What Were Photographers Shooting With in 2001?

Even just two decades ago, the photography industry was a vastly different place, and the sort of gear photographers used was quite different. This fun video follows a photographer as he discusses what was in his gear bag back in 2001.

Coming to you from Adam Gibbs, this interesting video features him discussing what he was using back in 2001. 2001 was certainly quite a different time, even though it was only two decades ago. Film still generally reigned king, and the digital revolution was only just beginning. In fact, Canon had only introduced the D30 (their first completely in-house developed DSLR) the year before, and the Nikon D1 had only been released in 1999, and both cameras only offered low-resolution crop sensors. It would not be until a few years later that digital cameras would outpace film cameras in sales and the digital revolution would really start to take hold. I remember that I was shooting with a little Canon Rebel film camera back then and still favoring Kodak Tri-X and Gold films. To me, digital was just a novelty, and I would not get serious about it until quite a few years later. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Gibbs. 

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Daniel L Miller's picture

Canon EOS-1V Bodies with Velvia film. I still didn't trust digital because the first sensor I saw had artificial greens.

Finally in 2004 I plunked down $8,000 for a Canon 1Ds Mark II, an insane amount even today.

iris-imaging's picture

My first exposure to digital was in the late '80s. I used Nikon F2 then Nikon F3's with a number of prime lenses no zooms, 90% of my shooting was with Tri-x and the rest was slide film. Lugged around two cameras around my neck most of the time. I had a small Kodak point and shoot digital camera at some point as I was building a website for Dodd Camera in Cleveland and I needed photos. My first Nikon D70 DSLR in 2005 with a zoom lens I bought for some subcontract work.

Steven Weston's picture

Nikon F3 with various Nikon primes including the 85mm t/s. The ubiquitous Canon Q rangefinder. A Rollei SL 66 with various primes. And a Miranda Sensorex that I used with oddball lenses including a lens adapted from a Kodak vest pocket. I had a lot of fun. I still have the F3 and primarily use a Fujifilm X-T2, mostly with primes. I'm still having fun.

Ben Coyte's picture

Still film back then but a couple of dalliances with digital. I had an Apple Quicktake 150 digital camera before that, which was a gimmick. First digital camera I shot was a Sony Mavica that recorded on floppy disks. Used it during Tiananmen Sq after martial law was declared, to shoot stills and send over a phone line back to HQ.

Mat Thomas's picture

I had two Eos 3s and a gz645i from Fuji and I had to rent 6x9 MF cameras for jobs. And in personal or artistic work I would spend like twenty or thirty quid a week on film and processing. I bought a Ricoh gr1v in about 2003-4 as my last real film camera.

dale clark's picture

Minolta Maxxum series with quite a few Minolta lenses. Still takes great images. My first digital was a compact Canon G5 in 2002 or 2003. Some great photos were taken with that camera.

T Van's picture

I was shooting QTVR virtual real estate tours and retail products with a cheap Olympus Camedia 700. Had a wide angle adapter and a nodal tripod head. CHEAP!

Scott Haddow's picture

I was using the same Canon AE-1 and A-1 that I had for most of the 1990s. In 2002 I bought my first digital camera: a Nikon Coolpix 4500.

Alan Myers's picture

Interesting "blast from the past".

In 2001 I had only just begun using autofocus SLRs and lenses for the first time (a pair of EOS-3s with power boosters and an Elan 7E, 17-35mm, 24-70mm, 28-135mm, 300mm, 500mm lenses + accessories.. Two backpacks!). The prior 25 or so years, I'd been shooting manual focus 35mm SLRs, medium format & 4x5. I'd just sold off all my MF gear, only kept my 4x5 and one lens (a lovely cherrywood & chrome Wista field camera w/Schneider 180mm lens. Still have them, in fact.)

By 2001 I'd been using digital for 2, 3 years... But only a 1.5MP Olympus integrated zoom lens model w/terrific optics but poor everything else (and cost $900 in 1997/98). I used that for stuff that was going online only, but stuck with film for "serious" work, scanning the best of the 35mm images into 130MB TIFFs so the images could be digitally edited and printed.

My first DSLR was a 6MP Canon 10D in 2004. It was the first DSLR offered under $2000 US and I liked Canon's CMOS sensor images better than everyone else's CCD (by 2008, all other DSLRs were CMOS... but MF digital kept using CCD for another 6 or 8 years). What's a 10D worth today? $50 or $75?

Still have my EOS-3s and some film in the freezer... I often think about getting them out and doing some shooting. But never seem to get around to it!

BTW, I had the same 1 degree spot meter, mostly used for B&W, Zone System shooting. But also used incidence meter a lot... Even outside the studio (Sekonic 298... Still have it. Still accurate and no batterie req'd.... Today I carry a Sekonic 358. Mostly shooting sports or wildlife... Only an occasional landscape).

I keep hoping someone someday offers a 4x5" sensor/digital "film holder" (not cropped!) that I can use with the old Wista. I've seen some DIY portable scanner conversions... Limited usefulness, but still might try one.

Chad D's picture

end of 2001 my switch to canon 1d :) from nikon N90s

Nada Ivanova's picture

this put a lot of perspective in the gear we use now