Canon AE-1 Program (1998-2010)
My Canon AE-1P deteriorated due to neglect. It was my first professional camera. We had lots of wonderful times. The Canon AE-1P helped me to learn the basics of composition, mostly. I discovered the joys of pushing film, for example, I would push 100 ISO film to 400 ISO and 800 ISO film to 3200 ISO etc. Looking at these high-contrast black & white and colour contact sheets keep me highly amused.
It takes FD-mount lenses. I have high regard for FD lenses.
The Canon AE-1P is a magnificent camera. Mine ended up in the waste paper basket, tattered and rusted.
This Canon AE-1P was my first SLR camera of any description. I would have never sold it. It would have been sitting somewhere at home, had I known about Silica Gel in the early 2000s.
Canon 300D (2002-2008)
My first digital camera of any description.
I paid Photokina (in Girgaon, Mumbai) 59,000 rupees for my Canon 300D. It came with a 18-55 mm lens. I purchased a Canon 90-300 mm lens two years later. It cost me 9,000 more.
I found it difficult to adjust to the 9-point autofocus system after 5 years of manual focusing. And the IQ of the 300D at ISO 800 and higher was atrocious. This was a big problem because I like making pictures in low light.
I had published a few articles, photographs and photo essays earlier. But “Sentinel through the ages”, my photo story about Murud Janjira Fort near Alibaug was my first big editorial achievement. All the 10 published photos were clicked with this Canon 300D.
I photographed Joe Satriani in 2005, and Roger Waters, Walter Trout, Jethro Tull, Bunny Brunel’s jazz quartet and a couple of other international bands who’re not worth mentioning before selling off the camera and the two lenses for 11,000 rupees in 2008.
Yashica Mat (2008-2014)
Yashica Mat is a 6×6 medium format film camera. It was the first Yashica twin lens reflex (TLR) camera with crank advance. Mine had the 80 mm lens, which is an indication that it was manufactured between the years 1957 and 1968.
I purchased my Yashica Mat from “B B Vartak & Co” on Dadabhai Naoroji Road in Fort, Mumbai. I might have paid 3,000 rupees and an additional 500 for the lens hood.
I do not know anything about the original owner. But I sold it to a lad from Bangalore who got in touch with me through J.J. Mehta & Sons Classified Forums.
I have kept the lens hood as a remembrance of our times together.
I paid B B Vartak & Co 24,000 rupees for this Fujifilm GS645S Professional 6 x 4.5 medium format film camera. Mine had the 60 mm “wide” lens. The same lad from Bangalore purchased this camera too.
Both, my Fujifilm GS645S Professional and Yashica Mat traveled to Bangalore bubble wrapped, in the same cardboard container via. DTDC Courier Service. I was paid 8,000 rupees for both cameras plus shipping and handling charges.
The Fujifilm GS645S Professional camera wasn’t in “professional” condition. The rear side of the lens had started to lose its coating and the body had started to rust. The Yashica was tired too.
I have kept the lens hood as a remembrance of our times together.
Canon FD-mount Lenses (2013-2015)
I purchased almost a dozen FD lenses in 2013. The idea was to use these FD lenses on a Canon DSLR with the help of FD-EOS adapters. It was a complete waste of time.
I had three 50 mm f1.4 lenses, a 24 mm f2.8, 28 mm f2.8, 35 mm f2.8, 50 mm f3.5 macro, 100 mm f4 macro, and 135 mm f2.8.
This other lad, also from Bangalore purchased most of my FD lenses. He was in Mumbai, working on computer graphics for the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, which was going on at the time.
Olympus PEN E-P3 (2013-2015)
I wanted an Olympus PEN E-P3 ever since its release in 2011. This new camera was unparalleled to anything else in the world of photography. I eventually found a used black Olympus PEN E-P3 listed on OLX Classifieds. The owner had lost the front cap, body cap, strap, and anything else that might have been in the box. Nevertheless, I purchased it for 15,000 rupees.
Months later, I purchased a used silver Olympus PEN E-P3 with its front cap, body cap, Sandisk 4 Gb SD Card, strap, DVD, and case all in place for 15,000 rupees.
Now I had two.
I bought “electronic viewfinder VF-3”. I then bought one more “electronic viewfinder VF-3”. The two electronic viewfinders cost me 21,000 rupees, two-two different-different original Olympus lens hoods for the 14-42 mm lens 3,600 rupees, two leather “half jackets”, 3,000 rupees, and ultraviolet filters, 1,500 rupees.
The 17 mm F 1.8 lens cost me 29,900 rupees, JJC metal lens hood, 3,000 rupees. B+W 46 mm UV filter, 4,000 rupees. Optical viewfinder VF-1, 3,000 rupees. Madness.
I eventually sold off my black Olympus PEN E-P3 along with the 14-42 mm lens, lens hood, 37 mm multi-coated ultraviolet filter, and electronic viewfinder VF-3 for 15,000 rupees on ebay. It was shipped to Delhi via. Blue Dart Courier Service.
I’m still contemplating whether or not to sell the rest of it. (Update July 2018: I sold the silver EP-3 along with the viewfinder and some extra batteries for 12,000 rupees).
This camera has an awful dynamic range. Images clicked at ISO 800 or higher are unusable, I reckon. However, it can produce wonderful images up until ISO 400. Colour reproduction is better than any Canon or Nikon camera that I have come upon, and the 17 mm F 1.8 lens is excellent.
Nikkor 500mm f/4.0P ED-IF Lens (2012-2016)
I was looking for a good wildlife lens. I thought about the Canon 400 mm f5.6 but 400 mm was never going to be enough. The Tamron 150-600 mm was a strong contender. But I wanted a prime lens.
After countless hours of browsing through every used camera outlet on the Internet, I purchased a Nikkor 500mm f/4.0P ED-IF lens. This is a manual focus AIS lens of the 1990s. It mounts on Nikon DSLR cameras. My idea was to use it on a Canon DSLR with the help of a Nikon F-Canon EOS adapter (I never owned a Nikon DSLR until months later).
I took this lens to Keoladeo National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary twice, and once to the Thar Desert, in 2014 before selling it to a corporate stalwart from the western suburb of Malad, Mumbai in 2016. He is to retire soon.
I purchased my Nikon D300 from Adorama for 18,000 rupees, it had done less than 4,000 actuations. My Nikon D300 sold for 23,000 rupees in 2016. It had done a little more than 12,000. I did throw in an Aputure battery grip, two original EN-EL3e batteries, two fake EN-EL3e batteries, and the original battery charger to sweeten the deal.
With 51 focus points and 8 frames per second, this was my first truly “professional” digital camera. The Nikon D300 helped me acclimatise to the challenges and technicalities of wildlife photography. However the 12 megapixels did not suffice and IQ is poor at ISO 800 and higher.
Nikon D200 (2014-2015)
I purchased the predecessor of the Nikon D300, the Nikon D200 as backup. It cost me 20,000 rupees. I sold it to a lad from the Punjab for 17,000 rupees (ebay). I hadn’t used it much. In fact, never.
Fujifilm GW690 II (2014-2016)
Purchased for 18,000 rupees off ebay. Sold for 18,000 rupees through Quikr Classifieds, having never loaded a roll of film even once. Enough said.
Bower 500mm f/8 Manual Focus Telephoto T-Mount Lens (2013-2016)
This Bower 500mm f/8 Manual Focus Telephoto T-Mount Lens came with a Vivitar 2X teleconverter, a set of 67 mm filters, a flimsy tripod, and a cheap camera bag. The “kit” cost me 11,000 rupees.
It’s a decent lens for amateur video.
After using it once in 2013, I sold it for 4,000 rupees in 2016 along with the teleconverter, set of filters, and the metal lens hood that I had purchased separately, to a lad from Mumbai. He found me through OLX Classifieds.