September 2021 | Gear

My Digital Camera Journey

Olympus E-510 | Zuiko 40-150 mm f4-5.6 | 150mm (300mm) | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 200

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to use film and digital cameras from various manufacturers. I loved it. My digital photography journey began in 2003 with a compact Nikon camera, referred to as “the one that swivels.”


Nikon Cooklpix E2500

I believe the actual name was Coolpix E2500. It was during the early days of digital cameras, and I found it incredibly convenient to have instant access to my captured images. For me this was what’s called a “game changer.” For what it was, this little camera made nice photos. It was only 2003 after all. I used this camera until 2008.


Nikon coolpix e2500
White and Yellow
Nikon Coolpix E2500 | 8.9mm (58mm) | 1/30 sec | f/3.4 | ISO 100
Nikon Coolpix E2500 | 5.6mm (37mm) | 1/3000 sec | f/4.5 | ISO 100

Panasonic DMC-FZ20

The next step up was a Panasonic SuperZoom camera, the DMC-FZ20. It was a great camera at the time (2004), with a killer Leica zoom. It had quite a following back in the day. I enjoyed this little gem tremendously for about 3-4 years. It was of course far from perfect, but it was very small and light. Carrying it all day was not a problem, hardly noticed that it was there. Not having to change lenses was kind of cool.

Oil rigs
Oil Rigs
Panasonic DMC-FZ20 | 58.9mm (354mm) | 1/400 sec | f/4 | ISO 80
The smiling frog
The Smiling Frog
Panasonic DMC-FZ20 | 72mm (432mm) | 1/320 sec | f/4 | ISO 80

Olympus E-510 DSLR

Once I was ready to move on to a DSLR, I decided on the Olympus Four Thirds system in 2007. Size, weight, price, and quality were just right. I owned and loved the Olympus E-510, a small camera with very nice image quality. With time I also owned two pro-level zoom lenses, which replaced the kit lenses that came with the camera. It was a very nice system that I knew so well that I could use it in my sleep.

Hungry bee
The Hungry Bee
Olympus E-510 | Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 | 54mm (108mm) | 1/400 sec | f/6.3 | ISO 100
Leaf in motion
Leaf in Motion with Nice Bokeh
Olympus E-510 | Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 | 54mm (108mm) | 1/250 sec | f/3.5 | ISO 100

Fujifilm Mirrorless

I probably would have stayed with Olympus would they not have dropped the Four Thirds DSLRs just as I was ready to buy a new camera. I wanted to stay with the system. This was mid to end of 2013. I have to admit that this really rubbed me the wrong way. At first, I contemplated buying a Micro Four Thirds camera and using it with my existing Olympus lenses via an adapter (added cost, and the lenses are not made for smaller cameras, which is not ideal). After some back and forth, I decided to bite the bullet and leave Olympus. That really opened up the field of cameras.

I did have an eye on Fujifilm cameras a year earlier, and now I had a second, much longer look. I liked what I saw, did some research, contacted a couple of photographers that used Fujifilm cameras on Flickr, and finally made my choice.

I opted for the Fujifilm X-E1. The X-E2 was about to be released, and the X-E1 was sold with the 18-55mm kit lens at a great price. The supposed slowness did not bother me as I was never used to a fast DSLR. My Olympus wasn’t really speedy. Actually, the speed of the X-E1 was just fine for me after a firmware upgrade. The rangefinder look of this camera really appealed to me. I still use this camera. My first Fujifilm love is now converted to infrared.

Over time I added first the X-T1 and then later the X-E3. Both are great cameras. Both on the older site of digital cameras, but still delivering what I want from them.

Tin with mints
Tin with Mints
Fujifilm X-E1 | Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS | 35.8mm (54mm) | 1/60 sec | f/3.6 | ISO 1000

Why do I like my Fujis so much?

The size of these cameras is just right for my hands, and so is their weight. They are easy to carry, which makes them tremendous everyday and travel cameras. The image quality is wonderful. I never had a camera system with such precise auto-focus; maybe not always the fastest (looking at your X-E1) but quite reliable. The percentage of out-of-focus photos is very low now. This is amazing.

The lenses I own are fantastic. Such a beautiful rendering of out-of-focus areas, contrast, and colors. Zooms are often talked down on forums, but the two zooms I own, one being the kit zoom, have very nice image quality. Fujifilm knows how to make great lenses, there is no doubt about that. My favorite fujinon lens at the time of this writing is the 35mm f/1.4. If I could have only one lens, this would be it.

Another reason to like Fujifilm is its continuous support in terms of firmware updates, up to a point, of course. A discontinued camera like the X-E1 is not likely to see any functional updates.

As much as I loved my Olympus E-510, I love my Fujifilm cameras just as much, or maybe more. Would I also enjoy a Micro Four Thirds camera? I’m sure I would. Yje Olympus line-up looks great; however, I’m glad I tried something new.

What about the future? Another camera system? Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be in the position to justify a Leica M series camera with one or two lenses, or a fullframe Sony mirrorless camera. I sure would love to have one. So far, I’m very happy with the system I have. It is important for me to enjoy my camera – which is the case.

What is your favorite camera right now? The system you really enjoy?

Grand central station
Grand Central Station, New York (2016)
Fujifilm X-T1 | Rokinon 12mm f2.0 NCS CS | 12mm (18mm) | 1.7 sec | ISO 200