I've been taking photographs since I was a teenager. I'm an "amateur" in the original sense of the word, i.e. someone who does it for love rather than for money. Like most photographers, I'm interested in the technology, but I hate it when an obsession with technology gets in the way of aesthetics (which is what turned me off using the Leica Photo Portfolio system in the old, analog, days: I joined to have my pictures criticised on aesthetic grounds and found myself instead enmeshed in arguments about whether an Elmarit or a Summicron would have been a better choice of lens).
The best camera is always the one you happen to have with you -- which in my case sometimes means it's an iPhone4.
In conventional terms I've been a Leica user for many years; indeed meeting a Leica user when I was a kid was what originally alerted me to the idea that photography might not only be cool, but also interesting. I served my analog apprenticeship processing and printing my pictures in an impromptu darkroom under the family stairs. When SLRs arrived I opted for Nikon kit and have used Nikon SLRs and DSLRs ever since.
M4-P and M9 with a variety of Leitz and Zeiss lenses
X2 with a brightline finder
Nikon D700 with a range of lenses, including a magical Zeiss 50mm Planar and a wonderful old 85mm Ai Nikkor.
I'm a big fan of the Canon IXUS range, and have had various versions over the years (which have then cascaded down the family)
I also sometimes use a Panasonic GF1 with a range of lenses.
In the days of film, I loved using Rolleiflexes and still have one, plus a Hasselblad 500CM with Planar and Sonnar lenses for which I'm always trying to get a digital back on eBay (and always being outbid!)
HCB (of course), Don McCullin, Ansel Adams (whom I once met), Edward and Brett Weston, Lee Miller, Eugene Atget, Brassai.
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