My first SLR . . . was free!

6 05 2008

I started out this blog entry wanting to write about Megapixel Mania, how the mighty megapixel has overshadowed all other considerations when buying a digital camera. I must attribute the idea of this topic to Tzy Wen. He had made a reference in his blog about how camera manufacturers encouraging this megapixel mania by selling the idea that more is better. And so nowadays it is not surprising to see point and shoot cameras possessing 12 megapixel sensors! I will talk more on this later. I’ll tell you how I first got into photography.

I have always been interested in photography. I bought my first book on photography before i even had a camera. Serious cameras meant SLR or single lens reflex. and they were expensive. Photography back then meant celluloid, film, negatives or slide, black & white or colour. Not only were cameras (the serious ones) expensive, film and slides were also quite costly for most to consider photography a hobby. A decent roll of film would cost anywhere between 5 to 7 ringgit and slides would set you back at least 8 ringgit. If you were to include the cost of processing, a roll of film would cost about 20 ringgit from the time you bought the roll to the time you have the finished photos in your hands. And a roll of film with 36 exposures might get you 38 if you’re careful and lucky. So with my financial responsibilities back then, buying an SLR was totally out of the question.

But I did finally get an SLR. After working for a few years, I decided that i would save up to buy myself a camera. What I wanted was a Nikon. So after months of saving I finally had enough money to buy myself . . . just the lense. hahaha! But hey times were hard. So you see, I even bought a lense before I owned a camera! It’s a 50mm F1.8 Nikkor which set me back 230 Ringgit. A princely sum for me in those days.

Then one day while at work i happen to join a few colleagues for a chat and the conversation revolved around cameras. I was asked what camera I owned. When I replied in the negative, one of them mentioned that he had an old camera he hadn’t used for a while and might consider selling. I agreed to have a look at it. He brought it in to work the next day and we had a look at it. He had even kept all the receipts form when he first bought it. I think I still have them somewhere. The shutter was sticky so I offered to send it in for servicing first. The deal was that when it came back and we had agreed on a fair price for the camera, he would minus the cost of the servicing.

I picked up the camera a few weeks later. I took the camera out of the plastic bag to show it to him. He tested it and looked at it for the longest time. I guess it brought back a lot of memories. I was about to make an offer for the camera but he suddenly handed me back the camera. He told me that i could have it for the price of the servicing. Effectively, he had given me the camera for free! If you ever read this posting, I wish to thank you so much for the gesture. I had so much fun with that camera. And yes, I still have it with me. Here is a picture of it together with the book I bought before I had a camera.

Nikon FE

And though I haven’t used the camera for years now, it still works perfectly. The shutter is silky smooth and the button battery I put in years ago still has enough juice to drive the exposure meter. One day soon I will write about film and megapixels and how I think film is still better if not more troublesome and expensive.

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