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.

Standing silhouettes

Isle of Sheppey, England. 2022

Nikon FE, Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai on Ilford HP5+ with a yellow filter.

Rushenden

Out and about with the F60 again, I visited an area the other afternoon which is actually called ‘Ladies Hole Point’ but I decided not to use that name for this post for obvious reasons. Funny how there is some curious place names around Britain and I find it fascinating how they come about.

Found just west of the village of Rushenden, near Queenborough, Isle of Sheppey. Ladies Hole Point wharf is a disused railway jetty and was used for coal washing at one time and later operated by Queenborough Rolling Mill Company. Sadly the site has long since closed and the two cranes, railway lines have been long since removed.

Rushenden Pier

There is only industrial containers and two mobile cranes on the old railway pier used by a marine engineering company. I believe there was also a glue works and a shipbreaking yard here which the old metal was then moved by rail the Queenborough Rolling Mill.

Keep off!

Now having got film developing off to a fine art now without causing disruption to the wife in the kitchen, plus found I quite enjoyed shooting landscapes with an single lens reflex, this is something I think I will do more often. I will have drag out my old Nikon FE plus the Nikkor prime lenses I have stashed away.

Nikon FE

All images shot with the Nikon F60, with a Tamron AF 28-80mm ASPH lens, yellow filter, on Ilford HP5 plus rated stock speed and developed in stock Ilford ID11 for 7 minutes.

Changes

Things change, everything in our lives seems to have changed one way or another. Photography, particular street photography for me has changed in the last 16 months, a laugh, smiles or talking are hidden by masks and so my photographic life has put on the back burner these last seven months. The first three months of this year both my wife and I had a self imposed isolation at home, neither of us being the most healthiest of people. My wife Helen is a larger lady with related problems. Myself, I’ve had pneumonia twice before, an ex-smoker and was recommended by our Doctor if possible, that we both kept away from others. Other than going out with the dog for a walk, I find myself no longer carrying my camera because everyone is wearing masks, no one is either getting close or even socialising for the fear of the virus and restrictions on any unnecessary travel, my photography shutdown.

I’ve also had to change since moving into our new home. Developing films in the new house isn’t very easy as it was in the old property. The bathroom, (also known as the washroom in the colonies) in the new house is in fact just a shower room with a very small hand basin, not even big enough to get a Patterson developing tank in and so it’s the kitchen then. While my wife is pretty easy going with most matters there’s a line been drawn …I can, but only on a Saturday morning while she’s out doing her volunteering job. There’s no room in the new home although bigger house, for a dedicated developing room. Also with work commitments and continuing work for yours truly to do around the house, I’m finding very difficult to allocate time for film developing but hopefully as this latest lockdown ends I’ll be able to start getting out shooting.

Having time think while driving the truck at work has given to the idea that maybe I should think about using a digital camera, no developing, just upload to the computer …but then I would dismissed the idea a number of times before, cost, new system, not understand what all the buttons, knobs do, file systems and sizes, finding my mind going in circles back to where I started to the original answer, I don’t need one.

I’m not a technophobe, I am just don’t like a lot of unnecessary controls and features that I’ll never use or just confuse the hell out of my simple brain! For me a camera needs just three things, an aperture dial, manual focus and shutter speed dial and this why I couldn’t get on with digital cameras in the past. I’m not interested in noise, histograms or any of this digital manipulation, a bit of dodge and burn, cloning out any spots and adding a frame, then yes.

Then I was reading Thorsten von Overgaard blog about using a Leica digital rangefinders which I know these cameras are very good but getting one of Leica bodies are somewhat expensive. In the back of my mind is also the worry of the electronics with second hand cameras around the £3000 to £4000 mark which could become an expensive problem. Further on, his website has a link to Thorsten’s Youtube videos, one is about buying and using Leica M9, M240 and the new wallet busting Leica M10 in which he mentions the price of second hand cameras. He also goes on to explain about the simplicity of the camera menus which from what I can understand seem no worse than my Samsung phone.

So we come to today, after a lot of research, I decided on a Leica M (Typ-240) body which now retail for around £2500 for in good condition. This went slightly awry when I discovered the Leica shop Mayfair in London. It have never occurred to me that they sell second hand Leica cameras, let alone ex-demo cameras. Having a little money from my late fathers estate I made a telephone call, card in hand. I’m now the owner of a ex-demonstration Leica M-P (Typ-240) complete with it’s box, papers and associated accessories, plus 12 months warranty as it’s classed as a new camera still. Don’t ask how much!

I’ll be selling my M4-2 body to off set the dent in my bank account a little but will continue to use from time to time my Leica M3 with it’s Summicron 50mm duel range lens.

Just hope this new acquisition works out for me …wish me luck.


All images taken with my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and shot on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.

The M3 image was taken with a Nikon FE, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 on Kodak Tri-X film.


Thorsten Von Overgaard website link below

https://www.overgaard.dk/thorsten-overgaard-photography-lounge.html


Along the Broad

Another image from my archives, taken back in the summer of 2017 from a short holiday break to the Norfolk broads, England. My wife said to me I had taken some nice pictures in Norfolk, I’d found I had taken a couple of rolls of colour print in Norfolk that summer, had them developed, scanned and forgotten all about them. Having found this shot I now use as a desktop wallpaper on my Linux PC.


I haven’t done very much photography of late as we are in the process of moving house. I say moving, we are having work done to the new house before we move in which is Victorian built around 1850’s so a lot of work to be completed. We expect to be actually moving in to the new house end of April, start of May. Hopefully, once settled and restrictions have gone I can get out and about shooting again.

Taken on a Nikon FE, 28mm f/2.8 Ai Nikkor on Kodak Color Plus 200 film.

Damp Morning

Taken on Sunday, damp morning before sunrise looking down Marine Parade Sheerness, England. It’s a shame you cannot get any detail in streetlights anymore. These new LED lights burn out all detail on film I find.

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Nikon FE, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ai on Kodak Tri-X film pushed to an ISO of 800.