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Camera Gear, Photography

Analogue Times – My Love for Vintage Things

I was born in 1971. A year of many historical events where the voting age was lowered to 18, the comedic genius of All in the Family debuted and we lost one of the greatest poets/songwriters of our time… Jim Morrison.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a love or sentimental attachment to nostalgia. My appreciation goes out to times when culture, family and a sense of meaning were inherently engrained in a person, a time, a place, and in creative pioneering.

Inherited Creativity

All of us are born with a gift. From the person who designs the camera to the person who creates the film, the lens, to the person who sees the gift and captures it with a picture. We are all part of a beautiful tradition of inherited creativity.

Without each step in the process, we couldn’t have a photograph. A final image can’t be created without a camera, lens maker, film maker, photographer or without the God created beauty that surrounds us.

God gives us talents to help us share in what he blesses us with. This is one of the reasons I love photography. I appreciate the craftsmanship and design of the cameras, the film, and the entire process of creating a photograph that allows me to express what I see.

35mm SLR, Film and Developing

Recently, I’ve had a resurgence for my love of film photography. With the rising prices of film, this may prove to be very costly, but, luckily for me I already have a nice collection of SLR cameras. In addition, I received a pension check from when I was working for the VA in Loma Linda 30 years ago. This extra cash helped fund some new film stock!

Which brings me to the point of this post. I’ve been dusting off my cameras, replacing light seals, and loading up on film. These vintage cameras are causing a stir of nostalgia, creativity, and inspiration.  

Developing Film

Recently, I developed some black and white film for the first time ever. The process was so simple thanks to Cinestill’s DF96 all in one B&W chemistry.

My next film development will be 35mm color film which I will be using CineStill’s Cs41 simplified 2 bath kit. I’ve shot four rolls so far through my Nikon F, FA, FG and my F3 to test out my cameras. These test rolls were exposed on Fuji C200 film.

Fuji C200 is a film I really love for its fine grain and great tonal colors. Although its not considered pro film, I still enjoy the photographs I make from it.

The Camera Collection

So, now its time to take a look at these beautiful vintage mechanical wonders! First up in my lineup is the OG of SLR’s, the Nikon F. This copy is from 1967 which also boasts a 1967 Auto-S 50mm F/1.4. This combo was not on purpose. In fact, I looked up the serial numbers out of curiosity the other day and was pleasantly surprised they were from the same year.

Nikon F SLR w/ Nikkor-S Auto 50mm F/1.4 non ai lens.
Nikon F SLR w Nikkor S Auto 50mm F14 non ai lens

The Best of the Best, The Nikon F2

Nikon F2 the younger sibling to the almighty F with eye level prism. I have the heavy duty beauty of the Nikkor-S 55mm F/1.2 (1967) attached. The reasoning behind the standard prisms is simple because I want to learn. Old school means using an external light meter (Sekonic L-398 Studio deluxe) and I am really loving it. At first I wasn’t confident so I used it along side my DSLRs to see real-time results and so far it has not missed a step.

Nikon F2 w Nikkor S Auto 55mm F12 non ai lens

The Nikon F3

Nikon F3 Limited – This is my 2nd F3. Initially, I didn’t feel worthy of owning such a camera, so my first F3 went to a photographer in Italy who fell in love with it after I shared some images online.  This time around I was lucky enough to get this lovely classic from a photographer on FM…thanks Huss!

I am using my current F3 with the Nikkor 50mm F/1.2 Ais lens. I may switch back and forth with my 85mm 1.4D but for now I am loving the 50mm focal length.

Nikon F3 Limited with Nikkor 50mm F/1.2 Ais
Limited Nikon F3 with Nikkor 50mm F12 Ais

Olympus OM1

Next up is a little mechanical camera I fell for after my neighbor gifted it to me; the Olympus OM-1 SLR with Zuiko 50mm F1.4 lens. Friends and family see this and always comment, that’s not a Nikon! No, it is not, I always say!

What it is, is a beautiful wonder of a fantastic camera capable of everything you can shine its way. I love the feel, weight and joy I get making photos with this camera. Not only is it stunning to look at, but it just feels like an extension of my vision when I’m out walking around with it!

Olympus OM-1 SLR w/ Zuiko 50mm F/1.4
Olympus OM 1 SLR w Zuiko 50mm F14

Compact Film Cameras

Following along the lines on compact SLR’s that is simply a joy to use is the Nikon FG. This little camera is my pocket cam! It is a great hiking camera…it’s simply just a great little camera! I’ve never had an image from this camera that didn’t just make me happy. It’s fun, simple and easy. I use this lil guy with the Nikkor 50mm F/1.8D, a great little lens.

Nikon FG SLR with Nikkor 50mm F1.8D lens.
The Nikon FG SLR with Nikkor 50mm F18D lens

And last but not least is the camera that was built for me, it even says so in the upper right corner…the Nikon FA (for Ani) camera! This is my second FA, the first had some issues so I sold it for parts and have been looking for one ever since. I try and buy locally so I waited for awhile and finally Kenmore Camera had a beautifully clean copy for sale and I brought it home. Not a scratch, mark and hardly any signs of use. I put some batteries in, changed the light seals and life is good! I use this sweet joyful camera with the compact excellence of the Nikon 50mm F1.8 series E lens.

Nikon FA SLR with Nikon 50mm F/1.8 series E lens
My Nikon FA SLR with Nikon 50mm F18 series E lens

In the near future I plan on writing more about each camera and sharing results as I go along in this journey with film.

I also have a Ricohflex VII TLR that I purchased that I want to share my experiences with 120 films in more detail in a future update. For now, it’s back to planning projects and learning more about the characteristics of different film stock.

Stay tuned and please feel free to share your experiences with your favorite SLR’s and film stock, I really love talking cameras and photography!

By AniT, June 16, 2022
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