Snappy Clicky Pointy-Shooty Things

Another thing you can blame on my father is my interest in cameras and photography.

For a few years, dad ran a photography business on the side and gave me my first camera: a Chinon, which is Japanese for “piece of shit with lens”. (No, really, look it up.) I don’t remember the type, although it was probably a CM-3 or a CM-4, but what I mostly remember is not liking the zoom lens he gave me.

Eventually, and I don’t remember when, he gave me a Canon AE-1P, which was a much better camera and pretty much solidified my interest in Canon cameras. I used it off and on through university and two trips to England and into the Peace Corps where, in two years, I only took a handful of rolls of film.

(Note to people under a certain age: cameras used to be loaded with rolls of silver-embedded strips of celluloid that, through a chemical process, recorded light and, through another chemical process, could be printed as pictures.)

(Another note to people under a certain age: People used to print pictures and display them on their walls.)

Eventually, I moved to Japan and, surrounded by lots of new camera toys–including a six-floor camera store full of them–I rekindled my interest in photography. I used the AE-1 more and bought a cheap twin-lens Texer Auto Mat medium-format camera. Also, after watching a late-night TV show about Yasuhara, a small camera company making rangefinder cameras compatible with Leica lenses, I made my first large internet purchase and got on the waiting list for T981(Ichishiki). I liked that camera a lot, but mostly for the Leica lenses.

However, our oldest arrived and brought with her increased demand for more and more and more photos. When she suddenly became mobile, and harder to keep in focus, I traded in a bunch of stuff and upgraded to an autofocus Canon EOS 1V which was a professional level camera and remains one of my favorite cameras ever.

Although I liked the 1V it was too heavy to carry around, so I bought my first digital camera, a Concord Eye-Q 5062AF which was reasonably priced at 20,000 yen (about $180 at the time) and took great pictures in daylight. (It was useless in low light.) The important thing about this camera was it showed She Who Must Be Obeyed the usefulness of digital cameras, especially when all we had to do was take a picture, upload the files and send them out to friends and family to alleviate the constant threats of violence (all, it should be noted, directed at ME, not at SWMBO. #yesatme).

Several years ago I finally took all my analog camera equipment (which at the time included the EOS 1V, the Texer, the Yasuhara and three of the cameras my dad had owned when he had his business) and traded them in for Canon EOS Kiss Digital X (known as the Digital Rebel XTi i North America because what guy would buy a camera called Kiss if it didn’t have demon paint and a large tongue and couldn’t bite the heads off bats?)

Since then we’ve been 100% digital and have saved a fortune on developing costs, except when I found some old film in a box back in the USA. I bought a Canon PowerShot G9 because I got tired of carrying the Kiss in my bag (which, I realize, sounds kind of dirty) and bought She Who Must Be Obeyed a digital camera she, quite frankly, has zero interest in. (Her basic argument is that it’s my job to take pictures, not hers. End of argument.)

I still try to remember how I got by with only 24 or 36 pictures at a time and try to imagine what covering a sports day here in Japan would be like with a film camera. I do miss the EOS 1V, but don’t miss the size.

In fact, the only thing I truly miss from the film days is the little canisters film came in. They are great for carrying change and storing small things.

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