Repair: Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! I just came back from a nice dinner with the members of the Nikon Df Japan Group last night and we had lots of great seafood! One of the things that I liked was the fried fish. It is about the length of a finger and just as fat as a thick pencil but it was very tasty. The portion was small but it was more than enough to satisfy me. Great things do not always need to be big. In fact, some amazing things are really small. In this article, I am going to show you one such thing, it’s so good that it’s still popular despite being introduced around 1981. Read along to know more about this “millennial”.


Today, I’m going to introduce to you the Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 Ai-S. This lens is a classic, it has a cult following for many reasons. Landscape photographers love this for its great performance and compactness. It’s also one of the few Nikkors that were calculated to work just as well in-reverse when attached to a bellows unit. In fact, if you search the net you will find some people use this for shooting small subjects that require magnifications of 5:1 or greater. It can be had for cheap since it’s slower than the Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S but people who knew what they’re doing will want this one instead because of its performance when used in-reverse. The minor f-stop difference does not really matter when you intend to shoot this at f/8 or smaller with your setup mounted on a tripod. The money you saved will be better put to use buying something else.


This is compact, it is no bigger than most Nikkor primes like the little Nikkor 50mm f/2 Ai/K. This has a really short focus-throw which can be good or bad depending on your taste, I prefer it to be just a little longer so I can precisely set my focus. The Ai version is older but it has a longer focus-throw so those who need it should look for the older Ai version, they’re also a bit cheaper.


Repair: AF-Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D

Hello, everybody! The coronavirus problem seems like it’s going to reach its peak in the coming weeks. This means that people will have to stay home to prevent catching the germ or help transmit it. While this is inconvenient for work and other routine it’s going to be a good chance to bind with family or spend more time with your hobby. Staying indoors can be fun if you’re used to spending time alone. Programmers and repairers won’t find this unusual at all, photographers can also have a good chance at trying new fields such as macro photography. If you find yourself needing to stay home you should see what today’s lens can do and that may help make your time indoors fun and productive.


Today, we are going to talk about the AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D. This is a very good lens so its popularity hasn’t really changed much throughout the years. I had one a decade ago but I sold that for an AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D so I could have better working distance between me and my subjects for macrophotography (bugs). That was a big mistake because this lens is so good that I began to miss it and after a long time looking for a junk, I finally got suckered into buying a real junk advertised as having few fungi but this turned out to be more than that. Let’s see what’s special about this lens that has people buying this lens for nearly 3 decades (since 1989).


The AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D is a very compact lens. It feels solid but in reality it has plenty of plastic parts. Despite that, it was built solidly so it will take a beating. This is a really handy lens for macro photography but you’ll have to get really close to your bugs and at 1:1 magnification, the end of the lens is just about 2 inches away from the subject. This makes lighting your subject difficult and in the case of natural lighting, you will have to position yourself really well in order for your subject to be properly illuminated.


Shopping: Nitto Camera (Nakano)

Hello, everybody! How are you guys today? I wasn’t suppose to publish another part for my “camera shopping” series until next month but I would like to publish this as soon as I can because of its urgency. Nitto Camera (日東カメラ) is a shop close to my heart because it’s being ran by an elderly couple trying to maintain a 74 year-old business but they are going to close their shop by the end of January in 2018. They still do not know where they should set up shop next and there is a chance that they will just close for good. The thing is, the rent is too expensive in their area and they aren’t making enough profit. The shop owner is a kindly old gentleman and I have bought some stuff from them in the past and seeing them shut down is very sad not only for me but also for people who are into this hobby. Please visit them when you are in town before they go on a hiatus. I am sure that you may find something worth buying there though I must admit that their inventory is not as extensive as the other shops. I do get lucky here sometimes so I wish you the best.

 IMG_6781.jpgThis is their storefront. They are open from 12:00PM to 7:00PM. The owner is old and this is the best that he can do. He has just recuperated from an illness so manning the shop is tiring for him especially if he is alone. It’s a small shop but it has a decent inventory.


Shopping: Lucky Camera (Shinjuku)

Hello, everybody! This is the first of a new series that I call “お店お初回” or “Camera Shop Introduction” where I will show you around the shops that I frequent and recommend. I will be adding more and more shops here so please come to my site to check if I added a new shop in my directory. This is to help people who visit here in Japan (Tokyo) find the shops and see which shop specializes in what. I will only add shops that have agreed to this series so some shops may not be able to be featured here, unfortunately. I hope you’ll enjoy this new series and do tell me if you did so I will at least get some feedback.

Today, I’m going to introduce to you Lucky Camera (ラッキーカメラ). Situated at Shinjuku right near to the Shinjuku Sanchome (新宿三丁目) station along the Marunochi line, it is a bit off the track from the center of Shinjuku but it’s worth the walk if you are a Leica or Bronica fan. The shop has been around for 7 decades and the current owner is the third generation shop owner, the grandson of the first guy who started this business in 1940. I sometimes get “lucky” here and find interesting stuff. I would also like to say that Lucky helped revive my interest in classic camera gear some years ago. Let’s have a closer look!

IMG_6654.jpgHere’s the storefront. You can spend minutes looking at what’s being sold here! There are many beautiful lenses and cameras on display here and some time in the past, there was a Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 Ai-S here on display and even a Nikkor-N 5cm f/1.1 lens!


Repair: AF-Nikkor 70-210mm f/4

Hello, everybody! I was looking for some cheap eats the other day and I discovered this shack near my work where they sell nice meals for $4.50 only. The meal was great for its price and despite the cheap-looking exterior the meals inside can rival a more expensive restaurant’s offering. It’s the same camera equipment, there are times when some of the better things cost less and if you consider using it despite its age and appearance then it’s going to satisfy you so long as you know what you are looking for. Today, we are going to talk about one of the better deals today in AF zooms. Read my article and enjoy.


Today, we’re going to talk about the AF-Nikkor 70-210mm f/4 zoom! This lens is a favorite of many film photographers back in the day because it’s lite and compact. It’s a very good lens for traveling lite for people who use autofocusing cameras. Its popularity has waned a bit during the DSLR days because it lacks coatings on some of it’s rear elements and we all know that sensors are more reflective compared to film. It has gotten a bit of hype in recent years due to reviewers and online personalities expounding the lens. Let’s see if it really lives up to the hype and I will also show you how to clean this “forgotten” classic.

IMG_1995The lens is small for a tele-zoom with a constant aperture. It’s liberal use of plastics is the key to this lens’ weight. If you’re backpacking then you will know that every gram counts in the field. Despite the plastic housing, the lens feels solid and will tolerate some abuse. More

Report: Nikon Repair Gods (Kiitos)

Hello, everybody! I’m going to introduce to you what we consider to be the gods of Nikon repair here in Japan and that is Kiitos. Kiitos is a camera repair workshop ran by former Nikon employees and they specialize in everything that is not digital. Digital cameras are best sent to Nikon for repairs because they have the parts for those and Kiitos also does not want to compete with Nikon on this field. Kiitos has such a good reputation that even Nikon itself will refer you to them if you have any manual equipment to repair. I had the pleasure of visiting them last weekend and I will show you around their workshop!

Here’s a demo by a Kiitos repairer during Nikon’s 100th Anniversary Road Show. See how she teared-down a Nikon F apart and put it back together in 45 minutes! She is a real pro and I am a pathetic amateur compared to her! I hope that they take me as an apprentice!


Repair: Tokina 28-70 AT-X PRO

Hello, everybody! I’m very busy these days and I only got a good rest today. Today’s just another lazy Sunday and I was just listening to some oldies. Speaking of oldies and easy weekends, I will show you today a very good lens from almost 30 years ago but it’s still a pretty good lens for its price and since it’s a slow weekend for many, cleaning this lens is just as easy as going to the barbershop and getting a haircut (if you’re experienced).


The Tokina 28-70 AT-X PRO is a lens that I owned around 10 years ago and I sold it when I bought a Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 AF lens. It was a very good lens and I loved using it on my Nikon D90. I shot pictures for billboards with that setup and it was a great lens for general photography. Here we are now almost a decade after and I missed the lens a lot so I bought another one for use with my film cameras because it has a real aperture ring unlike the current generation of lenses where there’s no mechanical aperture ring so it’s useless for use on older film cameras like the Nikon F3. This was a very sought-after lens back in the day and there were many versions of this lens. Every version is great except for the last one which was made with cost-cutting in mind hence the “SV” or super value specification on the name. The most desired version of this lens is the one featured here on this article and it was based on the legendary zoom from Pierre Angenieux. The zoom from P. Angenieux (Angenieux 24-70 f/2.6 AF) was considered to be excellent and common knowledge dictated that Tokina bought the rights to this lens but recent findings actually pointed that Tokina actually made the Angenieux 24-70 f/2.6 AF for the French company until its license expired enabling Tokina to use and modify the design for their own use.

IMG_5895The Tokina 28-70 AT-X PRO is very well-balanced when joined with a heavy professional camera like the Nikon F4. The setup feels very balanced and inspires confidence. Shake is also reduced because of the weight and you can even shoot at slower speeds than usual.


Repair: Nikkor-N 24mm f/2.8 Auto

Hello, everybody! How are you guys today? I am sure that you have noticed some of my personal things creeping into this blog such as my work-related stuff. I work as an artist but I also do lots of technical stuff that’s a bit closer to engineering. There will be times that I’ll have to devise clever solutions to a problem, this is what’s keeping me sharp. I am comfortable working with both scenarios, that makes me a generalist of some sort. Speaking of being a multi-role professional and using clever gimmicks, I will showcase today an innovative lens that utilizes a really clever solution to a problem, making it flexible for more than one purpose. This lens is legendary in its own right, I shall explain to you why in this article.


We’ll talk about a very influential lens this time so let me have the pleasure to introduce to you the Nikkor-N 24mm f/2.8 Auto. It’s the first lens to utilize the innovative CRC (Close-Range Correction) mechanism. The CRC system is used for altering the spacing of the elements as you focus in-or-out. This is a creative and efficient concept because up until that point, most, if not all of the other lenses use simple rack-focusing wherein the objective only moves in-and-out as a single unit. With CRC, rack focusing is coupled together with another movement wherein one or more optical assemblies move closer or further in relation to the film plane to give you better results when the lens is focused up-close and the corners look better, too. In this lens’ case, CRC is used for making it achieve an impressive 0.3m minimum focusing distance. It also ensures that the image remains sharp through-out the frame at 0.3m. This was hard to achieve back in the day for a lens this wide, it also helped make this compact while giving it a reasonably-fast maximum aperture of f/2.8. Retro-focusing techniques were used on wide-angle lenses of the day, it was yet to be perfected because the technique is known to produce terrible corners at very close ranges. This is the reason why the Nikkor-H 2.8cm f/3.5 Auto only has a so-so 0.6m minimum focusing distance. CRC enabled this to overcome that since a wide-angle lens that couldn’t focus close is limited in its use. You don’t exclusively use a wide-angle lens to get things in-frame in tight spaces, this is one thing many beginners get wrong.


The Nikkor-N 24mm f/2.8 Auto is a lovely lens. This is dense and compact, it balances really well on most cameras. This lens is also great for people who shoot videos because 24mm is pretty good for videography. You can use this for storytelling, making your subjects appear more important since they’re going to appear larger in your composition as they get closer to the camera. Of course, you can also us this to get more things inside your frame.