Old friend

I took some photos yesterday with an old friend. Not a person, but a lens.

My first real camera was a Nikon EM SLR that my Dad bought me when I graduated from college in 1979. He tricked me by telling me he was interested in a good camera, and what would I buy on a modest budget. I gave him the specs for the EM, and added that if he wanted a really great lens that he should spring for the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 prime lens. It was then (and still is) a fabulous lens. When he gave it to me I was flabbergasted (guess I was pretty naive back then).

I used that lens for years until I switched camera bodies and technology moved us along. I switched to Canon cameras, then Olympus and who knows what during the point-and-shoot digital camera years. But now I’m back to real cameras, and they make adapters for modern cameras to any lens you can imagine.

I probably hadn’t used my little Nikkor lens in 25 years. I’ve carried it around in my collection of stuff for 42 years (interesting number, that) and now it’s resurrected as a bolt-on for the Fuji X-S10. I had forgotten how heavy it is for a little guy – Nikon made them like tanks. It’s way heavier than the camera body.

Setting the camera up for the non-native lens wasn’t too tough once I waded through the documentation. I had to tweak two internal settings, including one nonsense setting. It tells the camera to fire the shutter even when it can’t detect a lens (and it can’t when an adapter is used), and once that software switch is set, you never need to reset it. When I attached a lens directly to the mount, it detects the lens and works as designed. When I attach an adapter, then the shutter also works, just without extending camera features through the lens. So what in the world was the point in that switch?

I don’t know what my Dad paid for the thing, but after 42 years it’s still worth $300-400 as a used lens. So it was nice to get a $300 prime lens for the $25 adapter cost.

Now I have to learn to shoot with the hybrid old lens / new camera. Focus and depth of field gave me some real problems in yesterday’s shots – the hybrid combo is strictly manual focus with a slightly odd focal point due to the adapter. And drinking wine while shooting photos probably didnt help.

But here’s a shot of the crowd that came out well in terms of light and focus. Can’t say much for the composition.

I also liked the tone of this little still life, though that’s the camera sensor more than anything else. I think I got the focus solid.

There are a couple of others from yesterday that are publishable, but I need to work on them.

All told, it was great to have an old friend back at my side.

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