Repair: Nikon S2 part 1

Hello, everybody! Do you remember Quiet Riot? They’re best known for the cover of Cum on Feel the Noise by Slade and Metal Health. The Slade song is one of my favorites but Quiet Riot’s version is better in my opinion because it gave the music a more modern, grittier sound. I don’t know if the younger head-bangers know what I am talking about so just check them out if you’re not familiar with them. Speaking of revisions, I will talk about an important camera today that turned Nikon’s first camera into a world-class product by implementing many clever changes.


The Nikon S2 replaced the Nikon I/M/S line of cameras. It’s an important one because it laid the foundation for their next camera, the Nikon SP. It’s still a simple camera when it came out but it was a huge leap from the Nikon SIt now sports a much bigger finder, an advance lever, 1/1000s speed, a rewind crank, a proper A/R ring and much better build. This camera made Nikon an important name in cameras because Japan now has something serious and respectable to rival the German cameras to a certain extent. It sold well, it’s Nikon’s most numerous rangefinder camera and the most common one you will see in the used market. Despite the numbers, the prices for these aren’t going down but they’re getting more expensive as people get to know them and how comfortable they are for regular use.

IMG_9590The Nikon S2 is a beautiful machine because of all the big dials and the nice silhouette. It’s probably the sexiest Nikon rangefinder camera in my opinion specially if you mate it with a good-looking compact lens. It only comes with a 50mm viewfinder, a standard for its day but it’s life-size and very bright. I love how you don’t have to squint because of it since what you see on both of your eyes is the same magnification. It’s not parallax-corrected, which is a missed-opportunity. If you need to shoot with a different focal length you will need one of Nikon’s many external finders such as the one you see here.


Review: Voigtländer Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5

Hello, everybody! Do you remember the original Fiat Multipla? It’s an ugly car that has quite a following. It’s unusual in terms of design but all of the design decisions made a lot of sense at the cost of its looks. It was ahead of its time in some sense yet it sends you back to a time when cars look more cartoonish and real charicature of what they’re supposed to be. Despite its looks, many people loved it and I imagine that taxi drivers and couriers all love it for its utility and comfort. I never owned one but that car fascinates me to this day. I am one who doesn’t care much about how people judge me and my fashion sense so long as I am comfortable with my choices. I would like to introduce to you a lens today that is a bit quirky and it went against what the market wanted back then but it won the hearts of those few who know what they really wanted in a lens.


The Voigtländer Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5 is an odd lens when it came out in 2002 to compliment the Voigtländer Bessa R2. Both were made by Cosina, it sounds weird but Cosina now owns the Voigtländer tradename. Going back to the odd part, this lens was made with specs that fit a 1950s lens, with the slow maximum aperture to match it. It was made for the M-mount, S-mount, the original Zeiss Contax rangefinder mount and the Leica screw mount. Its specs may not be impressive in 2002 but it struck a nice niché market along with the other lenses that Cosina made under the Voigtländer name. People were still shooting with these mounts to this day and we sometimes wanted something “modern” without having to pay a ridiculous amount for a Leica (at least for the M-mount) and the cheap communist Chinese lenses weren’t even available then. Even if they were, I would happily pay a little premium just to get reliable Japanese quality instead of those ghastly Chinese lenses.

I got the Voigtländer Color-Skopar 50mm f/2.5 in S-mount and it’s feels great to hold and use. It’s not as heavy as the old classics that were made with all-brass parts but you can certainly feel that it’s not flimsy. Its finishing is nice and is certainly much better compared to the Chinese cheapies. You can feel that Cosina has put-in a lot of effort to make this rival the German lenses in terms of build. The tolerances are tight and there are no sloppy paint jobs in the barrel. Everything feels premium despite having a modest price. I think these were sold for as little as $500 then and you can still buy them new for just a little over that these days. The S-mount and Contax RF mount versions are the cheapest at $400 each. I got mine in mint condition complete with its box, hood and everything for just $170 used. How can I resist it? This makes for a good general-purpose lens and it’s compact so it’s not a hassle to carry. I don’t know why Cosina did not make it as an internal-mount lens because that will make it even more compact and light.


Repair: Nikkor-H.C 28mm f/3.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! I went to Tim Ho Wan to have the cheapest Michelin Star dinner I can give to my family. I liked how the dim-sum tasted, it reminded me of the food that I’m used to back home. It’s great how high-end dim-sum can be made affordable and accessible to the masses. Tasting food this nice used to cost a lot of money but you get value with with Tim Ho Wan. I’m not sponsored by them in case you are wondering, but they can contact me and I’ll happily accept their offer to eat their food. Today, we’re going to look at a lens that used to be expensive but you can get them now for cheap. They’re the best that you can buy back then as far as wide Nikkors go but they were soon replaced by better options so their price has gone down. Please stay so you can read more about this wonderful lens.


IMG_2237Its size is perfect for all of Nikon’s cameras as it’s not too small or too big. It’s great as a walk-around lens on a bright day. Pair it with a longer lens which will give you a little bit more reach and you have a complete setup. The lens  looks great when paired with a camera of similar vintage and you’ll attract a lot of attention. They’re not that expensive either so people who want the cheaper option will be happy to own this lens. There’s nothing cheap about its performance as you will see later in this article. It’s not the best lens out there for the price but it sure does its job in style. It is like wearing a pair of nice British bespoke shoes with a nice suit. More

Repair: New-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 (Early Ai)

Hello, everybody! I was hungry for some Taiwanese food so I went looking but I found that most of them were ran by the mainland Chinese people and there was nothing Taiwanese about them apart from what’s written in the sign. This is unacceptable, I hope that this practice ends because it’s unfair to the peaceful Taiwanese people. If you do not know any better then you’ll get the wrong impression about the Taiwanese because the people running these shops are mainland Chinese. Speaking of being confused, we will talk about a confusing subject today in Nikkor land but this time, you will get an excellent lens whichever one you end up and unlike the example that I just gave, it is not some shoddy knock-off trying to deceive people but it is just Nikon being lazy and will show you why I said that and how you will know which version you’re looking at.


We are going to showcase the New-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 lens today, a lens that is usually mistaken for its successor, the Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai since they’re almost identical apart from some insignificant details. This lens replaced the beloved Nikkor-S 35mm f/2.8 Auto in 1974 and it’s a total re-design from the optics to the barrel. From the old 7-element design it now sports a new 6-elements-in-6-groups design and a new barrel that’s more in-line with the New-Nikkor line of lenses. The successor to this lens (Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai) is essentially the same lens with an Ai-ring and a slightly-different rubber grip pattern. To the untrained eye, they look identical specially if the New-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 sports a factory Ai-ring upgrade. The parts can mostly be interchangeable as far as I remember so I lumped the two lenses into one. Why did Nikon do this? To save money, because in just a few more years the later Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai was sold and that’s what I believe is what Nikon really wanted to sell as the Ai version but it probably didn’t make it in time, that’s just my theory but it’s very likely to be the case.

IMG_0612It’s a wonderful little lens that not a lot of people know about but the few who do know it for a special reason which I’ll mention several times in this article so pay attention. Some people poo-poo this lens but it’s a great little lens if you know how to use it. More