Topic: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I've had the itch for a Nikon F3 really bad, ever since a friend brought his into work and I had a play with it. A year or so later, one pops up at a price I can afford and justify. No-brainer!

While the pro system camera stuff like accessory viewfinders, screens, motordrives etc are probably something I'll never have a need for, the basic camera itself is just beautiful - perfectly weighted and solid, wonderfully engineered (if you haven't felt the film wind on an F3 ... it's Leica-smooth) and with my preferred aperture priority auto as well as a lot of manual control. It can basically do everything that's necessary or even just nice to have ... mirror-up, super long exposures on T, double exposures at the flip of a little switch, plus everything's double-locked off so no accidental setting changes or film back opening etc.

I know aesthetics of the gear don't really have any place in photography, but well, it is just so black, purposeful, and form-follows-function beautiful, to me a really evolved and damn near perfect camera, the sort that really makes you want to load film and just go take photos. I just finished a roll of Precisa CT100 which'll get processed in due course, and next up is some Tri-X :-)

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5547/14120637784_6b5cd81ec4_c.jpg
Kills all known flowers, dead by SteveFE, on Flickr

With the g/f's Nikkormat, an equally solid lump of Nikon engineering but just not quite there in looks :-)

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7200/14112568955_d518d00803_c.jpg
DSC03059 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Anyway, does it actually take photos? Erm, yes! Here are a few from my first roll, shot on Ilford Pan F at box speed ISO 50, semi-stand developed in R09 @ 1:100, one hour, one inversion at the half hour. The wide shots are done with my old plastic fantastic Cosina 19-35mm zoom, the portrait with a Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8 AF-D, both AF lenses but of course manual focussed on this camera. I need to get some sweet AI primes!

Pics mostly taken in Birmingham city centre. I was impressed at the ability of semi-stand development to retain very bright highlight sky detail without blocking up shadows - it's almost like on-film HDR, no Photoshop done to these scans. The small amount of haloing at bright/dark edges is a sort of characteristic of the process.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7408/14098838295_d94867b844_c.jpg
F3-025 by SteveFE, on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7309/14099249904_899d028c42_c.jpg
F3-026 by SteveFE, on Flickr

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5317/14095589361_fc57b8685d_c.jpg
F3-023 by SteveFE, on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7408/13912169890_272f156f3d_c.jpg
F3-019 by SteveFE, on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7379/13916128447_060b5b3920_c.jpg
F3-017 by SteveFE, on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7402/13916119499_869ff90811_c.jpg
F3-011 by SteveFE, on Flickr

And the Nikkormat girl (whose new favourite camera is a box Brownie 620 model C):

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2911/14118893373_10473eb89e_c.jpg
F3-004 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Last edited by SteveFE (2014-05-06 07:20:52)

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I don't beliefe it. And I don't hope it.
I mean for you.

The last 35mm? Not really!

I still have the same bad itch for the FM2. Had one 20 years ago, sold them for bying the Contax. But the love has never ended, and from time to time I check the marktplace.

Congratulation, the FM3 looks really pretty good. And thanks for the couple of interesting pictures.

Hanoi

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

F3! There's no M in this camera's name. It's a pure F in lineage. It is the slightly more electronic inheritor to the F and F2. Still an all-metal camera.

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

SteveFE wrote:

F3! There's no M in this camera's name. It's a pure F in lineage. It is the slightly more electronic inheritor to the F and F2. Still an all-metal camera.

Ups, sorry for this very bad typing error. But it was not a Freudian slip.

Hanoi

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I like your B&W series , Steve !

I am a Pentacon and kiev( MF and35 mm) user,and also :contaxII,III,IIa  ,contaflex , contarex bullseye ,voigtlander ....

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Thanks Peter! This camera's so much fun to use. It just feels right, and makes you want to take photos which is surely what it's all about? Got a roll of Tri-X awaiting development now :-)

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I understand well your feeling , Steve : whatever be the machine-aircraft or camera-  it must suit ergonomically , the hands and brain of the man at the controls . We also  say that a beautiful  aircraft -Spitfire or Hawker Hunter- flies well . A beautiful camera which you like  , does take good photographs !

I am a Pentacon and kiev( MF and35 mm) user,and also :contaxII,III,IIa  ,contaflex , contarex bullseye ,voigtlander ....

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Here are some of my favourites off the Tri-X roll I developed yesterday (Tri-X shot at ISO400 box speed, dev in Aculux 3, 1:9, 11 minutes), most of them shot with a YA2 deepish orange filter:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7302/14109089316_9d8e1254d6_c.jpg
F3-Tri-X-022 by SteveFE, on Flickr

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2935/14129297562_f2c42d4aec_c.jpg
F3-Tri-X-011 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Funfair's in town!

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2898/13945612037_62aebcd058_c.jpg
F3-Tri-X-032 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Derelict ex-army huts in Hereford:

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5031/14109126126_bacb50e9ba_c.jpg
F3-Tri-X-013 by SteveFE, on Flickr

My favourite four cypresses on the River Wye:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7417/13945652229_c4f22ecbd1_c.jpg
F3-Tri-X-012 by SteveFE, on Flickr

My favourite shot off the roll. One of the most fun things about shooting film is not having the instant feedback of digital, so you're never quite sure whether you've pulled off a trick shot like a motion pan and it's a nice surprise when it comes off looking like you'd imagined when you took it.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7304/14128959341_d9d0d7f9fb_c.jpg
F3-Tri-X-030 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Of course , your last picture is great !
I know how difficult it is to get the  blurred   and the sharp zones at the right places : I practiced this kind of shots with our elder grandson in a dodgem . Your framing is also perfect .
By the way , are you sure that your four cypresses are not four poplars ? i like this picture and its sky .

I am a Pentacon and kiev( MF and35 mm) user,and also :contaxII,III,IIa  ,contaflex , contarex bullseye ,voigtlander ....

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Could well be. I don't know much about trees! I just assume tall skinny ones are cypresses :-)

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

The new camera inspired you to fine B&W shots!
But I think Ikonpeter is right about the tall trees smile

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Minolfan wrote:

The new camera inspired you to fine B&W shots!

Being in confidence with a camera is a big plus. It is not a question of features as most of the cameras are more or less similar; it is just that you trust your gear and it perfectly fits your needs and your habits.

"That rug really tied the room together."  The Dude

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

The thing I really like about the F3 is that the features are just what's necessary, for me anyway. Just Av for metering automation, not millions of modes. Full manual if you want it. EV compensation ring. Mirror lockup with a simple lever. Double exposures with a simple lever. Even a T position on the speed dial for effortless, batteryless long exposures. And no menus to dive into or hold up the process, just good old mechanical levers and dials whose function is obvious without needing an instruction manual along for the ride :-)

It really is a super elegant, sophisticated yet simple camera to use. Quite how Nikon managed to make such a dog's dinner of the Df when they had this camera in their history to show them exactly how to make a real photographer's camera with the perfect feature set, I don't know!

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Yep, these ol'Pro cams were the true workhorses of their days... I got to handle/use an F4 at one point a few years back and it's so solid feeling I was tempted to buy it, but it was way overpriced (500+), so I passed... Maybe one day.

Yes Steve, just the controls you need and no extra frills. Seems the industry has changed it course, sad to say, in todays digital age. Would be great if a decent, reliable digi back was made for these old bodies. We're almost there, as far as size goes... but now someone needs to make one... simple is good...

Nice shots! http://www.dgrin.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif

Seymore
MooreFoto

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Steve,

it is the DE-2 Prism you have got with the F3?

Hanoi

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I don't know what it's called. It's not the high point finder, just the standard low profile one, is that a DE-2?

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Yes, this is the DE-2.

Hanoi

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I think I found my perfect lens to go with it, the 35/2.8 AI Nikkor (nice cheap buy from the same guy who sold me the F3). Something about the 35mm field of view works just right with the big bright 100% finder, it feels spacious but not too wide when composing pics. A few quick ones from around Hereford, all shot with the 35, using Rollei/Agfa Retro 80S exposed at ISO 50, dev 10 minutes in R09 at 1:50. I really like this film, the negatives looked as clear and contrasty as an inverted version of Scala with really deep blacks and a nice fine grain, plus it dries nice and flat and is easy to scan.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5513/14370914994_f1d7a5f708_z.jpg
DSC03305 by SteveFE, on Flickr

St Owens Street and The Barrels (highly recommended, beer fans!)
https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3926/14345099016_5087d24e09_z.jpg
Retro80s017 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Classic British motoring:
https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3853/14181763167_1af0098016_z.jpg
Retro80s003 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Hereford's Bull, a bit quieter and less intimidating than Birmingham's bull!
https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3901/14368244395_e392913f79_z.jpg
Retro80s008 by SteveFE, on Flickr

St Owens Cross:
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2932/14345159966_f97e9ecc73_z.jpg
Retro80s012 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Our new shopping canyon:
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5587/14368276505_53e685a903_z.jpg
Retro80s010 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Evidence that the English abuse our own language more than most Europeans to whom it's not their native language (maybe that means they're taught better?)
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2897/14367305244_07933e7b63_z.jpg
Retro80s009 by SteveFE, on Flickr

And finally, what we used to call the scrapyard when I was a kid, but is now a materials reclamation and recycling centre!
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5560/14181643839_99a91724a2_z.jpg
Retro80s021 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I like these pictures : the simple life in an English town  . I note the excellent rendering of the clouds and sky .

I am a Pentacon and kiev( MF and35 mm) user,and also :contaxII,III,IIa  ,contaflex , contarex bullseye ,voigtlander ....

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Thanks! The sky's a bit blown in a couple of them, the lighting was very varied and I didn't have an orange filter to tame it. I do really like the film though. It's too contrasty for some people's tastes but just right for mine!

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Some colour stuff, using Precisa CT 100, shot with the plastic fantastic Cosina 19-35mm AF lens (used manual on the F3 of course), a super cheap but really rather good ultrawide for use on film:

Jag -

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3844/14524642615_f4976aa237_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-030 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Nikon girl at Heathrow -

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3914/14544772783_b2e3f255c9_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-023 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Premier travel , Bristol-style -

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5579/14338073268_950a796431_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-007 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Terminal 5 canyon -

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3907/14501543656_b152c3d43a_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-019 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Another real Mini (I try to get at least one on every roll of film!) -

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5550/14523207214_e5ae2fe263_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-018 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Hereford cathedral -

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3846/14338069358_b7030ee098_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-035 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Enjoying Cornish pasties and the best coffee in Hereford (handheld, 1/15 if I remember right) -

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3907/14338066778_3b8b205268_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-017 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Graffiti underpass, Bristol -

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2918/14544763623_5d88195b94_z.jpg
F3-Precisa-Spring2014-021 by SteveFE, on Flickr

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

22

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

SteveFE, Like your post. I myself have decided to stop stating the "Last ________ (anything) I'll ever buy" as that statement only seems to bring on new-to-me "bargains.  I do however  own a couple of Nikkomats that though heavy as a brick, are fun for me to use, sporting  some very nice glass. The FTn and the FN2 of mine ,both with working meters, have  a well thought out control system for their time. Then there's the glass! My favourites being the 105's (both kinds) being my most used while the 35mm and the 50mm seem to both be shelf bound so far.  Like your shots by the way. I've always admired the mini's almost bought one for my bride but her head was turned by a Nissan minivan!  Different  strokes for different folks as it's said.

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

RED, if I had to choose just one camera and one lens to use for the rest of my life, it'd be this one and the 35mm. Different horses for different courses, and I do love me a 105 for a portrait,  but if pushed I'd take a 35 every time. Well, this 35, not just any 35. The camera and lens are a pretty magical and just right combination for me.

Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

I just joined the Nikon MF club with a F3 HP and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI lens. I have shot only one roll of film with it so far (wanted to make sure all was operating well, no light leaks etc. before burning u any more film). While waiting for my film to be processed & the scans returned I use the 50mm f/1.4 AI lens on my digital Nikon D610. Got some great pics and was almost as easy to use as a digital AF lens except I could only use A and M modes and had to manually focus. When I got my film scans back I immediately noticed the film has noticeably richer color than the digital!

Nikon F3 HP, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4; Konica T3N, T4, FT-1; Lenses: 21/4; 24/2.8; 50/1.4; 50/1.7; 57/1.2; 100/2.8; 135/3.5; 200/4 55/3.5 Macro; 28-135/4-4.6 (2); 80-200/3.5; Teleconverter 2X; Bellows 3AR; Super Lentar 35/2.8; Spiratone 400/6.3 preset; Pheonix 500/8 mirror. Mamiya RB67 Pro SD; Mamiya 90/3.5 KL; 127/3.5 KL. Canon EOS 20D; Canon 18-55/3.5-3.8; Tamron 28-200/3.8-5.6; Helios 44M 58/2

Re: The last 35mm SLR I'll ever buy?

Lovely photos Steve. I especially enjoyed seeing that (real) Mini. wink

I put that adapter in a safe place, never to be seen again.