The Cameras that Got Me to Where I Am Today Part 1

June 24, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Most of us that have been making pictures for any length of time have used a wide variety of camera equipment. Especially if we have bridged the gap from film to digital imaging. Here are the cameras that I have used in my 40+ year journey through professional photography.

NikonS2bigNikon S2 RangefinderMy Dad's Nikon he got while he was in the Navy. When I was in High School I discovered my Dad's S2 rangefinder and started playing with it. No meter and a really funky way of loading film made this camera a bit of an adventure but I didn't know any better. I also had no clue how to expose film correctly. It's a miracle I got any images at all.

Topcon_RE-SuperTopcon_RE-SuperThe first camera I ever bought.

The first camera I ever purchased was a Topcon RE Super with a 50 mm f1.4 lens. It had a light meter which helped a bunch and was built like a tank which also turned out to be pretty useful. I'm not sure this camera ever had color film in it. Tri X was my life!  I used this camera to achieve a degree in photojournalism and to get my first newspaper job. When you only own one lens you always have the right one on the camera!

Nikon ftnNikon ftn The first camera I ever purchased new was a Nikon F with the Ftn meter/finder and a wonderful 50mm f1.2 lens. The camera had been a special order for someone in Enid, Oklahoma and I just happened to wander into the camera shop while I was delivering oilfield equipment between photojournalism jobs. This tool was my pride and joy for many years. The meter would need cleaning and adjusting about every year and the flash sync terminal kept coming loose but the Nikon F was built for everyday professional use and never let me down.


My first "back-up" camera was the Nikon FM2. I decided that having only one camera while running the photo department of a daily newspaper was a little dangerous so I added the FM2 to  my camera bag. I purchased it with the MD11 motor drive which was probably the most ergonomically designed pair I have ever used. They fit together like a hand in a glove and having the ability to advance film without taking the camera away from my eye helped create a good handful of award-winning images. According to my calculations, my first FM2 shot more than a half million frames before I tripped over the tripod that it was on sending it into the pavement. That was a very sad day!

These were the cameras that transported the film for my early years and my newspaper days. In 1985 I started a new chapter as a portrait and wedding photographer. That meant I needed some new, larger format equipment.


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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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