View Full Version : For those who shoot with their SPs
Ok, I've had this camera not even a day and already I have a user question. The manual is in Japanese!! I am hoping someone here can help me. :bang:
When using the aperture ring, the focus ring turns as well. The only way I see out of this is to hold the focusing metal dial thingy (sorry I don't know what that's called) while turning the aperture ring, but it is a pain to do it this way. What am I doing wrong? How do you guys change the aperture on your SPs without changing the focus as well? :confused:
I should add that the lens is the 3.5 f/1.8. Thanks!
For lenses where the aperture ring turns as you focus, you will probably have to hold the lens by the focus collar before chaging F-Stop. I wish I had the 3,5cm F1.8, but my 3.5cm F2.5 is even more inconvenient. The Indicated F-Stop is on the interior of the lens, so you have to look into the lens to set it. Maybe that is why I prefer Telephoto's on the SP. For the 5cm lens, either hold the lens body or use the infinity lock on the focus wheel.
Pacific Rim camera has the Nikon S4 manual online.
Go to the "photographica" pages, the Nikon Index, and Nikon brochures and instruction manuals. Also look on Ebay for manuals, I bought a beautiful color reprint of the SP manual for $20.
My 3.5cm F2.5 is on the SP now. You turn the front of the lens, even with the filter on it, to change the F-Stop. But it is a very sharp lens, and was on the S4 that I got in a trade for an N8008.
Thanks a lot, Brian. So I guess it's normal that the focus ring also turns when I turn the aperture ring! I thought I was doing something wrong. I guess that is one of the quirks. I've never used a camera where the focus ring turns when I change apertures!
Welcome to the wonderful world of single-helical focusing! Lots of older RF lenses have this, not just Nikon ones.
In this form of construction, there is only one set of screw threads to move the focusing mount in and out. The threads are affixed at one end (to the camera) so when you turn the other end, the whole front of the lens turns.
The advantages are simplicity and reduction of weight; the disadvantage, as you've discovered, is that the aperture ring goes 'round and 'round as the lens barrel turns (now THERE'S a soap opera for you!)
It's considered more modern for a lens to have a double-helical mount. In this, the focusing ring is attached to one set of threads (to hold it in place) and engages another set of threads (on the optical section.) The optical section also has a guide that runs in a lengthwise slot, preventing it from twisting. So, as you turn the focusing ring, it pushes the lens head in and out, but the head doesn't turn because the guide restrains it.
Although this is more convenient, there are a lot of really good lenses (the 105/2.5 Nikkor and 100/2 Canon being two that spring immediately to mind) that have single-helical focusing, so it's best not to turn up your nose at it!
PS -- With a Nikon, can't you keep the lens from turning by keeping your thumb on the body's focusing wheel? I'd think that would make aperture-setting a bit easier; seems like that's what I used to do when I had a Nikon S2 and, even earlier, a Contax IIa.
It's the same deal with the Voigtlander SC mount lenses but after awhile you get used to it and check to make sure your selection of f4 hasn't migrated to f16! Annoying the first few times you get caught out by this and loose a shot but like I said you do get used to it and eventually automatically work around it.
Have fun with what sounds like an awesome camera! :)
I so appreciate your explanation. I like how you explained it technically.
You're right - if I keep a finger on the focusing wheel (that is on the body), it makes things slightly easier. At first I thought perhaps if I am able to engage the "infinity lock" I may be able to lock the focus ring so that I can change aperture. But alas, I learned that I couldn't do that. With the 35mm f/1.8 that came with the camera, the infinity lock is seemingly not something I can use. It's always engaged so that I can focus with the focus wheel, it seems.
Anyway, as you guys can tell, I've got so much to learn. Definitely a very different RF to my Leica.
I'll post a photo soon. I have to say, the camera is a lot heavier than I expected.
Okay, I've got my venerable SP and 35/1.8 in hand.
You pretty much have to set the aperature, then focus, then compose. A three-step process (four if you count setting the shutter speed first).
I've been doing this so long I had to practice a few times to even see how I do it. Most of the time, I hold the focus wheel while setting aperature. Other times, I cradle the camera in my hand with my thumb on the accessory shoe and my middle two fingers holding the lens by its knurling. This holds it very solidly while I set the aperature.
You'll notice that at least they have f/stop readings on both sides of the lens, so you have a pretty good chance of seeing it regardless of where it's focused.
I sympathize with Brian and his 35 f/2.5. I do a considerable amount of shooting with my 28mm 3.5, and it's also one of those lenses where you have to peer inside the front of the barrel to see the f/stop while turning the filter itself to change the setting.
These are "SP habits" that will quickly be learned through repetition. One of the reasons we fondle our equipment is so that operating it becomes second nature. Right?
If you've got one of those brand new kits, I imagine the 35 f/1.8 is an absolutely stellar lens. Mine has an old-fashioned single-coated lens "glow" in the highlights at f/1.8, a phenomenon that vanishes at f/2, so I only shoot it wide open when I absolutely need every last photon of light. The literature with the 2005 edition specifically says the lens is multicoated, so I assume it wouldn't have the same problem.
And yes, it's a heavy camera. That actually makes it easier to handhold in low light. I'm routinely down to 1/8th of a second with this set up.
Lenses that use the external mount, ie almost any except the original 5cm lenses, disengage the infinity lock. It is the little pin near the mount; it gets pushed back in the presence of the collar of the lenses' mount.
The gears between the focus helical and the mount are strong enough to turn the wide-angle lenses. They should not be used for telephoto lenses as damage to the gears can occur. I use the wheel for the internal mounted lenses, ie my 5cm F1.4's and 5cm F2's. I tend to use the focus collar on any lens that uses the external mount.
If you ever have the camera CLA'd, NEVER let the tech oil the helical. It should be taken off the camera and be cleaned in gasoline. I have the service manual for the SP, and that procedure produces a silky smooth movement.
Brian and Vince - thanks again for your thorough responses. You guys have been most helpful.
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