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What Was Your First "Real" Camera?

What Was Your First "Real" Camera?

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And second, what happened to it?

By Jack Howard

July 23, 2009

A conversation yesterday turned to talk of our first "real" cameras and where these are now. As I've mentioned before, for me it was a Ricoh KR-30SP, and I know exactly where it is.



My first "real" camera was this exact Ricoh KR-30SP with a Rikenon P Zoom 35-70 f/3.4-4.5 zoom macro lens and a Rikenon 70-210 f/3.9 macro zoom I got in December of 1986 as a freshman in High School. There was a removable power drive/battery grip that would crank the frames at a blistering 2 frames per second for skateboard action shots! I had a set of Cokin creative filters to mount to either lens in yellow and red for black and white effects, and a linear polarizer, 8-point starburst, and +3 closeup lens for either color or black and white special effects.

I eased this baby into retirement in late 1998, and migrated to the film-based EOS system beginning with a borrowed Canon EOS Elan II. It usually sits on the display bookshelf in our office, or, as is the case right now, on my desk, for the noble purpose of holding a Rode Stereo Videomic while I'm recording bits for the TechTock Podcast directly into Adobe Soundbooth.

This camera will continue its journey with me, primarily as a memento. It's no longer an active camera for me, although it still functions flawlessly, but it is now something else–a visible and visual reminder of where I came from that leads me ever forward.

I've since been through a great number of film and digital cameras since then, and only a handful of these hold any emotional attachment for me.


I imagine years from now, my Pentax K10D and 10-17mm Fisheye zoom which I used exclusively for my first eBook on HDR will be joining the Ricoh KR-30SP in a place of honor in my home. But there's still a lot of image-making left in that K10D, so it's still in active rotation. As you may remember, this kit traveled with me to St. Martin in April, to spend most of the time in the hotel safe while I relaxed on the beach with a waterproof Pentax Optio W60 in my pocket. But this one too, of all the cameras that have come and gone, is a lifelong keeper for me.

What are your stories? Where's your first camera?


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