I started my image making exploits with a 110 flashblub camera in grade school. Loved chasing around the girls at recess and then showing them the pictures later. On special occasions out with Dad, he let me shoot a roll in his Pentax manual 35mm camera. I used to love working with the manual focus and light metering. Guess I've always been interested in photography.
In college I bought a Kodak DC265 ($680) in October of 1999. It served me well for about 6 months when the Kodak DC290 came out. It's higher resolution and uncompressed TIFF writing format sucked me in almost immediately. I was able to sell the DC265 on eBay for what I had paid for it, and then put about $300 with it and made the upgrade to the DC290 ($960).
I shot over 11,000 images with those two Kodak's. I still have the DC290 and it is in 100% working condition. Huge shutter lag, slow shutter speeds, and a 20 second wait to flush the buffer after 3 quick pictures make this a slow old camera. Balancing out those negatives are its very vivid saturated colors, a very powerful flash, and incredible low light long exposure performance. Even out to it's 16 second maximum exposure, it had relatively low noise for it's day. This made it a great camera to play with outside at night and some of it's amazing results sparked an interest in low light and available light photography that is still with me to this day...
I had the opportunity to use a lot of different cameras over the nearly 10 full years I spent with the Kodak DC290. I shot side by side with a good friend using his 5 megapixel Sony at the Formula One race at Indianapolis in 2002. When we reviewed the images afterward, everything from the brilliantly painted race cars, to the grass and sky - the colors just didn't have the same 'pop' coming out of that Sony. When comparing the shots later that night on a laptop in the comfort of our RV, the owner of the Sony camera was the first to say it out loud, "jeez my yellows and purples look a little washed out compared to your pictures."
In 2006 I started digging in and doing some research thinking that 7 years later, surely there must be an easy choice - a point and shoot camera must exist that could make hands down better images. If it was out there I couldn't find it, even using the imaging-resource.com to compare the same exact shots between different camera models. I was in love with the very saturated "Kodak Digital Science" colors it produced. All through 2007 i was enamored with DSLR's and knew it wouldn't be long until I caved to the desire (albeit sooo expensive) to have one.
As a final stop gap measure, I decided to get the Canon PowerShot S5. I was already looking at the Canon cameras and lenses so I went with the highest end point and shoot they make - the S5 was a final attempt to stave of the DSLR purchase to let them advance as much as possible before i dove in. I really tried to step up my knowledge during this period. I was reading about photography forums every day, and started delving into the forums to see what others were talking about.
Well it was only about 5 months before I picked up a used 30D for $525. Soon after I got the Rebel XS as a backup body and to carry when on a serious shoot with a second lens mounted and ready to shoot - like the pros I've observed. I also got a pocket-sized PowerShot SD1100IS to keep in the car and to take into bars or environments where I couldn't regularly take the DSLR.
Now the 30D was plenty of camera for such a relative newcomer, but the 50D was too much to resist. I traded in my 30D toward a 50D and the camera shop gave me $425 towards the purchase price. The 50D is a great camera and I can't wait for Summer 2009 to really get some use out of it for shooting motorsports.
I still have every camera except the 30D.