My crazy list of digital cameras, I currently own

Ok, I’m almost embarrassed to create this list of cameras that I currently own. I use several actively, some less so and some are just sitting there, on the shelf. You can tell I’m not big into eBay or Craigslist. I just can’t be bothered or I figured not its worth my while to sell my stuff. I know people who sell on these sites all the time, and they seem to like it. Maybe I’m too lazy or just don’t trust the process enough.

Current Cameras

Ordered roughly from small to large

Apple iPhone 4S I’ve never gotten into any kind of serious iPhoneograhy. I mainly use this to shoot historical signs on buildings, price tags at stores and to record GPS coordinates.

Panasonic ZR-1 I bought his camera refurbished for $80 and made some surprisingly good point and shoot photographs. It’s small and I can easily carry it around in my pants pocket. It requires tricking its consumer oriented controls to make the really high quality photos. But that was part of the fun and challenge, proving to myself that I can make great photos with a cheap camera. Ultimately, it’s not good enough to take my most important photographs at the quality I want.

Sony TX5 I bought this camera 3 years ago before a trip to Hawaii. It is a fun waterproof camera. Perfect for worry free photos around the beach and swimming pool. Image quality is okay for what it is. However, I have taken some priceless photos of my kids at the beach. Photos that I would never have gotten with my other “serious” cameras since I wouldn’t have shot those in 4 feet of ocean water.

Olympus XZ-1 My most recent camera purchase. I happen to see this on the Olympus website, refurbished, for a ridiculously low price, which I couldn’t pass up. This is my current carry around camera, though it’s too big to put in a pants pocket. I shoot with it through airports and I’ve made some really decent looking photos with it. I also bring it to shoot casual family activities and snaps of friends and coworkers. Its image quality is strong but it is not good enough for my serious landscapes or to record the important family events.

Olympus E-PM2 Currently, my most used camera. I bought it last year before my winter trip to the East Coast. Believe it or not, this camera has the highest image quality of all my cameras, besting even my DSLR, the Canon 7D. I shoot almost everything with this camera, urban landscapes, HDRs, family events, street photography. About the only thing it doesn’t do well is fast action sports. As a bonus, the camera is so light and compact — if I put my 14mm lens on it — it’s not much bigger than the Olympus XZ-1.

Olympus E-PL1 This is the camera that got me hooked on Olympus and micro 4/3. It’s slow focusing and a bit cheap looking but it takes fantastic photographs. I liked it so much that I ended up buying two refurbished units. I use these less now since I purchased the really snappy E-PM2.

Olympus E-P3 This is my favorite camera for an ergonomics, aesthetics and usability. Image quality is slightly better than the E-PL1 but falls behind the newest E-PM2. Its metal build and light retro styling makes it a high quality camera and a joy to use. Several people have made positive remarks about its styling and some even thought it is a film camera. What I really wanted, before I bought the E-PM2, was this E-P3 body with the new Olympus sensor. Alas, Olympus didn’t release it last year when I wanted it. This is my second most use camera and I typically have it paired with the excellent Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 lens.

Sony NEX-5 My first foray into mirrorless system cameras, I used it extensively until the Olympus Pens gradually took over. I got it before my trip to Disneyland and Southern California. I also shot with it in India, Singapore, New York and of course in and around Austin. Urban landscapes looks great but manual HDRs are a pain to do (it doesn’t have bracketing at +/- 2 stop intervals). My main issue with the camera is with the skin tones of my family, I just didn’t like them. Most reviews don’t talk about it but, to my eyes, I see a greenish-yellowish cast to the images. Newer versions of the NEX have improved on many of the shortcomings of this first NEX camera.

Canon 7D My big DSLR, which was my workhorse, until mirrorless system cameras began to replace it. In the beginning, I used it for everything. Now I tend to shoot sports, portraits and special events like Fashion Week and SXSW Concerts. As I got used to the smaller, lighter cameras, the 7D felt old and heavy. Its image quality no longer impresses even being equalled or bested by the newest mirrorless cameras like the Olympus E-PM2. I do have the excellent Canon 70-200 F4 IS lens which is better than any zoom for the Olympus or Sony systems. Canon is really strong is telephoto lenses, the mirrorless cameras still lag in this area.

Retired Cameras

Ordered by when it was purchased.

Canon S300 My first digital camera bought back in 2002. It is 2.1 megapixels. I bought it to document the building of my house. I calculated back then that if I took about 1200 photos, this digital camera (about $350 if I remember correctly) would pay for itself in film development costs. I ended up taking many more photos and it launched my interest in photography. Sure, I took photos with a film point and shoot previously but digital really fueled my love for photography. I have no personal nostalgia for film. I hated the way most of my prints looked when I got them back from the store. The camera still works though the battery may only hold a charge for a couple of minutes.

Canon S2IS My first upgrade from the S300, after shooting it for 4 years. This 5MP camera is where I learned how to use the P S A M modes. I bought it before my first family trip to Disneyland and Phoenix. I shot the hell out of this camera and really started fine tuning my photography. It’s the only camera I own that does not work fully. It turns on and I can review pictures but it can no longer shoot photographs. The CCD seems to be broken.

Canon Rebel XT My first DSLR. I bought it in 2006, 5 months after I bought the S2IS. My friend let me use his Canon D60 for a weekend and I was hooked. The speed, image quality and oh that shallow DOF, really blew me away. My wife saw the pictures of the kids taken with the D60 and immediately gave me permission to buy a DSLR. Despite the great image quality, I was a bit hesitant to spend over $1000 after already spending money on the still new S2IS. I’m glad I did. I have loads of great quality photos of my boys when they were young. Something that all the money in the world, now, would not be able to reproduce. Family photos lead to photos for the school year book, soccer photos, karate photos and eventually to urban landscapes. I must have taken at least 30,000 photos on the Rebel XT.

Fujifilm F31fd Long before the popular X100, Fujifilm made another cult classic, the Finepix f31fd point and shoot. It had a reputation for outstanding image quality in a compact body. Even back then, I wanted a smaller and lighter alternative to the Rebel XT. I bought this camera in Japan for under $200 when the exchange rate was a very favorable 120 yen to a dollar. I used it a fair amount but it didn’t work as well in darker areas since it lacked image stabilization. My father got one too and continued using it until recently when he upgraded to an Olympus Pen. I still have this camera and I should compare it to the modern point and shoots to see how it does.

Canon 20D I bought this camera, used, back in 2009 for $270 or so during the depths of the financial crisis. Sales must have been really slow because I picked this camera up at a ridiculously low price back then. I took some of my favorite pictures with it and they still look good now. I also loved the feel of this camera. It was my first prosumer camera and it worked loads better than my Rebel XT. A year or so later, the camera started getting unreliable and I upgraded to the Canon 7D. In the year+ I actively used the camera, I must have shot 40,000 frames. This is the only camera that I no longer own.

The final tally

10 current cameras
4 retired cameras
1 camera that I no longer own.

Crazy but true.

If I go through with my camera upgrade plans, the mix of cameras will change a bit.

20 thoughts on “My crazy list of digital cameras, I currently own

  1. Brilliant – you will make my husband’s day with this posting! He has a hoard of cameras also – we have Trademe here in NZ – like Ebay, but it is his addiction for buying rather than selling……

    1. I don’t know about Trademe but eBay camera gear seems to be over priced. I much rather buy used, refurbished or new cameras from reputable dealers.

  2. I would have you beat, except I gave cameras to my granddaughter, son, and daughter-in law. I’ve got a Nikon Coolpix I hate and never use. I gave the Canon T3 to my granddaughter. I gave the Canon A640 to my son. It’s old, but still takes amazing pictures. I gave my Rebel EOS — the last film SLR — to my father when I went digital. So what’s left?

    Canon S100 — I carry it everywhere. The PL-1, P3 and now the PM2. The Olympus 800uz I bought for the super zoom — I use it to shoot birds nesting on the other side of the pond,. It was cheaper to buy the camera then to get a really long lens for shooting birds. The Canon Powershot sx260 HS — shorter superzoom and not as good (or fast) as the S100 but a lot faster focusing than the 800uz which is a pig.

    For everything else, I love the P3 best and I pair it with the 45mm 1.8 lens. I have the 14mm Lumix lens on the PM2 and the 40-140mm on the PL-1. And then I have the Panasonic Lumix that came with the 14mm … which I don’t use much, but sometime carry it with the “normal” 14-42 on it, just in case I need the lens because I find it easier and faster to change cameras than lenses. Scary how they accumulate, isn’t it? That’s 8 counting the coolpix. And I think I’m going to rehome that one. They breed when we aren’t looking 🙂

    1. Re-gifting is always a good way to go. I actually have 3 working film cameras I haven’t mentioned as well as 4 very classic cameras on display, which I didn’t add on this post.
      Decided to keep it all digital for now.

  3. You make my collection look small! I’m down to 2 DSLRs and the X100. Well, digitally speaking anyway. 🙂 I tend to sell or trade things I don’t use any more, often at the time of upgrade. Digital cameras don’t hold value well so I figure it’s best to move them once I’ve gotten my use out of them, hopefully while they are still worth something. I’ve sold through ebay and Craig’s List but it can be a hassle. Lately I’ve done more trading in at Precision or KEH. Very easy and painless. I traded my m4/3 stuff in at just the right time, right before E-PL1 prices plummeted.

    1. You’re absolutely right. The digital stuff does lose its value quickly and you are doing the right thing. There are some cameras that I should have sold off earlier when they had more value.

      On the other hand, a bunch of my cameras were bought at a much lower price as factory refurbs.

      Also, part of what I like to do is compare one camera against another so I hold on to them, perhaps, longer than I should.

      I actually have a whole graveyard or museum of electronics. Electronics devalue so quickly, I never really thought seriously about selling them until recently (at least for cameras).

  4. Your collection seems to be built after the same principles as mine. I sell some of my unused cameras though.

    Active:
    Sony Xperia mini phone camera (snapshots).
    Pentax Optio W60 (waterproof/snorkeling).
    Olympus XZ-1 (carry everywhere camera).
    Olympus E-PL1 and E-PL3 (main system).
    Nikon D300 (action system).

    Retired:
    Nikon Coolpix 2000 (first digital camera = sentimental value).
    Polaroid x530 (fun camera with Foveon sensor).

    Sold:
    Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi.
    Nikon D1X, D100, and D70s.
    Olympus E-PL1 (first body).

    1. Niels, thank you for your visit and comment. Yes, there is a lot of similarity in the cameras we have. Wow, I didn’t know Polaroid x530 has a foveon.

  5. We gave my wife’s E-PL1 to my brother, and I got her an E-PL5 as a replacement. So for now it’s her who has the best camera in the house.

    Our daughter Zuleikha (8) is using: an old Canon SureShot film camera, our old Olympus C300Z point & shoot, and a Panasonic TZ-7.

    My wife: the E-PL5

    Me: an OM-2N, an E-520, and an E-PL1.

    That’s more than enough cameras for us, and for a long time to come. Plus I’m not sure whom to give all these older cameras to if I really ever wanted to “upgrade”.

  6. Me I’ve got (in digital) at the moment:

    Fujifilm W3 – 3D camera, total gimmick but it was a bargain and a gift

    Sony RX100 – my pocket cam

    Olympus E-PM1 – bought it at a bargain price for the twin lens kit for less than the telephoto on its own.

    Olympus E-P3 – One of my all time favorites. Just love the handling and feel of this camera. Use the VF2 on this one, along with PL25, Oly 45mm and Sigma 19mm. 14 & 75 to come.

    Sony NEX-5n – actually just picked this up today, almost by accident. Have owned two NEXs before but didnt stick with them due to no EVF. This model changes that. Will be my manual focus rig for my largish stash of manual lenses (Which I find adapt horribly to the m43’s stuff… Don’t know why) and extra body to my main rig.

    I have an E-PM2 on its way. Picked up an absolute steal on this unloved but brilliant little camera. Will replace my E-P3 for day-to-day carry everywhere duties.

    Fujifilm X100 – I just love this camera and don’t think I will get rid of it. Not interested in the S version, this one is just perfect by me.

    Sony A77 – main SLR type rig. Big stash of lenses. Comes out when there is work to be done, the rest are for play.

    Sony A65 – backup to the A77.

    Konica Minolta Dynax 7D – Oldie, but new to me. Always wanted one (and have a number of the film version). Between them they are the best handling SLRs ever made in my view. Bought it to play around with and for the CCD colours I sometimes miss.

    Dearly departed:

    Nikon D1
    Pentax K100D
    Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5
    Sony A55
    Pentax Q
    Sony R1 (maybe buy another one again)
    Sony A700
    Samsung NX10 (maybe not so dearly departed)
    Plus many many compacts of various origins.

  7. I can see why you like the Canon 20D’s output, but a lot of those E-PL1 shots are even better.

    My happenstance collection of stuff is too humiliating to list — except for a momentary pause to recognize the 4 mp Canon G3. It reawakened my interest in photography after a 30-year lapse. And if i can get its battery to hold a charge for more than 10 minutes it still takes amazing closeups.

    The others just keep showing up in closets, entombed in their original boxes.

    1. I agree that the technical quality of the Olympus E-PL1 is better than the 20D. It’s just that I like the feel of that camera and I got so much out it and got it for a bargain basement price. It had the best price performance ratio so far and allowed me to grow as a photographer too.

  8. Yes, that is a very crazy list of cameras!
    I’m certainly “camera poor” in comparison. I only have 3.
    Now if I could only figure out how to take a decent photo with what I already have…

    1. All you need is one camera (said the man that has 14, LOL) Just shoot lots and shoot often and change stuff around to be creative. I’ve lost track but I’ve taken at least 150,000 frames since my first Canon Rebel XT, during the last 8 years.

      I take a lot of ho-hum shots. I think I’m getting a bit better over time.

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