Through the Lenschrstjrn wrote:I'm still loving the Nikonos II that Mike (Administrator of this forum) sold to me. No batteries! I use it for backpacking trips, snowshoeing in cold, hiking in storms... but not much for kayaking. I've used "snapsights" more in the kayak.Kaptain von Klepper wrote:Why do you suppose so many photographers prefer to shoot old mechanical Nikons "Beyond the Black Stump" or in the boonies?
If there's a topic besides SAAB's, horses, bicycles or Kleppers that I can write a dissertation on , it would be photography. I'll try to keep it short.
I've dreamed of owning a Nikonos II for years. I love snorkelling and I continue to kick myself for not getting my basic scuba certification when I was living in Hawai'i. There was an outfit offering basic certification for just US$200, just down the road from where I was living/working, but that's another story... Needless to say, I've always wanted to take underwater pics and I'll probably go to a Nikon School (TM) seminar on underwater photography one day.
Unfortunately the Nikonos II isn't the best choice for general photography, but it's great for rugged wet conditions, -someone mentioned Vietnam War corrospondants here, somewhere. The essential problem for the Nikonos line is the basic set of prime lenses due to the difficult nature of underwater photography. Water has a 5-7% magnification property, + poor light quality + oft times limited visability. To compensate for all of this, underwater cameras usually use wide angle prime lenses, -28mm or 35mm. These not only compensate for the water magnification, but allow for the photographer to get close enough to her/his subject for a photographic strobe to be effective in the low light/visibility conditions, but also have a wider frame for the subject.
Above the water, for the subject to appear the same size to the naked eye as through the lens, the lens needs to be a 50mm to 75mm "normal" lens. Any lens 45mm or wider is called a wide angle lens, and the subject begins to appear smaller and spacial distortion begins.
The 1st 35mm camera I had for my own use was my parent's Leica M3 (Same camera Lindemann used in his adventures, -not to mention that almost every German WW II corrospondant (including U-boats) used its forerunner). Unfortunately I only had 1 lens, a 45mm prime, -(Leica doesn't have zooms for their range finders). Though Zeiss lenses are unsurpassed in quality, I couldn't help but be somewhat disappointed as Jurgen (my brother) and my teenage "death defying" exploits in mountaineering became recorded on film somewhat distorted. Subjects became tiny and steep mountain sides (Our teenage counterparts would insert "cliffs" here .) became alpine meadows.
My point here is that the wrong lens in certain circumstances can give less than desirable results.
It's come to my attention that yatching editorial photographers use regular 35mm SLR's. Salt water spray is murderous on any regular camera and these photographers hold to a life expectancy of 1 year for FM's (fully mechanicals). The more electronics a camera has the faster the degeneration is.
I have to say that for years I bragged on Nikon's F3HP and FM2. The F3 was Nikon's 1st camera w/ automatic exposure ability. Almost indestructable, this camera can be relied on to select accurate exposure values and even has an exposure compensation dial to help account for extremes such as white or black surfaces subjects. Unfortunately the F3's achillis heal is that it needs a battery to drive the shutter. The F3 can be fired w/out a battery, but only at 1/90th sec and not w/ the normal shutter release, but w/ a second shutter release located by the mirror lock up lever. It also required special additional equipment to use a flash.
The FM2 was for years the journalist's work horse. It didn't have automatic exposure settings and only needed a battery for its internal light metre. If the battery failed, the photographer could still fire the camera using the "Sunny 16 Rule". Essentially this rule of thumb is: On a clear sunny day, if the aperature is set at f16, than the shutter speed should be set at the nearest value to the ISO or film speed. This still requires some guess work, but let's say one has a roll of 200 ISO/ASA film and the day is clear and sunny; set the aperature for f16 and the shutter speed for 1/250 sec, for 100 ISO/ASA, 1/125 sec, etc. It's well beyond the scope of this article, but if you've developed an instinct for stop values, you can compensate this rule for other light condtions or to use other aperatures or shutter speeds.
I recently sold my last FM2. In Sept. of 2004, I purchased a new FM3a (A is for automatic). This, in my opinion is the best camera Nikon has ever produced. It has all of the critical features of the F3 (But not the High Eye Point, but that's another story...) and all the critical features of the FM2, all rolled into one. This will undoubtably be Nikon's last "Great Journalist's Camera".
What made the F and FM series such a favourite among journalists was its "takes a licking and keeps on ticking" ability. These cameras have seen every corner of the globe in all sorts of conditions. They weather dust and humidity w/ equal indifference. The famous photographer Susan McCarty refuses to put hers down and has been known to carry two FM2's on just casual strolls in her adopted home town of NY City.
One might get the impression that I don't shoot digital. I do. In my busy times, I shoot more than 1000 frames a week of digital. For my clients that don't have "I needed this yesterday" dead lines, and my personal photography, I prefer my new FM3a. I still have and love my F3 and my Leica M3, and I occasionally dust them off and shoot...
Oops... I digress and I didn't keep my promise of not writing another dissertation.