Photography has led me down many different paths since I bought my first 35mm camera at age 17, way too many years ago. It was a used Minolta SRT100 I picked up for $92.50 (I still have the camera and it's in great condition). I bought the camera so I could snap pictures to use as photo references for the paintings I was doing after school. I took my art very seriously. By the time I was 18, I was selling my paintings through a gallery just off the 101 Freeway in Agoura, CA. At the time, my photography was limited to images to help me with paintings. I never imagined that my photography would ever become a career.
Now I earn my living as a freelance commercial photographer in the Santa Barbara area -- though I often travel to areas like Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo for work. Compared to my first Minolta, my current Nikon digital cameras are a technological wonder, allowing me to instantly view my images via a high definition screen. That sure beats having to wait a week for film to be sent in and returned from the photo lab, the entire time wondering whether or not the photos would turn out as I had hoped. There are a lot of good reasons today's technologically advanced cameras are a better choice for a commercial photographer. But, I still have a fondness for the simpler film cameras of the era that started me on my photographic journey.
About a year ago I started collecting "vintage" cameras, primarily rangefinders and SLRs from the 1960s and '70s. They have a certain personal nostalgic appeal to me, and I'm drawn to their style and relative simplicity compared to today's cameras. Apparently I'm not the only one who admires the retro-styling of these vintage cameras. FujiFilm recently released a new digital camera called the FujiFilm x100s that looks nearly identical to the rangefinder cameras of the 1960s. The difference is, it's a state of the art, fully digital camera: http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x100s/ Following FujiFilm's lead, other manufacturers such as Leica, Olympus, Pentax, and Nikon have also released their own new cameras with the vintage look. The cool retro styling paired with state-of-the-art digital technology seems like a perfect match for my aesthetic leaning and digital needs. I'm tempted to buy one, but for now I think I'll keep my genuine vintage cameras completely separate from my contemporary ones.