Vine Shadows

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, Normandie, France. 2022

Nikon F60, Tamron AF 28-80mm ASPH lens, Kodak Tri-X and a Hoya yellow filter.

Highlights

Barton’s Point, England. 2022

Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH, B&W red filter on Kodak Tri-X pulled to ISO 100.

Idle Hour

Minster on Sea, England. 2022

This tender has come in with the morning tide, unloved and unwanted anymore.

Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH, B&W yellow filter on Kodak Tri-X pulled to ISO 100.

Headland Storm

Minster on Sea, England. 2022

Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH, B&W yellow filter on Kodak Tri-X pulled to ISO 100.

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.

261

Minster on Sea, England. 2022

Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH, B&W yellow filter with Kodak Tri-X film rated at 100 ISO.

Petit-Saint-Céneri

14th Century chapel at Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, Normandie, France. 2022

Click to enlarge image.

This lovely old building has been photographed many times and I wanted to do something a little different. Looking down the hill to the Chapel building when I viewed this scene that day, there was a group of people standing around in front of the Chapel. Thankfully after a waiting for around for a half hour, eventually the group moved to around the back of the building leaving just the dog with the girl. One the other reasons I wanted to take this shot of this view of the Chapel was although the light was very hash, the sunlight catching the spring leaves on the trees was a wonderful sight.

Nikon F60, Tamron AF 28-80mm ASPH lens, Kodak Tri-X and a Hoya yellow filter.

Old Gate

Vimoutiers, France. 2022

Nikon F60, Tamron AF 28-80mm ASPH lens, Kodak Tri-X and a Tiffen yellow filter

Ye olde barn

Vimoutiers, France 2022

Nikon F60, Tamron AF 28-80mm ASPH lens and a Tiffen yellow filter

Mechanical perfection.

The Leica MP.

I should of posted this two weeks ago but with so much going on at home I completely forgot about it …my excuse, I got tied up building a new computer.

So the Leica MP, some say that MP stands for Mechanical perfection and Leica promotes this camera as the “the ultimate tool” …I just say it’s great knowing that there’s nothing like the feeling of a brand new Leica camera in your hands.

Leica MP chrome & Summicron 35mm ASPH

The MP which has been in Leica’s stable for nineteen years now, yes I couldn’t believe it that this rangefinder was released in 2003 and retail sales are still strong for this camera. Mine is a 2021 example from the holy city of Wetzlar and I opted for the Chrome version over the black paint. This was not only because everyone seems to have a black MP but reading reviews the black paint finish is designed to look brassed over time with use. I decided I didn’t want another Leica looking the way as my M240 M-P has already started to brass, in some areas quite badly, in other places the black paint has gone dull which to me doesn’t look great some how with a modern Leica body.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) brassing.

Think part of this might be to do with using alcoholic hand gel during the pandemic, before as a demonstrator at the Leica store London and since I’ve used the camera. Note the minor brassing on the Summilux focusing ring as well. I found after using the gel, my hands look black after handling the camera.

One thing I have noticed using this camera is how much heavier it is compared to the M4-2 and the M6. The brass top place and bottom do make a difference in weight over the M4 and 6 zinc body parts but not quite as much as the M3 body. I always liked the M3 wind on lever, not so much the M4-2 and M6 plastic levers. In your hands the MP lever feels right some how. My only complaint is as many have remarked, I wished they made the ISO dial on the back out of metal and not plastic. Changing the film speed I have found a little tricky to change, being small with large fingers the dial is very stiff to turn. Whether or not it’s because it’s new only time will tell.

ISO dial.

I found the camera is like the M3 but with a light meter plus extra framelines and the film loading speed of the M4-2. I’m not fazed by the rewind knob having used my late father’s M3 although I will say it does take longer to rewind 36 exposures. The MP’s meter is very accurate and unlike other centre weighted meters it is virtually a spot meter. As Leica describe it the meter has a diameter of 12 mm that corresponds to 13% of the full film format or approx. 2/3 of the short side of the applicable bright line frame in the viewfinder. There no excuse for getting exposure wrong here and the meter coped well with the shots below. I found I stopped using my Weston Euro Master meter after a while with this camera which is great for those days you only want to take out just a small camera and a roll of film.

All in all if your fortunate enough to own one I don’t think you’ll regret the purchase and with any luck should out last me!

Fresh out the box.

All images taken with the Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH on Kodak Tri-X film rated at 800 ISO.


Of to French France next week with the M240 for street and the Nikon F60 for some landscape photography.