Report: Nikon Museum Special Collection pt3

Hello, everybody! We are going to continue with our Nikon Museum Special Collection series and we’re going to see some special Nikon cameras here in this report. Nikon has made many special-purpose cameras and this is just a small portion of what’s been made. I spent the most time in this portion and I really enjoyed observing the special cameras and I hope that you share my enthusiasm.

IMG_1460This is the Nikon F2MD, it’s rare and some people don’t even know about it. It has the special Electornic Eye (Nikon EE) attachment that controls the size of the mounted lens’ aperture automatically based on the reading from the mounted metered prism that supports it. The big drum magazines can hold about 750 frames of film. Mounted on it is the special Nikkor 200mm f/2 AI, I want to own one of these but I don’t have the space to store it. More

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Report: Nikon Museum Special Collection pt2

Hello, everybody! I am going to walk you through this part of the exhibit where we find some surviving equipment from WW2 that was made by Nippon Kogaku that are special or interesting. Periscopes, gun sights and other “normal” things won’t excite some people so here are the more exotic ones. Nikon was called Nippon Kogaku until recently and just like Carl Zeiss they were pushed-into the war effort by their respective countries by their own will or not. There’s nothing much you can do when the state demands so much from you. It can mean the end for you if you said no so there isn’t much you can do I suppose. I find this part of the exhibit fascinating because I was a scale modeler and I admire WW2 weapons and machines because they’re obviously archaic but still modern-enough to be relatable. Whatever these are, these are just objects used during the war and should only be seen as such. I was in a photography facebook group once and somebody showed an old WW2 Leica and some people just went crazy over it. Discussing engineering shouldn’t be tainted with politics. With that said, I hope that you share my enthusiasm in this post.

IMG_1307 2This part of the exhibit has some of the biggest items in the whole floor. They’re heavy so I was really careful so I won’t knock one of them over and make me the Mr. Bean of the Nikon world. More

Report: Nikon Museum Special Collection pt1

Hello, everybody! I am going to begin a new series in this article and I am going to report on the current exhibit at the Nikon Museum which they call the “Special Collection“. It’s a very interesting exhibit showcasing some of Nikon’s more unusual creations that’s made for scientific, military, medical and other fields where specialized optics are needed. This is something that every serious Nikon fan should take part in and I will cover it for you if you cannot make it to the museum. If you can travel to Tokyo then please do so while this is still up and I am sure that it’s going to be worth your time. Please enjoy this report.

IMG_1309 2Nikon has a long history of making special optics such as this big thing, a telescope used for observing the night sky. This is one of the smaller ones and the ones at the picture at the back are its bigger siblings that are too big to fit the museum. This one is not part of the exhibit, it’s been in this spot for as long as I can remember but it fits the theme. More

Repair: Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ai

Hello, everybody! Being the sentimental and romantic person that I am, I was surfing the net checking-out my old classmates that I haven’t seen for decades on facebook then I just remembered that I was pursuing a girl in my teens who everybody had a crush on. She’s popular and all but I discovered something that nobody else noticed, she has a sister and she’s just as amazing. She’s polite, simple and cute in her own way with her little flaws. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it’s her sister that I actually wanted all along. I was young so I was foolish to let her go. Did you ever have the same experience as me? There are many times when you’d realize that what you wanted isn’t what everyone wanted at all at first. I think that this is a profound feeling and this just goes to show that you have matured in a way because you now follow your heart instead of what other people say is hot. Today, I am going to share to you a lens that caught me by surprise. It’s been thrown-off to the limelight because of its “hot” sibling but it’s every-bit as good or even better for those who know what they wanted. Please read the article to find out what this lens is.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ai is the successor to the New-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 which shares lots of similarities to this one that you can consider both to the same lens in every sense. The later Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ai only differs in the sense that it comes with an Ai-ring, you can add a factory Ai-ring to the older New-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 and you basically end up with a near-identical lens so what applies to this lens also applies to that one, too. There are few differences in the models that came between the first one and the last model but they’re all minor and shouldn’t matter at all except for collectors. The New-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 is a trail-blazer, it started a new lens line because the closest model that came before this is the Nikkor-H•C 28mm f/3.5 Auto, a lens that has an old optical design and was at one time the widest SLR lens available that you can use without having to flip the mirror up. That was a popular lens and it sold a lot but people wanted a faster lens so this design debuted in 1975 as the New-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8. It took Nikon that long because designing fast and wide lenses was difficult given the technology of the time but Nikon managed to make it, it has a 7 elements in 7 groups design which is reasonable for a lens in this class. It soon became popular and it sold very well because the performance is fantastic, it’s resistance to flare and ghosting is something that’s hard-to-beat to this day and it’s sharp as well. An even bigger bonus is that it only has a mild distortion profile considering its focal length. I will consider this design to be one of Nikon’s high points in optics engineering.

IMG_2520The lens feels great in your hands, it certainly feels like a classic Nikkor. It’s compact but it’s just a bit bigger than the usual small prime from the same era. You can throw this to an assailant and this will likely crack his nose, they don’t make lenses like these today. More

Repair: Nikkor-H•C 5cm f/2 LTM (collapsible)

Hello, everybody! I was watching some Culture Club MTV’s a few moments ago. I recalled how I was confused by Boy George’s persona back in the 1980s when I first saw them. It’s a time when the division between genders was clearer and homosexuality was looked at with either contempt or exoticness. Ziggy Stardust sure was different but Boy George was unique and he took it to the next level. I will admit that I admired him because of how he carried himself, he was elegant, classy and smart on his appearances on TV. I loved how he sang in Live Aid and all that ’80s thing. My confused young mind turned him into a big inspiration as to how I carry myself, I wasn’t afraid to wear what I want in school despite looking like a weirdo. That edginess actually attracted the opposite sex because girls saw me as a bad boy. If only I knew who had a crush on me then I would have chosen who to marry earlier on. Before I share too much about my private life on the net for my wife to read I will talk about a lens that confused me at first, is it a Zeiss or a Leitz? It’s neither, it is a unique lens as much as how Boy George is a unique individual and we will never see another quite like him again. Read my article to find out what lens this is.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-H•C 5cm f/2 is definitely Nikon’s most popular rangefinder lens. This lens was made in several version including the Nikkor-H.C 5cm f/2 for the Nikon S-mount, and the rigid Nikkor-H.C 5cm f/2 (Leica Thread Mount) which has the ability to focus-down to 1.5ft (un-coupled). The topic of our article is the collapsible version (Leica Thread Mount). The Nikon S-mount (collapsible) version is similar to this except for the mount so you can see this lens as almost-identical to it from a historical or engineering context. Both were saw a brief (parallel) production run and both are now expensive and rare. The S-mount lens can sell for an exhorbitant price and is highly-desirable. This one is a bit cheaper but the price can still easily go above the $400 mark at the very least. I just got lucky and found a cheap one for much less than that.

IMG_1089The Nikkor-H•C 5cm f/2 (collapsible) is a handsome lens. Many people will mistake it for a Leitz optic for obvious reasons. The quality of the machining is top-notch and it reminds me of the time when things were hand-made in small quantities and each part was made to fit the opposing part. The fit is exceptional, almost to the quality of Zeiss but not quite. Zeiss is the king when it comes to quality and precision, Leica is not far behind in quality but they will never match their quality until much later after they made the Leica M3. It’s a nice machine but I would say that the Zeiss Ikon Contax IIa is a better machine when it comes to engineering quality. More

Review: Fujifilm Venus 800 (pt 2)

Hello, everybody! Happy Spring to you! It’s hay fever season here again in Japan and for those who know me personally or for those who have been following this blog for some time now you will know that this is the season where I feel like a wet towel because of all that hay fever medication. The good thing is Spring in Japan is beautiful and the colors of the season is a delight for photographers compared to the drab brown-and-grey tones of Winter. This means that it’s time for me to shoot photos of people dressed in colorful and beautiful clothes and I now have a new favorite film for portraiture.

Introduction:

Let’s continue with our Fujifilm Venus 800 series. In part 1 I showed you photos that I am used to taking, photos that people usually associate with me if you have been following me and my blog. Pictures that were taken in the night with a fast lens in an Asian setting where neon and tungsten contrasts with the darkness of the night, making for a difficult scene to meter when shooting with film. That type of photography may not be available to everybody who reads my blog and it may just not be for everyone so I’m going to show you a more common application of this film – available light photography in the shade or at least in a scene that’s not lit artificially.

FH000035You have seen similar photos in part 1 where I talked about shooting with this film in the dark. Now, I am going to show you how this film performs in a different situation so you can have a better grasp of how this film works in most situations. More

Review: Fujifilm Venus 800

Hello, everybody! I was listening to an Eagles tribute band (one of hundreds!) and they’re so good that I thought I was listening to the real band. I was searching in YouTube for the song “Best of My Love” but the only thing I could find was from this tribute band. I was a bit upset when I found out that it’s just a tribute band but I gave them another minute. It was worth it because it satisfied the damn earworm that’s ringing for the past few days! I stopped the video and thanked the opportunity to listen to them and also for the lesson I that learned on giving something or somebody another try. Today, I am going to tell you a story about how I used to hate a certain film stock but grew to love it as I gave it another chance and learned more about its nuance and quirks.

Introduction:

Fujifilm Venus 800 is one of those films that make some people scratch their head because of its odd speed. It was made to be sold together with the disposable plastic cameras and with the lower-end of the Japanese film market in mind (mainly aunties) who don’t want or own a fancy setup or film and all they cared about are nice vacation photos. This was probably the reason for its feminine name because it was mainly aimed for this market. Fujifilm probably wanted to give the impression that it takes good photos of people and it does according to the official Japanese catalog. Many people mistake this to be the same film as the Fujifilm Superia 800 but there are small differences according to the catalog. It probably is so insignificant that you can treat them both as the same film in most cases. I am sure that the subtle differences will only show in controlled conditions or when these 2 stocks were shot side-by-side to compare the resulting prints or scans. Its official name is called the Fujicolor Superia Venus 800 just to make it clear to all that it’s a Superia with different formulation. If you want to be technical about it and if you read Japanese then I will just lead you to this official PDF and let you decide if the differences matter to you or not, you can’t get more official than that since it’s Fujifilm who wrote that film guide. You may also want to see this detailed datasheet for the Fujifilm Venus 800 (Japanese only).

IMG_1176Many people outside the Far-East haven’t heard of this film because it wasn’t sold outside of the region through official channels but it’s available through importers and these can be bought easily online these days. Some people treat this as a novelty film because of its “rarity” but more and more people are getting to know and love this film lately. It used to be hard to find information about this film just a few years back on the English-speaking web but you can now find plenty of sample photos online these days thanks to those who like to share their photos like yours truly.

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