Dan Allen Cameras & Lenses

Cameras & Lenses

Here is a tabular history of the cameras and lenses that I have owned. My progression looks like this:

Dan Allen's Camera and Lens History

     Canon EF                July 9, 1974 to 1981
     Minox 35EL              1978 to 1981
     Leica M2                1981
     Canon New F-1           1982
     Leica R3                1983
     Canon EOS 650           Mar 1987 to Dec 1988
     Nikon N8008             Nov  9, 1988 to Nov 1989
     Canon EOS RT            Dec 1989 to Jan 1991
     Canon T90               May  7, 1990 to Jan 1991
     Nikon N6006             Nov 27, 1990 to Mar 1992
     Canon EOS Elan          Dec 24, 1991 to the present
     Canon EOS-1N            May 16, 1998 to Aug 15, 2002
     Kodak DC-280            Dec  6, 1999 to Jun 23, 2001
     Pentax 6x7 II           Mar 20, 2000 to Aug 15, 2002
     Kodak DC-4800           Mar  7, 2001 to Nov  1, 2003
     Canon PowerShot G3      Nov  6, 2002 to Apr 12, 2009
     Nikon D70               Apr 29, 2004 to May 30, 2008
     Canon PowerShot S410    Apr 12, 2005 to May  8, 2005
     Canon PowerShot S500    May 27, 2005 to Sep 10, 2007
     Nikon D200              Nov 14, 2006 to May 30, 2008
     Canon PowerShot SD870   Sep 11, 2007 to Apr 21, 2009
     Apple iPhone            Feb 27, 2008 to Sep  8, 2010
     Canon EOS 40D           Jun 19, 2008 to the present
     Panasonic Lumix TZ5     Apr 22, 2009 to Dec 27, 2009
     Panasonic Lumix ZS3     Dec 30, 2009 to Jul  5, 2012
     Apple iPhone 4          Sep  8, 2010 to Oct 15, 2011
     Nikon FM2               Aug  2, 2011 to the present
     Apple iPhone 4S         Oct 15, 2011 to Sep 23, 2014
     Panasonic Lumix ZS10    Jul 23, 2012 to Dec 12, 2016 (dust on the sensor precludes using it any more)
     GoPro Hero 3 Black Ed   Mar 28, 2014 to the present (the worst UI of any modern product; I hate using it!)
     Apple iPhone 6          Sep 23, 2014 to Feb 22, 2018
     Nikon W300              Dec 25, 2017 to the present
     Apple iPhone 7 Plus     Feb 22, 2018 to the present
     Nikon D3400             Jul  8, 2018 to the present
 
     15mm f/2.8 Fisheye      Canon FD - 1974 to 1981
     15mm f/2.8 Fisheye      Canon EF - Jan 11, 2000 to Aug 15, 2002
     24mm f/2.8              Canon FD - 1974 to 1981
     28mm f/2.8              Canon FD - 2: 1974; May 7, 1990 to Jan 1991
     28mm f/2.8 Elmarit      Leica R  - 1983
     35mm f/2.0 Summicron    Leica M  - 1981
     35mm f/2.8              Canon FD - 1982
     45mm f/2.8 TS-E         Canon EF - May 14, 1998 to Aug 15, 2002
     50mm f/1.4              Canon FD - 2: 1982; May 7, 1990 to Jan 1991
     50mm f/1.4 Summilux     Leica M  - 1981
     50mm f/1.4 D Nikkor     Nikon AF - April 29, 2004 to May 30, 2008
     50mm f/1.8              Canon EF - 2: 1987-1988; Jul 1, 1992 to present
     50mm f/1.8              Nikon AI - 2011 to present
     50mm f/3.5 Macro        Canon FD - 1974 to 1981
     55mm f/4                Pentax 67 - Mar 30, 2000 to Aug 15, 2002
     60mm f/2.8 Micro        Nikon AF - Nov 27, 1990 to 1992
     60mm f/2.8 Macro        Canon EF-S - 2008 to present
     85mm f/1.2 L            Canon FD - May 7, 1990 to Jan 1991
     85mm f/1.8 USM          Canon EF - May 16, 1998 to present (AF died 8/2016)
     85mm f/1.8              Nikon AF - Nov 9, 1988 to 1989; Mar 19, 1991 to 1992
     85mm f/1.8              Canon FD - 1974 to 1981
     85mm f/2.8 PC Nikkor    Nikon AI - 2005 to May 30, 2008
     90mm f/2.0 Summicron    Leica R  - 1983
     90mm f/2.8 Elmar        Leica M  - 1981
    100mm f/2 USM            Canon EF - Apr 14, 1992 to 1998
    100mm f/2.8              Canon FD - 1974 to 1975
    105mm f/2.4              Pentax 67 - Mar 20, 2000 to Aug 15, 2002
    300mm f/2.8 L USM        Canon EF - Mar 9, 1999 to Aug 15, 2002
    300mm f/4.0 ED-IF        Nikon AF - May 8, 1989 to 1992
    300mm f/5.6              Canon FD - 1982
    500mm f/8 Mirror         Tamron FD - 1988 to 1990
  12-24mm f/4.0 G ED         Nikon AF-S DX - Nov 7, 2006 to May 30, 2008
  17-35mm f/2.8 L USM        Canon EF - May 4, 2000 to Aug 15, 2002
  17-55mm f/2.8 USM          Canon EF-S - Jun 19, 2008 to present
  18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR      Nikon AF-P DX - Jul 18, 2018 to present
  18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED     Nikon AF-S DX - Apr 29, 2004 to May 30, 2008
 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR  Nikon AF-S DX - 2006 to May 30, 2008
  20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM      Canon EF - Jul 11, 1996 - May 26, 2000
  24-50mm f/3.3-4.5          Nikon AF - Nov 9, 1988 to 1992
  28-70mm f/2.8 L USM        Canon EF - May 17, 2000 to Aug 15, 2002
  28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 II       Canon EF - Dec 21, 1989 to Jan 1991
  28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 USM      Canon EF - Dec 24, 1991 to present
  35-70mm f/3.3-4.5          Nikon AF - Dec 1, 1990 to 1992
 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5          Canon EF - Dec 1989 to Jan 1991
 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5          Nikon AF - May 8, 1989 to 1992
 50-135mm f/3.5              Canon FD - May 30, 1990 to Jan 1991
 50-135mm f/3.5              Nikon AI - 2011 to present
 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II  Nikon AF-S DX - Jul 18, 2018 to present
 55-250mm f/4.5-5.6 IS       Canon EF-S - Jun 19, 2008 to present
 70-200mm f/2.8L USM         Canon EF - Jun 29, 1996 to Aug 15, 2002
 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 D ED     Nikon AF - Apr 29, 2004 to May 30, 2008
 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6          Nikon AF - Dec 1, 1990 to 1992
100-300mm f/5.6 L            Canon EF - 1989 to 1991


Camera and Lens Usage by Year

22 Aug 2018 - From most to least used, by year

Shots Taken 2004
1031 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
 456 : AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED
 133 : AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D

Shots Taken 2005
1615 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
 318 : AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED
 281 : AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED
 165 : PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D
  39 : AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D

Shots Taken 2006
2532 : AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED
 140 : AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
  84 : AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED
  75 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED
  48 : PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D
   3 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED

Shots Taken 2007
1094 : AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED
 892 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED
 416 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED
 173 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
 110 : AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED
  86 : AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
  50 : PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D

Shots Taken 2008
 448 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED
 170 : AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED
  50 : AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED
  43 : AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED
   1 : AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
   1 : PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D

Shots Taken 2008
 909 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
 832 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
 210 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  53 : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
  31 : Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 USM
  14 : Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Shots Taken 2009
6000 : Panasonic TZ5
 411 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
 382 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
  66 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  36 : Panasonic ZS3

Shots Taken 2010
3724 : Panasonic ZS3
1234 : Apple iPhone 4
 204 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
 185 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
  45 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  15 : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Shots Taken 2011
2795 : Panasonic ZS3
2605 : Apple iPhone 4
1090 : Apple iPhone 4S
  45 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
  41 : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
  31 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
   4 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Shots Taken 2012
4191 : Apple iPhone 4S
3662 : Panasonic ZS10
1022 : Panasonic ZS3
 132 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
  34 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
   4 : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Shots Taken 2013
2894 : Apple iPhone 4S
1679 : Panasonic ZS10
 233 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
 103 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

Shots Taken 2014
2342 : Apple iPhone 4S
1065 : Panasonic ZS10
 661 : Apple iPhone 6
  13 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
   9 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
   1 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Shots Taken 2015
2644 : Apple iPhone 6
 655 : Panasonic ZS10
 186 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
  63 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  45 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
   9 : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
   4 : Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
   1 : Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Shots Taken 2016
2573 : Apple iPhone 6
 705 : Panasonic ZS10
 696 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
 130 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
  21 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  18 : Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 USM
  13 : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
   7 : Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Shots Taken 2017
2797 : Apple iPhone 6
 326 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
  99 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
  93 : Nikon W300
   9 : Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
   9 : Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Shots Taken 2018
1970 : Apple iPhone 7 Plus
 992 : AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II
 557 : Nikon W300
 236 : AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
 144 : Apple iPhone 6
 107 : Nikon W300
  23 : Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
   8 : Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

Note to self: these totals were generated by
  cd /Docs/Picts/Digital
  ls 2018*/iPhone7_* | wc
  ls 2018*/NikonW* | wc
  exiftool 2018*/NikonD* | grep 'Lens ID' | topten -c
  exiftool 2018*/Canon* | grep 'Lens ID' | topten -c

Future Camera Outfits

18 July 2018 Thoughts

For once in my life I decided to try and take a budget approach. After reading Ken Rockwell's pages about cameras, I decided to get back into Nikon, so today I got for $698 a Nikon D3400 with two zoom lenses for my trip to Australia. The AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II is so small and light for an 82-300mm zoom. It will be great for wildlife. The AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR is a 27-82mm with great macro capabilities, an all-arounder.

The 6000 x 4000 pixel (24 megapixel) images are nice!

2017 Thoughts

I have enjoyed using different kinds of cameras over the years. I think the best quality camera gear ever made was Canon in the early 1980s, with their F-1n and T-90 cameras, and FD lenses. Their mid-1970s FL-F lenses were phenomenal: the FL-F 300mm f/5.6 FLOURITE and FL-F 500mm f/5.6 FLOURITE were so solid.

If I could have a cost no-object current system, I'd have:

That is a $17,350 camera outfit! However, this is too expensive for my real needs, so I am considering a different outfit:

That is $2,905 out of pocket, or a total of $4,700. Perhaps still too much, but better. This would upgrade my 8 year old EOS 40D camera nicely, but adding 3 more EF-S lenses that will not work with a full-frame body like the 5D may not be the best route. If I don't plan to do much video work, then many of these lenses are not needed. The EF-S 10-18, EF-S 24mm, EF 50/f1.8 STM, and EF-S 18-135 lenses offer silent focusing which is useful for video work. Utilizing what I already have leaves a modestly upgraded outfit:

This requires an outlay of only $1,350 and I have the basics covered, to wit:


The rest of this web page is here for historical context. It was written in 2001-2003.

Canon PowerShot G3 - 4 megapixel camera

Digital Camera Recommendations

By Dan Allen

Background

I have been a photographer since 1974. I have owned many different Canon, Nikon, and Leica cameras. I have been using computers since 1975. Having digital photos has been something that I have wanted for many years, but the number one problem for me has been image quality. Digital cameras for the first many years were terrible. They are now in the decent to interesting range. Soon they will dominate film, and then film will be only part of history, like reel-to-reel and cassette tape recorders are now.

In 1999 I owned an amazing Canon EOS-1n system with the following lenses:

I also had a Pentax 6x7 II for scenics and other work that requires large negatives. (2 1/4" x 2 3/4") I had both the standard 105mm f/2.4 and the 55mm f/4 lenses.

But I do not shoot film anymore! I sold the Canon outfit and the 6x7 in August of 2002, and I've gone digital.

Canon CanoScan FS-2710 film scanner - works with Macs and PCs.  Price: $700.

Scanners

I have two flat bed scanners (a Canon FB630U and a HP ScanJet 5p) and a Canon CanoScan FS-2710 35mm film scanner. This last scanner allows me to scan in 35mm slides and negatives at 2710 pixels per inch, much better than the 600-1200 pixels per inch that the flatbed scanners allow. More importantly slide scanners support a wider gamma range (range of film densities) so they keep a larger gradient of tones.
Note: pixels per inch (PPI), lines per inch (LPI), and dots per inch (DPI) are sometimes treated the same, but othertimes they are very different. See this article for more info. A line of resolution generally requires 2X the number of pixels.

Example: Kodachrome delivers 4000 lines of resolution vertically in 24mm, the height of a 35mm slide.

4000 lines / 24mm = 166 lines / mm resolution
166 lines / mm * 2 pixels / line = 333 pixels / mm required to scan for printing
333 pixels / mm * 25.4 mm / inch = 8466 pixels / inch required to scan a slide accurately

Kodachrome 25, the finest slide film every made?  It gave over 4000 lines of resolution. Note:Kodachrome 25 was discontinued in December 2001.

Do you want to see a large 1494 x 1024 pixel JPEG (256KB) which gives you a taste of what a slide scanner can achieve? Click here. (It is a picture of the Endeavour replica ship that I took with my EOS-1 and EF 300mm f/2.8L.) The actual uncompressed image with 36-bit color is a file over 50 MB in size!
2016 Note: now – decades later – a 1494 x 1024 pixel image seems tiny. How times change...

Click here for more information on how to process and publish digital photos.

What to look for in a digital camera

Here are the things I look for in a digital camera: If you want to learn a whole lot about digital cameras, the best site is http://www.dpreview.com/, but here is a shorter summary of what I have learned.

My First Digital Camera

Kodak DC-280 2 megapixel camera After considering digital, I eventually bought a 2 megapixel (MP) camera, a Kodak DC-280. I paid $750 in December of 1999. When they stopped making it in early 2001 they sold for $350. How does it stack up to my five points?

All in all, the DC-280 was a great start for me in digital photography. It used serial or USB cables and worked with Macs or PCs.

My Second Digital Camera

Kodak DC-4800 3.1 megapixel camera My second digital camera was the champagne colored Kodak DC-4800. I paid $500 after a $100 Kodak rebate. Let's see how it stacked up:

Summary

The DC-4800 was better than the already decent DC-280 in every way. For $500, it was the best buy on the market and the camera to beat. For an in-depth look at the DC-4800, click here. The camera has now been discontinued and no new Kodak camera has the wide angle lens and range of features that this does. Kodak is out of the digital camera game for me.

My Third Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot G3 - 4 megapixel camera In November of 2002 I got a new camera. The DC-4800 was great, but I wanted a stronger flash, better close up photography, an intervalometer, panoramic photo stiching, a faster lens, and higher quality photos. All of this and more came in Canon's third generation Canon PowerShot G3, a 4 megapixel camera. Let's see how it does.

Pro Gear

If money is no object, buy a Canon EOS-1Ds ($9,000). Here is how it compares:

Canon EOS-1Ds w/EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM.  Price: $9,000


Back to Dan's Home Page

Created:  12 Jun 2001
Modified: 22 Aug 2018