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Friday, 02 July 2021

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Re; The new "retro" Nikon Zfc... I'll keep my Nikon FA and my Fuji X-E3, thank you.

It sounds silly, but it really concerns me that Nikon is getting comfortable in making lenses that lie like this. the new 28 looks like it should have a aperture ring - I understand why it doesn't, and that's not simply laziness - in Nikon world Z mount lens simply do not have aperture rings. Really wish they would let the older style influence a new design, without putting fake air scoops on the gear.

I'm loving my Z; it doesn't need dressing up. I bought the megadap adapter and and getting a kick out of using M glass and AI Nikkors on the Z with AF, but with the exception of the 105 2.5, it's a parlor trick. The 50 1.8Z is simply brilliant, and makes my beloved Summicron look like a perfectly okay lens. So as much I love having direct access with dials - IBIS and the no small but gorgeous Z glass is winning the day.

Maybe of interest to users of Fujifilm cameras, regarding the new Nikon Z Fc.

It killed my "grass is greener..." thoughts.

https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/buying-guides/nikon-z-fc-vs-fujifilm-x-t30-its-a-battle-of-style-versus-substance-but-which-wins

Wicked funny! And true.

I would not be surprised if this lens broke records for vignetting as well. Let's say four stops or more in the corners on full frame, before the inevitable in-camera correction of the raw file. According to Nikon themselves, their main objective is cost-cutting, and eventually this will show in the products they make. But we'll see.

I don't see those candy colored mutants as a threat to the Fuji system, but if people like 'em- have at 'em!

I do miss those metal rings around the lenses though...

I'm so tempted by this camera - perhaps I can pair it with a Topiky 25mm f1.8 available new on Amazon UK for £25.99 - sure to be top quality given that, and I quote, "there are up to 12 aperture blades, can shoot almost circular disc of confusion". (As well as having a disc of confusion, "Up to" is an interesting concept - maybe how many blades you get varies and is down to luck of the draw?).

Anyway, I really am taken by this lovely looking camera even if a 42mm equivalent is the only matching lens from Nikon. No word yet on its disc of confusion i don't think, but here's hoping.

You certainly hit in on the head vis-à-vis the Fuji/Nikon customer relationship. There are a ton of x-Nikon pros that have been happily ensconced in the Fuji world (and every one of them I ask says it's all about the primes), but I'll go you one further: most of the people I know happily shooting Fuji are people who love old metal cameras with mechanical controls, regardless of manufacture!

I openly admit to fingering the bills in my desk-top cigar box when I saw the pictures of the new Nikon, but I closed the lid when I remember waiting for years for Nikon to cough up some reasonably priced, and sized APS-C prime lenses. I won't get fooled again. I let my Nikon stuff go, and bought into M4/3rd's, mostly to get the multiple aspect ratios, and since almost everything I do gets reproduced magazine size, or on-line, everything is hunky-dory!

At this point, I figure I have a slightly better chance of having either Olympus or Panasonic cough up a professional, mechanical controls, no video, M4/3rd's, camera body; than I do having Nikon cough up a full line of f/2 or f/2.8 APS-C primes!

That is a pretty wild arrangement of elements if you are used to looking at 30 year old lens designs. I remember when all the big elements would be in front of the aperture back when telecentricity wasn't a big thing.

That 28mm 2.8 AIS lens is pretty wild. I love pointing out to people who own them that the front element rotates and moves in and out a little bit but the beauty ring is stationary. Somehow nobody notices that.

I simply don't get, and probably never will get, why someone would shell out $1200 or whatever for a styled reproduction of an SLR with one available prime lens to use with. I'd feel like such a dufus holding this thing. There is a whole ecosystem available to people who want to shoot with an FM, it's called film. Every major city has a lab that will scan your film. Mine in Southeast Michigan gets it back to me in 2 hours. I swear, if I ever see someone using this thing I will laugh out loud.

If you are stuck on digital, you can get a Pentax KP for maybe $700. It's the same size and has a real OVF. And you can get a boatload of APS-C metal lenses (except one in precisely 35mm, true, you have to settle for 32mm).

On the subject of Series E lenses. I have a 28mm f2.8 MK2. I bought it because one internet commentator said it was the worst prime Nikon ever made and others trashed it too. So I bought one and I think it's a nice lens, small, light and I think the image quality is good too. I have a 35mm f2.5 Series E MK1 and I like that too. I also have a set of AI-S lenses including the 28mm f2.8 AI-S and I do think that is a really good lens.

Pick up a Fujifilm X-S10 and you'll notice that the shutter speed and ISO dials are gone! The controls are more like the Nikon Z50 than the Z fc. Also, the aperture ring on all zoom lenses has no aperture values on the lens barrel, you have to find it somewhere else, like "any other cameras". The aperture ring is just like another dial, except that it is on the lens. It seems that it's trend with Fujifilm, first with the X-H1, then this X-S10.

At least they didn't stick a little fake aperture index tab on it.

I like Nikon and what they're doing with the ff Z system. I'm particularly excited about the compact 40mm as that's my sweet spot for primes. I love the 50/1.8 Z prime but it's pretty large. The 40 would probably replace it if the IQ were in spitting distance (a high bar).

The Fc is kind of ugly IMO. Not as bad as the Df, but a far cry from the X-T4. I can see the resemblence with the X-T20/30 much more clearly, especially in how cramped it feels.

I think the whole "retro" thing is a damned if you do/damned if you don't proposition. People have been clamoring for the pared-down digital with analog feel but when companies actually go that route, people balk. They want their dual control dials and video buttons. The X-E4 is the most recent example: Fujifilm actually pared the camera down to the essentials for most photographers and yet the widely-echoed lament that they removed the D-pad AND the rear wheel leaving you "only" the front wheel and aperture ring (most XF lenses) and exposure compensation wheel and shutter speed dial and touch screen and joystick...sheesh, people are annoying. People in the internet echochamber even moreso.

I'm beginning to think the whole retro-style thing is mostly a mismatch of film UI to digital parameters, which does A LOT more in camera. Film cameras have one job, which is to expose an area of film. Digital cameras are a combination of film camera, darkroom, video camera, etc. Of course there will be more controls and a different UI logic.

And I think most photographers actually instinctively know this, and the market reflects this.

That said, I still cling to that analog aesthetic, even if I've opened more cans of baked beans with my X-T30's shutter speed dial than actually adjusted shutter speed...

In réponse to Edwin, only the variable aperture zooms don't have marked aperture rings. However, they do have a ring to adjust the aperture. Only one prime lens (the XC 35) doesn't have an aperture ring. While yes the XS-10 and XT200 don't have a dedicated shutter speed dial all other Fuji bodies do including the lower end XT200. I have the following Fuji prime lenses 14, 16, 18 (1.4 and 2.0), 23 (1.4 and 2.0), 27, 35 (1.4 and 2.0), 50, 56, and 90. Every single one of them has an aperture ring.

So no Edwin it's not a trend. In fact they just updated the 27mm with an aperture ring.

Hi James, Thanks for your comment, and sorry for my bad English. When I say "a trend", I was referring to the getting rid of shutter and ISO dials, not the aperture ring markings. I have the X-T1, XPro-2, X-E3, X100f and the X-H1, that's why I'm keeping an eye on Fujifilm developments. Honestly, my shutter speed and ISO dials are always at the A position, I guess that beats one of the reasons to own Fuji's :(

Hi Mike
It’s exciting that Nikon is trying various angles to manage their place in the market. Their FX DSLRs are wonderful in output and in use. The Z system is cutting edge; the cameras maintain most of Nikon’s effective UI and the lenses are somewhere from very good to best in class.

This new camera looks good. I’d even be interested if it weren’t for a few puzzlers. The key one is revealed in this lens. And this is best explored by describing the design as analogue rather than retro. Meaning the controls are manual and visible much as they were through most of photography’s history. The style may be labelled retro but the meaning is analogue.

This is where FujiFilm got it right and Nikon wavered. With almost all Fuji’s cameras and lenses a glance at the camera reveals key settings. And aperture is nicely adjusted with the camera to your eye, and in time it’s simpler still because as you glanced down you saw the current setting and know how many clicks there are to the desired setting.

On this pretty Nikon the aperture is seen in a window, but only with the camera switched on. And of course there are no markings on the lens.

If Nikon really wanted to own a lasting piece of this territory they would have committed. Success requires that a company at least appears to believe an apparent direction. And this commitment would have included a set of truly analogue controlled lenses. Just as FujiFilm did with the X-Pro 1.

Nikon appears to be playing here. That’s sad and disappointing. They’ll win sone sales for sure. It’s a sexy looking camera and will operate well. But they haven’t given it depth. They are playing and will likely land with play results.

Oh well.

I owned the Nikkor 28 2.8 AIS for a time. It was a fantastic lens. This Z version copy is nice, but a plastic mount? It's the same soup, just warmed over with Nikon: a tentative and half-hearted step with a new look while Fuji eats its lunch.

My favorite all-time camera is the Nikon FE2. The Nikon D700 is probably my favorite digital camera of all time. The colors from that camera are still unmatched. I just couldn't carry the weight anymore. I had hopes for the 1 series which retained that Nikon color signature that I enjoy so much. But those cameras were the fc of their time. Half-hearted and half-assed execution and commitment from Nikon.

I've moved on to Panasonic and Olympus micro-four-thirds. Panasonic has improved its color signature significantly since the days of the GF1 (too cool) and there are great lenses for this system. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the grip gives me that old-school feel of the FE2 and an MD12 winder with much less weight.

I no longer have a single favorite prime lens, but do have favorites for particular uses. The one lens that keeps coming to mind, though, is a Nikon 20mm f/4 that I used extensively on a family trip, mounted on a Nikon FM-2. It matched very well how I was seeing at the time, and was small, light, and unobtrusive. You can see some of the photos at https://williamtyler.smugmug.com/Vacation-1997/n-mw26S9/

I rediscovered AI-S lenses with the F3. Namely, the 35/2, 50/1.4 and 75-150/3.5.

The 35 and 50 are really impressive, even after having owned and used Leica, Rolleiflex, Schneider, Rodenstock, Canon, Mamiya and Fuji. I love the Fuji 35/1.4, seemingly like everybody, but I cannot say the Nikon 50/1.4 is less joyful. It is technically worse at f/1.4 and maybe in other regards, but really, who cares? Where the AI/S shines absolutely is manual focus. Combined with the F3 this is a mechanical experience that is up there with Leica. All the Fuji lenses I own are just sufferable for manual focus in comparison.

In a somewhat related aspect, I have been waiting 7 years for Fuji to come up with tilt-shift lenses. I long for that because I had several years with a view camera. The wait is over. Last week I came across a very well priced D850 in a shop and bought it. My 3 Fuji bodies and 5 lenses are for sale.

The 40 years old 50mmm f/1.4 AI-S is a joy to use on the D850. The viewfinder shows in focus/out of focus remarkably well, much better than I anticipated and the electronic focus indicator works very well indeed. The d850 helps showing the Nikon optical designers knew very well what they were doing 40 years ago.

I think it only takes a few days using AI-S lenses with an F3 or a D850 to restore any lost respect for Nikon.

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