Hi my name is Martin Skidmore; I'm 39 and an Electrical Engineer Surveyor for an electrical inspections company.

I got into photography at an early age, mainly because my father was also interested in it. Being a man who likes his gadgets I have always been fascinated in complex equipment. Obviously due to my age I started out with film photography. I had a pretty poor point and shoot camera to start with, but my dad had a Canon A1 that I was just itching to get to use.

Having shown some interest my father used to let me use it under supervision, he also instructed me in some of more basic functions. The A1 can be a simple camera to use because of it Auto program mode, as long as you know how to manually focus that is. But the camera excels when you put it into one of the other modes.

I still have this camera and associated lenses in my possession and will never sell them. It still takes brilliant photos today and we will be using it to take black and white photos of our wedding in November. I have no doubts that it will produce photographs as good as a professional camera could take.

My next camera was a Canon Powershot A20. The A20 is a simple digital point and shoot camera with a few manual options. I jumped on the digital camera bandwagon early on because I am computer savvy and saw the sheer simplicity of going digital. The A20 was only a 2.1 megapixel camera, but at that time 3 megapixel was the best you could get. Obviously the quality was nowhere near that of the A1, but as I was using most of the photos for the web it didn't matter.

The problem came with the cats. The A1 was fast enough to get very good pictures of them but costly and time consuming to get them developed. The A20 was the better option, but simply wasn't fast enough to take good photos. The cats don't stay stationary for very long and they where moving before the camera to focus. Getting good photos of Diesel was particularly problematic because of her dark colouring.

It was time to get a new camera. I was initially looking at getting an expensive automatic camera with lots of manual settings. But noticed that Canon had a digital SLR that was within that price bracket. Having had Canon cameras before and being very happy with them I was leaning towards getting the EOS300D. Then out of nowhere Nikon released the D70. Then the fantastic reviews starting coming out about how good this camera was. I compared the two cameras together and was convinced that the D70 was the camera that fitted my needs the best.

After buying the D70 my outlook on photography was reinvented. I was excited each time I took the camera out to take pictures. The Internet probably helped with this new excitement, as there are loads of helpful websites. These websites contain loads of very useful information about how to get the best out of your digital SLR.

But like most things, you eventually come to a point were you feel the equipment is starting to limit your ability. With that in mind I purchased a Nikon D200 body and made a massive step up from the D70. The camera is not for the feint hearted as it has no mode dial on it and hundreds of different settings within its menus. Once you do get to grips with it though you are rewarded with some stunning photos. At the moment the D200 fulfils all of my requirements in a digital SLR so I have no plans to upgrade any time soon.

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