Some of the cameras I've owned over the years. Click to enlarge.
Canon EOS 500
Canon Powershot A40
Canon EOS 400D
I've always been interested in photography, probably from when my dad used to develop his own black and white films, and I started doing this myself when I was a student.
My first camera was a Fujica ST605, soon replaced with the slightly higher spec ST705w. The only thing electrical about them was the meter. Even the shutter was mechanical - but very accurate. Both were completely manual. I added a Hoya 135mm lens and a Tamron 500mm mirror lens to complete my kit.
After a couple of years I tried the Fujica AZ1, an aperture priority automatic, but I never really took to it. Probably because it only had three speeds in manual mode (1/60, 1250, 1/500) and I liked the control the manual camera gave me. The ST605 and ST705 were great cameras though - acurate, reliable, and with a nice fast (f1.4) 50mm lens. I've still got the ST705.
Around this time a local shop had a sale on the discontinued Rollei B35, and a few friends and I all got them. Fantastic tiny camera not much bigger that the 110mm cameras then doing the rounds, but this was a full frame 35mm. No battery, just a manual meter on top, the lens collapsed into the body, and you manually set the focus, speed and aperture. And got brilliant results. It was so small the film rewind and the flash bracket had to be mounted on the bottom, so you had to shoot flash photos upside down.
Time marches on and I decided to move with it. The meter on the AZ1 was faulty and Fuji had stopped making SLRs, so I took the plunge and switched to the Canon EOS500. This had autofocus, shutter or aperture priority metering, or full manual control. The 35-80mm short zoom meant a slower lens, f4 at best, but I could live with it. I also got a good deal on a 75-300mm Canon zoom for it, in time for our first trip to South Africa for a wedding.
Four years later, another wedding in South Africa (the bride's sister actually) gave me the excuse to switch to digital. I already had a Canon Powershot A40 digital compact (which was still bigger that the Rollei) but it was only 2 megapixel, and digital SLRs were now becoming affordable. Also, having come back four years earlier with 20 spools, ie over 700 prints, it almost paid for itself (I never did my own colour printing). And getting an EOS350D meant the lenses still fitted.
After a number of years using an EOS400D, I now have an EOS 70D for the more semi-pro spec.