FT3- The Last Of The Nikkormats

I have always been curious about owning a Nikkormat. Always, since I can remember. To me, they represented a great “entry point” into the line of Nikkor lenses, and like the professional F-series, built like tanks, and all metal. One can only assume that “Nikkor”, and “Automatic” were the inspiration for the line, even though there is little to nothing that is automatic about them. In the dawn of SLR photography, “Automatic” meant an automatic diaphragm, and/or automatic mirror return. Otherwise, the camera is completely mechanical, manual exposure, manual focus, manual everything.

The earlier models (FT, FTN, etc) used mercury batteries for the light meter. Yes, of course there are workarounds and options, but I wanted something “easier”, without having to become another science project. The FT3 takes easily purchased silver oxide cells. And, the last of the line, the FT3 offer Automatic Indexing (Ai) coupling to the light meter. Very cool!

The first FT3 I received from KEH, a chrome model, had a few issues with it. The camera looked gorgeous. But, the back would not stay closed. And, the protective eyepiece, which keeps dust out of the prism optics, and makes photographing with glasses or sunglasses easier, was missing. Back to KEH it went for exchange. They replaced it with the less common black model.

FT-3, with accompanying everready case.

FT-3, with accompanying everready case, and mounted with an Ai 50 f/4. No rabbit ears necessary! 

From what I have read, this body had a rather brief run, and while not “rare” by any means, is a lot less common than the beautiful FM which quickly replaced it. A few quirks. The highly accurate, and easy to use light meter, is “upside down”. When you think you are over exposing, you are under exposing. and vice versa. it takes getting used to. The frame counter is gorgeous, and encased in a glass window which magnifies it, and makes it very easy to read. My guess is that Nikon took some cues from companies such as Leica, and used smaller, lighter torque, and less expensive gears for the counter, and gave it this to add a touch of class, while keeping costs down. The camera is indeed a lot of fun. and may have one of the most accurate 35mm light meters I have used, behind maybe only the F3 and FE2.

Here are a few results, Kodak Tri-X, developed in Rodinal 1:35. I love the exposures this camera can produce. Getting the needle to center, at what the camera calculates or guesses to be an accurate exposure, uses the tried and true center-weighted system. It still works, quite nicely. Amazingly, the Nikkormat line was designed for advanced amateurs who could not spring for the large upfront premium to purchase an F, or F2, and as a “backup” body to those two cameras. It was considered a “less expensive” entry to use Nikkor glass. Trust me, there is nothing “cheap” to this camera.

Taken last November in Melrose, MA, across from Hunt's Photo.

Taken last November in Melrose, MA, across from Hunt’s Photo.


Park

Ensign Thomas Lynde plaque, at the entrance to the park. 


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Old Water Fountain

I recently had surgery on my right hand, so left handed typing and working the mouse is indeed a challenge. But really want to start blogging again, and sharing more of what I love to do. I will.

St. Spyridion- Another Roll, Another Developer

Inside the cathedral, at a much higher speed! ISO400, instead of 100.

Inside the cathedral, at a much higher speed! ISO400, instead of 100.

Ok, now it was time to load up a second roll into another magazine. While I was somewhat confident of good frames with Delta 100, it was simply too slow for the light I was reading. A roll of yellow wrapped Kodak legend was in the bag. Tri-X to the rescue!

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Stained Glass

This roll captures the interior shadowing and textures in a way that I remember from the day. There was such a gray overcast outside that there is no way that any decent light could have helped being able to use 100 speed film inside the cathedral. I decided to develop this roll with good old standby D-76. Yes, I could have used a different dilution of Rodinal, and done traditional developing. But I had no experience with the developer other than semi-stand, and with Tri-X, semi-stand is likely best saved for shooting Tri-X at one or two stops faster. If I had used Rodinal and developed traditionally, I’d encounter different grain structure. So, I went with what I know.

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Ceiling

By the time I had got back outdoors, the sky was clearing. Tri-X at ISO400, with now bright skies? Stop down, stop all the way down! Not a bad thing to do with a Hasselblad…

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The beautiful dome of St. Spyridion.

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This roll represented somewhat of a first.

Of note- this represents the first time I have developed any film in a stainless steel developing tank. While I liked cleaning the tank after development, I will admit, loading the tank takes a lot of getting used to. After several practice runs with a dummy roll, it was into the darkroom. Getting the film under the spring-loaded clip is tricky. And, as you can see in the lower left of this last frame, I ran into some uneven development due to a loading issue. It may call for going back to the Paterson tanks, with some changes. But shooting, developing, and scanning these rolls represented pure joy.

Memorial Day

Statue that commemorates the battle at the North Bridge, inscribed with verse from Ralph Emerson's Concord Hymn.

Minuteman by Daniel Chester French- statue that commemorates the battle at the North Bridge, inscribed with a verse from Ralph Emerson’s Concord Hymn.

I brought a second roll of film on the recent visit to Concord, a roll of Tri-X. Unfortunately, this roll was a major struggle in the darkroom to load into the tank, with multiple jam ups with the Patterson reel. But I am very happy with two of the surviving shots, timely for this upcoming great American holiday. Once again, the 500c/m, and 150mm Zeiss Sonnar-

Old North Bridge replica that was built in 1956, based on drawings of the bridge built in the 1760s. It was then restored in 2005.

Old North Bridge replica that was built in 1956, based on drawings of the original bridge from the 1760’s. It was then restored in 2005.

 

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.” Concord Hymn, Emerson

 

Enjoy this Memorial Day.

More Favorites From Photographica

While I did only take one roll of Tri-X into the show, the Hasselblad really did not let me down I loved all of the shots, and continue to review the negatives with amazement. They convey that classic 3D Hasselblad look- insane sharpness, yet a dreamy look that challenges the human eye. Each time you look at a well made frame, you notice something new.

The large aperture when used on the Planar makes a large hall look small, while drawing your subject in close. Use the scale on the barrel of the lens after estimating your subject distance. Your DOF preview will be dark, but after a while, becomes highly effective. The optional quick focus handle really is a nice tool to use.

Checking out photography books. The large aperture when used on the Planar makes a large hall look small, while drawing your subject in close. Use the scale on the barrel of the lens after estimating your subject distance. Your DOF preview will be dark, but after a while, becomes highly effective. The optional quick focus handle really is a nice tool to use.

I remember chatting with this gentleman at the last Photographica, and he always seems to be having a lot of fun.

I remember chatting with this dealer at the last Photographica, and he always seems to be having a lot of fun, and quite a pleasant gentleman.

Tonality, texture, and dynamic range are all attributes of film that I love. Not to mention the ability to capture “The Decisive Moment”-

Let's Make A Deal!

Let’s Make A Deal! Some beautiful gear, including a large format camera.

It’s going to be a long wait till the next Photographica. Shooting Hasselblad this Spring and Summer should really help the time fly.

Hasselblads For Sale (But, Not This One)

As I had my Hasselblad with me at Photographica, I decided to walk the show floor, and take a few shots. Some people stopped me in amazement, at seeing someone actually shooting with one. I don’t display this camera, I use it. others, several show attendees, and dealers, asked me if I would like to sell it. No chance. None! I bought it at Photographica 4 years ago. While it is a beast to carry and handhold, the new grip almost makes it feel light. And much easier for walking about.

I shot these with the new grip, wide strap, PME-45 prism, and trusty 80mm f/2.8 CF T* Planar. And yes, Kodak Tri-X, at ISO400. All exposures are at f/2.8, 1/60th sec., metered with the Light Meter app on my iPhone. In hindsight, I could have tried to hold steadier, and shot at 1/30th, The hall is dark! Developed with D-76.

 

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Hasselblads, and Speed Graphics, for sale! Dealer that sold the 500c/m to me 4 years ago can be seen to the far left.

Graflex, and more Speed Graphics. Large Format, anyone?

Graflex, and more Speed Graphics. Large Format, anyone?

The Hasselblad has this dreamy, yet crazy sharp look, particularly wide open. As the 80mm Planar is the fastest glass in the fleet, perfect for such dark environments. And, with people in the scene, the shots take on a mystical look, unlike any camera you’ll ever work with. It’s easy to see why Hasselblad attracts such a cult following.

Selling, and making new friends.

Selling, and making new friends.

It’s hard to see the Hasselblad leaving my hands this spring, summer, fall…NOT for sale!

StART On The Street- Fall, 2012

This fantastic event, which takes place twice a year, is street photography nirvana. As I have posted many images from past events, including the one that took place in June (strangely referred to on the website as the “Spring Edition”), these shots from the Fall Edition (9/16/12) are just a few of many. Yet, I think they do cohesively come together nicely, thanks to the DJ and street performer. Great photographers, such as Steve Simon, cohost of the podcast This Week In Photo, with roots in street photography, believe strongly in using photography to try to tell a story. Taken with the F3, 135mm f/2.8, Kodak Tri-X. I developed in D-76, 1:1, at 11 1/2 minutes.

Excited that there is going to be a winter edition this year, at Union Station. Winter doesn’t mean that great events like this need to wait until June.

Rapper and friend.

Rapper and friend.

Street dancer- I love the contrast here.

Street dancer- I love the contrast here.

Dancing and rapping.

Dancing and rapping.

Shadows

Shadows can add a lot to a photograph. They can emphasize emotions, create surreal images, and be used in a variety of ways. – Smashing Magazine

So, what happened to shadows in photography? Digital, Photoshop, highlight adjustments, Advanced D Lighting.  People bringing up details in the shadows, simply because they can do so. Look at images taken on film, from way back, and you can see dark, moody, beautiful photographs, decades before photographers were trying to punish every last pixel. Some things are best left alone.

Here are some more shots from a recent college reunion. I love the shadows and dark levels. Once again, Nikon F3, Tri-X.

View From The Bar

View From The Bar

Guessing A Shutter Speed Of 1/15th Sec. Was Used Here.

Guessing A Shutter Speed Of 1/15th Sec. Was Used Here.

Window Light- Maybe The Lightest Interior Scene From The Afternoon.

Window Light- Maybe The Lightest Interior Scene From The Afternoon.

A Mix Of Light And Dark Made For A Pretty Cool Shot.

A Mix Of Light And Dark Made For A Pretty Cool Shot.

Guessing That The F3's Heavily Center-Weighted Metering Really Helped Get This Backlit Shot.

Guessing That The F3’s Heavily Center-Weighted Metering Really Helped Get This Backlit Shot.

Return To The Symphony – Strings

Last month’s performance by The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra at Worcester’s Institute Park, at WPI, continues to be the favorite photographic event of the year. Little question that Kodak Tri-X was the right choice here, for many reasons. Mainly, the contrast, and the timeless look of the film. The first shot here is one of my personal favorites.  A few more scans from July 21st-

The Nikon FE-2's Light Meter Nailed The Exposure Here.

The Nikon FE-2’s Light Meter Nailed The Exposure Here.

Many Newbie Photographers Obsess Over Bokeh, After "Tack Sharp". Shots Like This May Turn Me Into Such A Junkie. Creamy Smooth Bokeh.

Many Newbie Photographers Obsess Over Bokeh, After “Tack Sharp”. Shots Like This May Turn Me Into Such A Junkie. Creamy Smooth Bokeh.

High Contrast Scenes With Bright Highlights And Dark Shadows Were Everywhere This Evening.

High Contrast Scenes With Bright Highlights And Dark Shadows Were Everywhere This Evening.

These Syphony Members, I Think, Were In Roughly The Same Spot At Last Year's Performance.

These Symphony Members, I Think, Were In Roughly The Same Spot At Last Year’s Performance.

College Reunion- F3 Returns From Second Trip To Nikon USA

My communications/media department had a wonderful reunion this past Sunday in Cambridge, MA. It was held at The Porter Square Tavern, in historic Porter Square. About 50 fellow alum came to this event, to catch up, socialize, talk about that they are doing now, and to discuss funding of a scholarship in the name of a beloved professor, who is not in the best of health right now. I am keeping some of the details here a secret, because said professor has no idea about this. Google is a powerful tool. Word spreads fast. It was a spectacular event, and it should prove very successful, to eventually benefit internship students. As a former one myself, great to see that future generations will receive the assistance and jump-start that a scholarship provides. It was wonderful to see professors and fellow alum that I had not chatted with in years. It was like not skipping a beat. And to see what “newer” generations are now up to.

My Nikon F3 has been to Nikon USA in Melville, NY now, twice. The first time for replacement of the LCD light meter display (yes, Nikonians, you can still get parts for the camera). Upon receipt of the camera, on the very first roll, I noticed a case of shutter bounce or capping. A few images on an earlier entry here (Summer Stroll) showed this dark vertical band of underexposure on the right hand side of the frame. As I had also paid Nikon for a CLA (Clean, Lubricate, and Adjust), back the F3 went. This time, for shutter curtain adjustment, and speed verification. After shooting this roll of TriX indoors, and out, as well as a roll of Portra 400, the problem, thankfully, is now gone. After researching online, seems as though it is more noticeable at 1/250th a sec and faster. So far, so good!

The images poster here do have some development issues. The bottom of the old bottle of HC-110 was used for my typical 49-1 one shot formula. I should have shaken the bottle well. Also, the fixer may indeed be exhausted. Back to the chemical mixing tonight.

A side note- bring a film camera like the beautiful F3 to an event like this. Not only will you stand out from the others (AKA digital point and shooters), but you and your camera will be the hit of the party. A great conversation starter and ice breaker, for sure.

The Tavern At Porter Square, Cambridge, MA

The Tavern At Porter Square, Cambridge, MA

Next To University Hall- Lesley University

Next To University Hall- Lesley University

Another Beloved Professor Makes The Case For Scholarship In His Friend's Name

Another Beloved Professor Makes The Case For Scholarship In His Friend’s Name

Catching Up With Old Friends, Making New Ones

Catching Up With Old Friends, Making New Ones

Asst. Dir Of Alumni Relations, Summa Cum Laude

Asst. Dir Of Alumni Relations, Summa Cum Laude

Walking Up Elm Street

I took a few random shots on the 21st, before the concert, while walking up Elm Street here in Worcester. I challenged myself to keep one lens on the camera, that being the 135mm f/2.8. I know that a lot of “newbie” photographers with slow zooms on the dSLR’s, once they discover the joys if a sharp, fast prime, make similar challenges. In this case, knowing that the 135 would be the glass of choice for the concert, well, with Tri-X loaded up, it seemed like the way to go for fast shutter speeds for hand holding. No “VR”, no “IS”, just old school hand holding, and breathing technique. I didn’t have the motor drive mounted on the FE-2, but it might have helped here to keep the body more stable.

Gargoyle At Gate For 34 Elm Street

Gargoyle At Gate For 34 Elm Street

Side View

Side View

View Of New T&G Offices At City Place

View Of New T&G Offices At City Place

Scaffolding

Scaffolding