Repair: Nikon SP 2/3

Hello, everybody! We’re now going to continue part 2 of our Nikon SP repair series. In part 1 we discussed how to open up the front part of the Nikon SP and also how to clean and do some minor calibration of the things that you can access there. Today, we’ll go to the more gritty part, that is the removal of the top panel. This partial overhaul is never going to be complete without opening the top panel, any serious work has to involve it. This article isn’t a complete overhaul article but it’s deep-enough to cover simpler CLA for the Nikon SP. This is just for your entertainment and education so if yours need attention, send it to a technician so that it can properly be repaired. This is not a DIY project for the beginner or even an experience repairer. You have to make sure that the technician you’re sending your camera to is qualified and is of good repute in the camera community. He has to be well-versed in classic Nikon repair, if not then he’s not the right person for the job.


Such a lovely machine with all those chrome dials and engraving. Shooting with this can help you improve your photography skills, it slows you down and think. If you’re really into it and want to go even slower then consider shooting medium format film. Shown here is the Nikkor-P•C 10.5cm f/2.5, it is the perfect partner for the Nikon SP.


Repair: Nikon SP 1/3

Hello, everybody! Have you been to a Burger King lately? I love their food, it is the luxury version of McDonald’s for me. The burgers are grilled and they have better quality, too. They’re juicier, fresher and thicker in my opinion. I always crave for a Whopper whenever I see one of their restaurants. Do you like onion rings with that? Hell, yes. Speaking of luxury, today’s camera was the luxury version of any Japanese camera back in its day. It has set the bar so high that it remained as the king of Japanese rangefinder cameras to this day. Some people will be upset by my last statement but I’m sure that many people will agree with me.


We are going to talk about the awesome Nikon SP today. This is Nikon’s best rangefinder camera, this represented the ultimate development of Nikon’s rangefinder camera system. The Nikon S3 came after this, it’s just a cheaper derivative so a few things were omitted. There were prototypes made that will surpass the Nikon SP but none went into production so we can consider this to be the last of its kind. The rangefinder camera system (35mm format) that had so far dominated the market in the years leading to 1960 was met with a big challenger in the form of the Nikon F and the SLR system quickly overtook rangefinder camera sales until it became the the dominant system in 35mm photography. This spelled the end for the Nikon SP but many still use them well into the 1980s up until today because of its nice handling and reliability. It was then reissued in 2005 together with the W-Nikkor.C 3.5cm f/1.8 as a kit for a limited time. You can find the original or reissued ones for sale online, these are never sold cheap and they’ll appreciate in the coming decades.


The Nikon SP is a very handsome camera and many photographers consider it to be the Cadillac of Nikon’s rangefinder system. This is a fine machine but acquiring one in nice shape can be a bit difficult these days but you can get lucky. They don’t cost as much as Leicas so their prices are still realistic and within-reach for most photographers.


Repair: W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5

Hello, everybody! I hope that you’re all doing well despite the coronavirus scare. I’ve never experienced this in my entire life, I do not even recall that the SARS epidemic back then to be this severe. I hope that this thing will go away in the coming months, it’s making people act irrationally and you get news of people panic-buying disinfectants and toilet paper. The only thing this does is frustrate people who actually need them. Toilet paper is now a luxury, it’s something that we took for granted but now that it’s starting to become a valuable commodity we have to make the most of what we have. Speaking of luxury, I will show you something that’s fast-becoming one, it’s not a rare lens at all but the prices of these things are going-up in the used market since collectors and casual shooter are finding that these lenses are superb. These will become scarce in the coming years, too.


The W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5 debuted in 1952 and it was considered to be the fastest lens of its class when it came out. At a time when wide-angle lenses for the 35mm film format were as slow as f/6.3 or less, this lens surely made things more interesting. This was based on an old aerial photography lens made by Nikon for the Imperial Japanese Military, it had low distortion and good resolution. It was miniaturized and that became the W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5. This is a compact lens, its simple 6-element construction is really small and delicate. I’m sure that Nikon could’ve made this even faster but I do not know what’s keeping them from doing it since there is enough space in the barrel for a bigger objective, your guess is as good as mine.


The W-Nikkor•C 2.8cm f/3.5 is a very compact lens. If you think that this lens looks similar to the W-Nikkor•C 3.5cm f/3.5 then you’re guess is correct. This lens’ barrel was based on the W-Nikkor.C 3.5cm f/3.5 so the handling is very similar between them. It’s easy to mistake one for the other, you can end up bringing the wrong lens with you if you’re not careful.


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