Zeis Ikon Contaflex film camera

Contaflex Prima

A couple of years back I found a camera in an technology exchange shop – a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 with a 14-42mm zoom lens. I had always wanted a decent camera, but had been resisting just trading up from my ancient Canon Powershot just for the sake of megapixels. I wanted a DSLR but couldn’t afford one; the G2 was inexpensive and seemed to fit the bill, so I bought it. I did my due diligence after the fact and was wrong – in that it wasn’t strictly a DSLR but a new mirrorless system using a smallish sensor – Micro Four Thirds – and a range of specifically designed lenses. It did, however, rekindle a latent passion for photography that I’d been harbouring since my teens when I did a bit with a real film camera (A Zeis Ikon Contaflex Prima MkII, no less!) in a real darkroom (my friend Saskia’s bathroom).

With a bit of judicious eBaying I managed to get a couple of longer and wider lenses, and a bag, and a flash, and then a reasonably priced G5 making my G2 redundant and then that month – coinciding with the fortuitous sale of a saxophone – I found a DMC-GH3 in a similar shop for a snip (well comparatively), which is Panasonic’s Pro camera from November 2012 (when it cost $1200 just for the body!). So that’s what I have now, complete with a H-F007014 14-140mm lens, augmented by the G5, which I should sell were it not for the fact that a couple of useful lenses only fit on that. Photography is proving a surprisingly expensive hobby!


DMC-GH3 with 14-140 lens

The update as at February 2016 that things have moved on.  I have sold the G2 (for very little), bought a DMC-GH4 second hand, and am planning to sell my GH3 – hopefully for a profit.  I’ve added the Panasonic H-FS100300E Lumix G Telezoom Lens (100-300 mm, F4-5.6 O.I.S), with which I am snapping a lot of wildlife, and the Panasonic H-HS12035E Lumix G X VARIO 12-35mm Lens.  I got the 12-35 for several reasons; it was remarkably cheap on eBay, and is fast for a M 4/3. It also has a good wide angle and is a good portraiture lens. In all honesty I haven’t been using it much yet, but give it time.

In addition I’ve ended up with two charity shop film cameras for £20 each. A Canon FTb from the 70’s and a Canon EOS 1n which was Canon’s flagship pro camera 20 years ago.  It remains to be seen whether I use them…