Inspirational Cameras

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by OzRay, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    This is a bit of an weird one, as I don't usually look at things in this way, but today I realised there have been three inspirational cameras in my life; the Pentax MX, the Olympus E-1 and now the Olympus E-M1. What's weird is that I've owned lots of different cameras in my life from medium format to P&S but, in looking back, these three have been pivotal cameras that have really inspired me to take photographs. Maybe they have arrived at pivotal times in my life, but that doesn't quite seem the case when I examine things closely, other than that the E-1 got me back to SLR photography in the digital age.

    I haven't felt such a pleasure in taking photographs, since the E-1, like I do now with the E-M1 and I'm actively looking to photograph things that were previously of little interest. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm so at ease when using the E-M1, which is quite the opposite when it came to the E-3/E-5 that I was using previously. The lenses are the same, but there is something about the camera that allows me to relax and more or less forget about it when I'm taking photographs. I think it's how I reacted when I first got the E-1 and it made me want to take photos and not think about the camera itself.

    Has anyone else found a camera that seems to suit you so well that it becomes sort of an extension of you when using it?
  2. ThereAndBackAgain

    ThereAndBackAgain Fighting GAS

    May 26, 2014
    North Devon, England
    Real Name:
    +1 for the Pentax MX. It just fell into my hands in exactly the right place as soon as I got hold of one.. All the information in sight and a wonderful meter. I gave my last one to a student about 4 years ago and after a couple of days she said "It just makes me want to take pictures!"
  3. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    I saw an MX at a local swap meet recently; seemed quite a bit more compact than the ES and Spotmatics I'm familiar with.
    Unfortunately the winder knob was broken off.

  4. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Real Name:
    Jan (John) Kusters
    Long ago the Olympus XA and the Mamiya 645, and 2 years ago the Olympus EM-5... Big part of the magic of all three was the pleasure of handling them; I would go out and take pictures just because I liked playing with them so much. I have had other camera's, and used many more, but most remained tools, a means to get there. These three were more.

    The really surprising part is that I never expected it from any of them at the time of buying. I usually bought them just with a specific use in mind. The XA was bought to use during my stay in the army (need something small and light to care everywhere, and with enough control to get things my way). The Mamiya was bought with studio work in mind (cheaper on film than 6x6 or 6x7, and faster than any view camera). And the E-M5 was bought for travel and primes (small and light, and good enough image quality). All three turned out to be favourite work horses for pretty much anything.
  5. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    I have a special attachment to my Pentax Spotmatic. They were very good cameras and virtually bulletproof. The MX was tiny, quiet and reliable. So why wouldn't you have fond feelings for it?

    Although the E-1 was a little larger, you appear to like small cameras. Perhaps because they allowed you to spend lest time "hauling" and more time exploring?

    For film, I now use my OM-4... I feel like that camera makes me want take photos...otherwise I have the E-M1 by my side and I feel that it's such a great camera - especially with the 17mm 1.8 lens.
  6. Viktor1135

    Viktor1135 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 23, 2014
    My GM1 for getting me back into photography after 20 years using cheap point & click cameras to capture moments by enabling me to take a good camera with me wherever I go.
  7. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    The Olympus mirrorless cameras in general seemed like getting out of jail compared with the Pentax DSLRs I was using previously. Good as they were (and I preferred them to Canon or Nikon), my first PEN had more accurate metering and more fluid usage thanks to the lack of a mirror and heads-up display in the EVF. This doesn't get mentioned as much as it should, as it is a game-changer. No longer did I have to flip between viewfinder and back (or top) panel to see all the information I needed.
  8. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    My most inspirational camera was a Konica Auto S-2 rangefinder. It was also my first serious camera, and, when I look back on all of the film cameras I ever owned, including Minolta and Nikon SLRs, Leica rangefinders, and a range of medium format gear, I probably took more genuinely outstanding photos with that Konica than with any of the others. Probably because I was new to Photography and completely unaffected by any preconceptions of what my photos SHOULD look like, and since it had a fixed lens, I wasn't worried about what gear to use when taking them.
  9. CharlieL

    CharlieL Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 2, 2014
    Burkburnett Tx USA
    Real Name:
    My inspirational camera was a Petri Racer. I used and carried that camera all over I liked the simplicity and size of the camera. I still keep the camera around although I have not shot film in years.
  10. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Spotmatic with handheld meter followed by the Leica M3.

    To a certain extent MFT will most likely be the next influential system in my later life. It showed that I didn't have to choose between photography and family because it slots in so well into ones lifestyle.
  11. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    A Polaroid Swinger when I was 7, when all the other kids spent their pocket money on sweets and toys I bought film. Then a Canon AE1p, even though I had an F1 and an A1 I felt most at home using the lower range camera, Leica M3 with 50mm Summicron the 1to1 finder made it a pleasure to shoot. Minolta Dimage 7i first decent digital I had and then finally the EP-1 just so nice carrying a small cam with such great IQ
  12. Durtball

    Durtball Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 28, 2010
    Gahannna Ohio
    Contax G2. Most beautiful camera I ever owned.
  13. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    My inspirational camera is the Nikon d700. Full frame with a great viewfinder, and super low light performance. I've had mine for 5 1/2 years, and, coupled with the 85/1.4, it has never failed to perform and delight. No plans to "upgrade" it.


    My latest inspiration is the Olympus ep5 and an array of affordable native u4/3 lenses. It's beautiful, and despite its diminutive size, it delivers heavy-weight results. I think I'm in another long term relationship.

  14. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    For me, I don't think the size of the camera has ever been a determining factor, it's always been about the ergonomics, I think. I never warmed to the E-3 or E-5, though they were the cameras that took the most photos in recent years (for work). They performed reasonably well, certainly much better than the E-1 for what I used them for, but they were in no way inspiring. With the E-M1, I just want to go out and take photos and it goes pretty much everywhere with me, and I think it inspired me to dump my website and start a blog (the E-1 inspired the website). And when I look at the photos that I take with the E-M1, they have the same sort of feel that I got with the E-1, the photos came easily, if that makes sense.
  15. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    The MX was my favorite film body. It's now with the art dept. for the film photography course. Of course, I ran far more rolls of film, i.e., Tri-X, through my SP500 when that was my only camera for years. In the digital era, I'd have to lump the "Pens" all together. They are very similar cameras and they really opened up the my volume of digital photography.
  16. m43man

    m43man Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    For me, it is the GM1. It taught me what settings are best for a variety of situations where normally I would never have a camera with me. All the leasons are transferrable to large ca,era when I want higher IQ.
  17. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Real Name:
    Despite taking photos in one form or another for close on 40 years I really haven't owned a lot of cameras, maybe 15 odd over the years, however, the E-M1 has re-invigorated my passion.
    But, yep there is a but... I think it is more about the lenses. The E-M1 with attached grip feels so solid and photo ready and sort of demands I pick it up and shot photos with the pro feeling, it just instills confidence. However it would all be a waste without interesting glass that enables more than casual snapshots.
    The adapted canon 85-300 spends an in-ordinate amount of time on the camera and I have now completely fallen for Bokeh after playing with the Samyang 85mm over the weekend.
    Sort of amusing my two favourite lenses are full manual.
  18. banj911

    banj911 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2014
    QLD Australia
    The camera that got me into the game was my beloved Minolta X-700, simple, robust and great viewfinder. It was a great camera to learn the basics on, all the controls you need and none you don't.
    For digital, my first DSLR, and I've still got it, my Oly E-500. Crappy viewfinder (esp in comparison to the X-700!), poor high ISO but the Kodak sensor has a special quality and matched with my favourite lens the 50-200, I have taken some images I have been really happy with. I hope to pick up an E-M1 soon so I can keep loving my old lenses.
  19. nancyr

    nancyr Mu-43 Regular

    May 17, 2014
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    My first real camera was a Pentax MX, so I'm happy to find kindred spirits here. Loved the traffic-light meter, but it couldn't hold a candle to the LX in handling. (I should sell that thing, but then I pick it up and...)
  20. Atom Ant

    Atom Ant Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 24, 2012
    Melbourne, OZ
    Real Name:
    My first camera to excite me was an old Box Brownie that was passed on to me by my grandfather when I was in Grade 5 or 6.. I had used my father's cameras before, but this was MINE. While it didn't have a lot of bells and whistles it did allow me to discover monochrome.

    My first SLR, yes, exciting, but I'll leave out of this list.

    My first AF SLR, meh, just a tool.

    The next camera to make the list is my Sony α300. I had stayed with film until I couldn't afford to shoot any more due to the price and availability of film. My last SLR was a Minolta, so I had a bunch of nice glass for that mount. When the α300 was superseded I bought one because it was heavily discounted and I liked it more than its successor. Unburdened by the limitations of film I rediscovered a freedom in shooting. Technically the α300 was nowt special, but it worked for me and got me inspired to make images again.

    My E-M5 was a revelation, and was purchased to replace a burgled but insured α77. Really like it, lovely to use with at least the first part of the grip, happy with my decision to move from Sony APS to μ43, but it doesn't crack it for this list.

    Now my principal camera is my E-M1, and it does make the list. It's taken all I like about the E-M5, added better ergonomics and a few other nice bits, and I just want to use it.