When Abby and I first met, I was still shooting some film. On the budget of a small-town news photographer in a world of $5500 digital SLRs, I wasn’t in any kind of position to buy the digital cameras I wanted. I had, however, bought a digital point-and-shoot, the Nikon Coolpix 885, in the early summer of 2002, as a travel and grab camera. I liked it pretty well, and made some decent images with it. I followed that with the Minolta DiMage 7i, which was more camera, as my “fine art” camera, and in the fall of 2002, I made some terrific images with the combination of those two.
In early 2003, Abby and I got together, and almost immediately I lent her the Coolpix. She carried it with her during her travels when she worked for a fundraising company, and shot some great stuff. The more she used it, the better she got with it, and the more she noticed its distinctive chattering sound as it focused. Soon she nicknamed it R2D2 after the chattering android in Star Wars.
The camera seemed fairly capable at the time. One reason I chose it was that it had an optical viewfinder, so that you can compose and shoot in blinding sunshine without struggling to see the monitor on the back. It has a 3.1 megapixel sensor, which seems tiny today, but which has produced some remarkably detailed 13×19-inch prints. Some of Abby’s gallery images were made with this small wonder.
A couple of years ago, R2D2 shuffled off this mortal coil, but remains above Abby’s desk as a reminder of all the great times we enjoyed and great images we made with it.