! The camera body, a PENTAX K-10D was not only weather-sealed but also equipped with a usable in body shake reduction system. I learned quickly and explored the possibilities with exchangeable lenses, manual focusing, long time exposures and even remote flash photography. The K-10D CCD sensor was capable of delivering great out of camera results but only up to 1600 ISO. As time passed by my interest in digital photography evolved and with it the need for more ISO, better image quality and manual controls.

Old woman sitting on the stairs of the Cairo Metro at night.
Cairo Metro Exit by Night (Pentax K10D)

In 2011 the need for better ISO performance led me to the highly recommendable PENTAX K5, which i still own today. With it came and went all sorts of legacy SMC-K-, SMC-A lenses, FA-lenses, flashes, tripods, camera bags, timers and remote controls. Right now I minimized my gear to a setup of four lenses.

  1. Pentax FA-50mm f/2,8 macro lens because of its always spot on focusing, superb bokeh, color rendition and sharpness.
  2. Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 macro lens because of the wide filed of view as macro, very good bokeh and overall sharpness.
  3. Sigma EX 10-20 f/4.0-5,6 DC because of its super wide field of view with good image quality for an affordable price.
  4. Tamron DCII 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 because it is super cheap, sharp and light. The ideal travel zoom with macro function!

In 2013 i discovered the small black and stealthy RICOH GR, purchased it 2nd hand and use it ever since. Its like going back to my W12 roots again, knowing that the camera will deliver DSLR quality. And this why i love it. There is no need to carry kilograms of body and glasses anymore :)

Look at all blog posts about the RICOH GR

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