17 Apr 2017 Enter your password to view comments.
09 Apr 2017 2 Comments
Hello, everybody! The weather is starting to get warm here in Tokyo and I have plenty of backlog that I need to fix! These do not only consist of my own gear but also from friends who’s lenses need fixing. I have to slow down in the colder months so I’m really going to be busy in the coming months!
One of the things that I had to fix is my Nikkormat. Yes, another damn Nikkormat! I hated working on these cameras but it can’t be helped because I really love them a lot. I usually get these from the junk boxes and so they need plenty of cleaning before I can use them. They would usually need a thorough cleaning and have all of their corroded foam seals replaced. This week, I will show you the easiest way I know. This technique is popular in Japan due to it’s simplicity and I take it that the manufacturers used this method,too.
Here are some of the tools that we need! Be sure you are comfortable with using a sharp knife; a steady pair of hands is also essential. More
26 Mar 2017 1 Comment
Hello, Everybody! Spring is here! It is definitely getting warmer and while that is definitely good news, the bad news is hay fever is also in season! I suffer from hay fever just like many people living here in Japan. While we are on the topic of suffering and agony, I would I am going to discuss something today that affects many, if not all people who try to work with Japanese lenses when they started and many get frustrated by this and simply quit.
Invest on a pair of really good JIS screwdrivers! I always mention this but people keep on forgetting. You won’t need anything fancy, just buy the right screwdrivers! VESSEL only! More
15 Mar 2017 2 Comments
What’s up, everybody? I am loving the weather now because Spring is nearly here! Here in Japan, we will celebrate the Spring Equinox next week. I’m sure glad that the seasons come and go every year. Speaking of cycles, there are times when I would service a lens and feel I have worked on something similar to it before. This is one of those, read on.
I would like to introduce to you the Nikkor-S.C 55mm f/1.2 lens! If that sounded familiar to you long-time readers it is because this is the predecessor of the New-Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens that we have tackled a little more than a year ago. This lens is mostly the same as its successor optically but the focusing unit (lens barrel) is of the earlier Auto-Nikkor era look. The focusing distance has been improved by a little bit on the newer lens and some curvature, spacing and Roland Vink even suspected that the materials for the glass might even be improved. These are minor updates so for all intents and purposes you can think of these lenses as similar optically. I personally prefer the vintage look and the all-metal construction of this lens. I was looking for something similar to this lens but with the Ai update but I have different sets of priorities now so I will forget about hunting for this lens for now.
Here is the Nikkor-S.C 55mm f/1.2 together with the New-Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens. You can say that the later lens is simply a cosmetic update of the earlier one and I would agree with you on that observation. They both handle the same, which is excellent.
23 Feb 2017 5 Comments
Hello, everybody! I took a leave from work today to cover CP+ 2017 for my readers. I had to wake up early today because CP+ 2017 also coincides with the used camera bazaar by ICS in Ginza. I went there first and then quickly made my way to Yokohama for CP+ 2017. If you’ve been following me for more than a year, you will remember that I covered CP+ 2016 of last year. What’s new this year? Well, nothing much to be honest. It looks and feels the same every single year. This is Japan’s version of Photokina wherein new products are showed to the public and international brands come to Japan to sell theirs here. There are plenty of newcomers but it usually consists of the usual big boys in the Japanese camera industry.
Nikon’s booth is yellow as usual. There’s nothing new in terms of layout and I hope they’ll change that next year so that we’ll see something new next time in terms of presentation and activities. Nikon has been very conservative all this time and that attitude has allowed others to leapfrog them in many things. More
19 Feb 2017 5 Comments
Hello, everybody! I am feeling very well now, thank you very much for the well-wishes and messages that I received! The weather is beginning to get warmer as Spring is just around the corner now. Spring brings plenty of seasonal things like migrating birds, hay fever, the numerous seasonal produce that I enjoy and most especially – bugs! Bugs are shy creatures and taking pictures of them can be a challenge at times. For that, you will need a lens that will give you enough subject to lens distance. For me, that is only the job of a 105mm lens!
Today, I am going to introduce you to the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Ai-S lens! This is a very versatile lens for portraiture, macro and just about everything. It’s an advanced lens that was way ahead of it’s time when it was introduced and it’s still available now NEW for use with the scientific community where in precise manual focusing in high magnification is important. How many lenses can boast of such longevity? Not a lot!
The Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Ai-S lens is still being produced now in 2017. That is around 34 years of continuos production since it’s debut in Spring of 1983! Can you imagine that!? More
05 Feb 2017 3 Comments
Hello, everybody! I am now down with the flu so I am going to keep this brief. I am usually resistant to sickness but lately, stress from work has been getting into me so that probably affected my resistances somewhat. I am feeling a lot better now but I will need to take the doctor’s recommended rest period of 5 days. After that, I will assure you that I will be back to my usual health and even better, I will practice kung fu again this coming spring so that my body will regain my old resilience to sickness. This is a tale of redemption for me and also for this special lens so read on!
Today’s topic is about a lens that many people would consider fit for nothing but parts due to it’s heavy fungal infection but I will show you that almost nothing is not worth a try as far as old Nikkors are concerned! Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you this gem of lens: the Zoom-Nikkor 43-86 f/3.5 Ai lens!
It looks really great on a camera of the same vintage, don’t you think it looks sexy on this Nikon F3HP? I love the Nikon F3 and for me, this is the best manual SLR ever made. More
18 Jan 2017 4 Comments
Hello, everybody! Did you miss me? I sure missed you. I am currently very busy at work and it is taking a toll on my body, in fact I had to take a rest yesterday because I’m just so tired. I am currently heading 3 projects because I am a versatile employee. Being versatile is good because you can be useful here and there but being versatile also means that your skills are spread thin. This is a common problem if you are not a specialist in something before you acquire a second skill. In my case, I am a specialist at the technical side of the business and the other things that I do are things that I happen to know enough of to make decisions for the project and the company. If I were to be a Nikkor, which lens would I be? We will see.
Today, I will show you one of the most versatile lens designs that made it into production and became so successful that it spawned copycats and a legacy that lasts to this day when it came to the essence of the idea – the awesome Micro-Nikkor-P 55mm f/3.5 lens!
I really love this lens, the all-metal construction is tough and the ergonomics are perfect! You can’t get any simpler than this and this lens is so practical that it’s still relevant today as a general-purpose normal lens. This lens spawned copies from other manufacturers in it’s day from rival companies all the way to small obscure brands. It is a successful design! More
01 Jan 2017 2 Comments
Happy new year, my friends! 2016 has been a crazy year for a lot of people, for me it was a stressful year because my beautiful assistant is working off-site so I have to do the job of 2 people at the studio. It was also a year wherein we lost the likes of Bowie, George Michael and other important ’80s pop icons. This made me feel old because I grew up listening to New Wave and other ’80s pop and rock. Thankfully, just like the loud electronic rhythms of yesteryears there is one thing that is slowly getting a revival – Classic Nikkors. Amongst these Classic Nikkors is something that I consider somewhat to be a hidden gem when it came to the cost/performance ratio – the Nikkor 20cm f/4!
This lens is part of a very historical lens family and is the lens that is succeeded by the lens that we talked about in this blog post. Although there are many similarities between this and the Nikkor-Q 200mm f/4 lens, the Nikkor-Q 20cm f/4 is made very differently. There are numerous differences in the lens barrel’s engineering that you can consider this barrel design to be totally different.
Here is my collection of Nikon’s 200 f/4 primes. All of them were bought as junks and were restored during my spare time. These comprise all of the major cosmetic variants for this lens line and we will have a guide for each of these one of these days. More
24 Dec 2016 2 Comments
Happy holidays, everybody! I wasn’t able to update the blog last weekend since I was busy and I had to work last Saturday. This coming Christmas is no different for me because I am going to have to work as well. This is Japan and Christmas is nothing more than a Western idea celebrating capitalist ideals. Speaking about Christmas, I have an assignment for you guys this season if you have ever bought an old lens or have inherited one. Read along!
Damaged Lens Artifacts:
Today, I will show you how to check wether a damaged lens element will affect an image or not by using light sources like Christmas lights! Some people claim that damage on a lens’ optic will not show up in the final image, while it is true for minor problems like a patch of fungus it is not true for something more serious like a scratch or chip. Sellers and people on the internet make this claim and I will show you how to test their statement by doing these simple tests.
Some damages that are too feint to see with the naked eye without using the help of a light source such as a torch can fool you into thinking that nothing is wrong with a lens but this simple bokeh test can help you determine wether the lens is still OK or not. This test only works in darkness so I do this at night or inside a dark room.
First, focus your lens to it’s minimum focusing distance and stand 1.5-2m away from some Christmas lights or any bright sources of light. This also works on light sources that are far away like some street lamps 60m meters away from you. So long as you can produce clean and clear bokeh balls you are on the right track.
Second, set your lens to it’s maximum aperture and set your exposure settings so that you will get a nice picture with bokeh balls, ISO400 at 1/250s usually works for me. The key to this is to underexpose the bokeh balls a bit so that things will show up.
Examine your picture and zoom into your bokeh balls and look for artifacts. The following images show a few examples of bad bokeh from some of the lenses that I encountered.
Dirt or a bad scratch can cause this artifact to appear. Depending on the cause, it can easily be fixed by cleaning the lens elements in case of dirt or having a professional re-polish the problem element for you and re-coat it after. This particular lens looks immaculately clean but as you can see from the picture above, the lens produces bad bokeh. I am yet to open it again to find the cause but I suspect that a minor scratch in the coating is the cause. More