I took my first trip to New York City on May 20, 1965.
I remember it vividly, because it was my ninth birthday and I was given a special present: my first camera. It was a Kodak Brownie. I used it to take the photo you see above.
I don't have a lot of shots from that trip. Film was not only expensive to buy, but it had to be developed, too. And when I used up the roll, I needed my dad's help to put in a new one. This was tricky, because if the film was exposed to light, you could ruin everything. Plus you had to thread it through the camera (yes, this was so long ago that the Instamatic had not yet been widely marketed).
Back then, everyone owned at least one Kodak. Sure, you could buy another kind of camera ... but the film you put in it was usually Kodachrome (unless you had a Polaroid, like the "Swinger" I got when I turned 12).
Times change. Digital photography makes it possible to take hundreds of photos at a time, without the fuss and expense of film and developing. New digital cameras are packed with sophisticated features at ever lower price points.
Photography has been revolutionized -- and venerable American companies like Kodak and Polaroid had to adjust to the loss of their market advantage.
I received my first digital camera as a gift 10 years ago from my parents and once again, it was a Kodak.
It wasn't a great camera by today's standards, but it was a good introduction to digital. I dropped it while taking pictures in the Louvre and after that, it was never the same. I replaced it with a Minolta (which broke after a year)... then a Canon (which also broke after a year)... and then another Canon (which was lost a couple of months ago on our first full day in London).
So I was really happy when I received an invitation from Kodak to join them on a bus tour of Manhattan. We went on a Gray Line tour on that first New York visit in 1965, and I thought it would be fun to do it again,
But most important, the tour would include the gift of a new camera: the M580.
You see, after losing my Canon (which I loved for its 10X zoom), I had to rely on my little Kodak M530 for the rest of my vacation -- and it only has a 3X zoom.
That turned out OK, because thanks to its size and simplicity, I found myself loving the M530. And despite my inability to get really close, I was delighted with the photos I got.
Here's my disclosure: This is the third Kodak-sponsored event I've attended this year. I don't have a formal business relationship with the company. I have not received any monetary compensation for my posts about their events or their products... but I have received products prior to each post. I made no promises that I would write about the cameras. I am expressing my own opinions of the cameras, based on my experience using them.