onsdag 2. september 2015

Photographic gear, a few tales of my Nikon's

I have been a bit dubious around the question if I should talk about it all that much. Seems like quite a few is doing this at seriously large scale these days, and I guess everything that has to be said about any gear you may imagine is already out there for anyone to pick up as long as you're able to look into a puter and find google somewhere inside of it. 
I might have a bit different approach and view to it all compared to a few of these people, to be quite frank, so I decided to give it a go anyway. 

Don't even ask! It's not only my cameras that gets a good battering. My films as well, at times. This one has obviously gone through some hard times both before, during and after development. I kind of like it anyway though, and it prints in a cool way. It's a result from a Nikon FM2 a while ago, pointed towards the island Foula west of Shetland.

I sometimes look at any camera as a help for me to capture something else, or in a different way, even though I know all my cameras still do exactly the same thing at the end of the day. Well, that's not absolutely true, but as a rule of thumb I would say all my 35mm cameras will be able to take more or less the same snap if pointed in the same direction, loaded with the same film, adjusted in more or less the same way, and triggered. So will any of my medium format big blocks as well.
Still, they behave and feel kind of different in my hands. Sometimes I think I could even manage to know which of them I'm holding without looking. Blind test kind of thing. 
I will stay away from using words like soul and heart and such... honestly, but the least I can say is that they all play different tricks on me. All of them. More or less all the time.

I got an ever growing series of snaps from the Engine Control Room of my ship. It's all about faces and how they tend to look completely unrecognizable to me as their owners do stuff as I'm snapping away using fairly longish shuttertimes. There's more to come. This was made inside the Nikon FE2.

As an example, I got three Nikon FM2 cameras. You may throw your eyes in their direction (if I can ever find all three of them and line them up at the same time and place, that is...) and they look more or less all the same at first glance if you are able to source away the cosmetic stuff in which there are lots. They still don't feel the same when you pick them up though, and if you shine some old  light through their viewfinders and have a look inside, you will definitively see some major differences. 
I really like these cameras. These all manual and none battery addicted Nikon's. I'll pick them up and bring them along any day. But one of them seem to always manage to stay back home. See I got this FM2 which looks and feels and sounds like it never has been used, and I just can't get myself to really like that one. The other two looks like they have been through a war zone and all, but I still find them a lot more user friendly, to put it that way. Their shutters are a little bit out of timing, and the controls a wee bit loose in their joints after years of use and abuse, but I know them very well now and they feel like a part of me in some kind of weird way. I got my first FM2 back in the early 90's, and it's still with me. I have also owned that "new" one for a few years, but have yet only winded one roll of film through it. Disgraceful, I know. Still it's the truth, and probably a reflection of my feeling for that very camera. It probably has something to do with me anyway. The camera is really good, believe me. It just lacks some serious oomph, and/or mojo. And no, that's not the same as heart and soul, mind you!

Could be early monday morning for all I know. 
Nikon F3P and 50mm Nikkor lens. Fomapan film.

Then there's this couple of Nikon F3's I got lying around. Not much to be said about them actually. Great "user friendly" cameras, both duly battered and hammered and good to go on any street, any time. Both of them have had an earlier long and hard life as the daily working tools of two different reporters in two of the biggest newspapers in Norway, and they look exactly like that as well. One of them a bit more than the other. One of them is the "P" version, with that huge motor/winder/batterypack-thing underneath, adding remarkably to the weight, and I won't even start mentioning sound, to wrap that statement in with some care. I could easily kill something with it, or give people chronical tinnitus. I think I might got that one as a back cover for a huge beast of an f/1.4 85mm Nikkor lens mentioned a bit further down. Or maybe I got the lens as a cover for the F3 house. Don't remember exactly. They both looks like something I got for free anyway, which I almost did.

Could be any day, as this just seems to be his usual ways... but it's definitively after ten o'clock as he finally seems to be ready to do some work.
Nikon FM2 and 35mm Nikkor lens. And yes, relatively long shuttertime and all.

Then there's this one more Nikon I just have to say a bit more than a few words about, my FE2. 
I found myself buying three or four second (or most likely third or forth) hand lenses from this guy a while ago. Nothing fancy, of course, and I payed almost nothing for them (either... ). I was more than politely asking for front and back covers to come with them, but the chap was a bit in lack of back covers so he put that FE2 into the shipment instead... Any camera is a good enough performing lens back cover to me, so I dusted it off and ran a roll through it. Worked very well it did, and it has now somehow grown to become my "grab and run" camera, if you know what I mean? Not that I'm running too much, and my body is hardly known to be built for speed these days, but I know how to grab a camera and I certainly know how to drop them, knock them, bang them into walls, handrails, stairs and elsewhere all over the shop. 
Couple of months ago I left this FE2 on top of my car, then for some reason I suddenly decided to quickly drive away... 
It simply seems to take every beat I manage to give it, up until last month that was. On holliday and everything as I suddenly decided to turn and walk into a shop to buy some tiny stupid hardcase thing for my new phone. Dropped the bloody thing (no, not the phone of course) with my heaviest lens attached (that battered, lovely 85mm f/1.4) from my armpit down to the street/floor as I just was aproaching the door of the shop. Not the big bang you would expect, mind you, and being used to the thing falling from everywhere I just checked the lens. All good with that, and the camera looked not that much worse than usual. A little later, when I sat down at a bench and tried to wind it up to take a picture, I noticed that the thing was beaten to death. The winderthing would not like to find a new frame of film, and I had to pick up one of the FM2's instead. 
I never thought I would do this with such a cheap and not exactly top of the notch camera, but I have used a few hours of my spare time on board the ship and fixed the poor thing. I just could not bear to put it in the bin or to make it into a parts camera or something like that. I know every scratch and dent of this workhorse, and I know how 70% of them got there, so I decided to give it a go on the bench armed with tiny screwdrivers and my glasses on. It payed off, and it's now working again. It seems immortal kind of, even though I know it's days are numbered in my hands. 

The "Old Man", used to be our motorman. He retired some moons ago, and I really miss him. You can't find them like this any more, even though we were lucky to get a great replacement :) He was probably shouting some kind of insults my way as I were fumbling around with a camera and pointed it his way. 

OK! Way too many words used, I know, but I got carried away you see! At least this is my blog, where I can do as I please. Which I do. 
If you would like to have a more "in depth" review of some kind of any of the above mentioned things and stuff, please don't hesitate to light my fire in the comment box below. There's a couple of myriades of lenses as well I could mention. Just didn't feel like it today...
At least I can say something about how much beating things can take. I am not exactly known to be careful, I know, but I have always thought that most of my equipment cost me such a small amount of moony anyway, that I don't exactly have to carry it around like gold. This somehow changed a bit the day that FE2 temporarily lost it's life. But as my brain does not seem to act the way it used to these days, I seem to carry on as before anyway. A minor incident like that one will not stop me, so there will probably be further reading to be done around the same matters some other day.

An almost proper shot of the head of department and everything. Your's truly snapped on one of the first films that ran through my Rolleiflex. We were sitting here waiting for a couple of days as we were going to work, and all airports in europe seemed to be closed. So I went to town and bought this lovely box to kill some time. More about that one another day...

Next batch out will probably be my medium format arsenal... or maybe the tiny and silent german things... or maybe something else. We'll see what I come up with, and when it's going to happen.

2 kommentarer:

  1. You are right - too many blog about gear and nothing else. But your stories are just that, good stories around the gear and not about the gear itself - and therefore very readable! I know what you mean about the sounds - my FM3A is way too loud compared to the small German thing :) but both are great to use. And you fixed an FE2? Now that is impressive (I once did the seals in a Yashica GTN but that's the limit of my abilities).

  2. Thanks my friend! I just have to put in that I do like gear, or cameras to be more specific. What I don't like is to get to used to the thought that this or that type of camera is way superior of whatever else. My german cameras also produce some lousy products if I point them in the wrong direction, or forget to remove the front cap of the lens and that sorts. But I like cameras, and the way they behave at times.
    That FE2 looked more like a spaceship on the insides, mind you. As I had around 4 weeks to get it done it was kind of possible to give it a try. The fact that it was basically written off before I started was also added to the pro's side of the possibility of success in this story. It's tricky on the inside, so I don't know if I would try that one more time... but we'll probably find out some day I would think!


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