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Old Feb 10, 2014, 9:04 PM   #1
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Default Your first camera and the story behind it...

My first camera was the basic Pentax SLR, the S1a.

I was 19 years old and bought it in 1968.

The S1a topped out at 1/500th of a second, with no self timer, no hot shoe...not much of anything but a rugged metal body and a lens.

I recall that the camera, with it's 50mm Takumar (F 2.0) lens and beautiful black leather ever ready case came to $ 159 CAD.

It also didn't have a light meter. As a result, I needed to buy a hand held Sekonic Light Meter for $ 9.95.

Both still work.

I bought it for my work at a publishing company. I was an editorial assistant and the publisher told me that in addition to my editorial assistant duties, I would have to take photos....in order...' to make myself more useful.'

So I did, although I don't know if my usefulness increased.

I asked him what kind of camera to get. He said a 35mm SLR...either a Nikon or a Pentax. I knew nothing about photography or cameras for that matter so I asked the head of the company's photography dept. for advice.

He suggested a Pentax as it was around $ 10-20 cheaper than the basic Nikon (Nikkormat) camera.

I've never been without a Pentax since then.

What was your first camera and what was the story behind getting it ?

Last edited by lesmore49; Feb 10, 2014 at 9:10 PM.
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Old Feb 10, 2014, 9:23 PM   #2
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First camera was a Sears which I believe was made by Ricoh. Had a Pentax K mount and was match needle similar to the K1000. Camera is long gone but still have the 50mm 1.7 kit lens. Bought in 1978 to start taking pictures of my kids. First real Pentax was a Super Program-the rest is history.
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Old Feb 10, 2014, 10:30 PM   #3
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While I had a number of instamatic cameras as a teen, they aren't memorable and I don't remember much about any of them.

The first "real" camera I ever had was a Pentax ME. My father had had a Contax SLR (I still have it though it doesn't work) and I figured I'd never get into SLR cameras - too complicated with the light meter and so on. But I enjoyed taking pictures with the instamatic (and a Polaroid I also owned) because I didn't need to know anything about photography.

I was dating this really nice guy in 1980, who got the wrong impression because I always had a camera with me. I've always wondered why he bought me a SLR camera kit (Pentax ME, M 50mm 1.7 and Takumar 135 (it was an uncoated K-mount lens that came as part of the kit) - maybe he wanted to impress me. In any case, since all of a sudden I had a good camera, I decided to figure out how to use it properly and started reading.

Not long after that I met my parents in Germany (where I was stationed) and my father was really impressed with my Pentax, his Contax having died. He went home and bought an ME Super and f1.4 lens, along with a Kiron 80-200 lens.

I read about wide angle lenses and picked up a 24mm f2.8 lens - one that I didn't like at all, having no feel for wide angle at the time. Instead, I happily shot with the two kit lenses and the ME for 20 years or more, dragging it along to many national parks and other places I visited over the years. The film advance finally died, but by that time my father had had a stroke and couldn't manage an SLR - he gave me all of his equipment (which I still own).

That boyfriend who gave me that camera all those years ago? I sometimes wonder if he regretted buying me that camera - he ended up buying me a Sony F717, then a Pentax DS, K100, K10, K20, K7, and K5, along with numerous lenses and other equipment over the years. I'll be always grateful for him giving me that first camera, it's been a wonderful hobby that I might not otherwise have discovered without him. Whenever I pick up a camera (I still own the K100, K5 and now the K3) I send a prayer of thanks up to him for giving me so much pleasure over our many happy years of marriage.
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Old Feb 10, 2014, 11:21 PM   #4
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A very nice story Mtngal.

I too have been very fortunate. My wonderful partner has been very accommodating in supporting me and my camera equipment and photography addiction, over the years we have been together.

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Old Feb 11, 2014, 6:16 PM   #5
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My first real Camera was a Ricoh TLS 401, strange camera 42mm mount and it had a combined eye-level and waist-level finder. Well not really waist level you could put your eye to the top of the pentaprism and after flipping a switch look down or invert the camera and look up. Came in handy for looking over people. I replaced it with a ME Super and have stayed with Pentax. Then came Digital and I moved to Canon P&S cameras returning to Pentax with the K2000

...It is better to burn a roll of film than curse the darkness. Equip. K30, Q7, DAL 55-300, DA 35 f2.4, DA 50 f1.8 DA 18-135, SMC-M 28 f3.5, SMC M 50 f1.4, Canon P&S S100 w/CHDK Beta, Panasonic DMC-GM5, Flickr:
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:00 PM   #6
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First camera, a Diana which never worked. Second camera, (first working camera) Kodak Instamatic X15 (still have it and the box it came in). First "real" camera was a 35mm SLR, a Mamiya 35mm with m42 mount which had a 1/500th top shutter speed, I traded it to a friend for a Yashica D TLR medium format camera in 1979 but he now has the Yashica back. First Pentax, an ME Super with winder, this, along with a K1000, was what I shot with from 1981 until 2005! First DSLR a Pentax *istDL which my wife gave me for Christmas 2005. She took the money I was saving under the guise that I was giving it to the kids when they asked for money so she would take care of it for me, anyhow she topped it up and bought me the DL and a Lowepro Micro Trekker 200 backpack for Christmas. My first thought when I opend the gift was, what am I going to do with a camera backpack when I only have a point and shoot digital camera? then I opened the bag and nearly fainted when I saw the contents.

I will tactfully avoid what happened since the *istDL, just let me say that not many people can claim to have owned three Fuji S2 pro cameras. I have drifted (briefly) into Nikon mount cameras, but that is over (for now at least). I had a great Minolta Maxxum 7000 film kit so I purchased a used Sony A330 and gave it to Annette so that the Pentax gear is now all mine. I do have micro four thirds cameras and lenses now but they are more for travel and when I need to pack light. My current Pentaxes came from another member here (care to guess who) and include two rugged bodies, a K20D and a K7. My son has the K10D, from the same source, with him in China.

Although I am not as active here as I once was, posts like this remind me that these cameras have also resulted in some long distance friendships (we seem to have discussions here that go beyond mere acquaintance). Thanks for starting this thread.

BTW I gave the K100D Super (an excellent camera) to my sister in law since she has been gracious enough to put up with having Annette (my wife, her sister) live with them as we transition from Newfoundland to New Brunswick. I put the FA 28-70mm f4 lens on it and gave it to them so that they could get something a little more substantial then cell phone images (megapixels aren't everything)
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Pentax K7, K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-PM1, E-PL1, E-P2, E-P5: 9mm to 150mm lenses


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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:57 PM   #7
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My first camera purchase was a Polaroid 250, bought in '68 to record my first 'vacation' to Southeast Asia. Lots of nice things about it, but the pictures were pretty small, and have deteriorated over the years. Unfortunately, it didn't survive, though I did, so I call it a win.
Second time around, I picked up a Yashica Lynx 14E rangefinder and an exposure meter. Had a grand time with the camera and learned much about exposure, aperture and shutter speed. It survived the war, but not the peace - was in a coffee shop at the SF airport waiting for a flight out, when a busboy dropped a tray of dishes behind me (first day back from second combat tour) and the camera ended up under me when I found myself under the table. Still, a win.
First SLR was (and is) Minolta SRT 201. Match needle exposure control, fast 50mm lens. Never found that I needed more camera than that (though I did get a Vivitar Series One 70-210mm lens for it). Used it until I went digital. I think I may have used nothing but Tri-X pan for the entire 1970s.
My Pentax IstD seems to be about the closest I have come to the manual SLR experience, though I have a couple other digital cameras.

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Old Feb 12, 2014, 3:09 PM   #8
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When I was in the navy in the early 80's, I purchased the Minolta 110 Zoom SLR.
Why, I don't know, I think I was use to my Kodak 110's my parents used to get me, and it was very small, easy to store on my limited locker space on board ship.
I actually enjoyed this camera, and got many great (considering the film size) pictures while I visited foreign ports.
Minolta 110 Zoom SLR
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Old Feb 14, 2014, 9:13 AM   #9
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My first real camera was a Kodak Instamatic 500 that I bought in Germany while I was stationed there. It had a good quality German lens and took great pictures. My first real 35mm camera was a Fujica half frame camera. Problem with that was it was hard to find a place that would print the pictures. I didn't have that very long and I believe that format died fast.

Olympus OMD-M5, HLG6 grip, Olympus 4/3rd 35mm macro lens, Panny/Leica 25mm, f1.4, Olympus 17mm, Canon Pro 9000 Mk II Printer, Canon MP990 Printer, Slik U212 Tripod, Manfrotto monopod, MMF3 converter.
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Old Feb 16, 2014, 12:43 PM   #10
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These are some great stories. Mine's a little different. Traveling north to Mount Shasta in 2002 to take a new job as a newspaper reporter where we took our own pictures, stopped in camera store and bought my first camera, a 3.1 megapixel 2x zoom Kodak DX3900 for $349 (come a long way haven't we). It was the first 3 megapixel camera in the newsroom and everyone was so excited by the ability to crop. And it had a 2.0 lens! I knew nothing about photography, but read a lot and practiced, practiced and practiced some more. In 2003, I got a call that there had been a cabin fire in the mountains and I raced up to get the story. I got the below shot when the cabin owner turned his head just I shot (the redness in his face is not over saturation, he got burned trying to save his possessions. He lost everything). My editor thought it was a classic and as it turned out it won a California Newspaper Publishers Award for spot news photography. Beginner lucks out with first camera. Go figure.
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