To my great surprise, I was recently reunited with the first digital camera I bought for my business way back in the year 2000. I sold it to one of my clients many years ago for them to shoot some in-house photography when I wasn’t needed. It was rediscovered in a cupboard after it had developed a fault that made it uneconomical to repair due to obsolescence. Needless to say, I was delighted to welcome it back even though it sadly doesn’t work.
As a professional commercial and industrial photographer since leaving Salisbury College of Art in 1986, I shot most of my assignments on medium format film systems by Hasselblad or the Mamiya RZ 6x7’s. I also shot a lot of work using the large Format 5x4 and 10x8 Format film cameras made by Sinar. The only time I would shoot with a 35mm camera would be if the client wanted 35mm transparencies for a slide show with the industry standard Kodak Carousel projectors.
As it with a lot of things I purchase, I usually do a bit of research and due diligence to make it’s right for me in every aspect in terms of cost, build quality and value etc. Therefore, coming from a medium and large format film background, the early professional digital cameras represented poor value for money with poor image quality. For example, the very first Digital SLR, the Kodak DCS 100 from the early 1990’s, which was basically a customised Nikon F3 film camera tethered to a separate hard drive, offered images at 1.3MP at a cost of approximately £15K! Needless to say, I didn’t jump into digital imaging early!
In January 2000, Fujifilm announced the ground breaking FinePix S1 PRO. Finally, there was DSLR that could give me 10x8” image at 300ppi, use Nikon F lenses and cost less than £1800. I bought this, a MacBook and a copy of specialist reprographic software, GF Print Pro, that could increase the file size using a fractel algorithm instead of the poorer quality interpolation enlargement method. I remember testing this and going up to a 24x20” image at 300ppi and was being blown away by the quality. I think the overall investment was approximately £3K.
The key specifications are as follows:
Sensor: Super CCD 23.3 X 15.6mm
Image Size: 3040 x 2016 Pixels
Lens: Nikon F Mount
Shutter Speed: 1/2000thto 30S
ISO: 320 to 1600
Storage: Compact Flash or Smart Media Card (Dual Slot)
In my next blog, I’ll dig out some of my old S1 Pro images for you to have a look at.