Nikon F?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Ricochetrider, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. Hi everyone...

    SO here I go thinking again. Lomography is doing some different, fun, & interesting things these days, with film, cameras, and- more to the point of this thread, lenses.
    They are offering Petzval lenses in a variety of mounts, and I was thinking I might try to pick up a Nikon F 35mm camera to use in combination with one of these old style brass (or aluminum, as the case may be) body lenses.

    Of course it seems as though the Nikon F series cameras were built for decades, with quite a lot of variants and changes over the years. I thought I'd turn to you all to perhaps educate me a bit and also to maybe point me in the direction of a couple best options for a solid, manual Nikon F that I could put one of these cool lenses on.

    Here's a link to the Petzval lens

    New Petzval 80.5 f/1.9 MKII Art Lens Basic Edition Nikon F
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Why not just go here Link Cameras and save yourself trouble and probably money.
  3. There are a variety of cameras available, with varying amounts of automation.

    The F mount is used on all from the original Nikon F, and successors, Nikkormats FT though FT3, EL, EL2, FM, FM2, FE, FE2, and some that I forgot.

    Then there are the Nikon DSLRs which use the same mount.

    The earlier ones use a fork shaped device to couple to a meter. AI use a different coupling, but many still have the fork.
    Some AF lenses use a mechanical coupling to the camera, later ones, electronic with motor in the lens.

    As far as I can tell, the lens linked doesn't have auto focus and no aperture coupling, so should
    work on all F mount cameras, which is all Nikon film and digital SLRs.
    Other Nikon cameras can use them with an adapter.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  4. If I had to do it; I'd buy "something". A few threads away (<-click) a fellow photo.neter complains about the sticky rubber on his recent(ish) Nikon bodies. If a quick cheap dirty fix is needed at all, it should be doable.
    If you lust after something specific, buy that. I here might be pre-AI F2 leaning, on a "it should take pictures"-base, not caring about sync speed and after "a nikonest Nikon"... But anything built manual focusing in mind - Does that include the F4? - should be fine.
    if you want to use flash and especially TTL flash look for an FM2. I'd try to shop hands on, to figure out if i can live with various eye points, like the feel of a camera etc. maybe a well sorted store can also offer alternative focusing screens for the better models?
    But: To have some fun with the Petzval, I'd seek a digital option!
    Sorry, I see no way to focus an SLR lens succesfully at shooting aperture. Ground glass vision resolves less than the film later, so it can't predict a really sharp image. Since you (physically!) insert your f-stop, before you shoot, you don't even have the usual option to gain more DOF for your shot by stopping down further for exposure. To get "an as well as possible focused result", I'd love to stack my focusing attempts; i.e. shoot quick short bursts while moving my focus slightly. You can buy the F2 I mentioned with a motordrive and get down to 6 or less headshot attempts per roll, but I think something like a D3 would be an ideal camera to go with it, if it has to be a (D)SLR. Otherwise I'd look for a low resolution MILC with IBIS, high res EVF and high frame rate. - Z6? / A9? / A7 II(+x)?
    Yes, I am serious about focusing being THE(!) issue, with that lens. I'd try to cure a next door person's shopping plans by lending out film beaters with for example a 135mm and challenging them to bring home sharp portraits 1st half of the roll wide open 2nd slightly stopped down.- Not easy to nail manual focus on an eye in a headshot at f4. - Are attempts worth the film and a subject's time & efforts?
    Maybe Petzvals aren't for me. I'm challenged to see them grow into a workhorse role and recommend dabbling with an inexpensive Helios adapted on a small sensored MILC instead or for blood licking purposes before you sink 1K into a not very satisfying combo.
  5. 80/85mm f2 wasn't exactly uncommon in the days of manual focus SLRs like the F/F2.

    Should be easy enough to focus.
  6. A lot of the early fast lenses can have fairly interesting bokeh, albeit you don't get some of the funky shaped Waterhouse apertures on the Lomo Petzval.

    I'm partial to the Nikkor 5.8cm f/1.4, although this isn't always the easiest to find and can be pricey. There was also an early fluted ring Nikkor-H 85mm f/1.8, although I've not used those personally.
  7. I think one of the best cameras for experimenting with uncoupled manual lenses is a low-end Nikon digital. If you aren't too fussed by the crop factor, something like a D3300 or the like will accept any F mount lens and operate it in manual mode with no metering. I've done a lot of shots with home made macros on a D3200. It takes practice with the dim viewfinder, but you can improve, and also just get lucky.

    if focusing is going to be nearly impossible anyway you don't lose much by having the small and less bright focusing screen those models provide. If you're using a tripod you can do Live View and zoom the viewfinder image in and get pretty good focusing.
  8. I have a Nikon F1 but the meter is shot. I don’t know if they can be fixed (silvering?). I have some nice lenses, thinks about acquiring an FM2. Decent choice?
  9. I thought the F1 was Canon.

    The usual Nikon meters are part of removable viewfinders, and it isn't hard to find them for sale, though they might not work any better.

    The non-meter viewfinders are often more expensive.
  10. I have 3 FM2n Nikons and they are my favorite, however you need ai or ais lenses.
  11. FWIW, most old slide projectors came with a Petzval design lens. Usually of 80 to 100mm focal length.

    While not having the pretentious C19th styling, I'm pretty sure their image quality would be about the same as those overpriced lenses linked to.

    So, for just a small amount of money, or maybe free, you could salvage the lens and focussing mount from an old slide projector. Of which there must be thousands lying around unused.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  12. Even old high quality projector lenses are cheap these days. Maybe a year or two back, I paid $10 for a Buhl lens in Kodak mount that now resides on my Ektagraphic III. It's a 10.5" lens(~266mm), which is a bit long for home projection, but is good enough that I'll deal with having to put it in the next room or other end of the hallway :)
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  13. I have a Buhl 11" 279mm f/3:1. That thing is good but no good for projection. Image is too small.
  14. I have a Kodak 2.5in lens for the Carousel that I got I believe from Goodwill.

    Good for home projection in a small room when you can't get so far away.
  15. I was looking at Nikon F2s on e bay last night. Asking prices are darn reasonable
  16. The F2 Photomic and F2A tend to be.

    Don't look at F2AS or F2SB prices :) . Also avoid plain prisms if you want to avoid sticker shock.

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