Repair: Nikon F part 3

Hello, everybody! Do you like Culture Club? I love Boy George a lot, his voice is unique and that adds a special something to their songs. One of their best songs is Time, it’s catchy and you can dance to it, too. It doesn’t sound old, it is a great example of how creative people were in the 1980s. People are not afraid of experimenting with different styles and express it. This is why I’m so in love with the decade, it’s a special part of my life. I’d love to go back in time and enjoy the decade all-over again for a day. While we’re on the topic of time, I will show you how time is handled in a Nikon. I’ll show you how it is controlled and how to make sure that your camera works flawlessly.

Introduction:

The Nikon F’s shutter is legendary not only because it’s reliable and tough. It is a very convenient design that allows you to turn it continuously. This was called the “endless shutter” by Nikon’s marketing a long time ago and it was coined during the Nikon SP’s debut. This was a huge step for Japan, this was something that no Japanese camera did, you could turn the dial “endlessly” without having to stop and turn the other way to get to the other end of the shutter-speed’s range. Since the Nikon F inherited the shutter mechanism of the Nikon SP you can treat its operation as fundamentally identical despite some minor differences in operation.

The Nikon F’s shutter is a joy to work with, it enables you to change it with a quick turn of a knob. This is beneficial when shooting street photography, it can mean a lost shot if you’re not quick enough. The perfect companion for this is a Nikkor-S 35mm f/2.8 Auto, street photography demands that you use a 35mm or 50mm lens.

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Repair: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai

Hello, everybody. It was my first time to taste Kingfisher last night. I liked it a lot, it’s refreshing, light and it has no disgusting aftertaste. Before I had it I was content with Asahi’s Super-Dry but Kingfisher is now my new favorite. I won’t be drinking it regularly since it’s difficult to source locally and it’s not cheap either. Today, I’ll show you something that changed my opinion. I was happy with some of the older lenses from its class but this one is now a new favorite and I even prefer this over all of its successors.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai debuted in 1978 and it replaced the Nikkor 50mm f/2 Ai as Nikon’s “standard-lens”. It was made for only about 4 years which is quite short in my opinion but its optical formula became the foundation for nearly-all mechanical 50/1.8 Nikkors. It became apparent that Nikon needed a lens in the 50/1.8 class in the mid-1970s because f/1.8 is starting to become the norm as far as maximum aperture goes for standard-lenses. Why was it called a “standard-lens”? That name was coined because lenses of this class tend to be sold with the manufacturer’s cameras, they are called “kit-lenses” today and nearly-all of them are zoom-lenses.

It handles pretty much the same as the older New-Nikkor 50mm f/2 so it will be familiar to your hands if you’re used to the older lens. I like this lens a lot because of its practical specs and its build, it feels solid in your hands, you’ll definitely feel the legendary New-Nikkor build quality. The front lens is a bit recessed which helps in protecting the front element from fingers and light. That’s not an excuse for not using a hood and you should definitely get one.

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Repair: Nikon F part 2

Hello, everybody! Do you remember Disney’sSnow White“? There’s a scene there where the witch seeks confirmation of her beauty from an enchanted mirror. I found that deep, almost psychological. It’s an interesting scene, the witch can represent one’s ego seeking comfort from itself but the enchanted mirror said something which made her upset, that can represent insecurity. It’s like the mind is saying that there’s someone better. I never thought that a scene from a movie for children made during the pre-war years could be so profound. Speaking of mirrors, I will show you a magic mirror that never lies. It showed Japan, no, the world what the future is like. It’s the dawn of a new era and Nikon’s golden age where nobody could challenge her for 2-3 decades to come.

Introduction:

Before the Nikon F debuted SLR cameras were clumsy to use, the technology hadn’t matured yet so it became the template of what an SLR should be. The basic format stayed, you’ll see its influence to this day. Despite the ground-breaking design, Nikon did not pioneer the designs and mechanisms needed to create the Nikon F, much of its concepts were copied then improved from other manufacturers’ designs but it was Nikon who combined them all into a single, seamless design that worked together in harmony. It was a success and a lot of it can be attributed to its very reliable mirror-box which is very elegant in simplicity and function.

Not only is the Nikon F’s viewfinder large, offering 100% frame coverage, it also has 1:1 magnification which makes it easy for your eyes. You also have the option to change the focusing screen to whatever suits the situation. It’s something that made it a huge hit specially with sports photographers since it’s the first time something this elegant was made. It allows you to see what the lens sees and you can accurately frame your shot even with a telephoto lens that’s longer than 135mm, the limit for rangefinder-coupled cameras.

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Repair: New-Nikkor 135mm f/2.8

Hello, everybody! Do you remember the movie Oliver Twist? It’s based on a novel of the same name about an unfortunate little boy. I’ve never read the novel but I sure remembered the movie, one line sang by Mr. Bumble is an ear-worm – “Boy for sale!”. It’s sang while Mr. Bumble was trying to sell-off Oliver for being a “greedy boy”, it just shows how much he’d like to sell the boy away and thus, “the boy that nobody wanted”. It must be tough being in a state where nobody wanted you but the story had a twist at the end which gave Oliver Twist a bit of redemption. Today, I’ll show you a lens that no one wanted until collectors realize what it is but despite that, it’s still something that’s not special-enough to attract a following.

Introduction:

The New-Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 was sold for a short time from 1975 to 1976. It os merely a refresh of the venerable Nikkor-Q 135m f/2.8 Auto with updates to its main barrel so it will look more-modern, with updated aesthetics that made it look in-line with the New-Nikkor style. It was soon replaced by the later New-Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 which has a totally-new optical design and is a completely-new lens compared to this one. This is a rare lens but this isn’t valuable at all because around 34,200 lenses were made. If you’re familiar with the Nikkor-Q 135m f/2.8 Auto then this one will make you feel at-home since the handling is similar and it inherited the latter’s optical formula. It’s a nice lens for portraiture just like the Nikkor-Q 135m f/2.8 Auto. If you want a period-correct lens for your Nikon F2 then this is it.

Compared to the Nikkor-Q 135m f/2.8 Auto it looks quite boring. It lacks that sex appeal of the older lens that made it a favorite of many people. There’s a small difference that might mean a lot to some people and that’s its discreet look, the lack of shiny accents makes this lens less-noticeable so if you need to be discreet like a paparazzi then that’s going to be a big deal.

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Repair: Nikkor-N 35mm f/1.4 Auto

Hello, everybody! I just had a few beers tonight, I love Asahi beer because it tasted a bit like San Miguel but more refined. It’s smooth on the throat and it doesn’t have a bad after-taste. I like beer a lot but I am more of a din guy. It’s rare that I would crave for beer but I used to drink it by-the-gallon. In China way-back 17 years ago I downed 2 boxes of Tsing-Tao beer by myself. That’s when I represented my country in a cultural/sporting event. I enjoy a pint if that suits me, the nice amber liquid is hard to resist specially if it’s ice-cold. I have something that I would like to show you today, something with a great amber hue to it, it’s difficult to resist, too. It’s something that a lot of people in the Nikon collectors’ circle crave for because of its special characteristics. Please enjoy a nice, cold beer with me while reading more about this.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-N 35mm f/1.4 Auto is a legendary lens in its own right. It goes by the name of “Atomic-Nikkor” or “Atom-lens” within Nikkor collectors since it has thorium-infused glass. It’s also the first Nikkor to incorporate the best of what Nikon could give at that time and that’s CRC, Nikon’s latest multicoated lens, a 9-bladed iris and of course, the radioactive glass. This was the best in its day when it debuted in 1970 and photographers, scientists and whoever had the money wanted one. It allowed people to shoot stars, nightclubs and do scientific research like they never did before. These sound like tall-tales but it really was a game-changer back in its day. NASA sent several of these to space but they were modified to survive the extreme conditions of space.

The barrel looks gorgeous with its all-black look. This has a factory-installed Ai-ring which will allow me to use it with newer Nikons. It handles well and I love the all-metal focusing ring. It has a longer focus-throw as opposed to a Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 Ai-S which has a pathetic range. Some people like longer ones while some don’t, it all depends on what you’re used to.

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Repair: Nikon F part 1

Hello, everybody! I recalled watching Alien and thought that movie changed everything about science fiction films forever. It is really a horror movie set in space. It’s a fresh take on the genre, one that made other films obsolete. It is Ridley Scott’s masterpiece and it never gets old even when viewed today. I wanted to become a VFX artist because of it and that got me into modeling. I started with scale models and did props for a short time before things went digital. Today, I will show you an epoch-making camera, something that lots of people consider to be the best representative of an era. It defined what a camera should be and you can still see its legacy today, alive-and-well.

Introduction:

The Nikon F needs no introduction, it’s Nikon’s claim-to-fame and the model that finished the dominance of rangefinder-coupled cameras in the 1960s. It can be seen everywhere covering weddings, wars, news, etc. It heralded the dawn of modern photography as we knew it, or so I thought. It was heavily-based on the Nikon SP’s platform but it was introduced later in 1959. It was sold until 1973, ending a production run of 14 years totaling 862,600 bodies. Its success owes to the fact that it’s tough, reliable and you can use it with a whole catalog of accessories and Nikkors. It’s so tough that you’ll find a junk Nikon F with its shutter still working (but not accurate) while some cameras from other brands won’t even allow you to cock it.

It was made in plenty of iterations, each iteration has something different. I love collecting them because of that. In fact, you could write a whole book if you document everything properly including what’s different inside of it. It can take nearly a lifetime to collect every variant. I’ll document some of the internal differences in this series, anything that’s outside of the camera will only be mentioned in-passing. By the way, this is my black Nikon F, “Tina“.

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Repair: Micro-Nikkor 5cm f/3.5 (LTM)

Hello, everybody! Do you remember Fast Times at Richmond High? It is one of my favorite movies when I was young not only because of the full-frontal but because my childhood crush Phoebe Cates stars in it. She has the perfect face if you ask me, someone that will only be rivaled by Jennifer Connelly in terms of beauty and perkiness. I love how Jennifer looks in The Labyrinth, it won’t be the same movie without her. As a youth, these 2 beauties had been my obsession and it’s difficult to choose which one is at the top of my heart. Recently, I found myself in a similar situation. I was always obsessed with a legendary Nikkor but it has a sibling that’s equally-seductive. It was a really difficult choice but fate has chosen it for me, I ended up with the Jennifer of the two. Maybe one day, Phoebe can be mine, too.

Introduction:

The Micro-Nikkor 5cm f/3.5 is the “mother” of all Micro-Nikkors, it is the lens that started it all. It debuted in 1956 and was sold to special clients, mainly in the scientific and industrial field where such a high-performing optic is a necessity for documenting things. The need for such a high-resolution optic was apparent when people tried to capture documents using the microfiche format because Japanese/Chinese characters are more complicated, they do not record very well with existing lenses so a better lens had to be designed and that need gave birth to this lens. Now, Nikon wasn’t the first to make an optic of this class, Carl Zeiss made a similar one a few years earlier, it is the Macro-Tessar 5cm f/3.5 that comes with the Contaprox set. You can say that Nikon was “inspired” by that idea and the result is this.

The lens showcased here is the version made for the Leica Thread Mount. It is unsure which one came first, the Nikon S-mount version or this one. Both versions can be used as “normal lenses” but only this is able to focus closer, down to around 1.5ft at which it’s decoupled from the camera’s rangefinder so you’ll have to focus with a special attachment. Both versions were made to be used with bellows for high-magnification photography. It’s impossible to focus with it at near 1:1 magnification using the rangefinder. You’ll only be able to do this reliably by looking-through the film aperture gate. It can only be used that way with a setup so forget about hand-holding this while you take photos of your tiny subjects.

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