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Tuesday, 13 November 2012


This is the main reason why I propose to go for a d800 to use as a travel lens - cropping instead of zoom lenses (and without the 'flattening' effect for distant objects) - just don't print too large.

Very nice :-)

Interesting backdrop. I can't help thinking of the airline ads: "I'm Nikki. Fly me."?

robert e,
I found it in the posterboard section of the local OfficeMax this evening. Most of the rest of what they had was day-glo, so I figured I'd give it a try.


and what is your ebay user id again?

Nice Nikkormat by the way

I would so love a good digital camera that looked exactly like this: no playback screen, only a viewfinder.
If additional playback is needed it should beam live view straight to your phone or other available device.
Or you just wait until you finished shooting (you're not supposed to be looking at your camera for Pete's sake).
Simpler, more beautiful.

Alright. Now you are starting a product photography career. :-)

Bear -- the flattening of distant objects is due to camera position, NOT to lens focal length; cropping and picking an appropriate focal length will give the same perspective from any given camera position.

Mike -- your ebay product shots look to be better than mine, and mine seem to be "good enough". Cropping is a form of enlargement, and the more you enlarge the sharper your original needs to be -- but shooting product shots with strobe should NOT pose any difficulties with getting to the upper-middle reaches of sharpness, so no problem.

"the flattening of distant objects is due to camera position, NOT to lens focal length; cropping and picking an appropriate focal length will give the same perspective from any given camera position."

'S true. The best illustration I ever saw of this--can't remember where--was an 8x10 neg shot with a 300mm normal lens, and a 35mm shot with a 300mm telephoto from the same camera position. The 35mm frame was placed up next to the appropriate crop of the much larger 8x10 neg. A great visual....


For a real size shocker photograph your D800 with a 28mm next to your Nikkormat with a 1970s 28mm. You can't really carry all that around all of the time, can you? Thus, the real cost of digital is not just your main camera but the other, smaller camera (e.g. Fuji XPro1) for when you are still shooting serious photos but just can;'t deal with the size and weight of the DSLRs...

I hope you have more gear to sell!


Warning! Advert.

Stuff for cleaning dirty cameras.
Where I live we can buy something called "Cyber Clean".
Just very sticky stuff that removes hard to clean dust.
Guess there might be something similar where you live Mike.

I have often thought this would be the result of mega pixel cameras. A photographer with a wide lens, capturing everything in one exposure and creating ten or twenty separate photographs from it. So I don't understand why you don't just photograph everything for sale in one big picture and crop? Or at least take the chore out of it and create a still life on one side of the frame and put the Nikkormat on the other ;-)

Steve B,
That sounds harder to me.


In general, to steepen perspective move closer to the subject and then zoom out to get everything else in your composition. To flatten perspective do the opposite.

My mind wandering again, I missed the whole point of this post. All I saw was a Manual Mechanical Metal camera, one from the "hockey puck" era of camera design.(Build them as tough as a 'hockey puck'.) It's strange but I still think of cameras like the FT3 as a modern camera. Man, I'm really behind the curve here.

Peter, some of us are very glad we have the playback screen. A tool to be used at times when we want to check whether we got the peak action in a sporting event so we can move to the next event - news coverage for papers and a half dozen games to photograph in a limited time frame.
Or, in my particular case, bare and glare ice in winter or water reflections in summer. Nice to know when one has just what is wanted when we can't really look directly into the viewfinder due to searingly bright sunlight.

Other than that I keep hoping Canon will bring out the EOS 3 in digital. As of yet, no Eye Control AF.

Canon is behind these days with Nikon upstaging both its last two introductions. Maybe their developers and engineers are busy putting the 50MP sensor into a new body? You know, the super-duper 50MP sensor they showed a year or so ago but have not put into a camera for us. Was supposed to be way better than anything else. Well, with Nikon and the D800 it is time for Canon to produce or keep sucking hind teat.

Good to see that you are enjoying the new camera. The dirt only shows up because you have all those pixels. You will just have to be very honest with your Ebay listings.

With great (resolving) power comes great responsibility! : )

Why would you sell a Nikkormat? It may be one of the best built cameras ever (except for the lightmeter). I still use mine weekly.

BTW - how much (if the meter works)

"Because I can" is a hell of a drug.

I'm getting that same giddiness from nearly the same source - D800, but the 24 f/1.4 rather than the 28.


I know you don't want to "pollute" your site (and feed), but it seems a shame to give eBay their cut when you probably have interested buyers among your readers. But then again, perhaps their merchant services really are worth something, especially to find buyers for any esoteric items.

May I recommend buying a tabletop "tent" for shooting this stuff? I've been shooting small products 1-off for years. But, like you, I've a line of small items (lenses, cameras, etc.) that I have to photograph for sale. So just the past week I finally purchased a collapsible tent to help standardize lighting and speed the process. It takes an hour or so of practice but it works great. And eBay buyers don't need / want to see creativity in such pics. They want to see the frank condition details.

Be careful using eBay auctions. I've been selling there in a small way for years with no problems. A couple of months ago I sold all my remaining Canon gear in eight auctions. I had trouble with half of them. In fact I still have one lens to resell. The buyer never responded to a single email he was sent.

I've been told that the fixed price sales are better with fewer issues. Might try that next time.

So many pixels... *goes cross-eyed*

Nikon photographing a Nickon...
obviously your protege son was not interested in being
a model. Now as to his motor vehicle...

I aways hated the axial shutter speed control on the nikkormat , then I started using a 'blad and came to like the round the mount shutter , but couldn't stand 35mm.

Always wondered who made them back when copal shutters were only licensed to a handful of makers.

The Nikkormat FTN I used for 35 years had such a funky meter, that half the time, the camera didn't even have a battery in it.
I learned to gauge light with the film package insert (which introduced the phrase "cloudy bright" into my vocabulary), adjust exposure according to conditions, and bracket like crazy.
When discussing cameras with other photogs, they would have one of two comments about the Nikkormat-
"Poor man's Nikon", or "That camera is a workhorse, you could pound nails with it"

Not to be negative or anything (negative? This is digital!) but I find your blue-sky background makes it look like the white balance is way off. As in, set-for-daylight-and-shot-indoors kind of off.

It's not so obvious in the "crop" that the backdrop is supposed to be blue, so all that blue reflection on the silver of the camera body makes me go "eeeek!"

With respect to Pavel's comment on hastily-made product shots, I must say what's "good" and "bad" is highly subjective. I recently got into my head of taking photos of my current cameras (long story), and after a bit of experimentation and thought, came to the conclusion that a slightly overhead view with a wide-angle compact in macro mode gave the most pleasing results. Yes, the perspective is highly unnatural, but as with car and keyboard photos it adds a certain charm to the scene that's missing from more normal shots, and using a compact gives you DOF to spare.

Now, I won't deny that most of those product shots were likely made as such for reasons of inexperience rather than conscious artistic intent, but I feel it's more a case of "doing right for the wrong reasons" than something in need of correction per se. Though, as I said before, it's all subjective anyways so feel free to disagree :)

For those that warn of the eternally impending obsolescence of any digital camera body: My two 12MP, full frame Nikon D3's are still working fine four and a half years after I acquired them, and I expect they'll still be working fine in another four and a half years. For small prints no more pixels are required or desired. I still pull the D3 out for everyday or experimental shots, even though there's a D800E sitting just nearby.
By the way, the each D3 camera paid for itself within a year and a half of purchase when measured against the cost of shooting those sixty-plus thousand frames on color transparency film.

So I take it from Darin's comment above the D800 and any pro-grade lens combo is an Armstrong camera. You carry it and your arm gets strong. No harm in such exercise.

From a fellow Nikkormat FT3 shooter (black paint, semi-wonky meter, self-timer removed, and showing some miles) three bits of advice to the wise soon-to-be owner of the above camera.

1.) The inner edges of the film rewind knob adjacent to the pop-up rewind lever are often sharp enough to slice a finger open.

2.) Yes, that ISO setting tab under the lens mount is a fingernail breaker when you want it to move and yet it moves easily on its own in your camera bag.

3.) When in bear country you may be tempted to swing this Nikkormat about but do carry bear spray for protection.

Mike - What lens is that in the lower left corner of the second picture?

Is it an AI lens, and have you given it a shot on the D800?

I've done a little bit of experimenting with the few old AI lenses I've got, and I've found that they can be surprisingly good performers on the D800. The next expense is going to be AI-conversion of my old favorites (24/2.8, 32/2, 55/1.2 and 105/2.5)...

Does this mean I can throw away my Tilt-and-Shift lens 8-)

BTW we said "close enough for government work" in Hollywood.

Back in 1969 I brought a Nikkormat FTN with a 50mm 1.4 back from Okinawa with me. Loved the higher sync speed shutter on the Nikkormat vs an F or F2. I did finally give the Nikkormat body to my sister and went with an F2 but kept the lens.

"Lighting is one umbrella at camera left."

What? Is this a guest post from David Hobby?

Nostalgia is good for the soul, I guess, and I have a lot of it seeing the Nikkormat. My first SLR was a black Nikkormat circa 1972, after I'd worked long enough at my first job to afford it--about a month. I bought the Nikkormat instead of the F because the shutter control was around the lens mount and I could quickly adjust both shutter and aperture with slight movements of my left hand. Wonderful! Then some bozos stole it our of our house in 1981 and Nikkormats were no longer available . With a family I couldn't afford Nikons, so I moved to Minolta and bought an XGM from a store going out of business. They'd marked it down enough that I could afford a telephoto, too. I later moved to Minolta X700s, but have all that gear from...hmmm...30 years ago and it still works fine. But it's not up to producing the image quality of my Canon 7D. I just finished an assignment with the X700 and shot some record shots with my 7D and the it's easy to see the image quality differences.

"Is this a guest post from David Hobby?"

Not hardly. I can guarantee you that David has forgotten more about artificial lighting than I ever knew.


I believe any Nikon SLR can use Ai lenses. I use them all the time on my F.

[Yes, AI lenses are back-compatible, but they won't auto index. Here's a page explaining the ins and outs of AI and AIS. --Mike]

Sell it.

I've had an FT2 in my bag for 20 years and I have never liked it. It is too heavy, too loud, has too much shutter vibration, and its edges are too pointy. And it has that stupid OM-like shutter dial. The lovely smaller more rounded FE's and FM's are just so much better for real-world use. I'd sell my Nikkormat, too, but the meter's off and the back door has a cosmetic dent and 1/1000s is slow, so I'd be lucky to get $25 for it.

When you sell those Rolleis let me know. If they were from Bob Shell they're worth an extra $20!

Uh, the first picture of a real camera I have come to find on this side.

"Uh, the first picture of a real camera I have come to find on this side."

I'm not understanding. On this side of what?


"The old Nikon will still be going long after the D800 is in a recycling bin."

I don't know that I'd agree with that. A friend bought my first digital camera -- a Canon D60 -- off of me when I upgraded around 2005. It's still alive and kicking, even after spending a night submerged in a creek when he rolled his car trying to avoid a deer. Just because we're in an age that encourages buying new bodies every few years doesn't mean the old ones need to be sent to the recycling bin.

Talk about triggering nostalgia! Starting around 1967 I got my FTN, then five years later, got the FT2, and a year after the FT3 came along, adopted it -- by trading the FTN and cash to the Denver dealer. Decades later (and thousands of great family, theatre and fishing slides) I sold the FT2 to my new son-in-law and got the nearest to the spirit of the Nikkormats: the Pentax 67. Last year, my beloved but unused FT3 and 50mm 1.4 underwrote part of my new Pentax 45mm. As with several of your posters, I loved those cameras for the simple purposefulness they brought to the task. I've followed your D800/E saga with interest, knowing that's where I should go, soon, but lament that there's no digital parallel to the old Nikkormats or the Pentax 67. I don't want or need video. I want simple but reliable. I want a stout body to mount a fine lens on. I'd like to be able to operate it in the dark, by feel. I know I need at least "full" frame, because I shoot and sell really big pieces, but the cavalcade of new digital cameras seems so transitory to me -- unlike the unchanging adequacy of the old Nikkos and the P 67. What's a guy to do? I'm still "studying" on it.

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