Nifty Fifty!

I’d got something else planned for this post but then realised it would be my 50th so changed my mind…

‘Freelance Wastrel’ has proved surprisingly easy to create posts for and writing it has put me in touch with some fantastic people, I’m hoping that I can maintain the momentum of creating content for it throughout the winter months.

Nikkor 50mm lensesA few Nikon ‘Nifty Fifties’

I’ve mentioned my collection of Nikkor lenses before and the image above shows the 50mm examples… They are as follows:

  • 50mm f/2 AI, introduced in 1977. (Top left)
  • 50mm f/1.8 AIS, introduced in 1980. My favourite due to its minimum focusing distance of 0.45m. (Top right)
  • 50mm f/1.8 AIS, the later, more compact ‘pancake’ version of the above, introduced in 1985, has a 0.6m minimum focusing distance. (Bottom left)
  • Series E 50mm f/1.8, introduced in 1978 along with the budget Nikon EM SLR. This is the first version of the lens that doesn’t feature the traditional chrome mounting ring. (Bottom right).
  • 50mm f/2 Pre-AI, one of the oldest lenses in my collection, manufactured between 1963 and 1967. The ‘H’ appearing after the ‘Nikkor’ name indicates the number of elements making up the lens, in this case 6 (Hex). (Centre).

I do still use every one of these beautiful lenses, some more than others but they all get an outing from time to time, earlier this year I mounted the Pre-AI lens on my Fujifilm X-T10 (via an adapter) and used it to photograph a friend’s band in a local pub.

A day at the auctions…

A few days ago my father piped up ‘let’s go to the auctions, I’ve never been to one before…’

Neither had I, so off we trot to the local auction house which was holding a sale of die-cast model cars, toy trains, huge live-steam model traction engines and dolls… and as it turns out… cameras.

I spotted a few things that might be of interest: Mamiya TLRs, Leica SLRs, a box of assorted Nikons and a few odd lenses. I spent 40 minutes perusing the more obvious items and then in a moment of (potentially expensive) madness, I found myself registering as a bidder!

The auction proper started at 10am and by 10.45 the auctioneer had rattled through 50 lots, mainly vintage Dinky and Corgi toys and I was fascinated!

Next came the dolls and then the cameras… a couple of plate cameras preceded a number of Leicas, then it was on to the Mamiyas: C220, C330, 645 1000S and a variety of lenses went under the hammer as did a number of Rollei TLRs before it was the turn of the Nikons…

A pair of FMs, an F2 plus 50mm f/2 lens, and an F3 plus 50mm f/1.8 all sold quickly as did a Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 lens (which I was tempted by) and then there was this…

Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f4.5 (front)

The Zoom-Nikkor 80~200mm f/4.5 lens is, according to Nikon Ambassador B. Moose Peterson‘s Magic Lantern guide book to Nikon Lenses, firmly in the “Oldies but Goodies” category.

Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f4.5 (side)

This is the post-1977 version of the lens with 12 elements (in 9 groups) and NIC multi-coating, giving better image quality than earlier models, it’s also 80g lighter, weighing in at ‘only’ 750g!

Bidding began (and ended) at £30 and yes, I was the only bidder… the lens needs a good clean but I think it’s time to dig out my Nikon F3 to mount it on, don’t you?

18 years in a small town…

18 years ago yesterday I picked up the keys to a small ‘two up, two down’ terraced house in a nondescript little town in the centre of England… that small house quickly became a home and my wife and I still live in it today…

The town is unremarkable in every way, no major historical events have ever taken place here, no huge stars of stage and screen have ever called it home, the town’s Wikipedia page seems to struggle to come up with much that relates to the town as it is today, the major industries that once provided employment for thousands are (in the main) long gone…

It’s still ‘home’ though, for all its flaws and shortcomings, for all its noise and dirt and litter.

Centaurea montana - perennial cornflowerCentaurea montana (perennial cornflower) – Olympus OM-1N, F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 Auto-S – 1/125s, f8½ – O.O.D. Fujicolor C200 rated at ISO 100

There are little pleasures to be had here though… the local pub is always welcoming, on a still night I can lie in bed and hear owls hooting in the small patch of woodland a few streets away and there are forgotten corners that provide endless photographic opportunities for folk like me that never leave the house without a camera…

The above shot is another from the first test roll through my charity shop find Olympus OM-1N. It was taken in the local churchyard on a beautiful summer afternoon and in spite of the church being smack in the centre of town I had the place to myself for a good hour!