Time to be with your loved ones

Time to be with loved ones

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What camera was it that made you fall in love with photography? Was it a little crappy point and shoot that you still took great photos with? Was it an old film SLR? The magic of polaroid as a kid? Or the DSLR you bought the other day?

To copy the guidelines from the equivalent stack overflow question:

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40 Answers

My grandfather's Leica M3, which he bought new during his travels and I inherited and still keep in repair.

I took that camera all the way from Pan-X to Tri-X and then later to TMax. Learned darkroom operations, pushed and pulled, tried everything from D-76 to Rodinal, Microdol-X and even some homebrew mixes.

One busy little camera.

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My Nikon F/Ftn. I still have it, it still works. Used it for 40+ years.

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I used some 110s and 35mm point and shoots occasionally, but they didn't pique an interest in photography. I used my Dad's old Chinon SLR (dunno which model) a little bit on and off for a while, but it was literally falling apart and shutter speeds were so inaccurate that an acceptable exposure was not repeatable. I finally decided to buy a Nikon N70 along with a 35-80mm f4-5.6, and as my interest in airbrush was waning, photography became my new creative outlet!

Nikon N70 body

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My firse real camera was Zenith EM My first real camera was Zenith EM

It was very good camera. I did few films on my hollidays in Budapest, when I was 10 year old, and 100% of photos was good (light and focus). I had later few more modern models of Zenith cameras, but only this on photo was good. In rest problems with light measure and filmm transport. Also with times.

My first real camera was Zenith EM My second camera I loved was Practica MTL. I can't say any bad word about this SLR. All was good and great lenses.

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I got a Praktica MTL-50 for Christmas when I was at school. The way the two red LEDs indicating exposure changed relative brightness and the split-prism focus screen both felt like magic to me.

Praktica MTL-50

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This bulky film fisherprice monster I got when I was in kindergarden, unfortunatly the films don't seem to be available anymore.

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K800i

I shot hundreds and hundreds of photos with this, I'd had digital cameras before but they needed to be remembered, and charged and stocked, this was always with me and always ready quickly. Moved swiftly onto a much better camera, then stopped for a couple of years, then moved back into the DSLR game.

Still kind of miss that K800i.

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Pentax ME Super. I was 15 and Mum told me I needed a hobby. At the time I just refused to touch point and shoots. I actually ended up going through 3 of them, thats the problem of buying second hand. Pentax ME Super

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A Yashica TL-Elkectro borrowed from my brother-in-law in 1977.

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Not one camera got me to fancy photography; I got excited from a crappy Logitech webcam, then a D2H that I managed to lay my hands on for a period, and afterwards I enjoyed running around taking snaps with a slow, zoomless, cheap, horrible Sony P&S.

If you love photography you'd love the tool of the trade too, but the machine in itself probably won't be the only thing that will get you to catch the bug.

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A Voigtlander that belonged to my then-father-in-law. I don't know the model--fixed lens (Zeiss?), 35mm film and no electronics. I estimated exposures using the guidelines on the (color print) film box, and estimated focus based on distance--and still managed to take some pretty decent photos.

Edit
After looking at the company history (when I checked the spelling), I'd just about bet that that camera--if it still exists--is older than I am (but not by much...).

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Attempting a semi-generic answer (which won't match everyone's experience, to be sure, but hopefully will be more generic than some, allowing for less duplication of concepts -- if someone wants to turn this answer into a community wiki, please feel free):

The camera that made me fall in love with photography was the all-mechanical SLR (except for the electronic light meter, which you could use the camera without having batteries for) that my parents let me use. In my particular case, it was a Nikon FM, but I think the same story could apply with any number of cameras (e.g. another poster's Olympus OM-1). The things that made the difference for me were:

  • It had a macro lens. Being able to take a photo of something and have it appear life-size (actually slightly bigger) on the film was a wonder to me. From pennies to human eyes to rainbows from a crystal window hanging, falling across the patterns of denim, this somehow got me excited about things (I'd later get into much more interesting macro subject matter than some of those).

  • All mechanical. There's a certain sound about things, as the other poster talks about, but also it allows for one to explore the workings -- to open up the camera and see what happens as you slowly re-cock the shutter, for example, or to find the little lever that interfaces between the camera and lens to cause the aperture to close when you fire the shutter or hold the DOF-preview button. Not to mention the fact that it just sort of Always Works -- worst case, you stop having a light meter.

  • It had interchangeable lenses. In my case, besides the 55mm/2.8 macro, there was also a 70-200 zoom lens. I've always liked telephoto, somehow, so having this was cool. And having the old-school style where the outer barrel moved, and had the flaring DOF-guide, was just somehow satisfying. (If anyone doesn't know what I'm talking about, look at the lens in this video-explanation of DOF; he describes them about 1:45 in.)

  • It was an SLR -- I was actually looking through the lens that the picture would be taken through. This was magical to me, somehow -- and certainly an improvement over the alternative for doing things like macro.

  • It was what my mom was using -- and always nice, as a kid, to emulate mom and dad, right? :)

  • I could do long exposures with it. I think I'd used the camera before I really discovered the wonders of this, but BULB mode with a locking cable-release allowed me to take pictures that were unlike the world I saw with my naked eye, which was really neat to me.

  • Beyond just long exposures, it also just let me have control of exposure, and in particular exposure time. When I learned that to get a good photo of a TV (classic CRT, of course, and NTSC in my case), you wanted a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second. If you used a faster shutter speed, only part of the frame would be lit up. Wow. Only part of the frame is lit up at one time?? And that's not just something that someone has told to me in the abstract, but it's something I can actually take a photo to prove? That sure got me excited. And then I turned it around, and for a cell-animation of Snoopy, I ended up with a nice still image of the dog house, with four dancing snoopy poses ghosted on top of each other. How cool is that?

  • The optical split-screen focusing screen, with a ring around that of (not that I knew the name at the time) micro-prism indication... having a way to really know when things were in focus: very handy. But also fascinating -- "hey, weird -- if I move my eye around, half this inner circle goes dark. What's going on? That's weird, but cool!"

I'm sure there were other things, too, that I'm forgetting to mention.

The bottom line, for me, is that this was the camera that got me excited about photography. As other answers have said, getting into the darkroom later was a very important step, as well. But really, I was already hooked, thanks to this camera.

I'm even lucky enough to have had my mom give it to me, years later, when she got a DSLR. As with other posters, I feel guilty at times for leaving it on a shelf. But then, sometimes, I take it off the shelf, and shoot with it. And it's still a joy to me to do so. :)

Hopefully others can relate to a similar experience -- again, feel free to make this a community wiki and add your own bullet points, or just add them in the comments.

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A blue and black plastic camera, almost a toy but a functional film camera, ordered with help from my parents and boxtops clipped off some some breakfast cereal. This was in the 1960s, when I was maybe 6 or 7, maybe older. No idea make or model, but if I had to bet a dollar, something Kodak designed to get kids interested in taking pictures (and pestering parents to buy film). Well, it worked!

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A Kodak Box Brownie Vintage about 1948

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Minolta DiMAGE 5

My first camera, bought from 2nd hand.

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The Linhof Kardan Color. I worked with this camera for three years.
It is careful, painstaking work where you aim for the highest quality possible. It was a transformative experience.
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I had one of the "better" regular film cameras with advanced autofocus and digital picture count + macro modus from Braun. Can't remember the name, so I couldn't provide you a photo.

BUT, here is a sketch of the shapes I can remember!

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Very recognizable is the rounded square shape of the lense which comes approximately 1 cm out of the device when turned on.

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The Nikon D50

Best Qualities:

  • Wonderfully ergonomic: Fitted my hand like a glove --- I was never afraid about dropping it, so had the courage to stick my hand out all kinds of places, off the edges of boats, buildings, right down next to water... That kind of confidence leads to great pictures!

  • The introductory DSLR; it was really the one that kicked the whole business off, 'nuf said: reasonable price, decent resolution, and it worked with every nikon lens from the last 20 years.

Nikon D50

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--Kodak DX6340--

And now: Nikon D40 with 35/1.8G

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My first DSLR - a Canon 400D/XTi. After various point and shoots, it really showed me the depth of photography.

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My dad gave me his old Minolta X-570 and X-700s. Then I was given a Ricoh with the dual viewfinders and m42 and an m42 yashica and a ranger finder yashica electro 35 gs

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A Nikon EM, sort of a point-and-shoot beginner's SLR, that I got in high school (way back when ... mid 80s?). It was hard to control because the meter always set the shutter speed, but it was a 35mm camera so you could develop your own B&W film and make your own prints. And that started my love of the craft of photography.

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Nikon FE-2

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I worked in a camera shop from the age of 15 and always loved the manual cameras (Pentax K1000 was my first and I too had an Olympus OM-1 that I loved) but it was one of these I always lusted after, and when one came in second hand I snapped it up. Wish I'd kept it and had the money to build a system around it and pay for the processing to really find out what it was capable of.

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Ah, great question. Mine was my father's Yashica Electro 35 GSN, it's roughly as old as I and it still works!

Yashica Electro 35 GSN

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I'm kind of modern, since my first camera was digital. FUJIFLM Finepix S3000:

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The best thing about this camera is that it has 2 LCD. The viewfinder is digital!

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2  
That's an... interesting design. –  Nick Bedford Oct 19 '10 at 8:54
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Nikon N2000 got it in high school - made me really love photography!

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My eyes.

I wanted, and still want, to get a record of everything I see.

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I was interested in learning photography for a while but never got around to it until I got my first real camera:
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From that moment (or actually a couple weeks prior), I read about photography like crazy. Then, a couple months later, I sold it for a K-x, heh. Yeah, I'm a neophyte.

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The Canon A-1, with the speedy 50/1.4 prime lens. I also loved the 24/2.8 wide angle. Here it is with the 50/1.4 - just look at that glass:

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Sadly it got stolen out of my car, and I've only recently gotten back into photography on the digital side.

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The Canon Powershot G1 is what made me fall in love with creating photos.

The ability to frame a shot, take it, and see the result instantly was the primary factor initially.

Canon Powershot G1

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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