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  1. #31
    Ken N's Avatar
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    My Olympus gear was my poor man's Nikon. Never could afford the real thing. But it was funny how I adapted myself so deeply into the OM way that eventually the Nikons started to fade away in my mind. The Nikons were, and remain, the best 35mm SLR system, but for me, not best enough to carry two such systems. Like you, I have the OM-3Ti and a few really awesome lenses.

    The Nikon F is a camera unto itself. The Nikon F can never mimic a Leica in usage. But an OM can mimic either the F or a Leica.

    My favorite Nikon model is the F3HP. The old F seems primative in comparison.
    http://www.zone-10.com

    When you turn your camera on, does it return the favor?

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by philosomatographer View Post
    Ouch!! Unfortunately this real camera does not have compact 21mm f/2.0 or 250mm f/2.0 lenses that fit it like Olympus does, and somewhat noisier, but it is nice indeed... And it makes up for it with other very interesting lens choices.
    I was entirely joking. I was just amused by how you described your shunning of the F system.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  3. #33

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    Ken, don't you see the irony in the situation? A Nikon F can be had for just over $100, and we're both using the OM-3Ti - the most desirable and interesting, not to mention amongst the most valuable - mechanical 35mm SLR ever made.

    I have Olympus in my blood - the Nikon F is just an interesting additional choice. Ken, do you agree with my earlier observations - when printing OM negatives, with most lenses, the last couple of millimeters are a bit smeary? It's as if the OM lenses only just have enough image circle to cover the format, to retain their unbeatable compactness and high F numbers. I find it with the 50mm and wider lenses. Event the amazing 21mm f/2.0 has the same behaviour. This is the region that most people crop off, but it's still captured on film. I am sure Olympus had to make some pretty hard decisions to make the OM lenses what they are, and smaller image circle may have been one of them.

    It doesn't matter for most images, of course, but I have a habit of composing right out to the edges.

  4. #34
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    It makes me wonder how much the Nikon F would cost new today, and how many of todays wonder cameras will still be working the majority of them without being repaired in fifty years time.
    Ben

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by philosomatographer View Post
    when printing OM negatives, with most lenses, the last couple of millimeters are a bit smeary? It's as if the OM lenses only just have enough image circle to cover the format, to retain their unbeatable compactness and high F numbers.
    I made exactly the opposite observation

    My Nikon wide angles tend to get blurry in the corners whereas both my Zuiko 28/2.8 and 50/1.4 look sharp right into the far corners. Nikkors at or above 50mm are fine though.

    I know a very skilled camera technician. He once told me that he made a test, comparing the image circles of Nikon and Leica M lenses. He said he was surprised to find out that Leica's cover almost the 6x6 format, whereas Nikkors barely covered 24x36mm.

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by philosomatographer View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far, all. Just to be clear, I know about the pre-F SLR history, but the fact of the matter is, no camera before the F could match it in terms of features, and it really was the first successful SLR. Even the title of first "SLR system camera" has to go to Exakta Varex, who in 1950 already had a removable viewfinder prism, a full range of macro gear, etc. Still, they were slow and complex to operate by comparison, and did not fit the "mould" of modern, quick cameras.

    Time will tell if I ultimately prefer the F system to the OM system (as a user, not a gear fondler) but I wanted to share my initial results and impressions with you guys and girls. The F is indeed a special camera - it has that something a little extra.
    I've used both OM and F systems, in fact I have some OM stuff still.
    The 50/2 Nikkor is comparable to a Summicron; I have two of the Nikkors, and I've had several Summicrons, both M and R flavors.

    The first version 105/2.5 is a Sonnar clone, and as sharp as any lens I've had.

    Good to see the old Nikon stuff getting the recognition it deserves.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    It makes me wonder how much the Nikon F would cost new today, and how many of todays wonder cameras will still be working the majority of them without being repaired in fifty years time.
    I'm quite certain none of them will be working as well as my 36-year-old FTb.
    Chris Klug
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  8. #38
    Pumalite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philosomatographer View Post
    Dear APUG'ers -

    For years I smugly looked down upon the grand daddy of modern SLRs - the Nikon F - as a large and noisy beast which could not possibly compare with the finesse that I was used to with my Olympus OM cameras. From a humble beginnings with an OM-1n, I eventually worked my way up to an OM-3Ti, and a vast armada of Zuiko f/2.0 lenses ranging from 21mm to 250mm. Life was good.

    Curiosity got the better of me, and a couple of months ago I acquired a late-model, mint Nikon F "Apollo" body with plain prism, and period Nikkor-H.C 50mm f/2.0 and a (very early) Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5. It sat there waiting for months, but this week relieved work pressures finally allowed me to shoot my first roll of film in this beauty. I say "beauty", because it really is. Smooth, solid, confidence-inspiring, and a viewfinder that - though dimmer than an OM - seems much more accurate at selecting the point of focus with critical accuracy. Shooting a roll of Kodak T-MAX 400, using no lightmeter (who needs one with B&W film, really!) I set out, fully expecting to be underwhelmed by 1950s optics. I shot the lenses wide open more than half the time, probably trying to "over-do" what I was expecting to be a softer, low-contrast look. The rangefinder fanboys (I use my Leica M3 frequently, by the way) will have us believe that only Leica could design lenses worth anything in the 1950s. Boy, was I mistaken.

    Now, I really know my Zuikos. I know their capabilities and rendering very well, having printed images from them in the darkroom for quite some time. I also know my OM bodies, having used at least three of them. Quite simply put, as a precision photographic instrument, the Nikon F yielded higher-quality output on all accounts. I can't explain it, but there it is. There is a biting acutance, and an absolute level of resolution into the corners, that I have only before seen on a Leica M3 (for 35mm cameras, I also produce a lot of MF and LF work). How can it be that such old optics, and such an old camera, with a replaceable viewfinder prism etc, can be so good?

    I'm going to litter this thread with a couple of the images from this first and only roll so far, to share with you what I am seeing. Sorry for the heavy bandwidth, but if our excuse for "broadband" here in South Africa can take it, I am sure yours can too :-) Of course, it's difficult to judge image quality at these small sizes, but the spirit of what I am seeing is surely conveyed...


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/2.0)


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/4.0)


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/2.0)


    (F, Nikkor-P 105mm at f/2.5)


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/2.0)


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/2.0)

    And here come the verticals:


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/2.0)


    (F, Nikkor-P 105mm at f/2.5)


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/2.0)

    This 50mm lens is extraordinary to my eyes. A larger image below, to give an impression of the resolving power. Yes, most 50mms are good, but somehow, the F lays this detail down right into the corners, whereas my OMs always seem to struggle in the last couple of millimeters (same on OM-1, OM-2 and OM-3). It probably doesn't really matter, but it's there:


    (F, Nikkor-H.C 50mm at f/5.6)

    I also find the ancient, single-coated 105mm wonderful. On the negatives, there is nothing to choose from between my $800+ Zuiko 90mm f/2.0 Macro, and the $80 Nikkor-P 105mm. Accurate focus means so much more than technical resolving power in real-world photography, and the F finder was definitely better at focusing a lens with such insanely shallow DOF at close quarters.

    It's been a while since I've produced so many pictures on a roll of 35mm film that I not only like, but are technically of an above-average (for me) quality for 35mm. Except for my Leica M, I always struggle to produce consistently high quality with a manual-focus 35mm SLR - it's always hit or miss. All my images were perfectly focused, composition is 100% accurate, and I could not fault the lenses - or any aspect of the system - even once. As a long-time denizen of the church of Maitani (the visionary behind the Olympus OM system), I have gained new-found respect for the visionaries at Nikon in the 1950s, who produced such marvelous quality tools. To be honest, I'd take a bit of extra weight and size any time, if the results are so worth it...
    Absolutely yes!
    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    It makes me wonder how much the Nikon F would cost new today, and how many of todays wonder cameras will still be working the majority of them without being repaired in fifty years time.
    They don't need to last fifty years, they will be redundant in < ten
    Last edited by MacReady; 12-06-2011 at 11:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #40

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    Lenses could be a weak link in either system (Olympus or Nikon); all will make good pictures if you point them at something interesting, but some of the lenses are more satisfying optically than others. I found the 50 (1.8 I think it was) and 100 f2.8 Olympus to be great. I understand there were a lot of good lenses in the system, but the wides I owned, or tried, were just adequate.

    I've used many more lenses in the Nikon system and find a lot I like and a few I dislike. The wides do tend to have soft corners, but I think the 24 2.8 is a very nice lens. Also 35 f2,though it is hard for me to focus on an F.

    Nikkor 50/2, 105/2.5, 135/3.5 are all very nice lenses. The 50/2 is no Summicron, but does have good edge to edge sharpness. The 50/1.4 is nice also depending on your needs, with amazingly high center sharpness. I'd probably pick the f1.4 over the f2 for people pictures, but it is a good all rounder too.

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