My father introduced me to photography in 1950 when I was age 4, which means that before I could read or write I was shooting photos with a pinhole camera he made for me and developing prints (crude as they were) in his darkroom.
I eventually graduated to proper cameras and for decades after that, I shot photography for both business and pleasure, until I finally 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) Nikon CoolPix 950 and my photographic world changed because the 950 allowed me to shoot with no concern for cost and thus rekindled an interest in shooting for pleasure again and I havenít bought a roll of film since.
The 950 was soon replaced by a 3 MP Nikon CoolPix 990, which was soon replaced by a 5 MP Sony Cyber-shot F707, but the real excitement and joy of photography didnít reignite fully until April 2004 when I bought an 8 MP Minolta DiMage A2, the first digital camera I owned that I considered to be a serious camera and the first one with RAW format and image stabilization, functions I would no longer like to be without.
Then in late November 2004, due to needing higher sensitivity, lower image noise, and longer telephoto reach, I bought an 8 MP Canon EOS 20D digital single lens reflex (DSLR) with a couple of consumer-grade stabilized zoom lenses.
In April 2008, since the 20D was getting worn and tired and in need of repair after shooting 90,000+ photos, 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.
In June 2009 I bought a 15 MP Canon 500D/T1i DSLR.
And as if all those cameras werenít enough, in June 2010 I purchased a little 12 MP Panasonic Lumix ZS7 (aka TZ10 outside North America) as a pocket camera to have with me when I didnít feel like lugging around the big heavy DSLRs.
In October 2010 I bought an 18 MP Canon EOS 60D DSLR and keep the 500D as an alternate DSLR and continue to keep the 400D/XTi as a backup camera in case one of the other two DSLRs fails.
And while the ZS7 was a decent camera, it was limited by not shooting RAW and because of that, its image quality just wasnít good enough to suit me, so in April 2011 I replaced it with a 16 MP Fuji F550 EXR.
The F550, while not perfect, provided RAW files, has better image quality, and has higher sensitivity. It is a very capable camera for a pocket camera, but has a serious lens flaring problem around exceptionally bright light sources.
So in late April 2012 I bought a 12 MP Canon Powershot S100, which is another pocket camera but with excellent image quality although much less zoom range than the F550. Due to its limited zoom reach I eventually quit using it.
Then in early April 2013, I bought a 16 MP 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 my everyday shooting and wanted one camera that could do it all and the HS50 came close to that.
The HS50 started my love affair with superzoom cameras (by my definition cameras with 1,000mm zoom reach or greater). Sadly, an unfortunate accident damaged the HS50 (although it does still mostly work).
On 19 March 2014, still feeling the need for a capable pocket camera, I purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 (aka Lumix DMC-TZ60, ZS40, TZ60) travel zoom camera that shoots RAW to use as a go-everywhere, able-to-shoot-anything, pocket camera. It still works but I just never got comfortable with that form factor and it also developed an intermittent error which I expect will get worse until it dies, so I now use the ZS40 sparingly.
On 2 October 2014, I purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 because of its constant f2.8 lens. This was a great and versatile little camera, but I found its 600mm reach simply wasnít enough for wildlife so I traded it for a used Apple Cinema display.
On 31 October 2014, I bought a Fuji FinePix S1 when it became clear Fuji wasnít going to release an HS60. The S1 was a decent camera but had some annoying quirks, but I used it anyway until 14 August 2016 when it died without warning, thus ending my love-hate relationship with this camera and with Fuji, who no longer makes cameras that interest me.
On 23 January 2016, I purchased a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 for its greater image quality than the FZ200. It proved to be such a good general purpose camera, it became my low light choice and I seldom needed to use the Canon 60D except for ultra-wide angle with the Canon 10-18mm lens.
On 3 November 2016, I bought a Nikon Coolpix B700 superzoom camera to replace my dead Fuji FinePix S1. I would have preferred a Nikon Coolpix P900, but that camera didnít have RAW and I knew Iíd never be happy shooting without RAW. The B700 has RAW but also has numerous quirks that annoy me, so I was never completely happy using it.
On, 5 October 2018 I bought a Panasonic Lumix FZ80 to give me a superzoom camera that hopefully with its DFD autofocus technology would be able to shoot birds in flight (BIFs) and wouldn't have the annoying quirks of the Nikon Coolpix B700. The FZ80, of course, has its own set of shortcomings, like a fixed screen and no eye sensor, but its touch display offered features none of my other cameras had at that time.
Then the FZ80 started exhibiting the same error I got with the ZS40, so while it was still under warranty I sent it back to Panasonic for repair. Rather than repair it, Panasonic eventually replaced it.
On 23 August 2019, getting tired of waiting for the return of my FZ80, I bought a Nikon Coolpix P1000 superzoom camera for its 3,000mm zoom reach since wildlife I had been seeing on the morning walks needed longer zoom than the cameras I had been using. I had hesitated a year before buying this camera because of its high price and concerns about the usability of its large size and weight, which I still donít like but you adapt. For the most part all the things I dislike about the B700 were addressed in the P1000 and I find it amazing for being a small sensor camera. It also finally gives me enough zoom reach. While I can handhold at 3,000mm, keeping the subject in the frame can be difficult, so Iím finally not looking for more reach. (In mid-July 2021, some dirt appeared in the images and I sent the camera back to Nikon for repair. Fortunately, it was gone only for about a month.)
While Iíve had cell phones since 2004, in August 2019 I got an Apple iPhone 7 which is the first cell phone Iíve had that has good image quality and image stabilization, making its camera usable. That said, without any kind of zoom range, its usability is very limited to me.
Then on 2 December 2019 (Cyber Monday) I bought my first drone, a little DJI Mavic Mini for those occasions when I want to shoot from a higher vantage point than I can reach on my own. Unfortunately, I was never able to get a required firmware update installed so it could never fly and I lost interest in it.
While not a camera but greatly affecting the image quality of my photography processing, sometime along in here I bought the Topaz Labs AI suite of products which significantly raised the lever of image quality I get from the small sensor cameras (like the Nikon P1000) and to a lesser degree even the DSLRs. Image noise is essentially no longer an issue.
On 30 June 2021, I bought a 32 MP Canon EOS 90D DSLR and keep the older DSLRs as backups. I bought the 90D because of its higher resolution, higher ISO range, weather sealed body, touch screen, and Live View improved to the point that it can virtually make the 90D a mirrorless camera. Everything about the 90D that matters to me has been improved over the 60D, which I had nearly quit using except for the few things the Panasonic FZ1000 couldnít do. I like the 90D so much it has become my low light choice.
On August 2021, my Apple iPhone 7 was replaced by an Apple iPhone XR as the free 2 year update our Bell plan provides. The XR is marginally better as a phone, but its camera is essentially no different, so the XR is once again relegated for use as a camera when itís the only one I have with me, which doesnít happen often.
So, as of this writing (15 December 2021)...
...the Nikon P1000 is my choice for wildlife and most daylight shooting. If I could have only one camera, it would be this one.
...the Canon 90D (with its excellent image quality that is unmatched by any of my other cameras) is my low light and higher image quality choice. Since getting it, I have not used the Panasonic FZ1000.
...the Panasonic FZ80 is used when I want a small lightweight superzoom and 4K Photo, which isn't often.
...the Panasonic ZS40 is used when I want something even smaller and lighter, which isn't often.
...the iPhone XR is used on those rare occasions when I donít have another camera with me.
At this point I have no desire for anything better than what I have except I expect a smartphone with a minimum 10X optical zoom might tempt me, but getting one of those is way off in the unforeseeable future.