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Digital Photography
Opinions, Observations,
Articles, Insights, and Tutorials

John Cowley, Summer 2009

About Lonestardigital.com

Lonestardigital.com is located in the Dallas - Fort Worth area of Texas and has been operated by John Cowley as a digital photography information site since its initial launch in January 1998.

Lonestardigital.com is linked as a review, reference, and information source from hundreds of digital photography web sites throughout the world. Lonestardigital.com has also been featured & referenced in several digital photography publications, including Spring into Digital Photography, PCWorld, Kodak Professional's ProView magazine, Digital Camera magazine, and eDigital Photo.com magazine. John is a former member of the National Press Photographers Association.

Email john.cowley@lonestardigital.com

The story behind Lonestardigital's name & graphics

Everywhere in Texas

Everywhere you go in Texas, you'll see Texas flags and the phrase Lone Star. Restaurants, parks, schools, businesses, clubs, sporting events, special edition cars & pickup trucks, and many, many more businesses & products (even beer) are named Lone Star.

Texas State Flag

The State Flag of Texas, called the "Lone Star Flag", was adopted in 1845 when Texas became the 28th state of the Union.

The official Texas State Motto is "The Lone Star State". Texans love their State Flag & Motto.

Lone Star and the Texas flag are symbols of the heart & soul of Texas.

In the Beginning

Kodak Reflex II 620 Camera

Photography first caught my interest when I was about twelve years old. I started out with a Kodak Reflex 620 camera. I began with black & white film, and took the time to learn about the basics of photography.

And I liked it.

Fascinated with the idea of "doing it myself", I saved up enough to buy some basic darkroom supplies and a contact printer. Next came an enlarger. And soon I had my own darkroom cordoned off in a section of the house, where I spent endless hours experimenting with my new hobby.

What a treat it was to go through boxes of old family negatives and be able to crop, enlarge, enhance, and develop my own prints. (That was great!)

The Submarine Years

Years later, I served as a crew member aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Gudgeon. A camera enthusiast already, I jumped at the opportunity to be trained at the U.S. Navy Periscope Photography School at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as the backup photographer for the boat. Equipment used: Nikon & Hasselblad.

Fast Attack Submarine USS Gudgeon (SS-567)

In addition to periscope photography, the school provided hands-on training in color film processing, advanced camera technology, and aerial photography.

And my interest in photography surged to a new level.

Pumped up with knowledge and enthusiasm, I bought a new Mamiya-Sekor 500 DTL single lens reflex 35mm camera during a port-of-call visit to Kobe, Japan.

Mamiya-Sekor 500 DTL 35mm film camera

The 500 DTL was one of the first cameras with onboard TTL (spot or area) metering shown in the viewfinder as an exposure guide. It was an all manual camera, with on-the-fly exposure set by adjusting the aperture dial on the lens. The kit I bought included a 50mm f/2 Auto Mamiya-Sekor screw mount lens.

And then came digital

In late 1992 I saw an ad for the new "FotoMan" digicam by Logitech advertised in a computer supply catalog. The ad caught my attention seriously ...

The Original FotoMan

"FotoMan! Capture, review, edit, and print pictures using your computer!"

What? A camera I could use with my computer?? It was just a black & white camera, but the mere concept was absolutely breathtaking. Just imagine, I was thinking ... I could do take & process pictures on my own computer... and even print them out on my own printer!!

I couldn't resist - and the new camera arrived by FedEx a couple of days later.

I struggled with the new technology... But eventually, I got the hang of it. And soon I really was processing & printing my very own digital pictures right at home! The picture quality wasn't very good, but it served me for the time being. (And it was certainly fun.)

The first color digicam came out about a year later, but the pictures were still pretty poor compared to pictures from "real" cameras. So I stuck with what I had for a couple of more years.

1996 - The breakthrough year

The Kodak DC-50 color digital camera was introduced in 1996.

Kodak DC-50 Digital Camera

After an on site demonstration by the local Kodak field representative, I bought one immediately. Now this was a real improvement in digital camera technology! The DC-50 became a valuable tool at work, completely replacing my Polaroid camera for production documentation .

My ties to film were broken.

From that point on, I've been strictly digital ... and never looked back.

Since the DC-50, I've worked my way through quite a few digital cameras. Some kept me happy for a while, others were in & out of my camera bag in just a few days. (Listed in alphabetical order)

  • Agfa ePhoto 780
  • Agfa ePhoto 1280
  • Agfa ePhoto 1680
  • Canon EOS 1D
  • Canon EOS D30
  • Canon EOS D60
  • Canon S3 IS
  • Canon S70
  • Canon SX110 IS
  • Canon HF-G10 Camcorder
  • Canon XA-20 Camcorder
  • Contax N Digital
  • Fuji S1 Pro
  • Fuji S2 Pro
  • Kodak DC-200
  • Kodak DC-210
  • Kodak DCS 315
  • Kodak DCS 520
  • Kodak DCS 620
  • Kodak DCS 620x
  • Kodak DCS 660
  • Kodak DCS 760
  • Kodak DCS Pro 14n
  • Kodak ProBack 645M
  • Nikon Coolpix 700
  • Nikon Coolpix 800
  • Nikon Coolpix 900
  • Nikon Coolpix 950
  • Nikon Coolpix 990
  • Nikon CoolPix 995
  • Nikon Coolpix 2500
  • Nikon Coolpix 4500
  • Nikon Coolpix 5700
  • Nikon D1
  • Nikon D1H
  • Nikon D1X
  • Nikon D100
  • Nikon D2H
  • Nikon D2X
  • Nikon D200
  • Nikon D3
  • Nikon D3s
  • Nikon D300
  • Nikon D70
  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon D800E
  • Nikon 1 V1
  • Nikon 1 V2
  • Olympus D-340L
  • Olympus D-500L
  • Olympus D-600L
  • Olympus E1
  • Sony RX100 II
  • Sony RX100 III

John with a Nikon D2H

What am I using now?

A Sony RX100 III, a Nikon D800E, a Nikon D700 and a Canon XA-20 Camcorder.

The Sony RX100 III is my everyday walk-around camera. Truly pocketable, with picture quality that rivals the best Nikon DSLRs ... absolutely amazing!.

The Nikon D800E is my preferred DSLR.

I use my Nikon D700 as a backup when a second professional class DSLR is needed.

A Canon XA-20 Professional Class Camcorder is my primary video camera, and I also use the Sony RX100 III as a pocket-size alternate video camera.