Camera History

I bought my first camera in 1984, a Minolta X-700 with a standard 50mm lens. As time passed, I expanded the outfit to include a Minolta XD-7, 17mm and 20mm Ultra-Wide Angle lenses, 24-35mm, 35-135mm and 100-300mm zoom lenses. All lenses were genuine Minolta lenses. A motor drive for the X-700, a winder for the XD-7 and auto-bellows III were also added to the outfit. Polarising, graduated grey and neutral density filters were used as required. A Minolta SRT 303b, which used to belong to my dad, was also occasionally used.

Slide film was mainly used, Agfa CTX100 initially, occasionally Kodachrome 64, but Fuji Sensia II 100 ASA became the slide film of choice.

The manual focus kit went into semi-retirement when I purchased 2 Minolta 800Si bodies in 2005. They were used with a Tamron 19-35mm and Minolta 28-105mm and 75-300mm lenses.

A Minolta Dimage Scan Dual II scanner was used to digitise the slides for web use.

In 2007, I moved onto digital, buying a Minolta 7D as I could use the lenses for the 800Si's. I also purchased a Sigma 400mm lens, and on the 7D with its 1.5x cropping factor it was ideal for bird photography. The 1.5x cropping factor was a bit of a problem with the landscape photography, so for really wide angle shots, I still continued to use the 800Si's. I also started stitching the images from the 7D to make the panoramas. This opened up a whole new avenue to me. I have also experimented with HDR photography.

I still have all my manual focus Minolta kit, but it isn't used anymore, except for the bellows. Using an EOS-MD adapter, I can still use them for the occasional macro work.

In 2009, I sold off all the auto-focus Minolta kit and purchased a Canon 1D Mk II. With its 1.3x cropping factor, this was a good compromise for landscape work and is still better than 35mm for bird photography. I initially used a 20mm, 28-135mm and 100-300mm Canon lenses.

In 2011, I purchased a full frame Canon 1Ds as a backup camera to the 1D and to use where the cropping factor of the 1D was an issue with landscape work. This was replaced in 2014 with a 1Ds Mk II and the 1D Mk II became the backup camera, as the 1Ds Mk II became the camera of choice.

The 20mm and 28-135mm lenses were eventually replaced with a 16-35mm f4, a 24-105mm f4 and a 70-200mm f2.8 Canon L series lenses. A 2x Mk II convertor for the 70-200mm lens also gives me a 140-400mm f5.6 zoom. The 100-300mm lens wasn't sold, but found a new home with my travel outfit.

The 1Ds Mk II was subsequently replaced in 2016 with a 1Ds Mk III, and in 2017 the 1D Mk II was replaced with a 1D Mk III. I now only need to carry 1 set of spare batteries with me.

In 2022, both the Canon 1Ds and 1D Mk III's were sold and replaced with a Canon 1Dx Mk II. I lost the 1.3x cropping factor of the 1D, but this is more than made up with the more advanced sensor and auto-focus of the 1Dx Mk II.

I use a Manfrotto 190X Pro B tripod with a 410 geared head for the Canon 1Dx, due to the weight of the camera. I also use a Manfrotto 303 panoramic head.

I also use a Formatt-Hitech Firecrest filter holder and have 16, 13, 10, 7 and 4 stop Firecrest ND filters as well as 1.5, 1.2, 0.9, 0.6 and 0.3 Firecrest soft graduated ND filters. I also have Formatt resin 0.9, 0.6 and 0.3 graduated ND hard edge filters.

In 2012 I had purchased a Panasonic GF1 with a 14-42mm lens which was used when travelling light was essential, as the 1D Canon's are too heavy for the likes of hillwalking or mountain biking. This was replaced in 2013 with a Canon 100D with an 18-135mm lens. It is still small and light enough for travelling light, and it allows me to use the lenses from the other cameras. A Canon 10-22mm lens was also purchased to complete this outfit.

With its 1.6x cropping factor and attached to a 100-300mm lens, the 100D is good for bird photography. Its low noise sensor and the 10-22mm ultra-wide angle lens, also make it good for night time photography. This outfit is ideal for taking on holiday when weight is an issue, as it can all fit in a small rucksack.

A Canon EOS-M with an 18-55mm lens was later purchased for taking out with the mountain bike when space in the rucksack is really limited, but photo opportunities require more than a point and shoot camera. This was replaced in 2020 with a Canon EOS-M6 with a 15-45mm lens. An 11-22mm and a 55-200mm lens complete this travel outfit. An EOS-M to EOS adapter allows me to use the lenses of the main camera should the need ever arise.

The 100D was replaced with an EOS-M5 in 2021 to rationalise the camera outfits. The 10-22mm and 18-135mm lenses were also sold as they were now surplus to requirements.

For the EOS-M5 and M6, I use a Zomei Q666 tripod with a Beike BK-03 ball head. This tripod makes an ideal travel tripod due to its light weight and compact size and it can easily fit in a small rucksack.