This week’s featured post is a very well written and thorough dive into Nikon’s Pre-AI (sometimes called non-AI) lens system. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, AI stands for “Automatic Indexing” and was a way in which the position of the aperture ring could be automatically coupled to the camera body so the camera’s light meter could make an exposure reading at your chosen f/stop without having to first stop down the lens. Prior to Nikon’s AI system, the lenses were manually indexed, using that little tab that looks like “bunny ears” on older Nikon lenses.
The challenge with Pre-AI lenses is that they physically won’t mount to some later Nikon bodies and as a result Pre-AI lenses usually sell for less in the used market. Regardless of whether or not you can mount or not mount the lens, the optical quality of the lens was usually identical regardless of which variation of lens you had. So for those of you looking to save some money while shooting some of Nikon’s excellent lenses like their 50/2 budget lens, the 105/2.5 portrait lens, or any number of other excellent lenses they’ve made over the years, you can get the same quality results by going with Pre-AI lenses and this article covers that for you.
Here are more great posts from some of my favorite sites:
In what will likely be the most controversial post of the week, Johnny Marytr makes the bold claim that refrigerating your film is a waste of time, and can actually hurt your film in some instances. His logic is based around the idea that people become obsessed with storage and the number of hoops you need to jump through to keep moisture away from chilled film, and the risks of a power outage make a lot of sense to me. Whether you agree with him or not, his article is worth a read.
I’m a pretty big fan of Ricoh’s cameras. The 519M and the Anscomark M are two of my favorite rangefinders. I haven’t had the best of luck with their “premium” compact point and shoots of the 80s and 90s with the Ricoh R1 showing up in a Cameras of the Dead article. So it was with great fascination (and a bit of envy) that I read Edward Chang’s take on the Ricoh GR10. It’s considered by many to be the little brother of the highly desirable GR1, but what do you give up by going small?
I have a confession. I’m not a fan of slide film. The additional cost of having to send it out for development since I can’t do it myself plus it’s reputation of having less than forgiving latitude has kept me away. Now that Kodak’s Ektachrome E100 has been back for a while and people have really gone crazy over it, maybe I should reconsider. Thankfully Josh Solomon from Casual Photophile is here to report on his thoughts of the film after spending the last half year with it. Will I finally make the plunge and shoot my first roll of E6 film, or will I stick with what is cheap to develop?
What is this? A double dip?! Yep, Johnny Martyr is here twice this week with an interesting review of something called the Match Technical Thumbs Up Grip. It’s a neat accessory that clips onto the camera’s accessory shoe and offers a comfortable thumb rest that helps you maintain a more comfortable and stable grip on earlier knob wind cameras like Barnack Leicas. Make no mistake, this is not a “lever wind” accessory for the camera, and only serves the purpose of making the camera easier to hold, but Johnny’s overall vibe seemed to be very positive and worth considering for those of you street shooters who could benefit from a better grip on your valuable vintage Leicas.
Making it’s first appearance in my Recommended Reading list, Dan James from 35 Hunter talks about something that many camera collectors, myself included, have faced, which is addition to buying new gear, or quite simply GAS. Dan went through an acquisition phase where he accumulated more cameras and lenses than he could reasonably shoot or even appreciate, and his post talks about his struggle with how he overcame it. It’s a short read, but something that I think is interesting to nearly every collector I know.
Finally, another new appearance, this time it’s Alex Luyckx from his eponymous blog with both a blog post and a new episode of his Classic Camera Revival Podcast. Alex is an accomplished photographer from Canada who has a passion for large format photography and in this 30 minute podcast, he chats about the “Leica of Large Format”, the Linhof Master Technika V. The blog post shows some sample photos he got with his, along with his thoughts on using it. I haven’t made the plunge into large format yet, but after listening to him speak, I feel that I need to!
I often hear from many people that as they get older, finding new music gets harder and harder, and while I’ll admit, I’m less willing to go out and listen to new bands than I used to be, on occasion a new band comes along that I instantly fall in love with. Such is the case with the latest album “Artifacts” by Athens, Greece based Mother of Millions. Mother of Millions strikes that perfect balance of heaviness and progression that I love in music. It’s neither too fast, too slow, too melodic, or too heavy. Lead singer George Prokopiou’s voice is highly reminiscent of Jonas Renske from Katatonia, another of my favorite bands. If you are into any level of heavy progressive rock or metal in the vein of Tool, Riverside, Pain of Salvation, or Kingcrow, you owe it to yourself to check this album out!
E-6 (Slide) & C-41 (Color Negative) is no more difficult than B&W processing. Temperature and timing are little more critical but the former can be controlled with a “Sous Vide” controller (Around $70 on Amazon). Try it — it is fun!
There was a time when I didn’t think I wanted to try B&W and when I did it, I thought I couldn’t do C41 and I did it. So you’re probably right in that E6 is something I can do too, its just finding the time and money to invest in the additional chemicals, more bottles, and that sous vide thingamajig!
A long time ago, in a place where people used film to record images, Nikon announced the AI upgrade service for “classic Nikon lenses.” Taking the long view, I had every Nikon-branded lens upgraded, because:
1. I coudln’t afford to replace the “classic Nikkors” with “AI native Nikkors.”
2. The cost per lens was affordable and better than later “bodge jobs” I’ve seen over the years.
3. This enhanced the value of even older, non-multicoated Nikkors.
So, be it a Nikkormat FTN, Nikon FM, or F3, all my non-AF Nikkors work just fine. It pays to plan ahead.;)