Tag Archives: SLR

Nikon F2 Photomic (1971 – 1980)

This post has been in the works for a long time. Why? My friend Mike Williams gave this camera to me almost 6 months ago, Christmas 2017. Mike knew I’d been very happy with the Nikon F and Nikomat FTn. And to this day, Mike says this is his best find at Goodwill. I think he’s right because the F2 Photomic still commands a high price online, especially one in this shape.

The F2 was introduced by Nikon in 1971, and is the successor to the Nikon F. It was discontinued in 1980 when the F3 was released. The original F and F2 cameras look nearly identical with the only difference being the meter mounted atop the camera body. The F2 features shutter speeds of 10s to 1/2000th sec, where the original F was 1 sec – 1/1000th sec. The ISO can be set from 6 to 6400. One item I came to appreciate on F2 Photomic is the meter. It’s activated by the shutter advance. When the advance arm is in its resting position, the meter is active. When pressed in towards the body, the meter turns off. On the F with FTn, you must press a button on the side of the meter to activate it, and then remember to push another button down to turn it off. What does this mean? The F2 Photomic isn’t going to eat batteries because you forgot to turn the meter off. Improvements were also made to the flash sync over the F. The F2 has a flash sync of 1/80th sec, where the original F has a sync of 1/60th sec. Another commonality between the F and the F2 is the weight. The F2 Photomic with lens weighs over 2 lbs!

According to Ken Rockwell, the F2 was “king of newspaper and magazine photography in the 1970’s.” And the development for the camera was driven by NASA for the Apollo and SkyLab missions. I found this comment from Ken Rockwell somewhat humorous: The Nikon F2 is so good that many photographers — including myself — preferred to pay more for used Nikon F2s in the early 1980s after they were discontinued than to pay less for a brand-new Nikon F3 with which Nikon replaced it. The Nikon F3 was electronic, and was not trusted to meet professional demands under all conditions.

The Nikon F2 is simply a great camera. One of the last mechanical shutter camera bodies made before electronic shutters appeared in the 1980’s. The F2 is a solid camera. If you didn’t know any better, you could pound nails with the body. Within a dozen shots taken with this camera, I decided that a telephoto lens would be a nice addition, so I purchased a Nikkor 35 – 200mm, f/3.5 – 4.5.

Camera: Nikon F2 Photomic (1971 – 1980)
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400
Process: Kodak D-76 (1+1) 6:30 @ 27° C
Scanned: Epson V600 Photo

 

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Europe 2017 on Film

This year will always remain memorable because my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by taking a 3-week trip to Europe. We went with a small group and visited Italy, Switzerland, and France. I took three cameras: Canon 6D, Pentax K1000, and Olypus OM-1MD. I spent most days taking digital shots, but used the two film cameras for early morning walks and evening adventures. Trying not to pack around too much gear each day, I’d swap one of the two film cameras in and out of my bag. Many people have asked us, “What was your favorite place to visit?” There’s no way possible to answer that question. From day-to-day we kept thinking, “Wow, today was fantastic! It can’t get any better than this.” Only to be surprised by the sights and experiences we’d have the very next day.


Miranda G – Part Two

It’s rare that I get a camera, quickly shoot a roll a film, enjoy the camera so much that I immediately move to another roll of film. Again, the Miranda G is such a great camera. Don’t believe me, go read my post from last week. The second roll of film I shot with was some Film Photography Project Edu 200 Black & White. At $3.99, you can’t beat the price. The only drawback is it’s a thin plastic and can be difficult to scan.

The Annual VW “No Show” in Kaysville, Utah, is one of my favorite car shows. Not because I own a Volkswagen, or know much about cars. It’s the people at the show and the variety of photographic opportunities. The car owners are great to talk with. They love to share their knowledge about VW’s, often pointing out specific details of a particular year or model. The show usually consists of about 100+ cars. And it only takes a few hours to see everything and visit with people. Brian Thomson and his fellow VooDoo Kruizerz do an awesome job at hosting a fun show each year. Below are some photos from the VW show, make sure to click on the images and view the whole gallery. And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see some cars from another show.


Miranda G – Part 1

The Orion Camera Company in Japan, later renamed for marketing reasons to the Miranda Camera Company, primarily made SLR cameras between 1955 and 1978. Two unique items that made Miranda different from their competitors were: 1) almost every camera had an interchangeable pentaprism that could easily be changed by the photographer, 2) they never made their own lenses, relying on other manufacturers to produce them. Miranda was the first Japanese company to manufacture an SLR with a removable eye level prism, something that Nikon adapted in 1959 (Nikon F). According to the Miranda Historical Society online, it’s not uncommon to find a seller who has any of knowledge about Miranda cameras or lenses.

The Miranda G was manufactured and sold in 1965. It features an interchangeable pentaprism and focus screen. The interchangeable focus screen were made in 8 types and attracted photographers who were interested in photomicrography (photos taken through a microscope) to astronomical photography (photos taken with a telescope). The camera has shutter speeds of 1 through 1/1000 sec, and bulb mode. The standard lens that this model came with was a Soligor 50mm f/1.9. The Miranda G does not have an internal light meter.

Special thanks to Maurice Greeson for donating this camera. He not only gave me the camera and Soligor 50mm lens, but included: Soligor 28mm f/2.8 lens, Soligor 105mm f/2.8 macro lens, Soligor 80-200 f/2.8 telephoto lens, macro lens reversal ring, chest-level viewfinder, original leather case, and manual. All of these items are in mint condition! I was worried at first because the camera doesn’t have a light meter, but that also eliminates the issue of having the correct battery type. I used my Gossen Luna-Pro to meter about half of the environments I was shooting in. The best way for me to describe using this camera can be done in one word: enjoyable. This camera feels so comfortable in my hands. It has a nice balance with the 50mm lens. I did try the wide 28mm on a few images I’ll share next week, but kept going back to the 50. Maybe it’s more my style, but I found it easier to compose my images. For the roughly short lifespan of the Miranda G, it’s a basic SLR and fun camera to use. Note, the self-timer is permanently stuck in the down position, but an issue this small wouldn’t stop me from using this camera. I really don’t have anything negative say about this camera. The viewfinder, and chest-level viewfinder, are bright and clear. The additional shutter release on the front of the camera seemed odd at first, but somehow the slow squeeze on the front makes more sense than a downward pressing motion.

Ogden High School - Ogden, Utah

In July, my wife and I took a group of Chinese exchange students on a tour of Ogden High School in Ogden, Utah. The school was built in 1937 as part of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” a Works Progress Administration project that cost tax payers 1.2 million dollars. It was the first million-dollar school built in the U.S. The design style of the school is Art Deco and matches other Ogden City landmarks like the Ogden City Municipal Building and Peery’s Egyptian Theater. All three historic buildings were designed by the architectural firm Hodgson & McClenahan. In 2006, Ogden City residents voted to fund a $95.3-million-dollar bond to repair, renovate, and update the school. The high school has been the backdrop for several movies and television shows. These images were shot with the Miranda G on Kodak Tri-X 400, metered with a Goseen Luna-Pro S.


Pentax ME Super

Another great thrift store find from 2015 was the Pentax ME Super. I actually bought two of them in one week by accident. The second came from a local pawn shop. I gave it to a friend’s 8-year old son as a gift when our family traveled to Portland, Oregon. I’ve detailed some of the features below, but found that my fellow blogger and film enthusiast, Simon Hawketts, has done a great job detailing the specs on his site.

The Pentax ME Super was manufactured from 1980 to 1986, and is the younger, newer sibling to the Pentax ME and MV models. Both of these prior models are all automatic and have no manual modes. The ME Super has aperture priority, manual, 125X and bulb modes. The ME Super features a focal plane shutter with speeds from f/4 to 1/2000. The exposure meter is an open aperture TTL center weighted type that is displayed in the viewfinder with a series of LED’s. The ISO range is 12 to 1600. The lens paired with my ME Super is a SMC Pentax K bayonet mount, 50mm f/2 lens. Overall, the ME Super is a great camera. At the time, it was Pentax’s smallest and lightest SLR at 440g.

Before I started tracking my cameras loaded with film with the Film Roll app on my iPhone, I had forgotten that my ME Super was loaded. There’s a large gap in time between the first group of shots and the end of the roll. They start in early spring and end of Veteran’s Day. For my testing, I shot a roll of Lomography Color 400.

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Nikon EM

Nikon EM - 35mm Film (1979 - 1982)

The Nikon EM was produced in Japan from 1979 – 1982. The EM series of cameras was introduced as an entry-level SLR camera for budget minded photographers, $231 (USD). It’s interesting to learn, the EM was designed for, and marketed to, a growing market of female photographers. The camera weighs 16 ounces, has no manual exposure mode, and features a shutter speed from f/1 – 1/1000, bulb, and flash X-sync of 1/90 second. The thought was beginners had not mastered exposure, shutter speeds and f-stops. This section of the market was also moving up from rangefinders and compacts, but were intimidated by traditional SLR features. In the viewfinder is an exposure meter that beeps at the photographer if the exposure is too high or low, very cute. All Nikon F bayonet mount lenses can be used on the EM. To distinguish the EM from other Nikon cameras, the Series E line of lenses were created to differentiate between professional Nikkor ones. I bought this EM at a local pawn shop for $20. It’s the first Nikon product I’ve ever owned. Why? Not because I haven’t wanted to own a Nikon camera. It’s because every time I find a Nikon camera, they never have a lens! There’s nothing more depressing than a box of lensless Nikon cameras. You Nikon fanatics have the ability to hold on to your glass longer than any other camera manufacturer has allowed. I say that jokingly, but I mean it as a sincere compliment. I really enjoy this camera. I like the small footprint and weight. My first roll of film through the EM was 35mm Kodak Hawekeye Super Color, also known as Film Photography Project hand rolled Kodak Hawkeye Traffic Surveillance Film. Unfortunately, as you can see from photos, my EM has a light leak. I’m going to replace the light seals next week.

 

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Dr. B’s Minolta SR-T202

Last week while shopping at a local thrift store I found a large camera case full of various items. Of course the main piece that attracted me was the camera, but what were the other odd items? The inside of the case was grimy with black pieces of foam that had crumbled apart from age. I carefully inspected the camera and purchased it with the case and contents. Later that night, I removed the camera from the case and put it to the side. I knew cleaning out the case was going to be messy, so I put on a pair of latex gloves and started to slowly inspect each item. A 100mm Minolta Rokkor macro lens attached to a bellows on a rail that measures about 8 inches in length. There was also a Minolta pistol trigger grip with a shutter release cable. Odd shaped mirrors, wires and square plates that somehow attached to the bellows. What was all this equipment used for? Then I found a receipt. The camera was sold to Dr. Graydon Briggs in Salt Lake City. He purchased the camera on April 23, 1976 from Washington Scientific Camera Company. The description of the camera and contents are listed as: Complete Minolta SR-T202 Clinical Camera Unit, Clinical Camera Case, Dental Mirrors, Columbia wire retractor, Minolta F4 100mm lens, and Minolta 18LS Flash.

With a simple Google search, I found the original owner, Dr. Graydon Briggs, DDS, a successful Utah dentist that was known for thousands of root canals. He passed away on November 11, 2013 at the age of 66. The Minolta camera kit he purchased for $587 in 1976 was used in his dental practice. From the receipt, you can see that he made two payments for the complete unit. To put this price tag in perspective, in 1976 a loaf of bread was $.30, a gallon of milk was $1.42, gasoline was $.59 per gallon, a new car was $4,100, and the average price of a home was $43,000. In 1976, this clinical camera unit would have cost the 2015 equivalent of $6,600.

The handwritten note on the back of the receipt:

Dear Dr.

You made our day – yeh these turkeys can’t afford a phone but look at the bargains you get. We do not maintain a phone at the shop & warehouse as we are in & out so much – We do not operate a retail store – can give better bargains that way. If you find it necessary you may reach us at our home morning & evenings as a rule at (206) 863-7172 or call Mr. Cliff Freede (?) at the U of W Dental School who can relay messages or give all the answers on problems – his phone # 206-543-5953. We are no longer going to carry the #704 case – so I have sent you the #705 which is larger at the old price of $27.50 – it is now $34.00. We do have our new custom camera case at $38.00 but was hesitant in sending it. Enclosed is our new price sheets. Thank you for your order.

Sincerely H.E.K.

Minolta SR-T202 Clinical Camera Unit

The camera is mounted to the bellows at one end and the 100mm Rokkor lens at the other. A dentist would use their right-hand to focus by extending or retracting the bellows, and squeeze the shutter trigger with the left-hand. Based on the odd shape of the mirrors, they would be placed in the patient’s mouth so the camera could capture photos of those hard-to-reach areas. I haven’t included an image of the mirrors because they need to be sterilized or thrown away.

The Minolta SR-T202 was the top-of-the-line camera in the series. When it’s not attached to the bellows and used for macro photos of someone’s throbbing tooth, it has a sharp 50mm Rokkor f/1.7 lens. I plan to write a full camera review after testing it with some film next week. For this post I wanted to feature the unique use, history, and the original owner of this camera.
 

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