Digital cameras I have owned and used

Be prepared - this is a long list!!
** indicates I still have it.

OLYMPUS C2000Z
2MP. The size of a large box of matches. Battery life measured in minutes! £700 or something ridiculous. I used this in my portrait studio in London. On a tripod & plugged into the mains it produced usable images. Very basic by todays standards but it produced some great pictures which i still sell today. It is still used 8 years later by my sister-in-law for holiday snaps.
PROS - It took pictures that I sold!
CONS - You name it. Speed, Build, Quailty of image. Lets just say - it was of its time.


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OLYMPUS E-10
The camera that banished film from my life forever! 4MP. Built like a tank. With the battery grip attached it looked serious! Certainly my studio clients took this a lot more seriously than the C2000Z.
This was the first digital camera that i used outside the studio. It produced 1000's of images that have graced the pages of many magazines, books and websites. Easily capable of printing up to A4. A3 at a push.
PROS - Looked good, Excellent Handling, Quality of images.
CONS - Very slow saving images, Raw file conversion slow and cumbersome (No Adobe camera Raw at this time)
















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MINOLTA 7i
Funky little 5MP compact that had some of the best "out of the box" images i've ever seen. Very few images needed a levels adjustment which is very rare even now. Same problem as the Olympus. Very limited slow software for Raw files. At the time I bought it still no Adobe Camera Raw. Very nice to handle. I also liked the electronic vewfinder - not great quality but very good for getting exposures spot on.
PROS - Light, Decent quality images, Good Handling.
CONS - Terrible battery life - always running out of power.

















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FUJI S2 PRO
My first DSLR. 12MP (or is it?) Lots of argument about this camera. Fuji's way of organising the pixels caused a lot of debate when this camera appeared. In practice it turned out to have slightly more resolution than other 6MP cameras but less than a genuine 12MP camera. Files produced were excellent quality but always needed a lot of post processing.
PROS - Good file size, Excellent performance at high ISO.
CONS - Two sets of batteries!! always running out of power, Images needed work.














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KODAK PRO 14N
If Canons are the BMW's of digital SLR's then this is the AC cobra. Capable of incredible performance if you know what you are doing but in the wrong hands a terrifying beast with the capacity to do incredible damage! 14MP on a full-frame sensor. Incredible colour (like medium-format Velvia) Still the best resolution of any DSLR I've ever seen. (No anti-aliasing filter)
So whats the downside? Well along with the great colour and sharpness came a whole lot of fringing, noise & artefacts. Every image took an eternity to process. Raw files essential and images at ISO 200 and above were awful.
However I often regret parting with it. It was a shame Kodak didn't persevere. They have now stopped making any DSLR. However I suspect the beating this camera got in the photo press & on the web made it difficult for them to continue.
PROS - Incredible results under very specific circumstances.(Raw, Low ISO, lots of light)
CONS - Very poor results in every other situation.













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PENTAX *istD **
Pentax & I go way back. My first 35mm SLR camera was a Pentax. So was my last. I used a Pentax 645 medium format film camera for may years. This camera (which i still have) fitted with its battery grip is the best handling camera i've ever used. Its feels like its been custom made for me. 6MP images with the best high ISO performance i've ever seen. ISO 800 on this is about as noisy as ISO 200 on other cameras. This is why its still in my bag.
PROS - Perfect handling for me, Great low light performance.
CONS - Bit slow now, Images tend to be a little soft.












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OLYMPUS E20
Bought out of nostalgia for the E10. I bought it when it was about to be discontinued together with the wide angle & telephoto adaptors + the incredible 400mm equivalent which was like a telescope fitted to the end of the lens. These attachments cost an absolute fortune when they first came out & i always wanted to try them out. However I never had the courage to use the 400mm as it looked just like a rifle when fitted! I imagined a scenario of armed police swooping on me when i was trying to take a picture of a squirrel!! 5MP excellent image quality. When i bought it Camera Raw was up and running & I could see the potential of the raw files.
PROS - Same as E-10
CONS - Only marginally faster than E-10














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SONY DSC-F828

A bizarre camera in many ways. A very strange shape with with a rotating lens barrel!!. I actually quite liked it. I always found it very comfortable to use. This was the "purple fringing" camera. It got hammered in reviews because of its very bad chromatic aberration. It was also incredibly noisy above ISO 200. However at its best it was actually rather good. Had incredible spec. Just about everything you would need fitted as standard.
PROS - Nice feel, Could produce good images.
CONS - That "Deep Purple" Unusable at high ISO.

















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PENTAX *IST DS
Wonderful little silver machine. 6MP - images sharper than *istD. I used this & the *istDL fitted with a set of the Pentax Limited lenses. 31mm, 43mm, 77mm. in silver also. Wonderful lenses. This was like a Leica or rangefinder outfit. Very light with superb prime lenses.
PROS - Excellent Image quality. Looked sensational!
CONS - No battery grip. (If Pentax made one I'd still have these cameras - I like the balance you get from a battery grip. Without one I find a light camera body & a heavy lens can be very uncomfortable to use)













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PENTAX *IST DL

See above.

















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PENTAX Optio 750Z
Thought I'd use a small compact - have a take anywhere camera etc. The Pentax was very retro looking & produced decent quality images. However I really can't get to grips with not having a vewfinder. This camera has one but its completely inaccurate - thus making it pointless.
PROS - Nice design. Good quality Images.
CONS - Viewfinder waste of time, No Raw files.
















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KODAK DCS SLR/N
An upgraded version of the PRO 14N. A lot better in terms of speed. This started at ISO160. Dealt with some of the noise & artefact issues though not all. Again incredibly sharp results with excellent colour rendition. Usable up to ISO 800 at a pinch. However Kodak decided to stop making it and eventually stop supporting it - so the range was really going nowhere. A real shame because this camera produced some of the best images I've ever seen. In many respects it was no worse for noise than many other better received cameras. (See below!)
PROS - Great Image Quality.
CONS - Still noise etc. problems.













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NIKON D2X
Here we go. First the good news. Probably the best designed camera I've ever used. Very Pretty! Very easy to use with all the features you might need. I had it in my hands for 10 minutes & I knew how to operate it. A typical Nikon in this way.
BUT & its a huge BUT - the noise levels on the images were appalling. Noise kicked in at ISO 200. I found ISO 800 unusable. This on the top of the range Nikon professional camera. I'm far from alone in this view. I know at least 10 pro photographers who ended their long term relationship with Nikon after this camera. Myself included. I was incredibly disappointed. I remember looking at the images with incredulity. A well-known and long-established picture library I contribute to made it very clear that they wouldn't accept images taken on this camera at above ISO 200. A smaller gripe is making photographers pay for Nikon Capture on top of the camera. Particularly as at the time I bought it it was not very good.
I hear the D200 is better. Well thats cheered up lots of D2X owners! I suspect the executives at Canon were rubbing their hands with glee when they checked it out. I was actually quite angry about this camera. I expected a lot more. I really wanted this to be THE ONE!! I even bought some VR lenses so I could use the low ISO settings but this wasn't a complete solution & it was consigned to Ebay. Considering the hammering that the Kodak DSLR's got in the photo press I'm staggered that this camera still gets good reviews. Ultimately its the image quality that matters most & the D2X failed to deliver for me.
PROS - Great feel, Nikon Build and Design.
CONS - Image quality, Image Quality Image Quality!!!











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Sony DSC-R1
Without doubt the best bridge camera ever made (up to now) Everyone who reviewed it raved about the lens (A Carl Zeiss 24-120 equivalent) and with good reason. Incredibly sharp images. However Sony decided to make it look and feel terrible to use. I persevered but ultimately gave up the struggle as I got to a situation where I hated taking it out because it felt so "clunky". This is a personal preference but ultimately a camera has to feel good in the hand - & this didn't feel good in mine. I actually preferred the 828 in handling terms.
PROS - Extraordinary image quality.
CONS - Strange design.





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CANON 5D

12MP. An excellent all-round camera in every way. Full-frame with 12MP which means larger individual pixels giving very good performance at the higher ISO's. I shot images at ISO1000 & was staggered at the lack of noise and overall quality. Had problems with fringing however & the images were always a little flat and needed a lot of post processing.
PROS - Full-frame, Low Noise
CONS - Images a little flat











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CANON 350D

8MP The best selling DSLR of its era. Bought as a backup for the 5D. Without any doubt the worst DSLR I have ever used. The images were so soft that I thought I had a lens problem! Washed out dull colours. Very cheap feel. Like most Canons this got rave reviews & I'm sure it made a lot of money for the company. Just shows you should never believe a review! Maybe I got a faulty one.
PROS - It was very light!
CONS - Everything else!
















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CANON 1DS MK.2

16MP. The big one. Obviously excellent resolution. Full-frame. Images were more "punchy" than the 5D, even though its an earlier camera. Produced Incredible jpgs. Loads of features I never used. Did just about everything bar make the tea! I'd still have it if it wasn't for the weight. I began to get what I thought was RSI in my right arm. I stopped using this camera & it went away. I started using it again & it came back. So it had to go. Shame. I sold it to a Formula 1 photographer who was going to use 2 of them fitted with fast 300 & 600mm lenses! He did admit to a fairly serious shoulder problem!
PROS - Almost Everything
CONS - The weight - unfortunately.














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CANON 400D

10MP. Backup for the 1DS MK.2. After my experiences with the 350D I was a bit wary of this. Still the same cheap feel but in terms of image quality a completely different camera. Much sharper and "punchier" than the 350D. It actually produced very decent images - though still suffering a bit from that "Canon Colour" look. I do like a lot of colour saturation. Comes from years of working with MF cameras & Fuji Velvia pushed 1 stop. (Now thats colour!!!)
Sold to make way for the following.
PROS - Good Image quality. Light.
CONS - "Cheap" feel.












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PENTAX K10 **

10MP. I don't think I've ever waited so impatiently for a camera. I am self-confessed Pentax fan. This can be a frustrating business as Pentax take their time. It is a very nice camera which makes excellent images (If you shoot RAW) Its beautifully built with weather seals & feels really solid. The price ia also very attractive. Finally I have something to do my 31mm F1.8 Limited lens justice.
It did however cause one of the biggest ever controversies on the Dpreview review site. http://www.dpreview.com/
(For those of you that don't know it already i highly recommend it.) Phil Askey, the sites owner, reviewed this camera & while giving it a very positive review included his opinion that the jpgs. the camera produced were strangely soft. This provoked a very nasty forum debate which accused him of all sorts of anti-Pentax bias amongst other things & showed the really unpleasant side of internet forums & the almost football-like support that some enthusiast photographers have for their chosen brand!
He was of course absolutely right! For reasons best known to themselves Pentax have chosen to process the in-camera jpgs in a peculiar way. The files are soft and its very difficult, if not impossible, to sharpen them successfully. This is in complete contrast to the raw files which are excellent, Sharp & with excellent colour. This is a shame. I shoot Raw the majority of the time but like the option to shoot jpgs. if I need to. I would not be happy shooting jpgs on this camera & that is something Pentax need to adress.
PROS - Very good design & build quality. Excellent Raw images.
CONS - In-Camera jpgs. Heavier than I would have liked. Limited Dynamic Range.









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FUJI S5 **

12 or 6MP. Fuji see the great selling points of this camera as the extended dynamic range & the low noise at high ISO settings. Both work very well and are the reason for me buying the camera. The debate about whether its a true 12MP or just a 6MP sensor are mostly irrelevant since it produces images capable of A3 reproduction which is all I need. The images could be sharper and the in-camera jpgs are not wonderful, though the Velvia simulation is really good. Fuji also produces some of the worst camera manufacturer Raw conversion software ever made. Its difficult to describe just how slow it is. I have a Macpro with quad core processors and it still crawls. A disgrace really.
PROS - Excellent dynamic range, Good high ISO performance. Good design & (Nikon D200) body.
CONS - Images could be sharper. Terrible software.












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SIGMA SD14 **

14 or 5MP. My new best friend!! The camera I have been waiting for. Kodak slr/n performance without the problems. Forget everything that you hear about this camera only being a 4.7 MP camera, forget everything about poor high ISO performance. The Foveon technology in the sensor really works. This camera produces the sharpest images I have ever seen from a DSLR. It also produces the best colour. The images jump out of the screen at you. It has a very good ISO performance & the ISO800 setting is very useable. For a Travel / Landscape Photographer its almost perfect. Ultimately what really sells an image is the colour & overall impact of the shot. Its no accident that travel photographers used Fuji Velvia almost exclusively in the film days, as all that saturated colour really gives an edge when trying to sell images to clients. I do a lot of multi-shot images combining many pictures together to produce huge files. I have some 150-200MB files created from up to 40 images taken on the SD-14 & they have to be seen to be believed. Unbelievable sharpness and resolution. For once the hype is true. The 3-colour process does yield significantly better results than conventional Bayer sensors.
If you read a review saying anything different to this - ignore it!! They simply don't know what they are talking about or need a white stick!
Is there a downside? Well yes. Its a very slow camera. 6 shots in the buffer & a long wait until you can shoot again. Some of my multi-image shots take a long time! I presume its the Foveon technology doing its thing that slows it down since these days this sluggish performance is very rare.
However I can live with it because of the images. If Foveon can ever come up with a full-frame sensor & higher pixel count then look out!
PROS - Image quality, image Quality, image quality!!!
CONS - Very slow buffer.











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to be continued.........................