Nikkormat

Sometime back I picked up a very cheap Nikkormat FT2 of eBay. In excellent working condition, all that was needed was a CLA service from Newton Ellis & Co. of Liverpool, England.

Nikkormat FT2

For me this was my first ‘proper’ single lens reflex camera I used in the late 1980’s at college. Up till then I had never had chance to use a Nikon nor any other Japanese made camera. Back then, this snotty nose kid had little or no interest in girls, but liked photography, had an unhealthy liking for cameras particularly Nikon, Canon FD and Leica R SLR’s, although I didn’t know it at the time, was suffering from G.A.S. I loved the FT2 rugged build qualities, light meter top plate display, mirror lock and it’s manual simplicity. Everyone else at college would choose to use a Nikon FE, FM or F2 we had use of, I’d pick up a Nikkormat, yet unfortunately I was unable afford one at the time. From then on I always wanted a Nikon F film outfit with all the prime lenses you could ever need. Years went by, I never did get the Nikkormat due to lack of spare funds but 2013 older, wiser and with spare cash in his pocket I start buying in items online.

Unusually for Nikon, as many of you know most Nikkormats have the shutter speeds are around the lens collar. I’d forgotten about this when I first used the camera back at college. For Olympus OM owners the shutter speed collar around the lens mount is nothing new and found once I got use to using the tab on the opposite side, it’s easy enough and soon remembered to watch the display in the viewfinder rather than tipping the camera over to the set speed. I have also admit the meter coupling on Nikkormat’s with the ‘Rabbit Ears‘ has always fascinated me and at one point did think of purchasing a very expensive Nikomat FT body in mint condition from Japan which was the first model to be produced back 1965.

Even without a service or new seals this camera was still perfectly operational even after 45 years since being manufactured. First roll of Fomapan 100 came through with very small amount of fogging along the edges of the film, this despite the seals in the body being near non existent and the foam on the back door long since crumbled away. Every one of the exposures I shot where spot on and matched my Weston Euro Master light meter, I was very impressed, it’s a joy to use. My only wish is that Nikon kept the back release latch design the same as the FT2 and it’s siblings, I find the Nikon FE door release with little lever around the rewind crank a bit fiddly sometimes to use.

Nikkor lenses.

Most of my Nikkor Ai lenses I purchased relatively cheap, with the most expensive lens being the 28mm f/2.8 Ai at £170 with metal hood and came with original Nikon box plus polystyrene packaging. My Nikkor 200mm f/4 looks like it’s never been used and the 135mm f/3.5 is mint and only cost £69 plus P&P. Ever since Digital came onto the scene, I noticed the Ai series lenses I wanted originally dropped in price, partly because of their age not being the AiS version but in the early days of Nikon digital would only work in full manual and non Ai lenses stop down metering.

Time passing, many of the Ai lenses seem to have been now snapped up. Slowly over the last few years I’ve manage collect all the Nikkor lenses I wanted and all have one thing in common, they all use 52mm filter size making for a compact but extensive kit. Last month I finally completed my 1980’s Nikon line up with the last acquisition of a Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai lens with Nikon HS-8 metal hood. This was the last lens I wanted and it took me a while to find one at a reasonable price, most where either in very sorry state or mint condition with a high price tag.

In the above picture, the Ai lenses as follows, Nikkor 20mm f/4, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8, Nikkor 35mm f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Nikkor 85mm f/2, Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 and finally the Nikkor 200mm f/4.

I picked up the Nikon DR-3 right angle finder for £28 of eBay, boxed and unused.

Incidently, the Nikkor 35mm F/2.8 Ai I picked up for £50 bought as seen. A ‘user’ lens, it came with no warranty, scratched, few nicks, no paint left around the filter ring, missing it’s rubber focusing grip, some dust within the optics yet had a very smooth focus and with snappy oil free aperture blades, it worked perfectly. It’s since had a CLA and this lens looks a lot better condition than when first purchased the it.

Since 2013 I probably spent around £950 which I think was around what this equipment cost in 1980’s and is around £2700 in today’s money. Dread to think what the equivalent Nikon digital kit would cost these days!


All film images taken with Nikkormat FT2 and equipment pictures taken with the Leica (Typ 240) M-P with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Inbox

Honfleur, France. 2022

He was so busy occupied with his phone, he didn’t even notice me standing next to him with my camera.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) Summicron-M 35mm ASPH.

Last Post

I took this image yesterday morning and what a contrast from Sunny weather we had in France. Cold, drizzling rain and overcast, yep welcome home to England!

Leica M-P (Typ 240) Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens at Minster on Sea. 2022


French Trip.

French holiday break didn’t go to plan. First problem was the Gas for heating hadn’t been delivered, so no hot water or shower at the house. OK we can live with that, we can still boil a kettle. Following morning making plans for our day the gardener arrived. He asked could I move the car, he was wanting to use his petrol strimmer behind where my car was parked by the house. Now my French isn’t very good, the wife is a little better but the gardener English is even worse, so communications where conducted via Google Translate app on my phone …not ideal. I moved the car and started to get my gear ready when there was a knock at the door. Gardener again rattling away in French and walks off to the back of the house. Thinking he was having trouble starting the ride-on mower, I followed him to see his strimmer had kicked up a stone and hit the car, Noooo!

He was very apologetic and I am insured. So a days shooting lost, with ringing insurance and waiting. Next morning, I’m told to go to France Pare Brise in Lisieux which if you don’t know is an car glass specialist. They tell me because my Volkswagen is a ten year old car they’ll have to order the glass in …a week to ten days. After a number of phone calls including to the insurance company, wasting the whole of Wednesday I find out no where in the whole of North West France has the replacement glass I need. Great, we’re only staying a week and it’s a five hour drive home.

Clear plastic added by France Pare Brise.

Now baring in mind, we have a right hand drive car on right hand drive French roads and seeing out the window wasn’t easy, let alone being able to see the mirror. Not to mention the vehicle was not secure, so leaving it unattended was somewhat risky. My insurance told me if the car was unattended resulting in damage or theft it would not be covered by the policy.


Thursday evening we had dinner in Vimoutiers with the car parked outside the restaurant from where Monsieur Club was taken. Friday we took a chance and made our way to Honfleur with the Leica M-P. Parked in a secure car park, without a ticket the car couldn’t leave the area.

Tablet Photography.
Catching up.

Thankfully we returned to find the car untouched.

Saturday we went back to Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei which is a very tiny scenic village and Sunday for a drive in the Normandie countryside shooting landscapes with the Nikon F60. After a 350 mile very noisy drive back home and once I get my hearing back I will develop the rolls of Tri-X I shot of French landscapes.

Honfleur street images taken with Leica M-P (Typ 240) Summicron-M 35mm ASPH.

Pose

Honfleur, France. 2022

I saw this woman, with a sultry walk across the street and then stopped just over from me. Whether she’d seen me taking street images and decided she wanted to be photographed I’m not sure. Either way I’m pleased with the picture.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) Summicron-M 35mm ASPH.

Between the light

Isle of Sheppey, England. 2022

This shot come about this morning as I walking behind my wife I noticed the morning winter sunlight was cut off by the tree shadow and with the dark sky left her virtually highlighted in the middle.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) Summicron 35mm ASPH.

Glow

Minster on Sea, England. 2021

I took this last year on a very early morning walk with my dog. The curve of the shoreline looks so surreal but I can assure you this how it looked on this sunrise.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens.

Grandfathers tools

I haven’t had much chance to get out and about last few days. So I’ve been thinking about maybe doing a little still life digital image like the picture I shot of my late father’s photo album picture Dad’s photographic life

After my father’s pasting I inherited all of the tools from his shed, many from both of my Grandfathers. Among these items are many old tins and cardboard boxes full of nails, screws and tacks of all sizes. I been fascinated by many of these old tins, some must be over 60 or 70 years old. Unfortunately some of these old tobacco tins have become so rusty or worn off the original painted labels have become unreadable. Along with many of his old hand tools, I liked the idea of a collage of his few belongs I possess as a still life.

These few tins are from my late Mother’s father, one Reginald Norman who pasted away before I was born in 1959. My Grandmother Elsie told me he died from complications from Emphysema and this was blamed on his smoking habit. He had health issues all his life and interesting to see the asthma, throat lozenges and ‘Potter’s Asthma smoking mixture’ tins which he had obviously been using due to his ill health. Sadly we now know it wasn’t Emphysema that caused his demise but Asbestosis.

Before and after the Second World War, Reginald was a plumber by trade and in those days they thought nothing about cutting up asbestos pipe lagging by hand, so you can imagine the exposure to the asbestos fibres he must had in lofts, cupboards and cellars while carrying out his work. Add to this during the war he was working in North London repairing, maintaining Army trucks and mobile canteens. Twice he was blown across the workshop floor by German bombs during the Blitz.

Image taken with LED bulb lighting the subject and daylight from shed window behind. B&W 2 x neutral density filter used for both images.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens.

Reginald Arthur Norman
1912 – 1959