Kevin’s Digital Photography History

I have been shooting digital since the prehistoric era, somewhere around March, 2000. This is when my first large compact flash card was 96mb and cost a whopping $500. I think my 2.1 MB camera (Nikon 950) was in the range of $2,000. I shot all of my photos as JPEG’s, in fact I don’t even think this camera had RAW files as an option. It’s also easy to see why I ended up shooting JPEG’s when you look at the storage issues, very expensive. Looking back at this it was really stupid but reality at the same time. The photo below is one of the first digital images I shot, surprisingly decent looking as long as a large print isn’t required.

One of my first digital photographs - March 2000

One of my first digital photographs - March 2000

I bought a Nikon D100 in 2003 and continued to shoot JPEG for a few years. As I recall, cards were in the $200 per GB range at that time, still a little dear for a starving artist! The D100 was a remarkable camera at the time as the quality was really close to ISO 100 film and the cost of the body was reasonable for what you got. Storage was still a big issue and I recall playing with RAW images a few times and sitting in front of my computer while waiting for something to happen in Adobe Photoshop. I don’t recall exactly how much RAM I had in my computer at the time but it was likely in the 256mb range, not much by modern standards.

The big break came with the introduction of the Nikon D2X in 2005. Somehow I managed to convince Cherie (my loving and supporting wife) that I needed a new camera and it would only cost $6,000 for the body. “Think how much money I will save on film, it will pay for itself in no time”. Well, guess what, she went for it, miracles do happen! At the same time compact flash cards were becoming less expensive but still pricey. I started to shoot RAW + JPEG when possible but often would shoot JPEG only if I needed to shoot over about 200 images a day which was fairly common. The D2X to this day still provides exceptional images, rivaling medium format in quality (I’m sure I will hear about this claim) when shooting images at low ISO’s. At higher ISO’s the camera does not perform nearly as well, part of my reasoning for buying a D300 when they first came out.

The D300 is truly a remarkable camera and while it is already “out of date” it certainly produces fantastic images, even at ISO’s in the 1,600 range. I know the new full frame Nikons can beat this but I’m not about to make the change at this point. I have too much money tied up in lenses that are specifically designed for the smaller sensors of the D2X and D300.

I presently use both the D2X and D300 for shooting with the bulk of the images being shot with the D300. This is primarily because the D300 is a smaller and lighter camera, a consideration when I’m travelling. The D2X definitely is a more robust, professional camera and sure can take abuse so it doesn’t gather dust.

The RAW + JPEG option was quite useful when I first started to catalog my images (the subject of an upcoming article) but in the past year I have been shooting RAW only. Shooting 40,000 photos a year becomes a storage nightmare, I’ll rant about that at a later date. I’ve been thinking that I should have invested in a hard drive company many years ago as I have hard drives everywhere. At least the capacity on single drives is now a mind boggling 1TB or more.

Until next time…

UPDATE: Keywording and DAM or is it DAM Keywording

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  1. […] Update: I have added the first article, Kevin’s Digital Photography History […]

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