What’s in the Broady964 camera bag?
I am a keen traveller with a rangefinder camera, always snapping and looking for interesting people in their natural habitat across the globe; nowadays I like to blog and tweet, as Broady964, but this is a relatively recent development; it’s not always been so straight forward.
So, what’s in the Broady964 camera bag?
I grew up with a love of photography that I think came from my dad and grandfather in turn – it’s been a long journey to get here, a trail littered with occasional highlights and numerous disasters, cameras opened and photos ruined, not so dark darkrooms and unfixed negatives; broken cameras, dropped lenses and many disappointments over at least 30 years.
So here are some of the heroes that have helped me along the way, the good the bad and the ugly; most I was happy to move on from, and some I really miss, even in this digital age, none more so than my amazing 18th birthday present in January 1981.
My first real camera, a black Nikon FM.
My first serious camera was a manual Nikon FM with a 50mm f1.8 Nikkor, bought after months of visits from the patient staff at Leeds Camera Centre for my 18th birthday in January 1981; a long time ago.
At £200 it was a LOT of money at the time, I went on to buy some lenses including a 300mm Nikkor f4.5 that I loved. This camera was amazing, and if we still all used film, I would want one in my bag today – it is so similar to my Leica M in many ways except for the obvious, that it is an SLR.
Ignore the shape of the camera body and concentrate on the key elements of photography – composition, exposure and what the eye focuses on; manual, precise and a solid click from thumb to finger on real metal dials and focus rings.
The FM as great, loaded up with Ilford FP4 or HP5 I would wander off across Yorkshire and shoot some scenes in black and white, sadly most of these memories of 30 years ago are now long gone; I salvaged a couple of mono prints from a foggy day in Knaresborough with Martin Smaller and scanned them in.
Around 1981 I went off to university – sadly I can’t find many of my original images, I have a couple of albums of negatives and quite a few slides (Kodak Tri-X) that I really should dig out and investigate. When I find them I will input them here.
My Interest in photography continued with trips to Paris and other notable experiences of the time; returning from University and starting my first job in Manchester at the end of 1984.
The Nikon survived as a hobby in the background and finally left me in the summer of 1987 while asleep with the future Mrs. Broadbent at Athens airport awaiting an early flight – I suspect somebody took it out of my bag as I didn’t realise it was missing until we returned to England.
What a shame, end of an era.
While it was the end for the FM, it was not the end for film; that would be at a much later date, enter my next purchase a couple of years later
The retro themed Canon EOS 50E
Armed with a pay cheque and heading for a mid-life crisis, this retro inspired piece of junk was purchased in Jessops Manchester city centre store around summer time 1990.
I don’t know why I left Nikon, but I know I regretted it fairly early on; I bought a couple of lenses and then the camera broke with the film back clip snapping and making it completely useless after only a year or two – this was certainly not the quality I was used to, the retro look not reflected in retro durability or quality of construction.
No need to worry; this was the end of the film era and with a young family and no spare time, spending half the day in a darkroom or disappearing off on an artistic mission was never an option, sadly the 50E was never going to work for me.
The digital era was upon us and it would soon be time to gift the clunky old film camera to the charity shop and get down with the digital kids…
Enter the Samsung Digimax 401, our first digital camera, and a real belter!
I don’t even remember using this little chap – but seeing an image of it now I remember how a small plastic box was to transform our photography as our first digital camera (I think to be fair, my son’s Christmas present in 2004?)
The Samsung was a good little camera. It went around the world with us, and for that I am gratefull.
But it was soon time to get a digital camera of our own, and a return to Nikon was on the cards, but this was to be no FM.
Enter the Nikon Coolpix L3, 2005 – 2013
Bought from Costco in Manchester for around £75, this was to be the mainstay family camera for many years and is responsible for many holiday shots on my blog including the west coast of America, a lot of Europe and Scotland between 2005-2007
This little camera gets pretty good reviews
Kids a bit older and some money in my pocket, its time to get back to having a proper camera; my first and only DSLR in fact, so, bought in the USA I went the whole hog and purchased a Nikkor 18-200mm lens as well for good measure.
The Nikon D200 was my only real DSLR
The D200 was my weapon of choice for many years 2007 to 2013 in fact – always there and producing many of the photos that are on my blog; that was until somebody stole it from my house, that put an end to a lovely relationship and it was time to move on.
It’s always good to have a more portable companion as well as the DSLR – enter my first ever Leica
The amazing Leica C-Lux 2
I loved this camera every day between 2008 and 2013, when it sadly found the same fate as all my other gear.
The quality was amazing, it was so small yet delivered incredibly sharp images from a beautiful Elmarit f2.8 zoom lens, sadly it never recovered from having a load of drink spilt on it in Berkley California, 2011
So let’s celebrate the quality and joy it brought.
I loved this Leica so much, I saved up after the break-in and bought a propper one; a decision I would not regret.
May 2013 to Oct 2014
The Leica X2 was an amazing little camera; purchased in a post-robbery downsizing experiment, I left the world of DSLR’s and multiple lenses for a £1,400 Leica point and shoot coupled to a £1,000 Mac Book Air.
The best move I ever made; simple, lightweight and pure quality of image.
If only it had detachable lenses, a viewfinder and the autofocus had been a little less annoying; that’s why I had to trade it in after a year for my third Leica and what I hope will be my last ever camera!
Leica M & Summilux 50mm 1:1.4 ASPH
2014 – present
I bought my most recent Leica to celebrate moving back to Yorkshire in 2014, I wish I had owned it years ago.
It takes you back to that first Nikon, basic composition, manual focus and thinking about every image. I still get it wrong most of the time, but it is worth it.
An amazing camera with any lens, when you get it right, the quality of the light and colours is unsurpassed, nothing comes anywhere close.
Everyone should get out there with a camera and record some images, if you can’t write creatively or paint or make music, then a camera is a pretty good outlet for some creative angst.
On my website and blog you won’t find anything too serious or overworked in photo-shop and sent around the world, likewise there is nothing for sale, it’s more a place to keep my memories and share some of the images that have kept me travelling across the world for the last few years.
I hope you enjoy it.
The Image above was taken in Paris, a study of love-locks on the Pont de l’Archeveche, crossing from the Latin Quarter to the Cité Island and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Thanks for visiting and please contact me if you would like more information on any aspect of my blog.