My father introduced me to photography in 1950 when I was age 4, which means I was shooting photos with the pinhole camera he made for me and developing prints (crude as they were) in his darkroom before I could read or write.
For decades after that, I shot photography for both business and pleasure, until I eventually lost interest in it as a hobby due to diminishing returns for increasing costs, but continued to shoot commercially as an adjunct to my graphic design work.
Then in 1999, I bought my first digital camera, a 2 megapixel (MP) 38–115mm (3X) Nikon CoolPix 950, which allowed me to shoot with no concern for cost and this rekindled an interest in again shooting for pleasure and I haven’t shot a frame of film since.
The 950 was soon replaced by a 3 MP 38–115mm (3X) Nikon CoolPix 990, which was soon replaced by a 5 MP 38–190mm Sony Cyber-shot F707, but the real excitement and joy of photography didn’t reignite fully until April 2004 when I bought an 8 MP 28–200mm (7.1X) Konica-Minolta A2, the first digital camera I owned that I considered to be a serious camera.
Then in November 2004, due to needing higher sensitivity, lower image noise, and capability for longer telephoto reach, I bought an 8 MP Canon EOS 20D digital single lens reflex (DSLR). Originally, this was not bought to replace the A2 but to complement it.
However, the A2 has now been handed off to a family member and the 20D, after taking nearly 90,000 photos over a four year period, was getting tired and needed work done on it, but since that work would have cost more than the camera was worth, I retired it (it does still function) and in April 2008, I replaced it with a lightly used 10 MP Canon 400D/XTi DSLR bought from a friend for less than the 20D repair would have cost.
All things considered, for the kind of shooting I do, the XTi was as capable as the 20D as well as having a bit more resolution with 10.1 MP compared to 8.2 MP, which isn’t a significant increase but does provide some additional cropping room, so the XTi was what I shot with exclusively for the following year.
However, I found in the time I owned those cameras that 8–10 MP wasn’t enough resolution for the many requests I get for extra large images, which would require a camera with a 21 MP or greater, but due to the costs and other factors involved with such a move, I instead compromised in June 2009 and bought a 15 MP Canon 500D/T1i DSLR and in October 2010 bought an 18 MP Canon EOS 60D DSLR and continue to keep the 400D/XTi as a backup camera in case one of the other DSLRs fails.
And as if all those cameras weren’t enough, in June 2010 I purchased a little 12 MP 25–300 mm (12×) Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (aka TZ10 outside North America) as a pocket camera to have with me when I didn’t feel like lugging around the big heavy DSLRs and while the ZS7 was a decent camera, it was limited by not providing RAW format files and its image quality just wasn’t good enough to suit me. So in April 2011 I replaced it with a 16 MP 24–360 mm (15×) Fuji F550 EXR pocket camera. The F550, while not perfect, provided RAW files, had better image quality and higher sensitivity. It was a very capable camera for a pocket camera, but had a serious lens flaring problem around exceptionally bright light sources. So in late April 2012, I bought a 12 MP 24-120mm (5X) Canon Powershot S100, which is another pocket camera but with excellent image quality although much less zoom range than the F550.
Then the superzoom era of my photography career began in early April 2013 when I bought a 16 MP 24–1000 mm (41.7×) Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR superzoom as a convenience camera, a one camera does it all thing. Over the years, I had found the pocket cameras too lacking and the DSLRs too cumbersome for enjoyable every day shooting and wanted one camera that could do it all and the HS50 came close to that. At a small loss in image quality and less ISO sensitivity compared to the DSLRs, the HS50 alone covered a greater focal length range than all my other cameras and lenses combined and with a dual element close-up lens it becomes an excellent macro camera. Despite having similar flaring to the F550, but not as bad, the HS50 quickly became my most used camera.
Then one day a few months later, I sadly fell with the HS50 and while miraculously the camera still basically worked, it was wounded and I went on the lookout for a better superzoom to replace it, but had to wait for almost a year before anything new came out that interested me, hoping during that time for an HS60 that never appeared.
Not being happy with the limited zoom of the S100 and flaring of the F550 and neither of them having a viewfinder (which made them almost unusable outdoors on bright sunny days), but still wanting the convenience of a pocket camera, when Panasonic released the 18 MP 24–720mm (30×) ZS40 (TZ60) in March 2014, I bought one since it had a viewfinder, shoots RAW, and had almost as much focal length range as the HS50.
The ZS40 is a great very capable little pocket camera and I take it with me whenever I leave home and don’t expect to be shooting photos, but if one does appear the ZS40 can certainly get a decent photo in almost any situation. However, it lacks the sensitivity I need for some fairly dim lighting situations I encounter almost daily and need better than decent image quality, so in November 2014, I bought a 12 MP 25–600mm (24×) Panasonic FZ200 superzoom for its incredible lens (a constant f2.8 aperture throughout its entire focal length range!) and a 16 MP 24–1200mm (50×) Fuji FinePix S1 superzoom for its dust and weather seals and even greater zoom range than the HS50.
So, at this point after buying my first digital camera, I’m satisfied with the resolution and features consumer digital cameras have achieved and have no plans for any further camera purchases. Famous last words I’m sure.