If I remember well my first serious camera and SLR was a Praktica. My mother got it for me when I started photography school. I was 16 and a very troubled youngster. Not only was I struggling with myself, I guess we have this in common, but I found it also very difficult to coop with the loss of my father, my god, my everything, 3 years earlier.
I loved the East German and cheap SLR but in a school, a class, where Minolta, Olympus, Canon and, God forbid, even medium format camera’s were daily routine, I felt like an outsider. Today I would embrace being an outsider but back then it felt awkward.
During summer holiday after the first year I did a summer job and bought a Nikkormat. But I was not happy as I felt there was a distinction to be made between Nikkormat and Nikon. My end goal was a Nikon.
Why Nikon? Well, I am a film freak and most photographers in movies use Nikon.
After my second year I did a summer job and sold my Praktica and Nikkormat and bought a Nikon F2 Photomic. The year was 1978 and the camera was my proud and my pleasure.
It was stolen out of the trunk of my car with all my other gear somewhere in the mid nineties.
In the eighties, when my sister went to art school she choose for an Olympus OM-10.
Until 2000 I used only Nikon cameras and then came the digital era. My very first one was an Olympus Camedia C-21 2 megapixel point and shoot and costed a whopping 1100 Euro.
My second one was an Olympus E-10 (4 MP) and a terrific camera. I still have it but it is broken.
Then I switched back to Nikon with D100, D70s, D200, D300 and secondhand D2h. I still have the D300 and D2h and some glass. Most of the better gear I had to sell after divorcing in order to pay the bills and the lawyer. That time, fortunately, lays way behind me.
In 2009 I got a Canon G10 as a more stealth and portable camera. It served me well but eventually broke down. I replaced it with an Olympus E-PM1 micro four thirds mirror less and I was able to get some high quality glass with it like the 45mm f1,7.
The image quality blew me away. Crisp, sharp and with loads of overhead in the RAW-files. The very cheap Fujian 35mm f1,7 CCTV-lens is one of my favourites for macro.
Soon the E-PM1 was replaced with the OM-D M10, an even better camera.
Then, October, November, I needed a new challenge and inspired by the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (did I mention I am a movie freak?) I returned to analogue.
There was the Bronica ETRSi and some lenses I already owned, and an Yashica Mat.
I got a Nikon F100 to replace my broken one and then I bought a Nikon F90x. In between, being very curious, I got my very first rangefinder, a Yashica Electro 35 GSN.
And then I got an Olympus OM-1n and everything fell into place.
It seems strange but without being aware of it ever since I have been collecting Olympus gear and now own a few good Zuiko primes, a few f4 Zuiko Zooms, a flash (T-20) and so on.
I really love the OM-1n and now there is a contender, a new mistress… the OM-2n.
A camera is nothing more than a tool that translates your vision into images. But I find it extremely important to feel that tool as an extension of my eyes and mind.