About camera equipment I use(d) and my considerations

These pages on photography have been included to answer questions I often get and some hints and tips I find useful, that may also be useful to you.

I have owned many cameras in my life, starting from when my dad gave me a small Kodak Instamatic when I was about 10. However, my interest in photography did not really start until I was about 20. I was at my first year in university, and a travelling friend of my father was given an amount of money to make the purchase on his next trip to New York, cameras being considerably cheaper there than in my country. I gave him some ideas what I wanted (SLR of a known brand with possibility for all manual settings). Luckily for me, the money was enough to get me a Nikon FE with a 50 mm f1.4 Nikkor. It immetiately gave me that "good feeling" that a quality product gives, and the results were great, unless I flawed. I still have it.

I have had several Nikon camera bodies after the FE, but always came back to the FE. A collection of lenses has also been acquired. I also have owned some compact film cameras, mostly Nikons, the latest being a Nikon AF600. Very compact and with a fixed 28 mm lens it even managed to expose those critical slide-films well.

Digital cameras never really fancied me until the year 2002. Quality was unacceptable and prices were high. I used a Nikon Coolpix 990 in 2001, and found it quite good. However, it was no match for my old SLR on quality, and too expensive and bulky to replace my compact. In 2002 I lived in Singapore and went to a Canon demo-room in the Funan centre IT mall, and basically asked: How good are digital cameras these days? The staff member I talked to said: Allow me to take a picture with one of our cameras and print it in A3 size (about 11x17"). My main requirements for the camera was small size (it should replace my film compact), it should have manual settings in addition to auto, and preferrably offer an uncompressed file format in addition to JPEG. I have always been a happy Nikon-fan and was a bit reluctant on Canon. However, I found no good competitior from Nikon. I ended up buying the Canon S45 camera and the Canon 9000 printer that had been demonstrated to me. My idea was that this should be an introduction to digital photography and learn something about it before considering an SLR replacement. I also needed the printer for other purposes, including the need for A3 prints.

The Canon S45 and 9000 printer purchase was a success. My S45 have taken more than 15 000 pictures. Prints produced by this equipment combination was better than I expected, and my old film compact was immediately retired. I also started to leave my Nikon FE at home more often unless my main intention with an outing was photography. The Canon S45 had all the features I could ask for (with the exception of an advance display of a histogram shown before you shoot, and 28 mm wide lens). I think no other family of digital camera models include such collection of quality features in a small packages as the Canon S series. I have later tried many different digital cameras including those from Sony and Nikon, and never regretted that I purchased the S45. I know at least 5 other people that have purchased the S45 or S50 on my direct recommendation, and none have regretted it. I still think they Canon S series are the best digital cameras if you cannot accept a larger camera body. However, all these compact cameras have small CCD picture sensors and tiny lenses that do affect quality. The cannot compete with SLRs (digital or film) unless a major technological advance is done (when do we see the first +10 Mpixel full frame compact?)

(c) Thomas Høven 2004