I started with photography in 1964 when I was studying in 6th or 7th standard. The first film roll that I used on my father’s Kodak Brownie had disastrous results – unknown to me, the front element of the lens had fallen off!
I then went to Idar, my native place in Gujarat, and there I saw a Kodak waist-level box camera at a relative’s home. The camera was unused for a very long time. I cleaned it as best as I could and went looking for a Kodak film since the word ‘Kodak’ was mentioned on the camera. I then came to know that the film used in this camera was known as 620 format and that the camera would yield 8 frames per roll. The Kodak film was not available and hence I bought a Fomapan film and took some snapshots of my relatives. At the film-processor’s shop in Kalyan, I met a person who was then working for Marg Publications. He liked the photos and encouraged me.
In 1966, I bought my first camera (Bunny, 120 format) along with 4 rolls and went on my school excursion to Ajanta-Ellora. In 1969, I graduated to a Yashica 635 (120 format) camera but soon realised that its non-interchangeable lens was not to my liking. Someone suggested that I should have bought a Konica Autoreflex 35mm type camera instead of the Yashica 635. So that was my next camera – the Konica Autoreflex! Once again, I realised that I was misguided because though the camera was a 35mm type, the lens was not interchangeable! I dumped the Konica and purchased a Yashica J7 SLR which had Pentax-mount thread for lens interchangeability. After using this camera for some time, I started to learn about its drawbacks and eventually got myself a Minolta SRT 101. This happened in the year 1971.
As I Progressed…
In 1973, I upgraded to the Nikon brand and up to 1986, used different Nikon SLRs, like the Nikkormat, Nikon F, F2 with Motor Drive, FA, FE and F3 Titanium. Simultaneously, in 1982, under pressure from ad agencies, I had also bought a 120-format Hasselblad 500 with 80mm f/2.8 ‘Normal’ lens and a 50mm f/4 Distagon ‘Wideangle’ lens and also used these lenses with extension rings when needed. After 1982, Mamiya came in with the medium-format Mamiya 645 Super with interchangeable film magazines and I once again shifted my loyalty – this time to Mamiya, with 45mm Tilt/ Shift lens and sold my Hasselblad kit. 1986-1990 saw me using a large-format Sinar F with 135mm f/5.6 Sironar and 46mm f/5.6 Super Angulon lens. I used the Sinar F with a 6 x 7 cm film holder.
In 1990, I switched over to Olympus OM-4T since they came out with a 24mm f/3.5 Perspective Control lens (at that time, Nikon only had the 28mm and 35mm PC lenses). In those days, I had paid Rs.29,000/- for the OM-4T body and Rs.29,000/- for the 24mm f/3.5 PC lens!
Between 1992 and 2007, I switched to Canon. Readers might want to know the reason for my frequent changes. My professional work demanded certain lenses and formats which were not available with every manufacturer. Hence whenever the requirements changed, I had no choice but to switch to a manufacturer that offered those lenses/formats.
Within this period, I used Canon EOS 5 (film camera, Eye Control), 1n, 20D, 5D, 1D Mark III and 1Ds (Canon’s first full-frame digital SLR). I also used extensively, the Canon 24mm, 45mm and 90mm Tilt/Shift lenses.
2008 saw me back with Nikon with the full-frame D3 and the Df in 2013, which I still continue to use. |SP