I am of two minds concerning equipment. My sensible self says that equipment matters relatively little. The goals of the photograph should be the goals of the photographer. And indeed, the more deeply I enter the world of photography, the less important the camera. But to be honest, most of the time, I keep my sensible self tied up and gagged in the basement, because I  love gadgets even when I acknowledge their relative irrelevance to the bulk of the photographic process. Cameras are lovely things. What passes as a mediocre camera is still a marvel of engineering.

These days, I mostly enjoy large format photography, but that doesn't affect these web pages much. The advantages of large negative size and nuanced film development are largely lost in scanning to web. Plus I mostly print very large prints (my standard paper size is now 20x24" or 50x60cm) which I can't conveniently scan. There's something quite appealing about a wood camera and dark cloth standing by the side of the trail... I'm currently using a Tachihara 4x5 camera with a Schneider Angulon 90mm lens (1960's), Symmar-S 150mm lens (1970's), and a Nikkor "M" 300mm lens (1990's). I desire nothing more than the time to use this stuff.

Perhaps my favorite camera has been the Kyocera-made Contax T2. A true pocket camera shaped as a rectangular cube with soft corners so that it could slide into any slot or pocket without binding. Carried it everywhere while I had one. Very good optics and adequate manual control when desired. The T3 looks to be even nicer, though I've not had a chance to play with one yet.

I've mostly been an Olympus owner however. I learned photography on a Pen D2 as a teenager. I still have this camera and have great affection for it, though the half-frame format limits me to my own developing as half-frame friendly labs are disappearing. Since material costs through the contact sheet stage are approximately USD 0.04 per shot, it encourages taking pictures just in case. Great with kids! With TMax 100 film I can squeeze out an 8x10 inch (20x30cm) print, but that's the absolute limit of magnification for both lens and film without trying for deliberate soft and grainy effects. Perhaps overly-favorable reviews of the D2 can be found at the Camera Quest site and The Olympus Pen Gallery. This is not a better camera than many of the current P&S cameras, but there is something about the weight of a metal camera.... Plus for retro-folk such as myself who rely on clumsy filters rather than PhotoShop, modern compacts can be quite frustrating.

Anyway, most photos on this site were taken with Olympus OM gear. This seemed like the best camera system (simple, light, decent build quality) for my needs when I bought my OM-1 with 50mm f1.8 lens in 1976. It is still working without repair despite having gone around the world a couple times. For using multiple films, multiple bodies becomes necessary and my equipment list is long enough to make me wonder what would have happened if I had started with a different brand line -- probably little difference except that I would think that shutter speed adjustment should be on the top of a camera instead of sensibly on the front. OM equipment is no longer supported nor developed by Olympus. After all, manual-focus film cameras are pretty obsolete by current market conditions -- however the used marketplace for Olympus manual focus cameras is quite active. There is less information on the web now than in the 1990's, but there is still the Olympus OM SLR FAQ. Oh yes, I'm rather inactively putting up some excess OM equipment for sale.

I hope you enjoy some of these images. That is why you're here isn't it???

Eric Pederson

Last updated: 26-Jan-05