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.

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.

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.

 

Down the Terrace

Old railings at Neptune Terrace, Sheerness, England.
Taken two years ago now, this shot was an accident. I wanted to capture the highlights from the sun over the railings but got the depth of field too shallow. Now the more I look at this picture the more I like it.

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Shot on my Nikon FE with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai on Fomapan 100 Classic film and developed in Kodak D76 for 9 minutes at 20ºc.

Beach Hut Living

Minster Leas beach, Isle of Sheppey, England.

I was taking pictures of the seafront when I spotted this couple at this beach hut. This image appeals to me because of the gentlemen mowing the grass, and his wife was doing the spring cleaning, obviously a home from home.

Beach Hut Living

Taken on Nikon F80, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D, on Fomapan 100 Classic film.

The Governor’s

Three years ago I started taking shots of dogs, inspired by the images of dogs taken by Photographer Elliott Erwitt. My wife and I came across these two ladies with their dogs on Sheerness seafront, England.
These two feisty Chihuahuas gave me a stand off, as they didn’t like the me or the camera! Later after processing I hadn’t noticed their boy who was on the wall bored waiting as we all chatted.

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Nikon F80, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D taken on AGFA Vista 200 film converted to black & white.

Doctor Syn

Another image from the over developed Fomapan 100 film. This is “Doctor. Syn” a narrow gauge steam engine from the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch railway, which the engine pulling the carriages in the previous picture.

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Taken with a Nikon F80, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D at Dungeness Station, Kent, England.

 

A Summer’s Day

I spotted this elderly gentleman sitting on the seafront looking across the Thames estuary out to Southend on Sea on a very dull, cold July day. Typical English weather, it’s no wonder we Brits are always talking about it!

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Taken in 2016 on a Nikon F80, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D on Kodak T-MAX 400 film and developed in Kodak D76.

A-B-SEA

I saw this gifts and second hand shop in Whitstable high street, England back in 2016. Whitstable being a seaside town, it was rather appropriate, if not somewhat corny with these chairs outside this shop.

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Taken on a Nikon FE, with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 on Fomapan 100 Classic film.