Nikkor-O 2.1cm f/4

Hello, everybody! Do you know the “Tokyo Shock Boys” or “電撃ネットワーク”? They’re a comedy act back in the early 1990s. They did many stupid and dangerous stunts and their catchphrase is “it’s very dangerous!“, which I think is very catchy. The stunts that they did are only for our entertainment and should never be copied at home, children shouldn’t watch their shows because they’ll probably imitate them. Today, I’ll show you something stupid and dangerous. I spent a long time thinking about whether I should publish this. Read this whole article to find out more about this.

Introduction:

The Nikkor-O 2.1cm f/4 was launched in 1959 and was sold until 1967. This used to be the widest Japanese lens for SLR photography at the time it debuted, it helped push the Nikon F into dominance of the professional market. It was such a landmark lens that it soon gained legendary status because it opened new avenues for creative photography. There’s another version of this made for the S-mount because rangefinders still dominated 35mm photography at that time, its production was quite limited because the Nikon F would soon bring an end to that era. This lens has a lot of dedicated fans and they swear by its reputation but is this lens really what it’s made out to be or are people merely ruminating on the mythology surrounding it? We’ll find that out for sure in this article.

It’s all-metal which makes it tough but its characteristic stalk at the rear makes it look delicate. It’s actually quite rigid, I was surprised at how well-made it is. The rear is exposed but there’s a guard which helps prevent damage. The scale is very useful, it’s the only way you’ll be able to focus with it without viewing thought-the-lens. This isn’t a problem at all, the depth-of-field is very wide so you just guess the approximate distance of your subject or just use the scale to focus using hyperfocal distance, a technique that’s forgotten by many people apart from landscape photographers and those who shoot street photography.

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Report: Nikon Museum (Cine-Nikkor)

Hello, everybody! There’s currently an exhibit going on at the Nikon Museum about Cine-Nikkors! I am currently doing my best to give you all the information I have about this obscure part of Nikon’s history so I was very happy when the Father of Kit-lenses messaged me about this exhibit. I was so happy at that moment but I was also sad because there’s lots of Nikon historians who couldn’t come to the exhibit due to the pandemic. I dedicate this article to all of you who are unable to look at these with your own eyes and breath the same moldy air that these relics are exposed to.

The exhibit is rather small, befitting the tiny nature of many Cine-Nikkors. Despite being merely 2 tables the specimens shown here are very important.

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Review: Nikon FM10

Hello, everybody! Many people are excited about the Nikon Z fc, Nikon’s latest hit. It’s an amazing camera that conjures the feeling of using a classic film camera and it’s not expensive, too. I recalled buying a Nikon D90 when it came out, it costs about $950.00 at that time so if you put things into perspective the new Nikon Z fc is actually quite reasonable. At the moment many people do not even have the money to buy one due to the current economy or some people aren’t interested with shooting with the smaller DX format like me. To scratch the itch it’s probably a good idea to shoot with an actual film camera and I will show you one today that will certainly bring you lots of fun while you decide if buying a Nikon Z fc is going to be the right decision for you.

Introduction:

The Nikon FM10 was sold from 1995 and production ended recently along with the venerable Nikon F6. It wasn’t made by Nikon at all, it was Cosina who made these for Nikon. The Cosina CT-1 is the basis of this camera and that was sold under different brands and names such as the Canon T60 and the Olympus OM2000 to name a few. Its sister camera is the Nikon FE10, it’s basically shares the same chassis but the internals are electronic. You may wonder why Nikon made the decision to go with this when they had the legendary Nikon FM2n and the groundbreaking Nikon FM3A being sold at same time as this plastic camera. Well, not everybody could afford the expensive Nikons so people with less money bought these instead if they wanted a new camera that comes with a warranty. It was also said that these were initially targeted for the overseas market specially to developing nations where money isn’t as disposable compared to wealthy nations, there may be some truth to that because these were sold at the same time Nikon began its Thai factory.

The chassis is certainly made from metal but the exterior is covered with plastic. The finish is kind of ugly, the plating is easily-scratched and it frankly looks cheap, like the shiny parts of a toy. The dials were all made from plastics, too. I do not think this will survive a hard-knock or being dropped. The plastic exterior will definitely crack. You should never use this with large lenses, a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S and similar-sized lenses will be the best ones to use with it. These were also sold with the Zoom-Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 Ai-S as a kit, this setup will certainly satisfy any amateur, they’re not going to disappoint even the advanced amateur when there’s nothing left to choose.

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Repair: Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 (semiautomatic)

Hello, everybody! I just had my first Corona vaccine shot and my body aches as if I had the flu. Mundane things felt like chores because my body feels heavy. I wasn’t expecting the side-effect to kick-in this fast. This is fine at least my body will bounce-back and acquire some immunity from the dreaded virus. Speaking of squeaky-joints and bouncing-back, I will show you something that was squeaky when it got to me and thanks to my efforts it was restored and it’s now fast, smooth and in a much better state than it was when I got it.

Introduction:

The Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 (semiautomatic) is a redesign of the earlier preset Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2. It was made from 1953 up until about 1960. The reason for its development coincides with the newer Zeiss Ikon Contax models which could actuate the iris automatically with a push-plate near the bayonet.

The biggest difference between this and the preset Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 is the addition of a semiautomatic iris. You basically cock the iris by turning the aperture-ring towards f/2. This will lock the iris to its maximum-aperture, it will stop-down to the value that you’ve set when you depress the shutter-button. If you’re metering through-the-lens it is important to meter with the iris stopped-down, you could do this before-or-after focusing. It all depends on you. The desired value can be set by pulling the aperture-ring towards the camera then turning it to the value you desire.

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Repair: Cine-Nikkor 10mm f/1.8

Hello, everybody! Do you like eating instant noodles? I don’t eat them much because there are healthier alternatives, I only eat them for convenience or when I occasionally crave salty, savory food. Some of them are quite tasty specially if you’ve added more extra ingredients such as fresh vegetables and seafood. The fancier ones even come with expensive chunks of meat and special sauces. For the most part I just see them as a necessity for certain people. You’ll get full and they’re cheap. Today, I’m going to show you something that’s not really remarkable but it’s the only option you have if you want to stick to Nikon. Unlike junk-food these are not cheap and they used to be quite expensive, these were sold as specialty lenses in their days. Read my article to know more about this rare gem.

Introduction:

The Cine-Nikkor 10mm f/1.8 is the widest Nikkor for standard 16mm apart from the Cine-Nikkor 6.5mm f/1.8 which is a specialty lens. Its production date is unknown but I suspect that it was made from the 1960s up until the 1980s. I could not find any information about this so I’m going to speculate a lot here. Even the engineers at Nikon don’t know much about it.

The barrel is all-metal, it’s beautiful and the build-quality is rather high as expected from a Cine-Nikkor. This was made for professionals that’s why many Cine-Nikkors today look the way they do. This was certainly used extensively for a lot of assignments evidenced by the scars you see here.

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Repair Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Hello, everybody! I loved watching “The Three Stooges” when I was a child. Their acts were funny, they don’t need any plots to make something worth watching. None of their movies are sophisticated but they did gave us a lot of laughs. Sadly, I don’t think their style of humor works these days and the same could be said for slapstick as a whole. People and preferences change. I still remember them with nostalgia and fondness but I am not going to be as amused today as I was several decades ago. It’s not that I don’t like them anymore, it’s just that I’ve outgrown them. It doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly became unwatchable, they will still remain as classics and somewhat of a “bible” for how to do a successful slapstick act. Today, I will show you something that I felt outdated but it’s still worth looking at because it’s considered to be a classic by many people. Just like slapstick it still has a niche in today’s world depending on who you ask and the context it’s used.

Introduction:

This version of the Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 was made from 1966 and its production continued for 5 years. I haven’t used the earlier version which has a different optical formula but this was made to replace the older one so it must be better, I assume. This series of Takumars were popular so they’re common in the used market. Some people love them while some don’t, they have a mixed-reputation when it comes to performance.

Its build quality is in-line with other Takumars which means that it’s good but not as robust as a Nikkor or Carl Zeiss of similar vintage. Its all-metal construction ensures that it will survive use by professionals. The beautiful engravings were painted well, too. Its smallest aperture is merely f/16 which is a shame because the older version goes down to f/22. It’s important when you’re shooting landscapes, that extra-stop means a lot when trying to shoot moving water, etc.

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Repair: Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! I was listening to “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles. The song aged really well, it’s just as good as the day I’ve first heard it. Despite being a rather old pop-song it still sounds fresh compared to the rubbish that’s made in recent years. I am sure that it had influenced many artists throughout the decades. Some things age rather well while a lot of things don’t. Today, I’d like you to see something that has aged rather well but there are some things about this that seem outdated. Despite that it was made for 36 years because people were still buying these, showing how this is still relevant in recent years.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S was sold from 1984 up until 2020, a very long time by any standard. It replaced the reliable Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 Ai-S which is a great optic. It’s now faster which helps when focusing in dim environments and also for shooting in lowlight situations. The implementation of CRC also made this the most-advanced manual 20mm in the Nikon inventory. Some folks will claim that the old Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 Ai-S or the even-older New-Nikkor 20mm f/4 are better in terms of sharpness, they may be correct but this one is one sharp lens at the center which you’ll see later. It’s also able to capture more light thanks to its brighter f/2.8 maximum-speed. It’s hard to pick a winner because they are different in many ways and it will all depend on your requirements when deciding which one is the best lens for you.

The construction of the lens is rather conventional by Ai-S standards. It will take some abuse but it’s not as tough as an older Ai-Nikkor. The scales and numbers are very informative, you could focus with it just by looking at it. The handling characteristics is excellent, you’ll have no problems identifying the rings by-touch.

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Repair: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8

Hello, everybody! Did you watch the archery event at the Olympics? The accuracy of the contestants are amazing, I am amazed by how they could calculate the precise tension, direction and distance required to hit the bullseye. This is not easy because you will have to consider the wind’s direction and speed along with the weight of the arrow. People who could to this at the level displayed at the Olympics are extraordinary, you can say that they have “eagle-eyes”. Today, I will show you something that also bears the name “eagle-eye” or “das adlerauge” in German.

Introduction:

The Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 featured here was made from 1950 up until around the mid 1950s. It differs a bit from the prewar version in terms of optics because this one was recalculated just after the war. The version we have in this article is considered by many to be the 2nd postwar version which is sought by many collectors for its looks. These were made in various mounts and were used in various systems including folding-cameras and other platforms. This is certainly one of the most prolific designs hailing from the postwar years and it was still made until the 1980s and some even claim that the Russians made copies of these up until recent years.

The barrel is aluminum, this makes it durable and resistant to stains but they won’t resist corrosion very well that’s why lenses that were stored poorly will develop crusty corrosions and discoloration. The lens looks a lot cleaner here but it was in terrible shape when I got it which you’ll see in a while.

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Repair: Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.4 (Early)

Hello, everybody! Have you seen the art of Chen Shu-Fen (陳淑芬) and Ping Fan (平凡)? They’re a couple from Taiwan, a country filled with many amazing artists and artisans. The couple are known for making amazing illustrations and the art they produce as a team are known for having a soft, dream-like quality thanks to the use of “mix-media”, it’s a term used in art circles to define something that was made using several different mediums. The art they make exhibits soft tonality that’s only possible with the use of watercolor, pastels or aquarels but the lines are bold so they juxtapose well with the softness. The lines were drawn with pencil or crayons which adds another interesting layer to the final result. I am a big fan of their work so I encourage you to check what they do. I will introduce to you something today that has the ability to render something with a painterly-look, it can both render soft and bold details quite well but it has some flaws so I won’t call it perfect. Whatever the case is this is still something interesting and I encourage you to read what I have to say about this little gem.

Introduction:

The Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.4 is presumed to be the first Nikkor made for the C-mount. I have no data as to when it was made but I assume that it’s around the later 1950s judging from the design of the barrel and its construction. This little lens was updated later with a larger barrel that’s more in-line with the rest of the Cine-Nikkors that were made for the standard 16mm format. The latter lens may have been made up until the late 1970s judging from the boxes that they came with. These lenses sort of function like “standard” lenses for the standard 16mm format akin to the 13mm lenses that were made for the smaller standard 8mm format which uses the D-mount.

It feels quite dense despite being the smallest C-mount Nikkor thanks to its brass barrel. It’s merely painted so you will have to be careful when cleaning it. It resembles the smaller D-mount Nikkors such as the Cine-Nikkor 13mm f/1.8 and you could accidentally look-past one because of the resemblance. If that’s not confusing enough there’s an even faster model called the Cine-Nikkor 25mm f/1.2 which is considered rare, that one looks nearly-identical to this lens except it has f/1.2 engraved on it. The differences are so subtle but an expert could tell them apart by looking at how the barrel looks because the slope of the rings look different.

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Repair: Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Hello, everybody! Do you like Japanese corn? I like Japanese corn a lot because of the sweetness and the larger kernels that goes great with butter and salt. The color is also deeper, suggesting a richness of flavor that is absent in pale ones that were grown elsewhere which seems best as fodder. Japanese corn is nutritious, it has high amounts of potassium, I am sure that it also rich in other stuff that is beneficial for our health. Foods that are yellowish are known to be high in potassium which keeps our muscles supple, without enough of it we’ll get cramps. Today, I’m going to show you a lens that’s known for its yellowish-hue but unlike Japanese corn there’s nothing nutritious about it because who eats lenses anyway?

Introduction:

This Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4 replaced the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 in 1971 and its later variant was made until the mid-1970s. What’s notable about this one is it has a thorium-infused element which turns yellowish. It’s also known for being one of the sharpest Takumar of its time, creating a rivalry with the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 for being the sharpest 50/1.4 from Asahi. There are many supporters of both camps and you could find heated discussions online.

Many people couldn’t distinguish this from the older Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 with an 8-elements design since they look rather similar. One sure way is to check the red-line in the depth-of-field scale, if it’s situated after f/4 then you are sure that what you have is the 7-elements version. Another way is to look at the rear-element but checking the where the red-line is situated will be the best way to determine which version you’re looking at.

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