I know people who have an affectionate relationship with their autos. When I was young, the 1979 VW microbus that was the family car was named, for reasons I never understood, “Clarissa.”
Well, I don’t name cars. I can understand some affection for them, but a car is a pretty cold piece of machinery to me, and my heart lacks the capacity to wax poetical over a utilitarian device. When we traded off one cherry red minivan for another, my heart ached only for the unpleasant necessity of the car buying experience—it let the old van go with nary a look back.
What “things” are nearer and dearer to my heart? Well, bikes, for one. I could write about each I’ve owned, from the red one-speed that was my 8th birthday present when we moved to Iowa, to the blue Schwinn 1974 continental, the first 10-speed bike I owned (actually, the last 10 speed I owned since subsequent bikes have all had more gears).
Anyway, besides bikes, I’ve had some affection for certain cameras. Not all cameras—many film cameras have passed through my hands virtually unnoticed. But a few cameras have meant more to me.
First of all, there was the Minolta 35 mm SLR that I purchased in the fall of 1979, and which became my main camera for most of the next decade. It was trusty and durable, and shot a lot of black-and-white film that I developed myself.
Those were the days. Sadly, I did not do well at archiving many of those images, and they, like the camera, are part of history.
Flash forward to Cedar Rapids in the first decade of this century. When I became a faculty advisor to the student newspaper at Mount Mercy University, I encountered my first digital camera, a Sony model that required floppy disks to stare photos. Each disk held about 10 pictures, so instead of rolls of film, a photographer needed a stack of disks. Of course, one advantage was that the disks could be erased and re-used.
For the first year I was adviser, the photos were universally terrible, and the students all blamed the cheapness of that poor Sony. When I finally took a close look at it, I discovered years of finge prints on its lens, and a quick swab with a Q-Tip and some alcohol, and viola, the camera suddenly took crystal-clear photos.
Anyway, I didn’t own that camera; it just alerted me to the convenience of digital photography. My own personal digital camera was purchased in 2010. We owned a previous digital camera, but wanted a slightly better one to take to Puerto Rico for Jon’s wedding and chose a Kodak EasyShare model.
Well, the Kodak D-something EasyShare was a sweet little camera—10 megapixels per image, decent optical and electronic zoom, OK video, and lots of photo modes. The family got very tired of me snapping and posting numerous flower photos, but that’s just what happens when you put a camera in my hands.
Today, sad news, camera fans. The Kodak has been slowly going erratic, suffering from some software confusion that I have not power to fix. I tried reformatting the SD card, but the camera freezes on startup, wants the date entered but won’t accept it, and on a two-day bike trip this weekend, I could only get 4 images.
A camera you can’t boot up is not much of a camera.
The Kodak served me well, and I’ll miss it. It was nice because I always had it with me, and most of my posts on this blog feature images from that instrument. But, just as the Minolta eventually failed, so too has the Kodak. The frustrating thing is the Minolta lasted a decade, while the Kodak kept its act together for only two years.
I do own a “nice” digital, a Nikon SLR, but it’s not practical to carry with me all the time, so I need another, smaller digital camera. I want something that’s inexpensive, but shoots decent photos.
Do you have any suggestions, blog readers?