What gear changed your (photographic) life?

John King

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As for digital, it was back in around 2003-2004 seeing the tonality, colour and clarity in 6x4" prints of images a friend had taken with her 5 or 7 MPx Olympus P&S. One of their more up market ones.

I then realised that film was probably all but dead.

Shortly after that, I got a s/h Nikon Coolpix E5000, and then a new two lens kit and E-510 in 2007. Been loving photography more ever since.

Digital photography finally helped me to dramatically improve my composition of form and colour, as did Adobe's navigator panel and quite a few books.
 

demiro

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Canon Powershot S1 IS. Dropped maybe $350 on it new in 2005, and assured my wife it was "all the camera I'd ever need" and that "I'd never want the complication of a camera with a separate lens". A bigger pair of lies has seldom been told, though I believed them true at the time.

That Canon wasn't a bad camera for it's day, but as I got in to photography I soon realized there were some serious limitations that could be resolved to some extent by acquiring more and better gear. Lots more. So I guess that camera is was set me off down a steep mountain, or up it, depending on how you look at it. I wouldn't have taken the plunge on a Nikon D40 straight away, but the Canon enabled me.
 

RichardC

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My first 'real'camera was a used Zorki 4 back in the early 70's once I'd started work.
I progressed to various SLR cameras and from then on it was the usual lifestyle situations with regular changes to accommodate family photos.
Probably the most significant move was getting a Panasonic FZ30 bridge camera later in life which convinced me of digital and I started enjoying taking photos.
It was only really in 2016, once retired, that I triggered my current interest with the purchase of a Panasonic GX80 with 12-32mm lens from Jessop's in Shrewsbury. Thankfully it wasn't @RichardC that sold me that set-up as I basically hated it from the start.
Fortunately I ventured forth from there and moving on from that, I am now hooked.

Not guilty. I was gone in 1991. Frank Jessop was still Chairman and it was still a chain of proper camera shops. Think the only digital camera in stock was a Canon ION which took magnetic discs.
 

fortwodriver

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Image stabilization. In my teens I developed an autoimmune disease that required I take a lot of steroids to control. With that I developed somewhat unsteady hands. IS allowed me to get more photos without stratospheric shutter speeds or being forced to use flash all the time.

The other is EVFs. I have some vision veiling (mild cataracts) from the same cause, it's actually easier for me to use an EVF than an optical finder now. Progress is good.
 

exakta

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The second piece of gear that changed my life...my first electronic flash, Vivitar 283. I was still using flashbulbs with my OM-1 in 1975 when I bought this.

oe-low-voltage-under-9v-with-sensor-adapter-3526-p.jpg
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I bought many of the system accessories, but none more useful than this "remote sensor" cable for mounting the sensor on a hot shoe for off camera use with full auto exposure. I put the flash on a light stand with an umbrella, with the AC adapter for instantaneous recycle.

14180214341_ff0ac526a5_z.jpg
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RichardC

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The second piece of gear that changed my life...my first electronic flash, Vivitar 283. I was still using flashbulbs with my OM-1 in 1975 when I bought this.

View attachment 880002

I bought many of the system accessories, but none more useful than this "remote sensor" cable for mounting the sensor on a hot shoe for off camera use with full auto exposure. I put the flash on a light stand with an umbrella, with the AC adapter for instantaneous recycle.

View attachment 880003

I had the remote sensor cord too :)
 

RichardC

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The second piece of gear that changed my life...my first electronic flash, Vivitar 283. I was still using flashbulbs with my OM-1 in 1975 when I bought this.

I bought many of the system accessories, but none more useful than this "remote sensor" cable for mounting the sensor on a hot shoe for off camera use with full auto exposure. I put the flash on a light stand with an umbrella, with the AC adapter for instantaneous recycle.

I'm pretty sure I still have one of these somewhere too...

-283-vivitar-283-professional-camera-flash-bounce-card-holder-9.99-57571-p.jpg
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grcolts

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My first dslr film camera which was a Yashica Electro X; I had two lens with it a 50mm and a 135mm. This outfit started me on my photography journey for sure. Shortly after purchasing it I was able to work at the Grand Canyon during three summers where I learned to hone my skills using only those two lens, mostly the 50mm.
 
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exakta

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Third and final piece of gear that changed my life: Fuji X10

This was the first digital camera I owned that was actually usable because it had no shutter lag and an OVF. The zoom focal lengths covered my favorite 35mm focal lengths. The zoom ring was also the power switch...genius! Only one control whele on the back, but pushing it in allowed toggling between two parameters. It had a focus distance scale with DOF estimate visible on the rear screen that worked with both AF and MF. I bought my E-M10 for better high ISO performance and more DR, but otherwise the X10 was a beautiful camera and I stopped missing shooting film.

x10_hood.JPG
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OldRex

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Excuse my very non-specific response but it clearly was:
  1. My very first SLR - A Canon T-70 I think. Bought duty-free in Fiji in early '85
  2. My very first D-SLR - A Nikon D70 I think
  3. My very first m4/3 - Olympus OMD EM5-II
 

Bushboy

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Film sucked real hard. Way to expensive and slow.
Digital was such a breath of fresh air.
Never really hit the jackpot until I got the M5ii. Focus and exp brackets. The affinity photo app.
Those 3 things, solid gold.
Lately, electronic flash has opened a new door, but it’s to early to tell if it is a game changer or just more ammo ammunition.
 

fredlong

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The thing that changed my photographic life the most wasn’t really gear at all. It was a 12 week online workshop with a photographer whose work I admire. Not technically impressive work. There’s a lot of that out there and lots of people teaching how to do it. Her images stopped me in my tracks and tug at my soul.

The workshop changed the way I look at photography. Or more accurately, it changed my relationship with photography. My relationship with MY photography.

If there’s someone out there like that for you and you can find a way to learn from them, your photography can change in a way that no piece of gear can ever equal.

If it must be a piece of gear, it would be the first flash I got, a Vivitar 283. It’s all about the light.*

*Except when it’s not.
 

Erich_H

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My (two) Holy Grails of photography must be:

1) my first SLR (and second camera): Zenit 3M with the beautiful chrome version Helios-44. What I really wanted was a black Spotmatic, but the economic wherewithal for such luxurious gear just wasn't there...

2) my third DSLR: the Pentax K100D Super with the kit 18-55 mm. The "Super" in the model designation was God's honest truth, compared to my previous Nikon D40, and Sony A230...
 
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