Report: Nikkor Prototypes (Part 4)

Hello, everybody! I was playing around with the Nikon Z6 with the Nikkor-Z 24-70 f/4S on it and I thought about how much zoom lenses has evolved since the early years. Nikon is a pioneer in zoom lenses in the 1960s and continues to be an important player up to this day. Join me in this part of our Nikkor Prototypes series and see just how far zoom lenses has evolved from simple tubes with cams inside to the all-electronic wonders that we all take for granted today.

IMG_9913This is just one of the lenses that we’ll see in part 4. This table only has a few lenses but it shows some of the more important prototypes in this exhibit in the sense that it shows a bit of “tech” compared to the other tables.



Report: Nikkor Prototypes (Part 3)

Hello, everybody! I just woke up from a nap and I had a dream about Nikon giving me an important lens for custody, a prototype 55/3.5 Mirco-Nikkor that’s compact because it has no deeply-recessed front element like what they usually have. My wife woke me up so we can have lunch together and I realized that it’s just my subconscious trying to tell me that I need to write part 3 of our Nikkor Prototypes series. Please enjoy part 3.

IMG_9858Here’s a small preview of what you’re going to see in part 3. This part focuses on normal lenses with focal lengths from 40mm to 60mm or so and the odd Micro-Nikkors thrown-in to the mix to add variety despite not being normal lenses at all. This part of the exhibit is the most interesting for me since most of my lenses fall into this category.


Report: Nikkor Prototypes (Part 2)

Hello, everybody! This is part 2 of our Nikkor Prototypes series. In part 1 of this series we got to see a few lenses in the collection but we’re going to see the rest of it in the coming parts. The main exhibit is separated into several parts by focal lenght to make it easier to manage and for the viewer to have some kind of context as to what these lenses are for. I would be really confused if they jumbled everything in one big table and leave it for me to organize them for this article. Please enjoy part 2 of this series.

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This Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/2.8 Ai-S is a special lens. If I remember it right, an equidistant projection is where the projected image is “unwrapped” so that the details don’t “pinch” together at the poles or perimeter of the projection. An equisolid projection will do that, it will “pinch” or push the projection towards the edges of the projection veru much like spreading jam over toast so it’s not even. Now, if I understand it correctly, what this lens does is give a wider-angle projection by means of optical correction. I don’t know much more because the description is short and there are no samples. I don’t know what this lens is for and why it was made, I suspect that this was made for scientific research and for data collecting or observation. This is probably a proof-of-concept to see if something like this is indeed possible so a fisheye lens can be made more compact. More

Report: Nikkor Prototypes (Part 1)

Hello, everybody! I am going to bring to you a long series on the prototype Nikkors that’s currently being-held at the Nikon Museum. It’s a big exhibit quantity-wise but the area it occupies is small due to the size of the specimens shown. I will say that this is one of the more important exhibits that the Nikon Museum made in terms of what’s being shown or its historical significance. Join me in this series and appreciate the long heritage of Nikon in the field of 35mm photography.


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This will greet you as you enter the exhibit. This section of the exhibit showcases pictures (that I cannot show here) that were taken using 10 of the 60 prototype lenses that’s being shown in the exhibit. It’s also a nice touch that they used the new Nikon Z7 for these just to make a point that the new mirrorless Nikon can take lenses that were made during the dawn of the F-mount. It would have been nice to show you these pictures for conext but I can’t because it’s forbidden by the management. More

Repair: Nikon EM

Hello, everybody! I am pleased by the current development in the photography industry. The big boys have showed their mirrorless cameras and now even the small players are also in the game with Panasonic entering the elite club as well. Cameras has never been this advanced since they were made more than a century ago and it’s amazing what they can do these days. I sometimes feel intimidated by all the technology and I yearn for the simplicity of older manual camera. Being a Buddhist, I sometimes search for the “Zen” in my cameras and by that I mean having only the essential features available to me. That’s going to make me more creative because I think less about the gear and more into what goes on into making a picture. This is how I connect to the Buddhist concept of the being in the “present moment”. Today, I am going to show you such a camera that can help me with my “photography meditation” and how having less will yield more or better results.


The Nikon EM debuted in 1979 and it was designed to be cheap, easy-to-use, compact and light. At that time, Nikon’s cameras were mostly made of metal and were big, heavy and a bit difficult to master for beginners and women. I know that the inclusion of “women” in my last statement would cause many people’s eyebrows to raise but that was the 1970s, a different time with very different values. It was perceived that women and beginners in those days wanted a cheap, compact and user-friendly camera to take along with them. I think this is still true to this day for a portion of the said market segment to some extent regardless of gender, some people just wanted a simple camera that “just works” and the initial cost of acquisition is also very important for this market segment. Needless to say, the Nikon EM was a huge hit not only for the people that it was intended to be sold to but also for more advanced photographers who just want a small and light setup to bring as part of their travel kit. To be honest, I enjoyed using this camera a lot and I didn’t notice that I was using a cheap entry-level camera at all.

IMG_9655I got this from the junk section of the camera bazaar. These cameras have issues that are common to this particular model and I will show you some of them here in this article. I got this for ¥1,000 or less that $10.00 and I thought that it would make a good camera for this repair article because the meter is still working despite the needle being stuck. I will also teach you how to check Nikon EM’s so you’ll know and avoid problems that are too much to bother with. Choose your own battles and you will win all the time as they say.


Report: Nikon Z

Hello, everybody! I’m going to share with you my opinions and musing on Nikon’s latest Z cameras. There are literally hundreds of other sites online with the same topic but this will be a little different because it centers around what I (Richard) thinks about these so all of the things that I will say here will only be based around my experience.

The Nikon Z cameras generated a ton of debates online and has been the target of fake or paid trolls and “experts” but that dirty tactic didn’t work because the camera is excellent in most regards. You can check out the specs at Nikon’s site but I am sure that most of you are already familiar with it by now. These cameras mean a lot to Nikon and after having several chances to shoot with it, I can say that they’re totally amazing cameras and Nikon has made a new masterpiece! While the latest Sony is just as feature-packed, it lack in the ergonomics department and Nikon is going to show the up-starts that ergonomics are just as important as specs, if not even more. They also look great and they remind me of Sade because of the curves, sex appeal and potential. There’s simply no equal specially if you saw what Canon has to offer. That was a god joke, Canon. A pre-war Contax 2 made more sense when it came to ergonomics. If you think that was harsh then see it for yourself.

IMG_9399The Nikon Z series is Nikon’s debut to the full-frame mirrorless camera market. Pictured here is the dummy of their future ultra-wide zoom lens. This should be an amazing lens for landscape photography because the shorter flange distance will enable the system to take much better photos (technically). I am excited with this latest development and this just shows that Nikon is serious with the new Nikon Z-mount. I wonder if Nikon will have the resources to further develop the company’s DX line of lenses since they have devoted so much to this. I don’t shoot the DX format but I know some people who loved it. More

Repair: Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai

Hello, everybody! I am craving for some KFC today. I prefer original recipe over the spicy one because I find it more savory. The spicy one tend to mask the more subtler flavors of the herbs. There are people who prefer the spicy variety and that’s OK if you ask me but there are some people that will debate with you because they’re so passionate with their deep-fried poultry. These kinds of debates over which one is better seem to happen with anything and that includes lenses. Today, I will show you such a debate about which one is the better version. This has been going on since 1977 when this lens was introduced, it is somewhat controversial because people either love it or hate it and will always judge it against its predecessor. I guess this happens because the original one was so loved by so many people because it’s a masterpiece of optical design at the time and the new one has a very different character to its pictures. Please read the article to know all about this.


The Nikkor 85mm f2 Ai is a wonderful lens. It was introduced to replace another amazing optic – the New-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 lens that many people hold-on to even to this day. They are totally different designs and the older New-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 is much bigger, heavier and just a bit faster than this lens. Optically, the newer lens performs better in the sense that the pictures look “cleaner” because it’s a well-corrected lens and the field curvature is a lot flatter compared to the older lens so you get more things in-focus. The slight drop in lens speed from f/1.8 to f/2 won’t mean anything in real-life use but many people don’t like this and stuck to the New-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 so its re-sale value is still relatively high even to this day. The older lens also renders pictures with more “character” but this is so subjective because some people either like or hate the look of pictures taken using older lenses and this has been the topic of debates for decades and I hope that this article will show you how this lens performs so you can make your own personal judgement.

IMG_9476The Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai is a lovely lens and it balances very well with smaller cameras so you can be sure that it won’t feel awkward in your hands. It feels dense despite being this small and you can appreciate just how well-made the Ai-Nikkors are. Some people prefer these over Ai-S lenses just because the Ai-Nikkors were made tougher. The drawback for this is they’re usually a bit heavier but you won’t feel a big difference in your hands. This lens debuted in 1977 and was said to be a flop due to the issues I mentioned previously. If that was true then the production numbers tell a different tale since around 90,000 were made which is a little bit more than its successor which was sold for around 15 years. Its production life was rather short at about 4 years in total because it had to be upgraded to Ai-S in order to benefit from Nikon’s latest camera technology at the time. More

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