Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mechanical Manual Cameras

The Nikon F2.

The little collection above is my 1977 Nikon F2 in a Nikon case. The case has room for 3 lenses in a chrome F mount keeper and a flash (where I keep my spotmeter).
The F2 was the sucessor the the F, and is a tough manual camera that needs no battery with the plain DP1 finder but when used with metered finders needs power to operate the meter only.
As you can see the F2 is a rugged workhorse, I'd hate to think how many films have been though it, but I have no doubts about it's reliability.
I have some pretty good lenses with my Nikons, the 28mm F3.5 Nikkor-HC 50mm F2 (superb) 85mm F2 (good and sharp) and the 105mm F2.5 (excellent)
These cameras are available for peanuts now, but at the time I started photography were the de-facto tool for most Pro's. So if you want to try a no batteries manual film camera, an F2 would be a great bargain!


Duncan said...

Don't you just love a proper brass camera? I'd certainly love this for what it is - a fine old keep-on-going classic - but being a long-time Canon man, I'd probably go for an F1 to match my EFs. Can't really justify it, but it's only a matter of time...

Photo–Smith said...

I had a Canon F1n between 1984-2003
It doesn't really match the EFs as the camera needs FD lenses which sadly can't be mounted.
The F1 is a great camera, probably one of the best made for a while I had the awesome 50 f1,2 and the equally good 100 F2,8- I feel a blog post coming on....

Duncan said...

Ah, not the modern EF-mount EOS system, but the FD-mount EF - Canon's equivalent to the Nikkormat EL (but much better).

I was drooling over many listings of the 85/1.2 last night - I'd really like to get hold of one of them, but the price is a bit high at present.

Incidentally, that's my battered Benbo holding up one of the Twins, and I was dismayed last year to find it impossible to locate a source of spares for this tripod. It was just the rubber feet that had disintegrated, so an alternative wasn't too hard to find, but I hope that nothing more important fails. If you know anything about Benbo suppliers in the UK, I'd be interested to hear about them. I was under the impression that Paterson had bought the company, but a query to them brought no response. Scary.

Photo–Smith said...

Ah yes the EF I remember it now kind of a back-up to the original 1970's F1. I had an AE-1 as a back-up to my F1n in the 80s. From memory the EF was an electronic slimmed down F1? I think it also had a vertical Metal Copal square shutter (the same one as on theNikkormat) very un Canon like;-)

Some of the the old FD lenses were excellent, the 24 F1,4L I played with for a while but couldn't afford it. I quite liked the 85 F1.8 but plumped for the 100mm F2,8 which is lighter than (and just as good) than my Nikon 105 F2,5 and not much bigger than a 50mm F1,4.
Another great lens is the 200mm F2,8 but I didn't buy it as I really work in the narrow 28-100 range.
I remember Benbo and find it strange they don't reply have you tried ringing them?
If not try one of their suppliers someone like Morris photographic or Firstcall give them a call rather than e-mail.

Duncan said...

the EF was an electronic slimmed down F1? ... check (though still big & heavy; I just loved the noise it made when I dropped it on to cobblestones once!)

Copal square ... check

I have a couple of them, and when the meter failed on one and the flash sync on the other, I feared that I'd have to see if someone could cannibalise the 2 to give me one fully-working one, and one with no flash or meter. Fortunately, the company in Sydney that I sent them to had a technician who also owned an EF, so he went to town on them and gave them both back, fully restored. Much better than I could have dreamed, for a camera that old.

...Benbo ... have you tried ringing them? ... S'funny - when I went looking last year, I found that Paterson had taken them over, but don't remember finding much else. Now, I see that there is an Aussie distributor, so will go there when the need arises. Wonder why I couldn't find them last time?

I dropped in to a local photshop today, and the owner was wrestling with a stubborn speck of dust on the sensor of a 5D. I jokingly asked him if he had any proper cameras, like an F1, and he muttered something about film cameras being less trouble :->