Report: Nikkor Prototypes (Part 1)

Hello, everybody! I am going to bring to you a long series on the prototype Nikkors that’s currently being-held at the Nikon Museum. It’s a big exhibit quantity-wise but the area it occupies is small due to the size of the specimens shown. I will say that this is one of the more important exhibits that the Nikon Museum made in terms of what’s being shown or its historical significance. Join me in this series and appreciate the long heritage of Nikon in the field of 35mm photography.

 

(Click to enlarge)

This will greet you as you enter the exhibit. This section of the exhibit showcases pictures (that I cannot show here) that were taken using 10 of the 60 prototype lenses that’s being shown in the exhibit. It’s also a nice touch that they used the new Nikon Z7 for these just to make a point that the new mirrorless Nikon can take lenses that were made during the dawn of the F-mount. It would have been nice to show you these pictures for conext but I can’t because it’s forbidden by the management.

This article is part of the Nikkor Prototypes series, it’s a series that I made comprising of no less than 5 parts because it has so many pictures that putting them all in one article is going to be difficult for me. Please enjoy the rest of the series by clicking on these links:

  1. Introduction and Samples
  2. Wide and Ultra-wide Lenses
  3. Normal Lenses
  4. Zoom Lenses
  5. Telephoto Lenses

Please check them all out to see everything in their proper context. I could’ve just made it so these lenses aren’t organized but that will make things very confusing for my readers.

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Repair: Nikon EM

Hello, everybody! I am pleased by the current development in the photography industry. The big boys have showed their mirrorless cameras and now even the small players are also in the game with Panasonic entering the elite club as well. Cameras has never been this advanced since they were made more than a century ago and it’s amazing what they can do these days. I sometimes feel intimidated by all the technology and I yearn for the simplicity of older manual camera. Being a Buddhist, I sometimes search for the “Zen” in my cameras and by that I mean having only the essential features available to me. That’s going to make me more creative because I think less about the gear and more into what goes on into making a picture. This is how I connect to the Buddhist concept of the being in the “present moment”. Today, I am going to show you such a camera that can help me with my “photography meditation” and how having less will yield more or better results.

Introduction:

The Nikon EM debuted in 1979 and it was designed to be cheap, easy-to-use, compact and light. At that time, Nikon’s cameras were mostly made of metal and were big, heavy and a bit difficult to master for beginners and women. I know that the inclusion of “women” in my last statement would cause many people’s eyebrows to raise but that was the 1970s, a different time with very different values. It was perceived that women and beginners in those days wanted a cheap, compact and user-friendly camera to take along with them. I think this is still true to this day for a portion of the said market segment to some extent regardless of gender, some people just wanted a simple camera that “just works” and the initial cost of acquisition is also very important for this market segment. Needless to say, the Nikon EM was a huge hit not only for the people that it was intended to be sold to but also for more advanced photographers who just want a small and light setup to bring as part of their travel kit. To be honest, I enjoyed using this camera a lot and I didn’t notice that I was using a cheap entry-level camera at all.

IMG_9655I got this from the junk section of the camera bazaar. These cameras have issues that are common to this particular model and I will show you some of them here in this article. I got this for ¥1,000 or less that $10.00 and I thought that it would make a good camera for this repair article because the meter is still working despite the needle being stuck. I will also teach you how to check Nikon EM’s so you’ll know and avoid problems that are too much to bother with. Choose your own battles and you will win all the time as they say.

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Report: Nikon Z

Hello, everybody! I’m going to share with you my opinions and musing on Nikon’s latest Z cameras. There are literally hundreds of other sites online with the same topic but this will be a little different because it centers around what I (Richard) thinks about these so all of the things that I will say here will only be based around my experience.

The Nikon Z cameras generated a ton of debates online and has been the target of fake or paid trolls and “experts” but that dirty tactic didn’t work because the camera is excellent in most regards. You can check out the specs at Nikon’s site but I am sure that most of you are already familiar with it by now. These cameras mean a lot to Nikon and after having several chances to shoot with it, I can say that they’re totally amazing cameras and Nikon has made a new masterpiece! While the latest Sony is just as feature-packed, it lack in the ergonomics department and Nikon is going to show the up-starts that ergonomics are just as important as specs, if not even more. They also look great and they remind me of Sade because of the curves, sex appeal and potential. There’s simply no equal specially if you saw what Canon has to offer. That was a god joke, Canon. A pre-war Contax 2 made more sense when it came to ergonomics. If you think that was harsh then see it for yourself.

IMG_9399The Nikon Z series is Nikon’s debut to the full-frame mirrorless camera market. Pictured here is the dummy of their future ultra-wide zoom lens. This should be an amazing lens for landscape photography because the shorter flange distance will enable the system to take much better photos (technically). I am excited with this latest development and this just shows that Nikon is serious with the new Nikon Z-mount. I wonder if Nikon will have the resources to further develop the company’s DX line of lenses since they have devoted so much to this. I don’t shoot the DX format but I know some people who loved it. More

Repair: Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai

Hello, everybody! I am craving for some KFC today. I prefer original recipe over the spicy one because I find it more savory. The spicy one tend to mask the more subtler flavors of the herbs. There are people who prefer the spicy variety and that’s OK if you ask me but there are some people that will debate with you because they’re so passionate with their deep-fried poultry. These kinds of debates over which one is better seem to happen with anything and that includes lenses. Today, I will show you such a debate about which one is the better version. This has been going on since 1977 when this lens was introduced, it is somewhat controversial because people either love it or hate it and will always judge it against its predecessor. I guess this happens because the original one was so loved by so many people because it’s a masterpiece of optical design at the time and the new one has a very different character to its pictures. Please read the article to know all about this.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 85mm f2 Ai is a wonderful lens. It was introduced to replace another amazing optic – the New-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 lens that many people hold-on to even to this day. They are totally different designs and the older New-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 is much bigger, heavier and just a bit faster than this lens. Optically, the newer lens performs better in the sense that the pictures look “cleaner” because it’s a well-corrected lens and the field curvature is a lot flatter compared to the older lens so you get more things in-focus. The slight drop in lens speed from f/1.8 to f/2 won’t mean anything in real-life use but many people don’t like this and stuck to the New-Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 so its re-sale value is still relatively high even to this day. The older lens also renders pictures with more “character” but this is so subjective because some people either like or hate the look of pictures taken using older lenses and this has been the topic of debates for decades and I hope that this article will show you how this lens performs so you can make your own personal judgement.

IMG_9476The Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai is a lovely lens and it balances very well with smaller cameras so you can be sure that it won’t feel awkward in your hands. It feels dense despite being this small and you can appreciate just how well-made the Ai-Nikkors are. Some people prefer these over Ai-S lenses just because the Ai-Nikkors were made tougher. The drawback for this is they’re usually a bit heavier but you won’t feel a big difference in your hands. This lens debuted in 1977 and was said to be a flop due to the issues I mentioned previously. If that was true then the production numbers tell a different tale since around 90,000 were made which is a little bit more than its successor which was sold for around 15 years. Its production life was rather short at about 4 years in total because it had to be upgraded to Ai-S in order to benefit from Nikon’s latest camera technology at the time. More

Report: Nikon Binoculars

Hello, everybody. I would like to show you another side of Nikon in this blog post. These days, people don’t use binoculars as much compared to the decades that passed. We had one in the family when I was young so we can bring it to concerts, trips and the theater. I remember that we would take our turns using it. I hope that you will enjoy this because it is a little different from what I usually publish but it’s very important becuase it shows another side of Nikon that many younger people these days don’t know about.

Introduction:

Nikon made binoculars longer than they were making cameras or lenses for consumers. I will go as far as to say that this wasn’t the focus of the company early on in its founding. I am sure that many people don’t know this side of Nikon and I’ll also admit that I’m not an expert in binoculars so please don’t take what I say as facts, they’re simply opinions that were made by somebody who grew up in an age where people carry them to events and I remember using binoculars to watch concerts and David Copperfield perform live. That brings me plenty of fond memories that I am sure that kids these days will never relate. I seldom see binoculars used these days apart from bird-watching and sports but they are still somewhat relevant these days but not as relevant as they used to be. Please read the whole article and let me take you down memory lane.

IMG_8944This is a special exhibit showcasing Nikon’s significance in the Japanese optical industry. Nikon’s history in making Asia’s (and the world’s) firsts cannot be denied and this should give visitors a good idea of just how important Nikon was in the beginning of the last 100 years, you can think of it as Asia’s Carl Zeiss. More

Repair: New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 v1

Hello, everybody! I’m lazy today and I do not have the motivation to make myself a fresh cup of coffee so I went out and bought some instant coffee to give me that caffeine boost. I am aware that some people simply add cream and sugar to yesterday’s coffee to make it a bit more palatable but I would rather drink canned coffee than that. Re-heating food or beverages from last night isn’t good at all but there are some foods that tastes better this way like curries and stews. Some sauces also benefit from being “fermented” over-night, making its taste more intense (sambal is a good example). This “recycling” also happens with lenses and I will show you a lens that was given the same treatment by Nikon and it became the ultimate version of that lens formula. This is what lens manufacturers do if they ran out of things to show so they just “heat yesterday’s curry” so to speak. It’s better than nothing, I suppose.

Introduction:

The New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 v1 is an update of the venerable Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto. It has the Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto’s optical formula but the lens barrel was updated so the look is more in-line with the New-Nikkor series of lenses that appeared in the ’70s. Nikon gave most of its lenses a cosmetic update in this era to make them look more modern and some were even given new lens formulas to go along with it. I’m guessing that Nikon did not make it on time to introduce the New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 v2 so they had to sell this in its place as a stop-gap product. Yes, it’s like the Honda Civic in recent times. This lens was only made for less than 2 years and was replaced by the New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 v2 after. This confuses some people because there are 2 versions in the New-Nikkor line and they are both in the 50/1.4 class. In fact, some people do not even know that this lens exists!

IMG_2806The New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 v1 is just as big as the Nikkor-S.C 50mm f/1.4 Auto and that’s a big lens by older Nikkor standards. This lens feels confident in your hands and the added weight will add stability to your setup. Despite being huge, this lens is balanced so it does not feel heavy at all when mounted to a camera. Its girth is a bit too big for my taste but I am sure that some people will enjoy the fat focusing ring. Videographers might want this lens for their setup just because of the big focusing ring. More

Report: Uemura Naomi and Nikon

Hello, everybody! Nikon has been sysnonymous with toughness and adventure. Plenty of adventurers have trusted Nikon and brought their cameras to their adventures because they know that a Nikon will survive the journey and tell their tales in pictures. Today, I’ll introduce to you one such adventurer. He lived a short life but left a lasting legacy.

Introduction:

Growing up, I sometimes see features on this man named Uemura Naomi. He’s likened to Jacques-Yves Cousteau of Calypso but he’s a mountaineer. His name is widely-know and people still study his techniques that he pioneered on his dangerous journeys. He almost always go on extended and dangerous journeys alone and he is known for achieving lots of feats alone and setting some of the records that still hold to this day. Let me introduce to you this amazing man and his connection to Nikon in this article!

IMG_9374Uemura Naomi is went missing in his last expedition and was last contacted in 1984/2/13, he was never found. He left a legacy amongst adventurers and is considered a hero in his hometown (Hyogo, Japan) where memorials were built to remember him. His influence can be felt to this day as adventurers study his books and work for reference. He left us in the prime of his life at only 43 years of age. Very much like Bruce Lee and others who left us early, he became a legend and people still make books and stories about him. More

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