I’m not a sentimental person by nature. Many of my possessions end up being donated to charity shops or given directly to others I feel can better use them. However, there are exceptions to this.
For instance, I recently came to realize that I should have kept my first camera. I have been shooting off and on for over twenty-five years and have only had five cameras over that time. While I still have the last three, the first two are no longer with me. The second one I donated, though I can’t quite recall what happened to the first. So it was with great pleasure that I not only came across this camera—a Minolta X370—at a camera show I recently attended, but it was also fitted with the same 50mm lens I had started out with. While I couldn’t get the seller to budge on his price, I purchased it all the same.
This was the camera I learned on and was my traveling companion for many years. It was almost always fitted with a red filter to increase contrast and loaded with Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 black & white film, which I would develop after a day of shooting. I bought this camera at the time because it was the same camera my teacher had and it made sense to have the same make and model as him.
In this day of digital photography, with ever increasing features and abilities on even the cheapest of cameras, I consider myself fortunate to have learned on a manual film camera. I still find myself switching to manual mode to this day when I want to get everything just right. I was a bit surprised by the weight holding it in my hands again and thought of how often I hear people complain about the weight of their higher-end DSLRs—I had no problem taking this Minolta with me everywhere and will think twice about complaining about the weight of my current Nikon D600.
Below are some photos taken with my first camera, fitted with a red filter and loaded with Tri-X Pan 400 film. These were taken in Two Guns, Arizona in the early 1990s, during a road trip from California to Florida. The AAA map didn’t indicate that this town was deserted, which made for a pleasant surprise.