My name is Nicky Woodward and I am an amateur photographer based in Nottingham, UK. My Great Great Grandfather and his brother were both professional photographers back in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, so I like to think that photography is in my blood.
The first camera I ever owned was a Kodak 110 compact. It was very basic, but exceptionally easy to use. It didn’t have a built in flash, so I had to buy flash cubes, which came in packs of 3 or 4. I remember them being really expensive, so I didn’t get to use them very often.
My second camera was given to me as a Christmas present by my parents. It was a Boots own brand camera (possibly a 401F) and took 35mm film, as opposed to the 110mm cartridge film the Kodak used. It also came with a built in flash, which could be used over and over again. It was a huge improvement on the Kodak and I often took it with me on holidays and days out.
By my late teens, I had saved up enough money to buy my first film SLR and went to a local camera shop to choose one. My Dad had always used Pentax cameras, so I decided to buy a [second hand] Pentax ME Super. It was a huge step up from a compact camera and I felt a bit more like a ‘real’ photographer with it. Unfortunately it only lasted 6 months because the shutter began to malfunction. Believe it or not, it was cheaper for me to buy a brand new camera rather than get the film camera repaired, so I ditched the ME Super and moved over to digital.
My first digital camera was a Sony DSC P-31. It was a lot smaller than the ME Super, but I liked that aspect of it because I could carry it in my pocket. It packed a [whopping] 2 megapixels, a 3x digital zoom and a postage sized colour screen on the back. It seems terribly old fashioned now, but back then it was a revolution. I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and I took it everywhere with me. Unfortunately, towards the end of 2003, I started to have issues with the autofocus and so the camera became useless. It wasn’t really worth repairing, so I took my Brother’s advice and ‘upgraded’ to a digital SLR.
At the time, my Brother owned a Nikon D50 and because he gave it a 5 star rating, I decided to buy one too. It was so much better than my P-31 because I could change lenses, shoot in raw and take larger, sharper images due it’s high performance image sensor. It took a bit of getting used to, but I soon got the hang of it and my photography really started to improve.
As time went on, I gradually moved on to later Nikon models, including D90, D7100 and D800. I’ve always bought my kit from London Camera Exchange and because of financial constraints, everything has been second hand. This has never bothered me though. I’m not someone who needs everything to be brand new. As long as it works, that’s the most important thing.
I currently own a full frame Nikon D750 with two lenses; a 50mm prime and a 24-120mm medium zoom. In January of this year, a gust of wind caught my tripod and my 24-120mm plunged to it’s death onto concrete. Thankfully it has now been repaired and is back home where it belongs. I’ve definitely missed that wide angle!
Nicky Woodward, March 2020