Repair: Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto (Tick-Mark)

Hello, everybody! It was snowing yesterday despite the sakura trees being in full-bloom. This is a rare occurrence, something that not a lot of people experience in their lifetimes. It’s like watching Tom Jones perform with his stable-mate Engelbert Humperdinck at a pub, can you imagine that? This is my first time to experience such a thing and this will certainly stay with me for a very long time. Speaking of rare occurrences, I’ll show you a rare lens that many people don’t see often. It was only made for over-a-year and that is the reason why it’s rare. Owning one is special but I have two of these so that makes it even better.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 Auto was made from 1959 to 1963, it is the first 50mm lens for Nikon’s then-new F-mount. The flapping mirror of an SLR became a challenge for lens designers back because existing rangefinder lenses have long rears that will hit the mirror. This became such a problem that making a “standard” 50mm lens became a challenge. Nikon had to improvise just to create a proper 50mm lens for the Nikon F and the solution was to have the front element act as a sort of “magnifying element” to achieve a 50mm AOV or angle-of-view. It’s a stop-gap until the Nikkor-H 50mm f/2 Auto succeeded this lens a few years later.

Admire the beautiful lines in the aperture and focusing rings, these are the reason why the earliest F-mount Nikkors are called “tick-mark” lenses by the majority of the Nikon collectors community. It’s a throwback to rangefinder Nikkors, to an era where craftsmanship reigned supreme.

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Repair: Nikon S3/S4 part 2

Hello, everybody! Looks like I cannot go out for the weekend as the city is in a state of voluntary lockdown, thanks to coronavirus. This is starting to be a big inconvenience for a lot of people, including me. My usual work routine’s time has been affected, too. Even time for social functions is affected and it is wiser to stay home than going out for a pint after work. Abstaining from a lot of vices and unnecessary things will be the theme for the next couple of weeks for everyone. While we’re on the topic of only doing the essentials, it is time that we take a look again at the Nikon S4, a stripped-down version of the Nikon S3.

Introduction:

Let’s now continue our series on the Nikon S3/S4. In part 1, we talked about the reasons why both cmaeras exist. We’ll mostly talk about the Nikon S4 in this article and what makes it unique from the more-common Nikon S3.

The Nikon S4 is an elegant camera. The viewfinder doesn’t have frame lines for 35mm which makes it less-cluttered and less-stressful to view. If you like shooting with 50mm or 105mm lenses this camera has frame lines for them. You won’t have to see the 35mm frame line that you won’t need. I love using the Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Millennium with it. The Voigtländer VC meters work perfectly with it despite not being coupled.

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Repair: Nikon S3/S4 part1

Hello, everybody! I am currently lusting for a Nikon D700. I had one a few years ago, most of my published pictures were taken with it. I missed it very much, it’s not as tough or feature-packed as a Nikon D3 but it has everything you’ll ever need. Because of my last statement, many professional lensmen bought the Nikon D700 instead of the Nikon D3 and just added a grip. You’re now able to get Nikon D3-like functionality for less. It became a problem for Nikon so they stopped making similar business decisions in the future. This is the reason why the Nikon D8XX series compliments the Nikon DX series. It won’t make any business sense for a lower-tiered body to compete with the flagship. That wasn’t the first time Nikon had the same issue, many decades ago in the 1950s, there was a camera that had nearly-all of the flagship’s big features but Nikon played their cards really well when they introduced the cheaper version of the camera, that is the topic of our article today.

Introduction:

The Nikon S3 came after the Nikon SP, it’s basically a stripped-down version without the amazing viewfinder and rangefinder mechanism that made the Nikon SP such a formidable camera. It had in its place a simpler viewfinder with frame lines for 35mm, 50mm and 105mm. This made the viewfinder a bit cluttered but it’s fine since the viewfinder of the Nikon S3 is bright and it is also quite wide, with 1:1 magnification which makes it easy to view. This was done to make a camera that’s more affordable without sacrificing what made the Nikon SP’s chassis such a success. Sure, you won’t get the amazing viewfinder of the Nikon SP but it’s pretty-much the same camera without it.

This is the Nikon S4, it was based on the Nikon S3 but there’s no self-timer, a manual film counter dial has replaced the automatic one and its viewfinder now doesn’t have the 35mm frame line. This was made to make the camera a more reliable machine as requested by journalists and professionals. This camera was made with input from the late David Douglas Duncan himself, it is a bare-bones camera with everything a professional needs in the field. It’s a rare camera but it’s not difficult to find one lately.

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Repair: Nikkor-Q•C 13.5cm f/4

Hello, everybody! I was listening to the song “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Three Dog Night. I love Tome Jones‘ version but the original one sounds better to me. It’s grittier and more down-to-earth, it’s not over-produced so it sounds more “authentic”. While younger people usually remember songs that were covered by the last artist, they don’t know the original version of the songs they love. The originals are worth observing, you’ll hear the base states of the songs before they were altered to suit modern audiences. I like to dig-into the roots of things and that’s true for lenses, too. I will introduce to you a lens that’s the root of all medium-telephoto Nikkors for 35mm but it is also a clone of an even earlier lens, much like Three Dog Night’s version is a cover of an earlier version, so send in the clones!

Introduction:

The Nikkor-Q•C 13.5cm f/4 is one of the “original six” lenses that Nikon made for their first 35mm system, the original Nikon. The “original six” consists of the W-Nikkor•C 3.5cm f/3.5, the Nikkor-H•C 5cm f/2, the Nikkor-Q•C 5cm f/3.5, the Nikkor-P•C 8.5cm f/2 the Nikkor-S•C 5cm f/1.5 and the Nikkor-Q•C 13.5cm f/4 which is the topic of this article. These debuted separately from 1946 (or earlier) up until 1949 to form the core of the original system. This lens has a short production life, it was only produced for 3 years. It was soon replaced by the common Nikkor-Q•C 13.5cm f/3.5 which lasted far-longer in terms of production, its optical design transitioned fairly-well into what will become the Nikkor-Q 13.5cm f/3.5 Auto. While this is quite rare it is certainly not the rarest variant of the “original six”, that honor goes to the first version of the Nikkor-H•C 5cm f/2 or the Nikkor-S•C 5cm f/1.5, both are quite rare and very valuable in the Nikon collectors’ circle.

Shooting with this lens takes me back in time. The build is solid and heavy, I think it’s nearly as heavy as my old Nikon D700. This is due to the huge glass chunks used in the 2nd group and the brass construction. This lens will last for many decades more after we’re all gone from this planet.

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Repair: Nikkor-N 28mm f/2 Auto

Hello, everybody! Spring is just around the corner here so it’s cleaning time. Time to clean the house and time to “clean” problematic staff at the office. It is important to keep things clean in order to keep things moving smoothly. I will admit that I am lazy at cleaning but when it comes to cleaning cameras and lenses I will be the first one to raise my hand. I have cleaned lenses and cameras that are so filthy that you would probably get sick just by touching them. Today, I will show you one such lens and how I cleaned it. It’s now my favorite lens and I hope that this redemption story will inspire you.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-N 28mm f/2 Auto was made from 1970 to 1975 and at one point it was the fastest lens of its class. It enabled astrophotographers to shoot the night sky using slower films and still enjoy the wide 28mm focal length. The lens also enabled news photographers to take important photos in the dark so long as they pushed their films in development. This was a game-changer and many manufacturers soon followed. It’s the first lens in the 28/2 family which was made until 2005 in the form of the Nikkor 28mm f/2 Ai-S. This is a very useful lens and many people won’t want to part with theirs. It’s easy to see why once you saw my sample photos.

This lens is very well-made, it’s all-metal. This is what people think about if you mention the name “Nikkor“, a tool that just works and will survive a lot of beating. This lens will surely out-live me provided that it was taken cared of properly. If anything had to be serviced you can just repair it like any old carburetor engine.

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Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 28-50mm f/3.5 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! The Covid-19 outbreak is becoming a serious problem, it’s disrupting everything here and everybody’s lives are affected by it. It’s hard to find masks and even toilet paper in recent weeks. This is something that I have never seen since SARS. I hope that people will find a cure for this, it’s a huge problem and it will only continue to spread if not checked. We should never lose hope because doing so is accepting failure. This blog is all about hope as we restore old, broken equipment. Today, I’ll show you something that I found at the junk box. The previous guy who worked on this lost hope in this lens but I won’t give-up on this because I am all about fixing Nikkors.

Introduction:

The Zoom-Nikkor 28-50mm f/3.5 Ai-S is a unique lens. It’s unique because of its compact dimensions and it has a fixed-aperture when zooms at that time normally have variable-apertures unless you opt to buy the expensive ones that were made for professionals and they’re never as compact as this. This is such a lovely lens but it was only made for 2 years after it debuted in the mid-1980s, which is a shame because it’s such a practical little lens. This is a great partner for the Nikon F3 and some other smaller Nikons.

The appeal of using this lens is it’s compact and light. With a fixed-aperture, it was aimed at the advanced amateur and professional. Professional-grade Nikkors are usually fixed-aperture lenses with a decent speed of no-slower then f/3.5. This also has a practical zoom-range of 28-50mm, making it more useful for the working photographer. It’s a “pumper-zoom” wherein you’re treated with a comfortable piston-action focusing and zoom ring in one unit for easy and quick focusing and framing changes. I prefer this type of setup over the usual 2-ring option that has become normal these days.

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Review: Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Millennium

Hello, everybody! I went to a hobby shop this afternoon and I found some plastic models on sale that were reissues of classic kits from many decades ago. The original models were considered vintage and valuable when I was still active and working as a scale modeler several decades back. These ones are new, made with new molds and technology and they have new parts or fittings to go with them. They don’t make the original kits any cheaper but it is nice to be able to build the classics without having to actually build one if you get what I mean. Reissues serve a purpose and they’re always welcome sight to every hobbyist who can’t afford the original. Today, we are going to talk about a reissue of a legendary Nikkor, a lens so legendary that the older design even rivals what’s for sale today from any manufacturer but since I don’t have the resource to buy the original lens I’m going to review the new reissue instead.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Millennium edition is a reissue of the famous, rare, and exquisite Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 “Olympic Edition”. The latter lens gained that nickname because it was released around the same time as the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. It’s a famed lens because it’s the best 50/1.4 from Nikon, it remained to be so until this day depending on who you ask. This lens shares the same as the Nikkor-S•C 5cm f/1.4, both were made for the older Nikon S-mount for rangefinder cameras but the “Olympic Nikkor” was sold very late into the rangefinder Nikon era, long after it went obsolete with because of the revolutionary Nikon F. Despite the similar-sounding name, the lens isn’t a variant of the the Nikkor-S•C 5cm f/1.4, it’s a completely-different lens. It’s a new lens made using 1964 manufacturing techniques compared to the old one which was from the early 1950s.

The Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Millennium is beautiful. It’s one of the best-looking rangefinder lens from Nikon. The design is elegant as it is practical, there is nothing that will get in your way. The aperture ring feels precise and there’s no play in any of its parts. Compared to the “Olympic Nikkor”, this lens uses better coatings and the glass was made using modern materials. I assume it had its optical formula tweaked a bit but it remained the same as the older one in nearly all aspects.

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