Repair: New-Nikkor 135mm f/2

Hello, everybody! I love Prince’s song “Purple Rain“. It’s long, full of soul and a true masterpiece in its time and even to this day. You can’t find something today that can match this song since they’re mostly made with the help of a single algorithm that record labels use. This is the reason why songs today sound “generic”, as if they were made from a single template. Today, we are going to talk about a lens that’s still amazing to this day since it was made as an artists’ tool, focusing on the “feel” rather than on chart scores that many lenses today seem to fall victim to. And just like “Purple Rain“, this lens has a reputation for purple fringing but we’ll see how that works with the scheme of this lens.


The New-Nikkor 135mm f/2 debuted in 1975, it was the fastest 135mm Nikon has ever made at that point and is a high-point in lens design. It’s big, heavy and impressive with its big front element. People will pay attention to you if you point this to their faces. It’s also the first lens in the 135/2 class which is still being made today in the form of the AI AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2D. This lens is the expensive alternative to the New-Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 which is an exquisite lens but Nikon thought that they could make something better and so this lens was designed. The benefit you get from the faster aperture of f/2 is a brighter viewfinder, extra light-gathering capabilities, thinner depth-of-field and smoother blur as a result of the latter. This was a game-changer, it enabled photographers to take pictures that they weren’t able to before.

The impressive front element of this lens is huge and clear. You will want to deploy the built-in hood when using this to protect the front element and to shield it from stray light hitting it from an angle which can cause flares and ghosts to appear in your photos. The built-in hood is a nice touch, it is a big help despite being prone to being knocked out of position because it doesn’t click-into place which is a shame.

Read more

Repair: Nikon S2 part2

Hello, everybody! I saw that part 1 is quite popular with my readers and so I made some time to write this part before I take the weekend off. It’s been a crazy week at work as we’re laying the foundations for the next project and I don’t even have enough time for sleep these days. I hope you’ll enjoy this.


I showed you how to work on the exterior in part 1 so we will talk about the inner parts of the camera in this article. It’s been easy so far but it’s going to get much more difficult from now as we dismantle the camera down to the bare chassis. Never attempt repairing your camera yourself and just send it to a qualified repairer. You may be thinking about saving a few dollars but I will tell you that you’ll spend much more than that on tools and time. You’re also going to need the right skills that can only be learned through years of experience. Just make sure that you send your camera to a trusted shop. It’s common to find people who will say that they can do the job but the truth is they don’t even know where to start.

The Nikon S2 is one of the most beautiful cameras Nikon has ever made. The lines and curves are clean and the layout is basic, making this camera great for studying the basics of photography because it will slow you down. Your clicks will be more deliberate because you will have the time to think about your shot instead of the instant gratification of modern cameras.


Review: Cinestill 800T

Hello, everybody! I am going to show you one of my favorite films today. It’s popular these days and many people use it to get unique-looking pictures. I love it a lot because I like taking night-time photos and this works great for my style. If you’ve been following me you already know what I am talking about. Enjoy this review.


Cinestill 800T is one of my most-used stocks. I was looking for an alternative to Fujifilm Natura 1600 so I tried my luck with this film which turned out to be a good find. It’s originally a motion picture stock that was re-spooled for normal use and development by hobbyists, I will get into the details later in this article so be sure to read everything.

It comes in its familiar black container because it’s very sensitive to light. It is sold in both 35mm and 120mm formats which is nice. I have seen how it performs with medium format and the results blew me away. They’re a bit pricey depending on where or how you buy them but not unreasonable.


Repair: Nikkor-Q•C 5cm f/3.5 (Collapsible)

Hello, everybody! Do you remember “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve? I love that movie a lot despite it being corny. I think its soundtrack is also one of the best scores ever written for a movie, I can still remember the first time I heard it and I can never forget it when I hear it. Movies like this are timeless and you can still enjoy them to this day. It’s difficult to think of a movie made today that has the same impact, it is easy to forget a movie as soon as you walked out of the theater. Today, I will show you a lens that will bring you back to the olden days, very much like the plot in “Somewhere in Time”. It’s also a classic that only people who have a deep appreciation for the past will revere.


The Nikkor-Q•C 5cm f/3.5 is one of Nikon’s oldest lens designs for the 35mm format. Its history dates back before the war and it was also supplied to the first Japanese 35mm cameras made by Canon called the Kwanon. The design is very simple and it’s simply a clone of what the Germans had. Nikon didn’t know how to make or design lenses for 35mm cameras so they had to start somewhere and the best lens manufacturers at that time were German. The lens has undergone many changes through-out its life from 1935 to 1956. It has seen several barrel updates and they were sold in different mounts. It’s what gave Nikon the required know-how so they can start making original designs after the war and that makes this lens special. Many people are not even aware of these and you certainly won’t find a lot of information about this lens online and photos that were taken with this lens can be difficult to find. Most people who own these are collectors and they usually do not use their gear to take pictures, which is a shame.

I got this lens for a small price but these usually go for around $500 and up. I was lucky and it was fated that this lens ended up with me. The barrel is a clone of the Leica Elmar 50mm f/3.5 but you adjust the iris via a ring behind the front ring which makes it more convenient since you can see the values without having to look at the front of the lens. The optical formula is also a clone of the Leica Elmar 50mm f/3.5’s which is a clone of the Zeiss Tessar. It’s a clone of a clone!


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

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries