View Full Version : Oh Gawd! It's Here - Now What?
Well the S2 has finally arrived - with all of its accessories*. First off, I have to thank the eB.y seller - (s)he not only delivered as listed (in fact in better physical condition than I expected) but threw in a LowePro carry-bag, a couple of rolls of (probably ancient) film and (perhaps it was just unclear from the listing) a Nikon BC-5(?) flash unit (not sure the number - listing was unclear and I now have two! since I bought one by mistake from Adora-a on the eWay! - oh well....)
Now I know I need to go to Craig Camera for a repro of the manual - and I've already bored you with my light metering issues....so I'll leave those matters to rest.
Here's my (happy?) dilemma. This outfit seems to be almost unused - even though it is clearly an EP from the 'fifties.
Really, the only thing that is worn (out) is the leather camera cover case because it seems like the owner rarely used it - but kept opening up the front flip part until (s)he just about wore out the little flap that holds the lens cover flip part onto the fixed part (it's literally hanging by a thread).
So, other than running through a roll of film, how do I find out what's wrong? Now, don't get me wrong - I know I need to run a roll of film through but - believe it or not - I think there is a roll already in there! Reason is that when I went to checked out the film advance lever - guess what? - the darn film spool knob advanced with it!
Now, I wouldn't expect that unless there was film in there to advance.
Now my real dilemma is - do I wait on getting a light meter (and figuring out how to use it) before I shoot out this roll?
Curious as I am to find what comes out - I'd hate to prejudice my feelings for the camera because: (a) the film was almost as old as me - and I'm 54 y.o.; (b) the film is fine but I under/over exposed because I didn't have (or did and didn't know how to use) an outboard lightmeter; (c) having never used a RF - I really have no idea what I am doing or, (d) the camera is pretty as a picture but just plain sucks and needs to be fixed!
Ideas and advice gladly received. Oh, and exacty how do I determine if the rangefinder is "bright" or not? I always read about that in RF write-ups. Boy oh boy, am I a "Newbie" or what.
* Oh, BTW, the "glass" included the standard 50mm (5.0cm) @ 1.4 plus a 135 @ f3.5 with separate viewfinder and a "near pristine") IB lenshood. If this sucker "works" I think I got a great deal!
PS - someday I'll figure out these avatars and stuff too... :bang:
Well, first you definitely want to get that roll out of there. If you're feeling inquisitive, you may even want to try developing it. (Is Kodak Anti-Fog #1 still available? Supposed to help when processing super-old film.) Maybe you'll find a picture of Harry Truman drinking rice wine with Syngman Rhee or something...
To remove the film, turn the A-R ring around the shutter button to R, unfold the rewind crank (which, annoyingly, does NOT have a rotating handle on the crank) and crank away in the direction of the arrow. Easy; you probably already figured this out!
Before you try it with film, dry-shoot it a bit to see if the basics seem to work. Look in the lens and set the aperture ring to all the apertures; make sure the diaphragm leaves open and close evenly and that you don't see any (or at least barely any) oil on them. Run the focusing wheel in and out.
Advance the wind lever and try all the shutter speeds. To set the fast speeds, you've got to lift and turn the shutter speed dial to select the fast speeds (with reference to the little pointer in the center of the dial.) For the slow speeds, set the fast-speed dial to the "30-1" position, then turn the little nubbin to set the outer dial to the speed you want (with reference to the outer pointer on the camera top.) It's a little fiddly compared to a modern camera with all speeds on a single dial, but not difficult.
While you're trying the speeds, remove the lens (press down the flat spring gizmo on the lens mount to unlock it, then turn the lens about 30 degrees and lift it out), take off the camera back, and look through the back at an evenly-lit surface as you fire the shutter. If everything's OK, you should hear a smooth click or buzz as the shutter fires, and you should see an evenly-illuminated rectangle through the back. Even though your camera is nearly 50 years old, don't be surprised if the shutter works fine -- the S2 is notoriously reliable.
While you've got the back off, point the camera at a bright desk lamp and look at the CLOSED shutter curtains to check for light leaks. Do this with the shutter both wound and unwound.
Once you've gotten comfortable handling the camera and made sure that the shutter and film wind work, you can think about a simple on-film test of basic operations. I'd suggest not worrying about an exposure meter for the moment. Just buy something that's available and easy to get processed -- maybe a 24-exp roll of Kodak Black & White from the local Walgreens and expose it outdoors according to the suggested exposures printed inside the film box, or according to the 'sunny-16' rule if there are no printed suggestions.
Don't worry too much about making inspiring pictures: all you're trying to do is make sure the camera doesn't leak light, that it winds off evenly-spaced frames, and that the shutter, aperture and focusing at least generally work. You don't even need to have your test film printed -- just get it processed and then examine it, looking for such problems as fogging, streaks, scratches, uneven frames, etc. If you don't see any, then you're ready to try it out more seriously.
Above all, have fun! Or, if you find you just can't make sense of the S2, send it to me and I'll have the fun FOR you!
The only thing that I would like to add is that once the shutter is fired the camera must be cocked again BEFORE setting a new shutter speed. If you have a camera with a built in meter you could use that to get a reading and set the S2 by that instead of waiting for a handheld meter. Sounds like you have a very nice outfit.
Bob: that's interesting; good to know. I've been pondering a Nikon RF. It would be the second Nikon body I'd ever own!
Well, first you definitely want to get that roll out of there. If you're feeling inquisitive, you may even want to try developing it. (Is Kodak Anti-Fog #1 still available? Supposed to help when processing super-old film.) Maybe you'll find a picture of Harry Truman drinking rice wine with Syngman Rhee or something......
....Above all, have fun! Or, if you find you just can't make sense of the S2, send it to me and I'll have the fun FOR you!
Thanks (really) for the advice - much of which I can really use. As to sending you the camera - let's leave that for "desparation time". :rolleyes:
One reason I asked about the film is that, as I read the "exposure dial" I seem to have shot the first or perhaps (at most) second frame. [Gosh, these darn numbers keep getting smaller even though my eyes are getting sharper!! ]
So probably best bet is to use the Sunny/16 rule you speak of - but you have to understand I live in US Northeast and "sunny" is an occassional thing! BTW: with Sunny/16 do you shoot at 125?
I'm saving all the rest of your post to figure futther how to maniipulate the "thingines" and "doodads". Thanks, espescially for advice about cocking the film advance lever prior to changing shutter speeds.
That quirk is an interesting precursor to my faithful old Nikkormat FT-2 which required you to "cock" the lever to get a new meter reading. One reason why I sought out the S2 was because I was curious how Nikons evolved (or, for the less advnaced amongst us...was "intelligently designed" by a great cameraman in the sky) by using the original technology.
You see, I also shoot a F5 and a D70, plus my old manual Nikon SLRs so I'm curious about the "roots".
This excursion is gonna be fun - that's for sure.
shutter speed depends on what film is in the camera.
shutter speed depends on what film is in the camera.
So what is the full equation? Sunny/16 say with 400 ISO = What shutter speed?
Second the motion to get the old film out of the camera and make sure that the emulsion did not peel or corrode. I have seen that happen.
The shutter-speed can be set before winding. The owner's manual does not state a preference, but does let you know that at 1/1000th setting the dial stays up. At all other speeds it clicks into place. I set the shutter speed with the camera uncocked and it worked fine, including the slow speeds. Best not to store the camera with the shutter cocked for long periods.
RF brightness: look into a light source, like at a table lamp, and cover the main viewfinder. You should get a nice view through your hand.
STore the camera with the lens set to infinity. Chenge lenses with the camera and lens set to infinity.
pacificrimcamera.com has the S4 manual online. It shows how to load and change lenses. The S4 is "almost" an S2, except it has a single shutter-speed dial and has framelines for the 10.5cm lens.
Go To : Photographica/ Nikon Rangefinders/ Literature and Manuals.
As I understand the sunny 16 rule, use f/16 with a shutter speed equal to 1 divided by the ASA rating of the film, i.e., for ASA 400, use 1/500th for the shutter speed.
This might interest you http://www.mediajoy.com/en/cla_came/NIKON_S2/a1.html . at least till you get a manual.
Bob: that's interesting; good to know. I've been pondering a Nikon RF. It would be the second Nikon body I'd ever own!
Can't have too many Nikons either.
Great advice so far - please keep it coming.
I removed the old film (actually it wasn't ancient - Kodacolor Gold 200) but had no need to find out what was the first pic before I shot my foot!
Opening the camera was another relevation - this darn thing is PRISTINE on the inside - and further examination of the exterior is a ditto. If this wasn't approaching my 50+ years of age I'd swear it was new production!
Now, of course, I have to put it through the other tests you all have suggested - although it certainly seems to be free of any light leaks after staring through the shutter into a 150w bulb and seeing black, black and black!
Still need to run some of the other tests you've suggested - but at least I now know how to get the back of the camera off etc.
More and more I think this whole thing is gonna be real fun!!!
Please keep other ideas flowing such as:
If I have 25, 50 and 135mm lenses - do I gain much by adding an 85?
Seems to fill in a gap and provide the "portaiture" but wonder if it's worth it?
More imporantly, any ideas where I can find a 43mm UV or Skylight? One of these lenses has no "protection" and I have a rule never to use a lens that way.
Congrats on owning a great camera!
There is another difference between the S2 and later models. There's a "flash syncro" dial around the rewind knob, and you want to make sure it's on X for any electronic flash work. The other settings are for flash bulbs. The X-sync is about 1/45th or 1/50th of a second, which is why it has its own place on the shutter speed dial (and is a handy speed to use if you're handholding in low-light and don't want to go down to 1/30, even if you're not using a flash. (It's a "cold shoe" not a hot shoe, so you have to plug into the PC socket on the front corner).
Lens choice is always a personal taste. I was a photojournalist for more than a decade and found that the 25/50/85/135 lens combo will let you shoot just about any situation you'll encounter. The 135 is a great lens, but there are just a lot of times when it's overkill, and it's on the outer edge of a rangefinder's abilty -- though with the s2's 1:1 finder, it's still very usable. If you find a Nkkor 85mm f/2, you'll gain almost two extra stops and be using one of the finest portrait lenses ever made. It's usually affordable in chrome and also balances very well with the camera, like they were made for each other. Also, with a little practice, it's not hard to frame an 85 with the S2's 50mm finder. You learn to mentally crop in about 10 percent from each side of the 50 frame. and you can actually use the lens's barrel as the lower right anchor because it's visible in the viewfinder. By comparison, a 135 is tougher because you need an external finder.
I don't own a 25mm and wish I did. I use a Nikkor 28mm 3.5 and a Zeiss Biogon 21mm 4.5 and am constantly wishing I had the 25mm CV instead. (When I shot with SLRs, my combo was 24/50/85 and 180). When I'm working or seriously shooting, I have found that the 28 and the 85mm work together as a team almost perfectly. But of course, everyone has his or her own style.
Of my three Nikon RF cameras, the S2 has the brightest rangefinder. Best way to see if it's working for you is to try focusing on someone's eyes at a dinner-table distance in dinner-table light. You should be able to do so very quickly and confidently.
You also want to check that the rangefinder is accurately adjusted to infinity. Find a tower or tall building at least a quarter-mile away and focus on it to make sure it's at infinity. As an old astronomy buff, I sometimes also use bright planets at night to get a more infinite test for my infinity setting. If it's not lining up, a user can adjust the rangefinder, but it does mean removing the front plate and messing around with a jewler's screwdriver. When I used my S3 and SPs professionally, I needed to adjust them almost monthly. I'm now mostly a soccer-dad photographer, but I still adjust them every six months or so. But I've always been pretty rough with equipment.
On your speeds, check that the low-speed 1 second really seems to be about one second. A disadvantage of a pristine camera is that it hasn't been used much. I once bought an F with a very sticky 1-second setting that cleared up after I'd fired it at that speed a few dozen times. Once you're sure the shutter is more or less working right, it'll loosen things up if you fire the camera five or six times at all the low speeds and at 60 or 125.
Finally, "T" is kind of a cool setting. It opens the shutter and doesn't close it again until you wind to the next frame. Kind of like Bulb but you don't have to keep your finger on the shutter.
The 85mm F2 is a fantastic lens, and well worth picking up.
The 25mm Nikkor is rare and valuable. Hold onto it.
You can learn how to judge light without a meter HERE (http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm#top).
I just want to say congratulations on your "new to you" S2! I also just took possession of my very first Nikon RF, and wow, what a beautiful camera to behold.
I guess that was you over at that other site dealing with Nikons? Let us know how you get along with your new Nikon RF.
You got it Bob! I'm still trying to get the hang of the camera, as you can see from my other post here! :D
I'm going to try it out tomorrow via the Sunny/16 rule. Still a little confused on how to set shutter speed. But I think I have it figured out. Would help if the copy/manual had arrived from CraigCamera.
Oh well, worst that can happen is that I mess up the settings. Second worse is, being an SLR'er, I forget to take off the lens cap!
Oh, one other thought - if I shoot TPX-400 b/w should I go with a 500 shutter speed or under expose at 250 (and try to correct later)? The 1:1 ratio of ISO/shutter speed gets pretty far apart the faster you go....
OOPS - think I screwed that query up enough to answer my own question! 500 it is - that will underexpose! The older I get the more I screw up the denominator and numerator!
your call, but according to the 'rule' you use 1/500 of a sec.
You use the shutter speed closest to what 1/ISO would give you. In your case, if you have a nice bright sunny day without any shadows or clouds, then with ISO 400 loaded, you would use 1/500th at f16.
A much better explaination is at http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm I really don't know of a better way to learn Sunny 16 than to read that page and then burn film. Waste film really. Shoot like mad until what you see in your mind's eye is what is there on the neg. I just bought a box of 100 sheets of 4x5 ISO100 film. If I get more than 4 keepers out of that box, I'll be estatic, because it's cheap film bought with the full intention of learning. Which means errors. LOTS of errors. Because the only way to learn photography is to burn film. For all I love about digital, it's not the way to teach photography. You have to hit the student in the pocket book. When one little mistake in an exposure costs up to $5 a pop (chrome film plus dev), it really concentrates a poor student's mind like nothing else I am aware of... :O
Eh, I've blathered enough. Sorry joe.
Nikkor lenses tend to have high contrast. I have found that 1/2 to 1 stop of overexposure has saved a lot of pictures. The colors tend to saturate, and shadow areas come out somewhat dark using "normal rules". Experiment some, and try both the 1/250th to over-expose and 1/500th "sunny 16" rule. I use a Weston Master II meter, and measure the subject up close. If I meter the whole scene, I tend to open up 1 stop from what is indicated using the accurate 50 year old meter. With a Summarit, lower contrast, I do not do this.
The difference between 1/500 and 1/400 is actually quite negligible. If you think about it a moment, it's the difference between 1/4 and 1/5 or 4 seconds and 5 seconds. It's really barely enough to affect exposure.
But Brian is right. On Sunny 16 or in any metering situation, it's always safer to slightly over-expose negative films.
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