Nikon Tag

Natural skeptics like myself generally hold that something is real only if you can touch it. This holds for most things - you can confirm stuff for yourself with a few sensible exceptions; nuclear warhead cores, rabid dogs, and the Canadian prime minister. We don't want to carry skepticism too far...

I am a little restricted this week in my typing, being reduced to the right hand and two fingers of the left one - there has been a slight accident in the Little Workshop* and it will be several weeks before the bandages come off. There may be some typographical errors in the meantime. I shall therefore use the facilities of Science and Industry and the spare time of convalescence to answer some questions that have arisen recently. To start with - how good are the portable LED light banks that have been flooding the market? How much light do they actually put out in comparison to other sources? What is the colour temperature of it? What is the spread of the light? Are they a viable alternative to flash? To determine the answers I have brought four different product off the shelf and tried them against a standard studio monolight and a speed light flash. The trials were done at night in the same studio environment that normally sees dancers or toy airplanes - in this case it is the slightly more...

I have just been watching some of the live streaming video from the Nikon company regarding their newest camera system - the Z -mount mirrorless cameras. The presenter is quite precise in his speech if a little general in his words - this is to be expected on a professional level. Ever since the inception of the mirror-less concept - making a digital camera with a decent-sized sensor and interchangeable lens system - there have been increases in specification by other makers. You might liken it to the campaigns of the mid forties in the Pacific. First small gains, then major advances, then a stranglehold on the photo market. Then someone drops something big - full-frame big - on the market and eventually the heads of formerly-imminent photographic companies have to admit that the commercial war has not necessarily gone to their advantage...

Nobody ever shot at me with live rounds. Blanks, yes, but no lead. I never returned the compliment either, but had I been in the position to do so, I think I would have chosen a Nikon camera to do it with. Starting with the Nikon rangefinder cameras and lenses ( which were drawing on a number of influences from the Zeiss cameras ) in the early 1950's photojournalists had a rugged 35mm camera that could be used in Korea, Indochina, and any number of war zones. The camera bodies were improved in a direct line until the idea of the SLR took root in the late 50's. Then the Nikon F soldiered on all during its production life. The battle camera needs several things: a. To be as rugged as possible. Metal body. Metal lens barrels. b. To be as small as possible. Light is better, if you are hauling it and 80 lbs of other gear into and out of ditches. c. To be as simple as possible. Big controls for tired fingers. Locking controls if possible. None of the occasions where it will...

You may be forgiven for thinking that the Nikon F camera with Photomic T finder and Nikkor-S 58mm f:1.4 lens shown at the top of the page has been dropped into a gravel crusher. Possible, but it's likely that it got that way from harder use - newspaper work with the local photo-journalists. Duncan Dodd acquired it to add to his collection and brought it along for studio illustration - and we got to test it out against a modern digital lens. Well, the Nikon F was a battleship of a camera - hard body and sharp edges, and design decisions carried over from the rangefinder Nikons of the 50's. They look crude now, but they are still working now...

I've kept my promise to the WA Nikon Sales Manager. I have not rung him up every hour asking for secret details about new Nikon products without mirrors. I have not burgled his office nor gone through his emails. I have not sat in the bushes opposite his house and glared at him through the leaves. Not that I haven't been tempted, mind. But I've realised that the best way to find out what is coming out is to wait until an official launch. That, and haunting the rumour sites and YouTube clips. You can do a great deal of good, and even a greater degree of bad, with internet speculation. But it doesn't help to frazzle the rep. The photographic world changes constantly - I did not realise how much until I entered the trade again in 2008. Quite apart from the catch-up needed to go from sheet film to second-generation digital, there was an almost weekly addition of new equipment and rising specification in the major brands. The designation of " major brand " also shifted perceptively while I watched,...

We've just seen the closure of the 100 years website that the Nikon corporation drew up to celebrate their anniversary year. It was worthwhile looking at as the corporation had the best stocks of information about their products over that time - and, of course, an immense number of a landmark productions in the time. But what was their biggest landmark for you - what was it for me? Did we have the same experience of the company over that time? I first encountered the brand in 1966 - when I took up amateur photography in high school. It was far beyond my reach financially, but I had no idea why...