Nestled in my cupboard down in the Western Cape is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of Nikon lenses. The 50 f1.4, 28 f2.8 and 105 f2.5 are all pre-AI and years-long favourites. There’s a much loved (and bitch to focus) 500mm f8 mirror and lots more – right across the technology spectrum, up to the point I stopped buying Nikon kit in 2012 or so.
For me, the tragedy is that most of those lenses have never stopped delivering wonderful high quality images. They just don’t get used any more.
My initial migration from Nikon was driven by the mass of their camera bodies. First, I moved to Sony and latterly Fuji, where I remain, deeply content and able to walk the streets without returning home with a hernia. Real time, accurate LiveView is something I love and want to use constantly – on a Nikon it’s as though someone else is using the camera most of the time. All that said, I’m still sad that I have some wonderful glass sitting unused.
The second reason for my move was Nikon’s non-delivery of a mirrorless body. OK, that’s solved now, but it’s way too late for me and still requires largely abandoning my existing investment(s) and buying yet more lenses/adaptors.
TOP’s Mike Johnson recently mentioned Nikon’s Df – a handsome, retro attempt to build a digital FM3a. I’d say they succeeded, but alas the Df was expensive, especially considering that most of the R&D that went into it must have been amortised decades ago. So, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Df was little more than a raid on the parts bins. Anyway, it’s no more, which is a shame.
Mike continues to lament the non-availability of a simple ILC, especially sans video and I can’t help but wonder whether Nikon’s sliding camera revenues couldn’t be rescued somewhat by a body that boasts an F mount, a competent, modern 24/26mp full frame sensor, IS and works with just about any Nikon lens built before the Z mount migration.
Don’t get greedy with pricing and even if only to protect my lens investment, I’d buy one. If it weren’t stupidly heavy, I’d also use it a lot.
Then it all went wrong.
This post had been intended to be a news catch up. There’s not been much that has caught my eye recently, and this was an ideal departure point. At least until I started digging for images to accompany the post.
One of Lightroom’s few strengths is to create virtual image libraries, built (I’m guessing) around a simple query, which indexes the output from that query. Anyway, I was looking for photographs I’d shot with my 28/50/105 and other AI lenses. Easy to find, just look under the camera body – the EXIF data doesn’t identify the lens, contenting itself with tagging the lens as Manual Lens No CPU.
And there’s my Nikon-saver. Free. I’ve had mine since just after it was launched in 2008 – then it was (and still is) a D700. Arguably the best camera Nikon has ever made and despite being in its teens and its now pathetically small 12mp sensor, I love mine and on the strength of this post alone, promised myself I’ll spend much more time with it.
Every single image included in this post was shot with a D700 and lenses now several decades old. See what I mean?
Used D700s currently fetch between US$350 and US$600 on eBay. Find a good one, with (say) less than 50,000 activations and save your old Nikkors, sanity and bank account.
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