Report: Nikon Museum Special Collection pt3

Hello, everybody! We are going to continue with our Nikon Museum Special Collection series and we’re going to see some special Nikon cameras here in this report. Nikon has made many special-purpose cameras and this is just a small portion of what’s been made. I spent the most time in this portion and I really enjoyed observing the special cameras and I hope that you share my enthusiasm.

IMG_1460This is the Nikon F2MD, it’s rare and some people don’t even know about it. It has the special Electornic Eye (Nikon EE) attachment that controls the size of the mounted lens’ aperture automatically based on the reading from the mounted metered prism that supports it. The big drum magazines can hold about 750 frames of film. Mounted on it is the special Nikkor 200mm f/2 AI, I want to own one of these but I don’t have the space to store it. More

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Report: Nikon Museum Special Collection pt2

Hello, everybody! I am going to walk you through this part of the exhibit where we find some surviving equipment from WW2 that was made by Nippon Kogaku that are special or interesting. Periscopes, gun sights and other “normal” things won’t excite some people so here are the more exotic ones. Nikon was called Nippon Kogaku until recently and just like Carl Zeiss they were pushed-into the war effort by their respective countries by their own will or not. There’s nothing much you can do when the state demands so much from you. It can mean the end for you if you said no so there isn’t much you can do I suppose. I find this part of the exhibit fascinating because I was a scale modeler and I admire WW2 weapons and machines because they’re obviously archaic but still modern-enough to be relatable. Whatever these are, these are just objects used during the war and should only be seen as such. I was in a photography facebook group once and somebody showed an old WW2 Leica and some people just went crazy over it. Discussing engineering shouldn’t be tainted with politics. With that said, I hope that you share my enthusiasm in this post.

IMG_1307 2This part of the exhibit has some of the biggest items in the whole floor. They’re heavy so I was really careful so I won’t knock one of them over and make me the Mr. Bean of the Nikon world. More

Report: Nikon Museum Special Collection pt1

Hello, everybody! I am going to begin a new series in this article and I am going to report on the current exhibit at the Nikon Museum which they call the “Special Collection“. It’s a very interesting exhibit showcasing some of Nikon’s more unusual creations that’s made for scientific, military, medical and other fields where specialized optics are needed. This is something that every serious Nikon fan should take part in and I will cover it for you if you cannot make it to the museum. If you can travel to Tokyo then please do so while this is still up and I am sure that it’s going to be worth your time. Please enjoy this report.

IMG_1309 2Nikon has a long history of making special optics such as this big thing, a telescope used for observing the night sky. This is one of the smaller ones and the ones at the picture at the back are its bigger siblings that are too big to fit the museum. This one is not part of the exhibit, it’s been in this spot for as long as I can remember but it fits the theme. More

Repair: Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! I had SPAM for lunch today. SPAM is delicious, I love it so I consider it my comfort food. Many people don’t like it for personal reasons but it’s one of those things that just won’t go-away as portrayed in a famous comedy show from a long time ago. It’s a classic and its taste hasn’t changed for a long time despite some tweaks to the recipe. SPAM is SPAM and it will be with us for a very long time. While we’re on the topic of classics, I’ll show you a lens today that’s been here for some time and is still being made new to this day by Nikon. Like SPAM, some people don’t like it and some love it a lot for certain reasons which I will explain soon. Enjoy your SPAM!

Introduction:

The Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 Ai-S is the SPAM of Nikkors. It’s production started in 1981 and is still being produced and sold today. It was based on the popular Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 Ai which was based on the New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 before it. The optical formula hasn’t changed since the mid-70s and it’s still used on the Ai AF-Nikkor 50mm F1.4D that replaced it, which is also being produced and sold today by Nikon. It would have been retired long-ago if this lens is a failure but I consider it a “secret masterpiece” despite having burned by the performance of a bad sample of the Ai AF-Nikkor 50mm F1.4D. Some people will argue that this lens sucks and they’re correct to a certain extent. This is one of those lenses that has lots of sphero-chromatic aberration and coma if shot wide-open but it’s a feature of this lens because it renders beautifully. I love how the designers balanced and used these “flaws” to make this lens do what it does with its rendering and I’ll show you how to use this effectively in this article.

IMG_2629The Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 Ai-S handles better than the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 Ai. Its focus throw is shorter which allows you to focus faster with this lens. It was launched in 1981 to complement the Nikon F3 and it has sold close to about 800,000 copies (as of writing) according to Roland’s amazing site. The update allows it to meter in all automatic modes with cameras that will allow it like the Nikon FA. It’s feels great holding one as expected from a classic Nikkor. More