Nikon F opinions--just ebayed one w 2 lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by JosBurke, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. JosBurke

    JosBurke Member

    Messages:
    464
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    Location:
    KY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well since I unloaded my Leica M3 I have occasionally missed the convenience of 35 mm (Exclusive use of B&W film Tri-X HP 5 etc..) and like a dummy jumped on a Nikon F and a couple of lenses--my question is will the Nikon be close to the results from the Leica--I never really liked the feel of the Leica--a tad small but I did really like the results using HP5 and Tri-X. Seee ebay item #s 7612087425, 7612094726 and 7612103723.
    Hopefully I'll get some opinions that are optimistic and I didn't go overboard !! I use MF (Mamiya 7II) most of the time but low light is always an issue and DOF.
     
  2. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do YOUR part, the answer is YES.

    The camera looks fine, the 50 does too.

    The zoom is a matter of taste. For 44 bucks, you're golden. It is an early zoom, and detail nuts hate it. Fashion shooters loved it. Keep it for a pretty but NOT high def images.

    You might shoot TMY instead of TX in the Nikon, give it some help. Big difference. TMY and XTOL can threaten your Mamiya's sense of self importance.

    way to go
     
  3. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I used Fs, F2, and F3s for many years along with a Leica G and Cannon 7, the F is very rugged and dependable, and I liked the way a F handles, but there is just something about a Lecia. My usual kit was a Nikon with a 105 and a RF with a 35 or 28. Later Nikon with short zoom 35 to 70 or 35 to 105.
     
  4. arigram

    arigram Member

    Messages:
    5,474
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2004
    Location:
    Crete, Greec
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have a Nikon F that my father bought in Ethiopia in 1967. Its not a Leica. Its the first succesful system of SLR and it handles like that: its heavy and noisy. But it works great its built like a tank and the lenses are of excellent quallity.
     
  5. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,203
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    First successful system SLR, huh? Exakta, anyone?

    Jos, good snags! Not quite to my taste, in my hands a Nikkormat (or FM) feels less front-heavy than an F with a metered prism, but you can't go wrong with an F. Although the word classic is much misused, the F really is one.
     
  6. donbga

    donbga Member

    Messages:
    2,084
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    Neither of the lenses that you purchased are great performers, and will not put you into the Leica lens league, not even close. I own both lenses so I'm telling you from first hand experience. And they won't even come close to the Mamiya II as far as optical quality.

    The lenses are okay but not world beaters.
     
  7. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    I love my F.
    The snap of the shutter/mirror is as solid as slamming the door of a '66 Lincoln Continental.
    It gives me a little thrill every time I hit the button.
     
  8. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Exakta, it is!
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,463
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've used Leica M, Nikon F, and Nikkormats since 1967. The Leica feels better to me, but the Nikon system is far more versatile and gets most of the small format use. The metered finder is cumbersome. A pentaprism finder handles better if TTL metering isn't needed, but can be expensive. The zoom has a mediocre reputation as Nikkor lenses go. I use a 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor-S like yours, and find it to be almost as sharp as a Summicron. There were reasons for the removable back when the Nikon F was the premier 35mm SLR system. The mirror lock-up is funky. Despite this, it still is a versatile and reliable system.

    I've found two books valuable even for this long-time Nikon user: the old Nikon F Nikkormat Handbook of Photography by Joseph D Cooper and Joseph C Abbot and the much later The New Nikon Compendium by Simon Stafford and Hillebrand & Hauschild.
     
  10. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I started serious photography with a Nikon F and a Nikon FTn in 1973. They were as solid as any camera I've ever used. I liked the F2 better, mainly for the hinged back and motor drives but there's nothing wrong with the Nikon F. I used them alongside F2's professionally for a number of years. Both my early F's were stolen shortly after I had NPS service them.

    I didn't check eBay for what lenses you bought. The early lenses I used were the 50/1.4, 35/2.8, 85/1.8 and 24/2.8. The 85mm was sharper than a 90mm Leitz Summicron I owned at the time. Neither the 50mm nor the 35mm were as sharp or contrasty as the equivalent Summicrons but they both had a certain "look" that I still find attractive in negatives I shot back then and still print today.
     
  11. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back in the late 1960s, when I had to replace my broken Miranda Sensorex with a more robust and reliable 35mm SLR, I selected the Nikon F. The F met my need for a dependable SLR. I would still be using the F if I had not replaced it with the F2, which I still use to this day.

    Back then, I primarily used prime lenses on my F. The 43-86mm f3.5 Nikkor was the first zoom I purchased. Its performance (image quality) was so poor that it soured me to zoom lenses for a long period of time. I hope you have one of the later production lenses because I understand that they performed better than the early ones (like the one I had).
     
  12. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format


    I think the key word was "successful"... :smile:


    I still have my first Nikon F which I bought just before I went to Art School in 1969. It still works well despite having been hammered for years! It is now in semi-retirement along with another F. My understanding is that the 43-86 zoom is a dog, the f1.4 standard was good, but the f2 was better, and neither was quite up to the standard of a Summicron. Not far short though. When I needed a standard lens I used the Micro-Nikkor which was/is beautifully sharp.

    Does your Photomic head work? Most don't, plus there is the problem of obtaining batteries...

    Still, it's a great camera, and at that price a steal!



    Richard
     
  13. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    My first 35mm SLR system was an Exacta with finders and lenses, tubes and bellows. And remember what 35mm SLR and telephoto lens Jimmy Stewart used in "Rear Window"? :smile:

    My Photomic finder works great (Thanks, KEH!). I just use silver batteries and compensate with the film speed setting.
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,203
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Um, Richard, you don't seriously mean to say that the Exakta was a commercial failure, do you? Until Nikon released the F and all of its accessories and lenses, the Exakta was THE SLR for scientific photography. Dig out your copy of Geoffrey Crawley's little book on the Nikon F and revisit what he says there about the Exakta system.
     
  15. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    For a number of years the Exacta was indeed THE SLR as there was no competition. As soon as serious competition came along (in the form of the Nikon F) it rapidly became no more than a curiosity – scientific photography has always been a ncihe market! Still, the Exacta is great if you're left handed.

    Oddly enough I don't have Crawley's book...


    Richard
     
  16. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,363
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Merimbula NSW Australia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a couple of Exactas in my collection and they are marvellous looking things, just don't try to use them them too quickly though! It is no wonder that the Nikons and Pentaxes swept all before them because of the sweet handling. I have both an F and F2, the F2 being the nicest of the classic Nikons. The Nikkormat is just as good to use and sems to be of the same tank like quality. My F has a working meter but I took it off and fitted the plain prism, handles and looks heaps better.
     
  17. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't have much experience with Exacta, Alpa or Miranda but in terms of a full professional system with interchangeable viewfinders, focusing screens, bellows, extension tubes, bulk film backs and a motor drive in a very rugged packet I think of Nikon as the first full system. I just stated to collect Miranda 35mms and I was very surprised in terms of the accessories that Miranda made.
     
  18. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,203
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oh, dear, the old not invented here, or perhaps invented before my time, syndrome.
     
  19. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What made the Nikon special was the ease of handling, ridiculously wide range of lenses and accessories, and, most important, the instant return mirror, seven years ahead of Exakta. That made it the first 35mm that could claim to perform every task.
     
  20. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kilfit 400mm f5.6 (I think) - then again Kilfit was pretty much the only 35mm telephoto manufacturer at that time and the Exakta was the only real system SLR at the time which had a suitable range of lenses available. Funny, too how it was the Eastern Bloc that was to produce the first successful postwar SLRs - although in the case of Exakta there seems to have been a distinctly murky cross border agreement between West and East Germany with Exakta being one of the last remaining privately owned companies in East Germany.

    Lachlan
     
  21. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

    Messages:
    756
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you check out your copy of this month's B&W (UK) magazine there is a small article on a camera called the Wrayflex. The gist of the article is that in 1949 Wray took out patents for an interchangable lens SLR with a pentaprism, a motor drive and an instant return mirror - essentially a Nikon F 11 years before it appeared. When the Wrayflex appeared a few years later, owing to material shortages it had none of the three innovative features listed above. Within two decades the UK camera manufacturing industry was essentially dead. Draw your own conclusions.

    Lachlan
     
  22. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree that Nikon did not invent the motor drive, interchangeable viewfinder, TTL metering, focusing screens, instant return mirror, 250 exposure backs, but I feel that Nikon put a total packet together. When I bought my first F I had a rather complete Pentex outfit, and a Miranda with a critical focus finder with a bellows and several lens. The F replaced both (I kept the Pentex and still have the kit) cameras. Exacta, Miranda, Alpha, and Pentex all had parts of a total system but Nikon I think was the first with the total 35mm system.
     
  23. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,381
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oakville and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You let go a Leica M3????
    Well you can't go wrong with a Nikon F. I have both the early eyelevel prism and the later Ftn meter head and both are tanks. I dropped the later one by accident onto a concrete floor, the filter broke, so did the concrete, and the meter had to be fixed. The lens was fine and so was the rest of the camera. I have grown to like the Nikkor 50 f2; the 50 f1.4, 105 f2.5 and 35 f2.0 lenses are in my opinion, classics.
     
  24. JeffBishop

    JeffBishop Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have both of these lenses.

    That's a good deal on the 50mm. You might find a better lens, but not at that price. Regardless of whatever else is out there, it's still a very good lens, and does get a lot of respect.

    The zoom is another story. It's probably the worse zoom Nikkor ever made. It will flare fast, and it's soft. It's good for older skin, where it's softness seems more a bonus.