Amateur Photographer since my eight Year of Life
My first camera was a compact camera in 35mm format: Agfa Optima.
Later my father gave me my first reflex camera: Pentacon Praktica MTL3. This export hit of the former GDR did not have any automatics, only a built-in light meter (even that was not self-evident at that time)!
From my first salary I immediately bought a Minolta XD7 in 1982.
When Pentax later released «the smallest SLR in the world», I sold the XD7 to a Greek friend and immediately bought this Pentax ME super.
Later I bought a Minolta Dynax 7000i from my father and pursued the hobby with professional zeal until 1996. This was followed by a shift of interests – computer technology and the newly emerging mobile telephony became hobby focuses.
Since 13 October 2001 I have been taking a lot of photos again, but only digitally.
Therefore I bought a Minolta Dimage 7. Unfortunately it was a power guzzler. But the pictures were very good (5.2 megapixels were a lot for amateurs at that time). The high energy consumption annoyed me, so I sold this first digital camera to a private person with reference to high battery wear and bought the Canon Digital IXUS 65 as a replacement. I used this camera actively until June 2011. In June 2011 it was replaced by a Panasonic DMC-GF2 as my favourite camera, which I still use today.
More and more often: using a Smartphone as Camera
From 17.12.2016 to 28.09.2017 I photographed a lot with the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.
The iPhone was very suitable as an always-on camera, because at that time it had one of the best smartphone cameras and two lenses built in (wide angle and light telephoto).
After this iPhone I also bought the successor models with even better cameras and in the meantime an iPhone 11 Pro has long since replaced the Panasonic DMC-GF2 as main camera.
The right camera – or is a Smartphone good enough?
Since the triumph of digital photography, almost everyone is now taking photos and those who don't buy a digital camera still have one available – in their smartphone.
At that time I was still writing:
Their simple lenses and pinhead-sized photo chips don't let you expect professional image quality, but they offer everyone a free introduction to the wonderful hobby of photography.
In the meantime, at least the camera quality of the super expensive flagship models is much better than back then and under good lighting conditions they even create poster quality. Supported by chips with artificial intelligence, some smartphone cameras even create more beautiful and natural night shots than professional SLRs.
But it still applies:
Those who discover their talent in the process will hopefully soon buy a real digital camera. It doesn't have to be a big expensive reflex camera.
«The best camera is the one you have with you», a clever man once said. Today's models are all quite good, and if your expectations are not too high, you can make the decision to buy dependent on the operating concept and design. Their photos will always be better than with the camera of middle-class smartphones. If you have higher expectations or if you want the very best value for money, read a few issues of a photo magazine or use the Internet photo hobby forums before you buy online or, better still, pick up a shortlist of cameras from specialist retailers and try out their operating concept directly. With a bit of luck you will have a competent salesperson.
Paper Prints of digital Photos
If you want to give away some of the quickly reached thousand pictures conventionally or prefer a photo album to touch yourself, you need a picture service. In the past, you would put the film cartridge with 24 or 36 photos in a special envelope and send it by post to a photo lab – or hand in the film at your local photo shop. Days later, the developed film was ready for collection, together with paper prints – some laboratories even charged only for successful shots.
Waiting for days? Today unthinkable. Not knowing if and how many shots have been taken? No, either print out immediately from the memory card in good photo printer quality at the machine, or better still, have them exposed on photo paper by one of the photo labs specialising in digital photos.
Lobbying of the largest Photo Labs in Germany
A strong lobby decides which picture services are allowed to be tested in test reports of the highest-circulation computer trade magazines.
Smaller providers have no chance of having their quality tested by the press. That is why I would like to recommend such a small profile lab to you.
Foto Thun is the name of the photo specialist shop which has had several branches for many years and maintains a large photo laboratory also for professional photographers. There I have had many photo prints and also a poster made. The quality was excellent. The price was nevertheless favourable. I very rarely need paper pictures, so the last order was a few years ago. But if I need paper prints or want to give someone a photo poster, I order it from Foto Thun.
By the way: a photo calendar can be a great Christmas present …
Unfortunately the website and shop of this excellent photo specialist is not bilingual, German-language only.