My First SLR
My first SLR was a Canon EOS RT, purchased in 1994 or 1995 from Dodd Camera in Cleveland, Ohio. I can’t remember exactly what I paid for it, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $500, which included the camera, a workable ProMaster 28-80 zoom lens, and a Canon Speedlite 200E flash.
The EOS RT was a fairly remarkable little camera at the time. It was essentially an EOS 630 with a pellicle mirror. Coated with some sort of magical secret substance, the mirror was see-through and did not flip up out of the way during exposure. While it cost a little bit of light to the viewfinder (about 2/3 stop, if I remember correctly), it allowed the camera to be very fast and very quiet, and you could actually see what you were photographing during exposure.
My reasons for purchasing an RT over some other camera are a bit fuzzy for me now. I desperately wanted a “real camera.” It wasn’t a Rebel. I couldn’t afford an EOS 1n RS. It was a good deal. I had heard of Canon. The Nikons were weird and expensive.
In the years that I had it, the RT was usually the only camera I owned and I used it all the time. I mean… ALL THE TIME. It went to work with me. It went on vacation with me. I probably slept with it. It was the first camera I ever used to photograph a nude model! I took some pretty good photos with that camera. I loved that camera.
But alas, I sold it in 2001 during a period of abject poverty. It was the last thing of value that I had left to sell — aside from my adorable ass, and I wasn’t quite that hungry yet. The RT held it’s value pretty well over those years, and I got almost as much for it used as I paid for it new. Canon’s other pellicle mirror camera, the EOS 1n RS, cost thousands of dollars more, so the RT was a highly desirable camera for many people.
Since 2001, I have become what most people refer to as a gearhead. I have more cameras than I need, more than I can probably use. I even have somewhere in my collection a Canon EOS 1n RS (see here and here), which was once the dream camera so far beyond my budget and which I have never used to take photographs (it has been fondled a lot, though). I have considered many times picking up another RT for sentimental reasons, but I’ve always resisted because I know I would never use it. Like that has ever stopped me from buying any other camera. I dunno, maybe I just respect her too much for that.