Stan Disbrow

Stan Disbrow

Lives in United States Raleigh USA, United States
Works as a Electrical Engineer
Joined on Jun 22, 2000
About me:

I started with photography back in 1973 with an Ansco ShurFlash box camera. 120 film in a 6x9 format with one of everything: lens, aperture, shutter speed. Took one shot at a time, and even the flash had only one flash at a time from a bulb!

Moved from that to a 135 format rangefinder around 1976. Well, that gave me multiple apertures and shutter speeds. Quite an upgrade, actually. Useful with normal (50mm) and wide angle (35mm) lenses via the range finding viewfinder. Not too hot with telephoto lenses, though.

Finally got an SLR in 1979, a Nikon FE with one lens: an AI 50mm f1.8 which came with the FE. Slowly added a few more AI lenses to go with the FE. Then, in 1981 picked up an old F2 which came with some Non-AI lenses. Many of those I still have, and I changed their aperture rings for AI ones.

After that, I picked up a new FA, which was quite the day for me. My first brand-new camera! This was the first to use AI-S lenses. There were a couple holes in my lens kit which wound up being filled with AI-S lenses.

My start with digital began in 1984 when the Kodak boys came to IBM with this idea for a vision system. We were just beginning with surface mount parts, and had all sorts of oddball placement problems. each board required use of the Mark-I Eyeball. Kodak had an idea, though:

Use a digital camera to look at each board, then compare it to a shot of a known-good board. If it looked good, send it on to board test. If anything looked odd, send it to a repair tech. We could even tag the image as to what looked odd.

The Kodak boys even toted this imager into the meeting room mounted into a Canon F1 film SLR with a tethered storage unit. It was used to shoot, mainly us in the meeting, and then transfer the images to an IBM PC for display. Pretty neat. :)

Well, we bought into it, and it worked well. I had to build my own camera system to use the chip. We also wound up helping with some bits for the Digital Storage Unit for the eventual for-sale Kodak Digital Camera System product in the late 1980s.

I really wanted one at the time, but the price tag of the DCS was too much for me. I waited until 1998 when I bought the first of the Nikon DSLRs, the E2 (predates the D1). Next came a Kodak DCS 460, which was a Nikon N90 with a 6 MP Kodak digital back. Then I sprang for a D1.

That kicked off a flurry of buying and selling of DSLRs. Nikon D1H, D1X, D2H. Canon 1D and 1Ds. Kodak DCS 620x, 660, 520, 560, 760c, and 720x. I never got far into the Canon lens system, but kept on with my large set of Nikon manual focus lenses via an adapter. That works because the Nikon has a longer flange distance than the Canon so there is space for a thin adapter ring.

By 2003, I had settled out on keeping my venerable Kodak gear, both Canon and Nikon based. Plus, my old Nikon glass. I only kept two modern lenses, one in each system, both 28-105 macro zooms.

I also stepped into Medium Format with a Contax 645 and a Kodak digital back.

I 'retreated' from the DSLR 'merry-go-round'. I literally stopped paying attention to everything at that point. But there was a bit of interest in the Pentax 645D in 2010 and then the Nikon Df in 2013.

In Nov 2018, I finally bought a Df. It is what I had in mind way back when in the mid 1980s. A full frame digital imager in my FA. :)

I am keeping my Kodak DCS 760c as that offers Kodachrome color dyes with the 6MP CFA and it is an F5 body. Also the DCS 660m which is a monochrome variant. The 720x and 560 have been passed on now. The 520 lives on in my electronics lab as the adapter for my Leica microscope is for the Canon EF mount. I am doing electronics consulting work these days, so my lab at home sees more use than ever before. I also have a Nikon D1H which still works well although it mostly sits on a shelf these days.

On that shelf, sits the FE, FA and F4 film cameras. None of those work properly these days, probably from many years of disuse. Since getting the Df, the 760c sits on that shelf next to the D1H and E2 (also still works), but it does get to come back out and shoot from time to time.

These days, the main use I have for photography is going to events such as car shows, race tracks, antique farm equipment shows, and the like. I shoot for folks and then produce custom T-shirts and similar things on a Direct-To-Garment inkjet printer. My wife (who has a Nikon D80 kit, BTW) and I have a screenprinting business and this is something I do as part of her business. Not exactly mainstream professional photography, but there it is. :)

As my work on the DTG printer increases, I have added a Pentax 645D and a few lenses to my kit. Most of the time, the Nikon DF supplies all the megapixels I need with the DTG. There are some subjects, though, which need more than the Df can supply. I looked hard at a few high res Nikon options, then looked at my lenses and decided that moving past 24 MP with what I have might not work out all that well. I could go with a medium format system for less total cost than a new Nikon body. Now, down the road, I can see adding a Fujifilm GFX 100, which would be even better. Right now, that is out of my budget, but the Pentax 645D was originally the same $10k as the GFX 100. Now it is $1600. And, all the Pentax lenses can be used on a Fuji with an adapter.

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