Friday, August 23, 2013

Nikon F

Nikon F

All of these early photos were taken using a Nikon F loaded with Kodak's Panatomic-X film. I purchased the camera at the PX in Okinawa in 1965 or thereabouts.

A combination of design elements made the Nikon F successful. It had interchangeable prisms and focusing screens; the camera had a depth-of-field preview button; the mirror had lock-up capability; it had a large bayonet mount and a large lens release button; a single-stroke ratcheted film advance lever; a titanium-foil focal plane shutter; various types of flash synchronization; a rapid rewind lever; a fully removable back. It was well-made, durable, and adhered closely to the successful design scheme of the Nikon rangefinder cameras.  (Wikipedia.)

As for the film: Panatomic-X had an ASA value of 32 . . . not really that light-sensitive and usable only in broad daylight. (For comparison, my current Olympus E-PL5's starting value is 200.) However, the film was extremely fine-grained with quite subtle tonalities.

After our house in Los Angeles was burglarized in the late 1970's I found that Nikon's prices were too high for me to buy another Nikon as a replacement. I ended up getting an Olympus OM-1, very lightweight and well-made.
Olympus OM-1

The Nikon may be long gone, but I still have the instruction manual tacked to my darkroom wall.

Nikon F Manual - Marin County 2013

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