Nikon SP Rangefinder?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ToddB, May 14, 2013.

  1. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Hey guys,

    I was poking around and noticed that Nikon made a rangefinder camera, the SP. Can anyone tell me about it or have one to discribe? I would love to hear about it.Love the look of it.

    ToddB
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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  3. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    It is great looking camera - for sure excellent shooter as well. Price - like Leica M bodies, even more :sad:
    If you find it too expensive for you budget - closest thing in look is nikon F slr with plain prism.
     
  4. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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  5. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    "closest thing in look is nikon F slr with plain prism"

    I did notice my FE looks very similar.. I'm sure there is something special with the optics on these camera in general?

    Todd
     
  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Only as far as the cost goes.:wink:
    Actually, the wideangle lenses are a tad better than the coeval WA lenses made for SLRs; an SLR uses a retrofocus design so the lens' rear element will clear the mirror, a RF camera has no such constraint. All the lenses for the Nikon RF cameras are 50 plus year old designs, which is fine as far as standard and long lenses go, but there have been some improvements (especially in WA design) since these cameras were made.
    Did I mention they're expensive?
     
  7. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    With the perfect graphic, that should be on a T-shirt.

    s-a
     
  8. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The earliest Nikon rangefinders borrow heavily from both the Zeiss Ikon Contax and Leica rangefinders. Sort of a curios combo of each. The early lenses are based on Zeiss designs.

    They're excellent cameras, although I find them to be unnecessarily heavy. The excellent lenses also have considerable weight. I think they weight is comparable to the pre-1945 Zeiss lenses for the Contax -- maybe even a bit heavier.
     
  9. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    I would love an SP, but I think the S2 is a far more realistic option for most of us (including me).

    I also would love to have been able to snatch up some of the S-mount Cosina-Voigtlander lenses when they were still being made; now, I think some of them are as rare and sought-after as the original Nikkors!
     
  10. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Just been using a S2 for a while and love that 1:1 viewfinder. Picked up a couple of lenses (here) the 50mm 1.4 and 28mm 3.5, both of which are excellent. Also have the CV 50mm 2.5 which is really superb. The Nikon is not quite as sweet as a good Contax, but still a really solid camera, great to use, except that stupid finger wheel that they copied from the Contax.
    Unfortunately they are more expensive than even the Contaxes, which is a shame as they are still great users.
     
  11. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    The "Best of Nikon" is the Nikon SP

     
  12. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I am still tempted to try out the Nikon range finders myself, but there is just no way, everything in that system is pretty much Leica priced and/or hard to find. But for those who would like to use some of the lenses without an old body, CV made the R2S to accept the lenses without adapters.

    http://www.cameraquest.com/voigt_r2s_r2c.htm

    Unfortunately they are sold out, but I have seen them pop up from time to time on the auction sites.
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I'm not very sure of that, I think the F is every bit as well made. The SP was the first to use the titanium shutter, too. I think, given the choice (and cost not a factor), I'd take an SP over an M series Leica.
     
  14. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Never had SP in my hand - but comparing M3 with original Nikon F: Leica is much more smooth, precise and gives better all around feeling in operating a camera. For example wind crank mechanism on Nikon is little loose, focusing is not that smooth (same age nikkor vs elmar), finishing details like frame counter, final processing of materials ...
     
  15. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I've had two M3s and a IIIg. They're gorgeously well made cameras, but when you get inside they're no better than an F and probably an SP. As far as film counters go, the Nikkormat Ftn has a more elegant counter than the F.
    The main reason I got rid of the Leicas was that rangefinders don't suit my way of working as well as SLRs. Leica SLRs at the time (early 90s) were (SL, SL2) no more expensive than the Nikon, though they lack several features I consider essential. So about 1994 I settled on the F system and got rid of most of the rest of my 35mm gear - I've found no reason to regret that choice.
    I've had a couple Contaxes, too, and there's no choice there at all, the SP is far and away the better camera.
     
  17. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    BTW, that quote is a link to the Nikon site from whence it came. I am not much of a RF guy and prefer the SLR. No doubt the SP - and other lightboxes, have acheived legendary status.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I know, I'd read the Nikon article before. Hardly an impartial source...:wink:
    Many things have legendary status, relatively few deserve it. See the recent thread here on "legendary lenses" - http://www.apug.org/forums/forum44/117954-unique-legendary-lenses.html

    Which is not to knock the SP, it's a great camera and one of the few I'd like to acquire.
     
  19. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I shoot with a Nikon SP, and I love it. First, the SP is very solidly constructed. The Nikon F is legendary for it's toughness, and the Nikon F shares much of it's parts with the SP. In fact, many parts are interchangeable between the two camera. The 1-1 viewfinder is wonderful to use, and though the yellowish tint and focusing patch aren't as bright or defined as a Leica M, the selectable frame line dial, and the built in finder for 28mm and 35mm lenses makes the SP very flexible indeed. All that's missing is parallax correction.

    Mechanically-speaking, the Nikon SP is simply much better made than the Leica M. The Nikon rangefinders do not require the regular service which Leicas need to keep them in top shape. I can't count how many times I have had to readjust the rangefinder after bumping one of my M's into something. A Nikon SP in good condition is as smooth and quiet (sometimes more so) than a Leica.

    As for the lenses, it has not been 50 years since Nikon last made a lens for their rangefinder cameras, new 50mm and 35mm lenses were manufactured with the S3 and SP cameras which were re-released a few years ago. These are not cheap, but they are much less expensive than the Leica equivalents.

    The Nikon rangefinder lenses are no slouches, they are great performers, and compared to those made by other manufacturers, they more than hold their own.