Report: The 22nd World’s Used Camera Fair

Hello, guys! We just had the 22nd World’s Used Camera Fair held in Shibuya last May. I didn’t go there at the first day because I was busy at work and quite frankly, I don’t want to spend too much these days. It was held by the Imported Camera Society (I.C.S.). They  hold similar events every season and they have been doing this for years. I come to these regularly not just for the shopping but more to meet and say hi to the shop owners or the clerks that I interact with and eventually formed a friendly relationship with. Come with me and let’s see what was going on last May 24-29 at Shibuya!

IMG_8654This is the entrance to the bazaar. I cannot stand the horde of shoppers at the opening so I decided to come during the weekend. There has also been an influx of Chinese buyers from mainland China (P.R.C.) lately and seeing how they behave is something that I want to avoid as much as possible. As you can see in the picture, it’s much more relaxed and I won’t have to squeeze my way just to see something. More


Repair: AF-Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8

Hello, everybody! We had some Japanese-style steak tonight for dinner. It’s a fusion dish and a new take on a classic dish by adding elements of Japanese cooking to make it more interesting and familiar to the palates of locals. While it’s arguably delicious, this is still a new thing and I estimate that this dish is probably only less than 2 decades old. While it’s delicious and it builds on established cooking techniques and dishes, I feel that there’s is still a lot of room for improvement. While we’re on the topic of fusion and improvement, I would like to introduce to you an interesting lens because it’s an early attempt to fuse 2 paradigms. While it’s a good start, it’s still has lots of room for improvement but the lens had plenty of potential and that’s what’s most important if you ask me. Read on.


Today, we are going to talk about the AF-Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 lens! This lens is not known by a lot of people due to its relative rarity. It was only made a few years before it was replaced by a superior design. This lens is one of the original lineup of AF lenses that Nikon introduced in the mid-80s for their new AF system cameras like the Nikon F4 and it gained the underserved bad reputation amongst hardcore Nikkor fans because of the use of plastics. Nikon was also experimenting with AF lens design during this era so these all suffer from awkward handling characteristics which will annoy people who are used to using newer AF Nikkors. I will outline them later and you judge these for yourself.

IMG_7427The AF-Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 is a rather boring-looking lens. It looks like a tea cup or a salve pot depending on who you ask. Appearances can be deceiving because this lens is a great performer throughout its range until you reach f/11-f/16 where diffraction begins to come into effect. This lens can also go to a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:1 without the use of any accessory. This lens is the first lens in the 55mm Micro-Nikkor family that’s able to do this natively since the Micro-Nikkor 5.5cm f/3.5 from 1961. It achieves this feat by using a long telescoping set of barrels to extend the lens to about 2X its length. If this all sounds familiar to you that’s because this lens is the predecessor of the amazing and still in-production AF-Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens. While both lenses seem similar, it’s safe to say that both lenses are different mechanically and optically. Both lenses extend their barrels using 2 totally different methods. More

Repair: Nikkor-H 300mm f4.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! Hope you guys are fine, I had painful back problem yesterday because I slept in the wrong position. Back pain has always been a problem of mine for years and it comes back occasionally. It’s probably due to the nature of my job where I am required to sit for long hours at work. Repairing lenses and cameras isn’t much help too because I am spending a couple of hours a night sitting in a bad posture. Speaking of back pain, I’ll show you guys a lens that will certainly make your back ache if you are carrying one for too long and that’s the reason why I seldom use this lens.


Today, we’re going to talk about one of Nikon’s earlier telephoto big boys and it’s no other than the Nikkor-H 300mm f/4.5 Auto! This lens succeeded the Nikkor-P 300mm f/4.5 Auto  lens. They are nearly identical to each other except the early lens only has 5 elements. It was one-of-a-kind when the Nikkor-P 300mm f/4.5 Auto was released in time for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. It was then updated with an additional element in 1969 but its design remained nearly-identical. In fact, it can be hard to tell the difference when you have the 2 together in a picture. I don’t have the earlier lens but people claim that it’s a decent and well-balanced lens even wide-open. This lens is supposed to be the improved version but I cannot do any tests to back it up and my copy of this lens suffered from terrible damage in the rear element which seems to be somewhat common with this lens.

IMG_0037This is a big lens and it can get longer when you extend to built-in hood. It balances well on the Nikon D750 and I can imagine that it can be even better with a bigger camera like the Nikon D4. It’s not something that you will want to use today for sports and wildlife in situations where you will need blazing-fast AF performance and super-sharp images but it can be an enjoyable lens to use when you’re just playing around. More

Repair: Micro-Nikkor-P.C 55mm f/3.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! Today is the start of my 4-day weekend! I will have enough time for my recreation and self-healing. As you know, I am busier now at my new studio and finding time to do what I love can be very difficult. I often find myself sleeping really late and it’s beginning to take a toll on my health. It’s great that I can finally recharge myself after all the work in the past few months at work and at home. Speaking of refreshes, we will be talking about something great that came out even better after being “refreshed”. This will be a very good example of how a good design can be pushed even further. Stay with me.


Today, we will be looking at the Micro-Nikkor-P.C 55mm f/3.5 Auto lens! This lens isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade of the venerable Micro-Nikkor-P 55mm f/3.5 Auto that came before it as many people would tend to believe but this lens’ optics has been tweaked a bit. Apart from the newer coatings (hence, the “C” in the name), this lens was recalculated so that it can render objects further into the frame sharper. Nikon did this thinking that not many people are using this lens for close-up work. While that may be true statistically, people buy these things because of their performance in close-up work. This turned-off plenty of people but to be honest, I didn’t find this lens to be any less sharp than the previous one. In what I do which is shooting bugs and sometimes slides with these lenses, they’re really as sharp as you can get them to be at f/5.6 to f/8. Maybe I just got an excellent specimen?

FullSizeRender 15The Micro-Nikkor-P.C 55mm f/3.5 is a beautifully-built lens lens. It’s a really little gem for people who love to shoot small objects and it also serves as a great walk-around lens due to the 55mm focal length. The rubber ring is a welcome update to some people but I like the feel of metal focusing rings more to be honest. More

Repair: Zeiss Ikon Contax 2 Part 3

Hello, everybody. We’re finally here at the end of our Contax 2 article. In part 2, we took apart the rangefinder and removed the shutter mechanism from the chassis. It’s not an easy task to take this camera apart but the real fun begins here in part 3 where we repair the broken shutter and adjust it until we get something acceptable. This is probably the deepest most repairman will bother to open this camera to, any further disassembly will be too time-consuming and should only be done when absolutely necessary. The shutter’s clockwork mechanism should be left-alone as much as possible. A very good flushing of the gears and its parts is usually more than sufficient to get this camera back into smooth operation. If your shutter mechanism is corroded then a good ultrasonic cleaning will be the best option for you. Just don’t forget to clean it very well afterwards to prevent your shutter from corrosion due to residual salts or acids from the solution. Some liquids use citric acid or ascetic acid and that will eat-away at the metal and leave crystal-like white deposits as corrosion (“white rust”). Use distilled water to prevent mineral deposits. Use alcohol or benzene to do a final flushing just in case.

IMG_8018Does this look fun? Depending on who you ask, this can be a fun activity or a nightmare. The shutter of the Contax is a marvel of its time. I have never seen a shutter that is more intricate that this. Just think about it, it stood the test of time and it’s still functioning well into its 80th year. They really don’t make things the way they used to.


Repair: Zeiss Ikon Contax 2 Part 2

Hello, everybody! We are going to continue with our Contax 2/3 repair series with part 2! In part 1, we tackled how to remove the covers and outer castings of the camera so that we can access the inner mechanisms and correct any problems with the shutter or any of the inner workings of the camera. This part is going to be more extensive as we work on the shutter and rangefinder of the camera. You’ll need to be an experienced repairer at the least before you tackle this part because this is complicated work. Remember what I said in part 1, this article is just for you entertainment and education. If your Contax 2 is needing repair, please send it to a competent repairman. The repair of the Contax series of rangefinders isn’t an easy task but it’s not impossible or overly-difficult as some would make it appear. Any competent repairman will be able to repair this. You can check out Hayata Camera here in Tokyo if you want. However, they don’t speak English fluently so if you need to send your camera there for repairs I can help you do that for a small fee. It is mostly for my transportation and time so I guess it’s reasonable.

IMG_7843This is the sort of thing that we will be looking at in this article. We will begin opening its internals and look deep into the camera to diagnose its troubles. This is delicate work so I will highly suggest that you prepare yourself and your workspace before you begin this. More

Repair: Zeiss Ikon Contax 2 Part 1

Hello, everybody! How are you today? I just had a little midnight snack with my wife and we had some sushi. Sushi is as Japanese as cherry blossoms despite having its origins in Southeast Asia in the distant past. It’s a throwback to old Imperial Japan but its taste has not changed much since the late 1800s. It’s a testament to how something good can stand the test of time. Today, I am going to show you something that was designed long before most of the people who are reading this blog was born and like sushi, its design is still as relevant today as the day it debuted. Read the rest of this article to find out more.


Today, we are going to tackle Zeiss Ikon’s masterpiece – the Contax 2 camera! It was made from the second half of the 1930’s all the way to the post-war years and it’s the product of  Hubert Newrin’s genius. He presided over the development of this camera and he vowed to make a camera that would fix all of the bugs of the previous model (the Contax I). The previous model was troubled with numerous flaws that it was updated so often that new updates would come out just a few months after the previous updated was sold. Reliable isn’t the word that you’ll see used in the same sentence with the Contax I except if it was used in the negative. While the last model was fairly trouble-free, it’s considered to be a lemon. The Contax 2 changed all that and it restored Zeiss Ikon’s tarnished name because it is so much more reliable and the ergonomics made plenty of sense. It feels like it was a design that came out of Bauhaus and its ergonomics and design was copied by many. It’s such a breakthrough that you can still see its influence in the camera designs that were made in recent years. This Contax 2 is to cameras as the Model T is to cars.

IMG_4930The Contax 2 is a beautiful camera, it’s amazing to think that this camera was designed in the years leading to the rise of the Third Reich before the mid 1930’s. The design endures the test of time and it’s still a joy to use this camera despite being almost 90 years old.


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