Significant Digital Cameras I've Owned

(or still own)

Review of the Olympus C-2500L when it was introduced in 1999:
I bought mine in December 1999, reacquired in 2021 as a birthday gift.
2.5 megapixels, 2/3" sensor
When this came out I was thrilled since digital offerings of the time were slim. But I tired of the limitations so I upgraded quickly. I did shoot a wedding with this camera. Some of the biggest downfalls: ISO limited to 100, 200 and 400. Also, you have two aperture options... fast and slow. You can't just set it to a specific aperture (f/4 for example). And your available choices differ depending on the focal length you've set to the lens. For example: if you're at the widest of 9mm (35mm equivalent on a 2/3" sensor) the two aperture options are f/2.8 and f/5.6. If you're at the longest zoom of 27mm (100mm equivalent on a 2/3" sensor) the two aperture options are f/3.9 and f/7.8. Not exactly precision photography. But oddly enough, this camera has the fastest shutter of all the other cameras on this page... topping out at 1/10000 of a second. It also has the shortest shutter at 8 seconds instead of the normal 30 seconds you'll find on all the other cameras in this list, so it's a give and take. Like most early digital cameras, this one runs on AA rechargeable batteries, easy to find.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

Review of the Olympus E-10 when it was introduced in 2000:
I bought mine in September 2002, reacquired in 2021 on ebay for $50.
4 megapixels, 2/3" sensor
This camera is built like a TANK! It feels absolutely fantastic in your hand, maybe even better than the R5 that I own now. Taking a photo, though, is a trial in patience. You are severely handicapped in the ISO (only options are 80, 160, 320) and shutter speed of this camera (the longest the shutter can be open is a whopping 60 seconds, but the fastest shutter is a mere 1/640 of a second). Sure it goes down to f/2 at the 35mm equivalent focal length and f/2.4 at the 144mm focal length, but with a 2/3" sensor you are NOT going to get a buttery background. There are controls all over this camera, in fact you can control every function of this camera with the buttons and dials without having to touch the menu system... except for one thing, changing the ISO. That has to be done through the menus, and on this copy you can't get to the menu because that button is broke. So I'm stuck taking all images at 80 ISO on this camera. The included 32mb card will hold a whopping two images in TIFF (raw). I didn't do any paid gigs with this camera but I did take it on a few vacations and got some great memories with it. A cool feature of this camera is the ability to do second-curtain flash with the onboard lamp. This camera takes images in a 4:3 ratio, unlike the more modern 3:2 ratio. It also runs on four AA batteries, unlike modern cameras, so I didn't have to search for a legacy battery to work with the system. But don't use standard AA's, you should use rechargeable nickel metal hydride 2000mAh or you'll get a warning in the top panel that the batteries aren't sufficient.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

Review of the Olympus E-20 when it was introduced in 2001:
I bought mine in June 2003, reacquired in 2021 on ebay for $36.
5 megapixels, 2/3" sensor
With very few differences, this E20 is nearly identical to the E10 above. Yes, it has one more megapixel, and the menus and operation of previewing images is way faster, but operationally you wouldn't know the difference if both were placed in front of you. I had this model for a couple of years and shot a wedding with it. Like with the E10 above, this is built like a tank. Unfortunately, the lens (at least with the model I have) is not as sharp as what the E10 produces. There's no way to micro-adjust the focus system so you just have to live with the results. Seems to do better when the flash is enabled (which doesn't make sense since the focusing is done before the flash fires). Like the prior E10 model, this camera runs on AA rechargeable batteries so no worries finding legacy batteries to work with it. All the other features mentioned in the camera above apply to this camera, they are functionally the same.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

Review of the Nikon D70 when it was introduced in 2004:
I bought mine in December 2004, reacquired in 2021 on ebay for $55.
6 megapixels, APS-C sensor
One more whole megapixel over the Olympus E20, inching my way up to modern times. I had high hopes for this camera, but something about it just didn't feel right with me. For one thing, the shutter button is more 'on top' of the camera then the prior Olympus models that sit more forward, giving a more natural feel for my hands. Likewise, the Canon cameras I use are much like the Olympus with the forward shutter button, which is likely why I made the switch. I never used it for any paid gigs and never took it on vacation. I did shoot a 50th wedding anniversary with it though. This was my first camera that allowed lens interchangeability. I only had the kit lens, though (18-55mm). Unlike the Olympus cameras before this one, that lens had a very slow aperture so there was no chance of any decent bokeh with that kit lens... but the APS-C sensor was actually bigger on this Nikon than on the next three Canon cameras I acquired over the coming decade. You'd think having a bigger sensor and smaller megapixels would contribute to better low light performance, but that didn't help at all in this case. Canon came out with a 300D that was the equivalent of this camera but I passed on that one, instead going with the 350D (below, the XT) two years after purchasing this camera. An oddity with this camera is that it can't do a 'live view' shooting mode. The two Olympus cameras that are years older than this can both do 'live mode' shooting. Another downfall of this camera is you have absolutely no way of knowing your camera settings from the back of the camera, which makes it difficult to adjust when mounted on a tripod. All the other cameras in this listing allow you to see a minimum of your shutter speed and aperture from the back panel, but not this one.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

Review of the Canon XT when it was introduced in 2005:
I bought mine in January 2006, reacquired in 2021 through a friend for $25.
8 megapixels, APS-C sensor
This was the camera I owned for the longest period of time... eight years. This was a fun camera! Didn't use it professionally but it was a blast to pick up and just have fun with, and I did shoot a wedding with this camera. Over the years I took this camera to a ton of motorcycle events in Daytona and across the east coast of the United States. Rode my motorcycle to Ohio and back a couple times in those eight years, and went to Daytona Bike Week and Daytona Biketoberfest every year during that time. Also went to Myrtle Beach Bike Week and rode up to North Carolina during that time to visit friends. This camera saw a lot of action and adventure. It's just a pity that the sensor size was so small, not like the giant leap that came next with the T3i below. Much like the Nikon D70 (above), this camera can't do a 'live view' shooting mode. The two Olympus cameras that are years older than this can both do 'live mode' shooting. Not sure why it was left out of this camera.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

Review of the Canon T3i when it was introduced in 2011:
I bought mine in November 2013, reacquired in 2019 on ebay for $250.
18 megapixels, APS-C sensor
Of all the legacy cameras I still own, this is by far the best of the bunch, having more than double the megapixels of the next best camera. Like the review (in the URL above) says, the images were surprisingly fantastic. No paid gigs with this camera but tons of fun. But it wasn't fast, and I wanted something that had more speed, which led to the 70D below. When I reacquired this camera in 2019 it became my dedicated lunar photography camera mixed with the Sigma 150-500 lens and two Kenko 2x extenders. Made for one heck of a setup, the equivalent of a 2000mm lens, and when you combine that with the crop-sensor 35mm equivalent of 1.6x you get a full frame equivalent of 3200mm in reach. Making for some fantastically detailed and sharp moon photos. Unfortunately I no longer have the Sigma lens, so I'm planning on getting the Canon RF 800mm lens with a 2x extender to use with the Canon R5 for these shots going forward.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

20 megapixels, APS-C sensor
I really had hoped this would be a giant leap for mankind over the T3i... but it really wasn't in the way of image quality. However, in every other way it was a good move forward. Faster, more accurate, and entirely more rugged. No paid gigs with this camera, but certainly used it more for wildlife over the T3i. The vastly improved 7 frames per second was about double what the T3i could do (unless you were in servo mode), and the buffer didn't choke out after just three photos in raw resolution, you could get 4x more photos with the buffer on this camera before you couldn't take any more photos while it wrote to the memory card. More than enough at the time for just taking bird photos and some sports photos. But then I was getting more requests for head shots and weddings and I decided that I had outgrown crop sensor cameras. I didn't get rid of this one right away, I kept it for wildlife and then used the 6D (below) for professional shoots.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

Review of the Canon 6D when it was introduced in 2012:
I bought mine in December 2014. Re-acquired in 2022 on ebay for $450.
20 megapixels, full frame sensor
Shot a few weddings with this camera, and though it was a struggle at times because of it's slow shutter the images did not disappoint. It was superb in low light. My first full frame camera, I was amazed with the bokeh I could get with this camera with the right lenses attached. This was the camera that made me spend the most money on new lenses to this point in time, purchasing the Canon 70-200 2.8 and the Tamron 24-70 2.8. Without these lenses I would never have gotten good wedding shots. But... it... was... so... slow! The frames per second was simply painful. When you needed an action shot (such as a bride and groom coming down the aisle) you had to rely more on luck than on the capabilities of the camera, especially in low light (which almost all weddings are).
Click here for sample images with this camera.

26 megapixels, full frame sensor
I bought this to replace the 6D as my second shooter to the 5D4, but I found that I was disappointed in the video quality (after already being accustomed to the 5D4 video quality in 4k) and became frustrated in using it. At that time I was doing performance videos for a dance company and ended up not using it at all for that purpose because of this. The image quality was actually not as good as it's prior model, the 6D. This camera ended up being rarely used and I quickly traded it up for the Canon EOS R as soon as I got the chance. I had actually rented this camera before purchasing and thought it was pretty slick, which is why I took the plunge, but in actual use in professional jobs the images did not wow me and I felt I had made a mistake in the purchase. It became relegated to being used on camping trips and casual shooting, which for me is a disappointment.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

30 megapixels, full frame sensor
When I got this camera in my hands and snapped my first picture I was blown away by the image quality and the video quality. I remember telling friends that this is the best camera I have ever had in my hands, and at the time that was correct. Of course that was then. Did a LOT of paid gigs with this camera, so no regrets, but I ended up trading this in for an EOS R also. What I loved: the image quality was stellar, the frames per second were good, and it was solid as a rock. I actually dropped this camera on a cement floor (accidentally, of course) with my Tamron 24-70 2.8 G2 lens attached. When it made contact with the floor it made one heck of a crash and the lens hood went flying, but both the camera and the lens were unharmed. I turned the camera on and tested everything to ensure it was still functioning and everything was as if nothing had ever happened. This was a good thing because I was literally walking out the door to do a family shoot and I didn't want to use the 6D2 as a backup for this one. What I didn't love: the fixed LCD, I got to the point that I hated that fixed LCD. I'm so glad they don't do that any more. And the small buffer size, that was a constant thorn in my side. And lastly what I didn't love was that you had to constantly micro adjust your lenses for focusing inconsistencies. What I found was that the 5D4 was most accurate in live mode than through the viewfinder, and that's not always optimal in action shots.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

Review of the Canon EOS R when it was introduced in 2018:
I bought mine in April 2019. Re-acquired in 2022 on amazon, renewed, for $1,500.
30 megapixels, full frame sensor
I traded the Canon 6D2 and 5D4 to acquire two of these cameras... that's how impressed I was. Had several paid gigs with this camera and I was completely in love with it... until the R6 and R5 were introduced.  I had a video gig where I used this camera side by side with the 5D4 and this camera worked out much better in the end. The battery life on the R outlasted the 5D4 in video mode and the white balance was much more accurate on the R over the 5D4 during video shooting. Not sure why, they were literally inches away from each other looking at the exact same stage, one was wide angle and the other was telephoto. The images, of course, were identical between the 5D4 and the EOS R, because they were the exact same image sensor, but you could get way more images in burst mode on this camera... the 5D4 buffer was sickeningly small. You could get an easy 7 frames per second in one-shot mode with this camera, but when you went into servo mode that got cut in half. As long as you had the most recent firmware installed, the face detection worked pretty well, so long as you were close to the subject. The problem with this camera is it wasn't optimal in low light so I didn't really trust going higher then iso1600 with it on a professional job. Yes, you could get away with 3200 or even 6400, but you had to apply some pretty heavy noise reduction to compensate. What really set this apart from all the other cameras above was the EVF which gave you the ability to see what your photo would look like before you take the picture instead of reviewing it afterwards.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

20 megapixels, full frame sensor
I purchased the R5 for a wedding I had contracted for mid 2021. I decided I'd keep the two R cameras (since they are really good cameras) for video work as an A and B cam, and for camping/adventure outings. Well, the problem became evident after using the R5 for any length of time... the focus system and servo speed of the R, combined with the controls of the camera itself, just didn't match up. So, I took the two R cameras, and a couple of lenses I didn't need any more, to my local camera and hobby shop and made the trade for the R6. This is my 'B' camera. I mostly use the R5 on paid gigs (except real estate shoots, don't need all that detail for real estate), and save this one for my vacations and fun outings and wildlife shoots. Having the smaller resolution is fantastic when you don't want to deal with a huge amount of disk space, but you quickly learn to compose your shots better so you don't crop as much in post. This isn't an optimal video camera if you need to record for more than an hour, but if you don't need to record for an hour, it's the best 4k video you can get from a mirrorless camera at the time I'm writing this. I did manage to get two hours of recording on a Ninja V but only in 24p, and most of my recordings are in 30p. So if I need to record for more than an hour I just use the R5 in standard 4K mode.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

45 megapixels, full frame sensor
There is absolutely no downside to this camera, in my opinion. Yes, people will complain about some video shortcomings, but those can be overcome in the right modes. I purchased this because I had a wedding slated for July 2021 and wanted to ensure I had the speed, buffer, and megapixels to crop when necessary, and boy did I get that. This camera can shoot a maximum of 20 frames per second in full electronic shutter, and even in the mechanical shutter it can shoot a reliable 12 frames per second. Top that with a minimum of 50 straight shots before the buffer fills and a whopping 45 megapixel sensor. If you want to get the best possible 4k from this camera you have a time constraint before it will overheat, but when using the non-HQ mode for 4k there's no time limit when recording to a Ninja V. To sweeten the deal, this camera has in body image stabilization, which makes any non stabilized lens an instant success over previous camera models. Along with purchasing this camera I picked up the RF 50mm f/1.2 lens, and together they are a camera system made in heaven. I almost never take that lens off this camera.
Click here for sample images with this camera.

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