A History of my Equipment

More for the benefit of fellow photographers (and as I am often asked about it by e-mail), below is a description of the kit I use and have used over time.

When I started doing photography back in the late 1980’s when I was about 13, I started out with an Olympus AF1-Twin. Then I upgraded to my first SLR, an Olympus OM10, when I was about 14. I used it for many years as my main and only camera, until 2004 when I bought a Nikon F60. I still own the Olympus OM10 in fact and it still works! In 2005 I exchanged the F60 for a Nikon F80 and used that until 2007.

In 2007 I ‘went digital’ (for a while) and bought a Nikon D70s. Using it and a 60mm Nikon Macro lens I was published for the first time by the World Wildlife Fund in 2010 with this – a butterfly photo that was in the World Wildlife Fund 2010 calendar.

In 2011, I bought a Nikon F5 – perhaps the best 35mm film camera in the world. I bought another the same year. By now I owned a 20mm wide prime, 50mm f1.8 standard prime, 60mm Macro prime, and an 80-200mm telephoto. That was annoyingly all stolen later in 2011 leaving me with just one F5 and no lenses!

So I then sold my Nikon D70’s to raise a little money and migrated to medium format by buying my lifelong dream camera; a Hasselblad 501CM. I now have the Carl Zeiss 80mm Plannar, 120mm Macro and 150mm long lenses that I use for the majority of my photography with the Hasselblad.

Ironically, I also acquired two further Olympus cameras in 2018 – another OM10 and an OM20 with some further lenses. As time goes by I increasingly find myself using the vintage equipment more; it’s like I’ve gone back in time! Such equipment is just built better (metal instead of plastic etc). It works really well and more modern benefits like auto-focus can be a help but they can be an irritant too. I find the more I use older, manual equipment, the better at using them I become and the better my photographic results. It’s true that such equipment does not lend itself so well to the “modern journalistic” styles that people seem to like these days. But for carefully considered photography, I think they excel and it is that kind of photography that I typically do.

In all my time as a photographer, I’ve never really fell for the apparent advances of technology and instead stuck to what I know and love. My Hasselblad has no electronics so no batteries are needed. That means a much lesser risk of failure on-site, especially in extreme weather! It never fails me and I’ve taken it to some extreme places where it’s -18 degrees and snowing and 37 degrees in baking heat. It always just works except for the occasional jam now and again. The Nikon F5 has never, ever, missed a beat. And my Olympus kit always just works as well as long as I make sure it has stable batteries.

Nikon F5 Camera
Hasselblad 501Cm with 80mm lens