What Cameras Were You Using Ten Years Ago?

NikJuli1

The Nikon FM3a with MD-12 Motor Drive and 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor and a print from the combo. My dream kit in 2006 🙂

Hi good people. You might think with all these “extracurricular” postings that we have run out of cameras to review. Not by a long shot! But…

Just like we and Elvis “can’t go on together with suspicious minds,” I can’t go on with these long late night postings 🙂

As I’ve said before, it’s a labor of love, I get very little if anything financially from this site. Only the satisfaction that someone may have benefitted from the info posted here.

I’m not saying I’m stopping, just explaining why sometimes it takes a while before you see a new review.

But I’d like these pages to be seen as something more dynamic than your typical review site which is why I created series such as “The Best Camera I Never Knew” or the ever popular “Tuesday Titans” and now the random “Photo Of The Day” series.

With that said, today we take a look back at the cameras and lenses used back in 2006.


WHY 2006?

2006 was a very exciting year for me as far as cameras and lenses go. Digital cameras were really coming into their own. Cameras like the Nikon D1X, Canon EOS-1D Mark II, and Olympus E-1 ruled the day and indeed, the Nikon D1X and Olympus E-1 were my go-to cameras in 2006.

I got my first Canon L lens, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS which I got off a poor college student on Craigslist. I sold this later to fund the purchase of an Epson R-D1, which was the world’s first digital rangefinder camera. While I don’t regret the R-D1, I did regret selling that Canon because subsequent copies I got were never as sharp as that first one!

I was also fascinated by the Sigma Foveon technology and had just acquired an SD-10, which was actually released in 2003.

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“Sinner” 2006. Sigma SD-10, Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8. A man known as “Samir Abu Charupa” contemplates on why he cannot give up his bad habits. The reason? He is a mere mortal, a sinner 🙂

I loved the files, but I was not so thrilled that to get the best out of the camera you had to use the Sigma X3F (RAW) files and the slow Sigma Pro software. Surprisingly, even today ten years later, Sigma has the same paradigm: Superb files, slow processing. It’s amazing actually that they have not been able to improve this to a level competitive with today’s cameras and this is indeed the reason I gave up on Sigma.

SDPancake

Adapting lenses have taken off in recent years, in large part due to the popularity of mirrorless systems. I’ve been using adapted lenses for a long time. Here in 2006, was my Sigma SD-10 with an adapted Pentax 40mm f/2.8 Pentax-M manual focus pancake lens.

Ten years ago, I was (and still am) into film cameras. I was shooting a Bessa R3a, which I hated at first because I was getting soft focus until I fixed the rangefinder on it. I sold it off plus a few other items to buy a Nikon FM3a. I saw this camera as an investment too as it was Nikon’s last all manual classic camera. I also got a Nikon Fm2n with the 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor for $90 total on Craigslist. Steal of a deal, deal of a lifetime! 🙂

For my point and shoot, I was shooting film with my trusty Konica Hexar AF which  I got in 1997. And in 2006, I got the Ricoh 8.1mp GRD which I have written a lot about. Both are my favorite point and shoots of all time.

CelesteCan

“Take My Picture” 2006. The joy of photography with the (then) new Ricoh GR Digital 8.1mp camera.

So, ten years ago, what did you shoot with and how did it affect your photography? Take a moment to think about that and if you’re not too shy, then feel free to post your results in the comments to share with others. Thanks and have a great week!

 

The Force Awakens: The Konica AiBorg aka “Vader Cam”

KVC

The Konica AiBorg from 1991, also known as the “Darth Vader Camera” for its dark and menacing looks.

 

In honor of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, today we pay tribute to the Force with the camera affectionally called the “Darth Vader Camera” or as I prefer to call it “Vader Cam.”

That camera is the Konica Aiborg, a 35mm point and shoot camera introduced by Konica in 1991.

The AiBorg features a 35-105mm f/3.5-8.5 lens and is distinguished by its futuristic and indeed Darth Vader-like good looks 🙂

This is one of the funkiest cameras I’ve ever seen! I give Konica a lot of credit for allowing its designers to not only create this monstrosity, but to then manufacture this thing, and then release it for sale to the general public!

I got this camera a few months ago for $10 and I wasn’t even looking for it! That happens to me a lot, I guess the cameras come to me 🙂

I wish I could tell you more about it, but I got this baby in non working state and after leaving it in my “junker” bin for a few months, I just started fiddling with it recently. I cleaned the battery compartment and it came back to life!

The Force did indeed “awaken” but I am not sure it’s functioning properly. If you’re really interested in this camera, there are a couple of good reviews on this camera if you do a search.

What I can say is that the AiBorg is definitely a unique and menacing looking camera, in some ways, not unlike the Canon EOS-1 that I profiled on the last posting. A cross between beauty and butt ugly. It’s big and bulky, almost like a bridge camera.

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The rear controls on the AiBorg. Good luck trying to figure this out without referring to the instruction manual! It ain’t gonna happen 🙂

The ergonomics and controls look like you’d need a star map to figure this camera out! I’ve always said, one of the hallmarks of a good camera is when you can figure it out without referring to the instruction manual. The AiBorg definitely needs a manual if you want to figure out all of its functions.

If I can confirm this camera is working properly, I’ll pop a roll of film in it and report back to you on these pages.

Other than looking like Darth Vader, the AiBorg is not particularly valuable or collectible. If seeking one for your collection, prices are trending at $10-70 and it really depends on what you’re willing to pay. Personally, I wouldn’t pay more than $10 and I didn’t 🙂

In the meantime…May The Force Be With You!!

The Koni-Omega System

KoniC

Koni-Omega Rapid 100 and 90mm f/3.5 Super-Omegon

Awesome and affordable brute of a camera.

This was my first medium format camera back in the 90s. The system itself dates back to the 50s, although the Rapid 100 was a later production model, maybe 70s or early 80s. There are numerous bodies including the Konica Press, Rapid, Rapid M, and maybe a couple older bodies. The Rapid 100 and 200 seem to be the later models and probably better buys than the older models.

In the 90s, I became interested in medium format photography after reading a book by the late Leif Ericksenn called “Medium Format Photography.”

He had some photos from the Koni-Omega that he used on a tv production and I began to seek one out.

The Koni-Omega is a rangefinder camera system that consisted of several bodies and interchangeable lenses. The lenses are sharp. They make for excellent images on 6×7 negatives or slide film.

They are not expensive, but big, bulky and a bit fussy to use, which is probably why I sold it. However, the Koni-Omega system is capable of excellent results at a bargain price. The lenses have built-in leaf shutters and the cameras do not need batteries to operate. But again, they are BULKY and I suspect that is the reason they end up getting sold by owners who sell them.

Prices are trending anywhere from $50-200, depending on body, lens, and other accessories.

If you want to get your feet wet in medium format photography without breaking the bank, this is it.

Note: Sorry I do not have any photos from the Koni-Omega to share with you. As mentioned, I got it in the 90’s and at that time, there was no such thing as a great economical home photo scanner, at least not one that could do medium format on a budget. However, I do remember having prints that were done for me by a photo lab, and if I can find them, I’ll be sure to scan them in and update this article. Thanks for stopping by.