One Durable Camera

When flood waters made it into our house the other day, I rescued some of my photography equipment from the hall closet.   Among the items there was a case containing some older cameras, one of them the Nikon F2 camera body I bought new in 1977.    My 1967 model Nikon F may still be the mightiest camera on the planet, but this F2 comes mighty close.  Included here are some photos taken today of that F2, plus something from the first roll of film run through it, including this couple enjoying a leisurely lunch at Shreveport’s Columbia Park.    The metal on those old cameras was fine workmanship.    As the photos show, it could take a licking, too.    Note that this camera had no light meter.   Back then, I used a hand-held light meter for most things.  Also not on it:  a motor drive or autofocus.   Motor drives were pricey additions at one time.  Autofocus hadn’t been invented yet.   In fact, neither had autoexposure modes.    Today’s emerging  photographers might be flummoxed.

3 thoughts on “One Durable Camera

  1. Stan Taylor

    In 1981, I was a senior in high school in the Hill Country, and the next fall I was going to spend as a foreign exchange student in Austria. I wanted a good camera for my year abroad, so my dad asked a professional photographer for a recommendation. A friend had just gotten a Canon AE-1, and that looked pretty exciting and high-tech to me, but the photographer recommended a Pentax MX. Its only technological advance was a built-in light meter: 5 LEDs across the bottom of the viewfinder: red – yellow – green – yellow – red. As you adjusted shutter speed or aperture, the lights would indicate if the light was good. In hindsight, I’m really thankful for that recommendation, as I really learned the basics of ISO, shutter speed and aperture size. My friend who had the AE-1 also had a B&W dark room, so I got to develop some of my film and make some prints, which was also enlightening.

    To this day, I remain ambivalent about post-processing photos and as a result, I think I’m pretty mediocre at it. I just realized the other day that this ambivalence goes back to my origins. For people who grew up with digital manipulation of photos, getting the right shot is just the start; for me, it’s still almost all of it. I guess I’m just old.

    I really need to get my slides from Austria scanned. Maybe I’ll get them together this weekend.

  2. Lee Shively (AKA Dogman)

    Hey, Andy.

    Lee Shively here. Remember me from the Shreveport days? I recall your new F2. Great cameras, huh? I still have my first one, bought in 1974, as well as the last one I bought used at some point in 1989 or 90 (after being disappointed in the F3). I haven’t used those cameras in decades but too many memories are associated with them to ever get rid of them. Unfortunately both my older Nikon F bodies were stolen long ago.

    Having gone through a succession of different brands after quitting newspaper photography (Canon, Leica, Olympus), today I’ve settled on Fuji digital. At this point, it will probably be the gear I’ll stick with for the foreseeable future. I like how Fuji has real aperture rings and shutter speed dials–kind of like the “real” cameras of the past.

    Nothing today is built like the old Nikon “hockey pucks” from the 70’s. I still remember your Nikkormat. The one with the piece of twine holding the back closed.

    I’ve followed your blog for a coupla years and I’ve meant to comment but never got around to it. Until today when I saw that old F2. I enjoy your posts a lot.

    1. 23642459 Post author

      Lee! Great to hear from you, buddy. When I occasionally dig through old files, I’ll find a photo of you from the Shreveport days and wonder where the heck you are. Still in Shreveport? I actually tried to find you on Facebook, but didn’t have any luck. Recently, I started using Instagram a little, too, but prefer my site to all of it. Although still using my Nikon gear, I’ve also been impressed with the old-style feel of those Fujis. Nikon’s just come up with their Z series of mirrorless cameras. They look pretty good, too. Stay in touch, friend. It’s nice to reconnect.


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