View Full Version : New forum for Nikon rangefinder
Just created this forum for nikon rangefinders. Enjoy :)
I will certainly be posting here!
wow, brian got his own forum!
He might have some company.
ok, sound off, who has a nikon rf?
Maybe this is where I should be. I have my grandfather's Nikon camera. I don't think he ever took it out of the box after buying it. Even the box looks brand new. The camera has the initials "SP" on it. The three extra lenses are a little dusty. What should I do with it? :angel: :angel:
Sounding off like I had a pair.
You should load it with film and use it.
Any questions, be sure to ask. Does it have the manual in that box? If not, I have one.
BTW: The camera does not have "SP" written anywhere on it, but the box does. It is in big letters on the box, hard to miss. The SP cameras have serial numbers that start with "62". But you do not have to look there, the long window gives it away. The other Nikons look a lot alike. I got an S4 and an S3 that the shops both both mistook for S2's.
Here's a Shot with my SP and 8.5cm f2 at the beach:
ok, sound off, who has a nikon rf?
I've got a couple of Nikon SLR's. Sure wish I had an RF, though. :(
Thanks for opening up this forum! I have an S2, an S# 2000 and a nice old SP. It will be great to shoot the breeze a little about these terrific cameras!
Could the initials have been EP in a diamond, rather than SP on the camera?
I had an S2, but got lazier and lazier until I... just (gasp) NEEDED (phew!) a meter.
I'm better now. Since the MP...
Still want an SP though. Even got a couple lenses for it.
It is an SP with cloth shutter. My S2 is actually an "EP" version, bought by some lucky guy at a PX I believe :)
Sorry, I should have addressed it to Wayne. The S2 I have is marked EP. Sure looks like Brian will not be all alone.
ok, sound off, who has a nikon rf?
For years I would not look at Nikon RFs. "SP--bah humbug. Not a Leica! S3 2000: Chuckle, cluckle. Jurassic Park camera without the park; a primitive version of the Canon P. The little Contax wheel? You gotta be kidding. And if I bought an SP what about lenses? I want 21s, 25s, 28s and there are all old and too expensive."
Once I picked up and held a Nikon S2 ($300.00) at a sale at Palo Alto's K&S. A chap next to me nearly broke down and cried because he thought I was going to buy it. I handed it to him, saying, "Take it. I'm a Leica man." That's exactly what I said. Which goes to show you what I was made of in the late 1980s. And I kept my "Leica man" stance all through the 1990s.
"I am not going to spend money on another RF system that is duplicating my Leica system (such as it is)," I vowed. "I'd never use a bloody Nikon RF. Why should I when I have Leicas! What am I, some collector who keeps perfectly good worker bee cameras in glass cases? Not I! Not sweet little me!" :angel: :angel:
Then Cosina created the SC lens series and the Contax/Nikon R2s. Then my Contax II broke down after I bought it that niffty Voiglander 25/4. Then there was Tom Abrahamsson and his SPs. Then there was the Nikon Historical Society.
All right. I admit it. I fell. I gave in to temptation. Both on time (thanks to Cosina) and too late. While I was strutting my "Leica man" stuff all those years, the Nikon RFs I suddenly wanted desperately had gone up in price.
I got the deal of the century on a Nilon S3 2000 in Osaka (new, camera and lens for less than a used Leica M6 TTL body) I felt weird as any true bluel Leica man would. And then I put the 25/4 on it and fell in love with the little focusing wheel (which I could never love on the old Contax II for some reason). Then came a 105/2.5 with which I took one of my best street sequences (It's in PN Gallery, exactly backwards). Then came the NHS conference in Tokyo. By that time I was hooked!
I wrote about the S3 2000 in the NHS journal. I published photos from the Tokyo conference there. In the last issue I published an article about Nikon / Contaxt adapters for Leica RF cameras. (These adapters brought my Canon 7s back to life Recently they revitalized my Bessa R2.) This is a story in itself. Recently I bought an SP.
Why am I so fond of Nikon RFs? I do not know. I have few excuses. The SP has frames for 85 and 105 (but so do the cheaper Canon 7 and 7s. The Nikkor 135/3.5 is outstanding and fairly cheap (but it was also made in Leica thread mount). I can focus with one hand thanks to the little wheel when I am holding on to a strap on a crowded train (but so can any autofocus camera). I am not letting a lot of good lenses go to waste (but I not using other good lenses in the process). Their complex focusing mechanisms are mechanical wonders to behold (but compared to Leica Ms any cameras with Contax / Nikon mounts look like they were invented by Rube Goldberg).
Okay, I use Nikon RFs and I am glad. So there.
PS: You cannot fully appriciate a Canon 7s until you have put a Nikon S mount on it. It's amazing! You can change lenses quickly! You can switch from Leica thread to Nikon and back again!
Hey, the SP is in my signature, is that enough to play here ? :angel:
I'm a player. S and S2 -- SP sold, but use the S2 regularly. Both purchased many long years ago.
Alex, great article in NHS! Enjoyed it very much.
Someday you will own a Nikon SP and an M3.
Alex, it's because the Nikon RF's are great cameras. Kind of funny, I never thought I would buy and use a Leica. I bought an M3 about two years ago and can understand why people love their Leica's. I added a 2nd M3, an M2, and a Little CL along with the IIIf that I picked up for $50 in a Grab-Bag at a used camera store.
An S2, that is. On the other hand, a used Summicron is good condition is about the same price, and I have an M3. What should I do? :bang:
This isn't a "reply" to anyone in particular. Its an "inquiry", embroidered with a bunch of personal comments.
I'm tempted by - and I am seriously considering purchasing - either an S2 or an SP rangefinder Nikon, either one with an f/1.5, an f/1.8 or an f/2.0 50mm lens and, if I could find them, a 28mm to 35mm wide angle and an 85mm semi-telephoto cohorts. All of these must be in (near) mint condition and (near) perfect working order. I plan to "use" this equipment regularly for serious personal work, not "display" it: I collect "other stuff"!
Does anyone out there have - or know of anyone who has - such beasts? If you own any of these and can contemplate parting with them, please contact me with a full description - some pictures would be nice - along with what you consider reasonable prices, and perhaps we can dance.
My first "serious camera" was an S2, purchased in the early fifties, followed by an SP. I remember using both of these with delight. I subsequently fell in love with the first model in Nikon's F series, and sold the S2 to help finance my first one. I never should have done that! I've regretted selling the S2 ever since. I kept and used the SP for a very long time, passing it on, in 1981 - along with my circa 1958 Rolex - to my first born son on his 21st birthday. He still has, uses and treasures both of these, and wouldn't part with either one "at any price", he assures me. He's got his eye on my pre-WWII wristwatch collection now!
In all that time, I've owned a number of Nikon Fs, up to and including an F5, currently. I suppose that that could be considered being a "Nikon Loyalist". But then again, in the interim, I've been hard pressed to find better and/or more reliable professional 35mm SLR equipment. Of course, my wife insists that her Canons are better than my Nikons, and swears by them. Ours is, as you can imagine, an "interesting" photographic household! I do have to admit that Canon currently owns the dSLR field. But then again, that's another "ball game" altogether.
In any event, I've got this "rangefinder itch" currently. Please help me scratch it.
Seems fitting to put this as my 2,500th post.
The SP in near mint condition is fetching over $2K, and most on EBay are "gunning" for $2,500 and up. The SP is most popular with collectors. A user conditon camera will cost half that. The S2 in EX+ condition will go for ~$700 with an F1.4 lens.
The Nikon S3 seems to be at a low-point. I have seen them go for below $1,000 in user condition with a lens, and below $1,500 for EX+ with a CLA. The S3 has bright lines for 105mm, 50mm, and 35mm lenses. The latter "Pushes" the edge and is hard to see with glasses. The 50mm lines are easily visible with glasses. The S3 has the "modern" single shutter speed dial that does not rotate.
Nikkor lenses go for less in S-Mount than the same lens in Leica Thread Mount. A Canon 7 will cost less money for the body, but equipping it with lenses can run the total cost back up. The Nikon's are quieter than the Canon 7, and are smoother operating to my touch. I rotate through the Canon 7, Nikon SP, Nikon S3, and Leica M3 for most of my shooting.
With all that said, if you can drop $2K for a classic camera in EX+ condition, get a Nikon SP. Nothing else quite like it. The viewfinder on the M3 is better, and the shutter is quiter. The Canon 7 is about 10% of the cost and has a great finder, steel curtains, and a meter. But the SP is probably the "coolest" camera of all time. Not than I am biased.
I, too, am new to the forum and signed up because it seems to include a lot of people who actually shoot with their cameras.
I'm also a longtime Nikon rangefinder user. I was an Army photographer in the 1980s, and my colleagues and I favored Nikon Fs and Nikkormats for their ruggedness, plus they were cheap and plentiful at pawn shops. I eventually got a job as a newspaper reporter that involved shooting photos for my stories. Visiting a camera shop in Germany in 1988, I found an old Soviet Kiev, a Contax copy, and bought it. When I asked about the availability of lenses, the shopkeeper explained that Nikons had used the mount back in the 1950s. I was intrigued and, within a few months, had aquired an Nikon S2 at a camera show in Munich, along wit hwith a 50mm 1.5 sonnar and some Russian lenses, the 35mm 2.8 and the Orion 28 f/6. A few months after that, the same dealer had a Nikon S3, which came with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, the quality of which stunned me (but it does have distracting out-of-focus highlights, which people call bokeh). By the end of 1990, I had ordered a user-condition SP from a New York camera dealer, along with several lenses, and was doing 75 percent of my newspaper work with Nikon rangefinders. In the late 1990s I moved back to the United States from Europe and now have a job that involved just writing, with only very infrequent photography, so I mostly use the cameras to photograph my two daughters.
In my opinion, Nikon RFs have some huge advantages. Number one is that 100 percent finder. I'd been using Nikons for several years before I found out Leicas don't have a 100 percent finder. I shoot with both eyes open. As a journalist, that makes a phenomenal difference. I'm not hiding behind a camera. I'm still looking the subject in the eye and conversing with him or her. With practice, you can frame the S3 for the 28mm lens as well as the 85mm and 135mm, which aren't in the etched frames. The SP finder shows more lenses, and it's such a first-rate camera. But I always found it a bit dark, a lot harder to focus (my example is really beat up) and I never much liked squinting through the little 28mm finder. Still, I alternate between the S3 and the SP, probably using each equally. I spray-painted the face plates black just to make the cameras less conspicous. People are much less self-conscious when being photographed by a rangefinder -- especially when I'm looking at them -- than by a photographer squinting from behind an enormous modern SLR. And the focus wheel lets me handle it and compose the scene with one hand.
My avatar shows my five-year-old daughter a couple of months ago when I let her play with the essentially indestructable S2 and Sonnar. I took the picture with my S3 and 85mm wide open at f/2. Her picture shows exactly why I love that 100-percent field of view. She naturally kept both eyes open, and the controls fell naturally under her uncoached fingers.
I tend to carry either of the bodies, plus five lenses: a 28 f/3.5, a 35 f/1.8 (dynamite lens), a 50mm f/1.4 (also magnificent, but my copy shows some ghosting, creating ring halos when wide open and backlit, perhaps because of edge separation), an 85 f/2 and a 135 f/3.5. I also own a 105mm f/2.5 which is excellent, but I prefer the 85/135 combo because I do a lot of telephoto work (which is so easy with the 100 percent finder). And I have a Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/4.5, which is beautiful and heavy and requires a separate finder (Leica in my case -- In 1994 I was mobbed by children in Goma, Zaire, and one of them grabbed my 21mm finder, so I had to mail order another. I sometimes wonder whatever became of it and whether the now-grown youngster who snatched it still sometimes gazes through it in a contemplative mood to see the whole wide world at once).
I was never happy with the 21/28/35 combo, a tradeoff between width and speed. If I were still shooting for work today, I'd carry a CV 25mm F/4 instead of the 28mm Nikkor. But my wife points out that my cameras have been working just fine for half a century, so there's no need to buy any new ones now.
great to see a Nikon RF forum within this site.
I use a Nikon S3 2000 with the 50 1.4 and and 10.5 F2.5 (1957) alongside my Leica M6 on a regular basis and am considering a wideangle 35mm 2.5 chrome version for the S3. Has anyone any views on this lens - how would it compare with the recently discontinued Voitlander SC 35mm F2.5 lens?
The Nikkor 3.5cm f2.5 is sharp and contrasty. It will give a modern lens a run for its money. I do not have the Cosina lens, only the Nikkor.
Remember that the 3.5cm F2.5 has stayed in production long after the RF's were discontinued, it is the basis of the Nikonos "normal" lens. It is a fine performer, that had to live in the shadows of the much scarcer 3.5cm F1.8 lens.
Here is a previous thread with some samples of various Nikkors.
Thanks Brian that was exactly the info i wanted to hear.
Of course, one CAN buy a Nikkor f/1.8 35mm new... With a body attached, it's only, what, $8,000?
Or you could save ~$7,800 and stick with the 3.5cm F2.5. This is the 3.5cm F2.5 wide-open, right after I took the 10.5cm F2.5 off of the S3.
Full frame, then blow-up of the center with scanner at max-res.
My grandfather only owned a mint SP in my dreams. An SP brings out the bidders like a mint IIIG except you have to have a bigger wallet for the SP
My Nikon RF story, or Love at first use.
I have a modest collection of RF cameras, all of which I use. If I don't use a camera, or just don't like it I sell it. About two years ago I was browsing the vintage rangefiner section of ebay and came across an S-2 with a chrome 50 1.4 at what appeared to be a reasonable BIN price. I didn't have a Nikon in my collection so I asked a couple of questions got the right answers and bought it. It showed up as advertised with the IB, a Nikon fan flash and a pretty good ER case. I looked at it, fondled a little and put it in the cabinet.
A few weeks ago I decided that I needed an R-D1 so looked for some things to sell. (This plan went awry as all the money I raised had to go to a new roof, but that's life.) There sat the unused, by me, S-2. There's a candidate I thought, but just to be fair I better put a roll through it just to make sure it works for whoever I sell it to. I took it on a long weekend with a few rolls of Scala.
Joe, please forgive me, but when I got back I sold my Canon P to a forum member and wished that I had the price of an SP and more lenses. There is something about this camera that just fits my way of working and seeing. It suits me perfectly and now is my camera of choice. I can't explain it, it just is.
'Joe, please forgive me'...
the p is for me as the s-2 is for you.
i'm just glad we both have found our favourites.
i've never held a nikon rf but they are very handsome machines to look at.
I liked the S2, but it was so similar to the Contax, and I had many more lenses for IT, that I decided to stay with it, selling the S2 to MPEX. Won't do THAT again, but also, won't own another Nikon rangefinder until I can get an SP.
The SP, in my opinion, is just a very useful camera. The S2 is much less so, for my purposes- framelines, no built in wide finder, and so forth.
Understood that the finder isn't as bright as a Leica of the same era, but I'm betting there's someone out there with access to flat, thin, MC glass for use in the rangefinder windows that could brighten things considerably...
I'd like an SP someday. I'm working off that 28mm Elmarit nag, though. Next year, perhaps.
Have you Nikon Range Finder guys seen THIS (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=228362&is=USA&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation) ?
"THIS" is a great price. And tempting. Now that the SP-2005 is out, the S3-2000 prices have dropped. But, I have one rule. If my camera checking account can't handle it, I do not buy it. I had enough saved for a new S3, but spend it on Dan's (meleica) Nikon SP instead.
Think I'll go look at it again...
If i remember some mounth ago just was here a nikon rf forum....
I'm more interested in it, i'm a nikon rf lower and like me to try to repair this kind of old cameras... difficult to find a place to interchange opinions....
The Nikon RF forum does not get very many posts. Not very many people own and use the cameras.
I am just starting here folks!!! Time is on my side!!
Leica M8? OK we will wait!
Anyone want a Nikon S3 2000? chrome camera, lens, case, all papers-warranty-boxes
3 new sets to sell, $2,000
Bump! A blast from the past. Where are all the Nikon threads between this one and October 2006?
Another bump for the first ever thread of the Nikon forum :D
Ok, who else out there owns and shoots a Nikon RF ???
Too bad Raid doesn't have some Nikon rangefinder stuff... :D
Bump bump. ;)
I know who joined the ranks! Although I am sure he's been in the Ranks before!!
I even got him to promise he is going to shoot a roll with it ;)
I have an S3. Seems an expensive line to collect or use - up there with, I suspect ,Leica RF's. And it doesn't even have a meter..... I am wondering if they are good value. If it breaks then I will be using my canonet GIII or Olympus RC or S . ;) or maybe the Konicas.
I dunno maybe digital is the way to go...
If it breaks then I will be using my canonet GIII or Olympus RC or S . ;) or maybe the Konicas.
Pretty hard to break a Nikon S3 (or SP or S4). They're the same tough camera as the Nikon F, but without the mirror box :)
I do have a modest stash of Nikon RF's, S/S2/S3/SP/S4 and for some inexplicable reason a LOT of Nikon/VC lenses.
I was always interested in the RF and in the 60's, working as a photographer in Sweden, using the M system (standard at any paper in those days) I occasionally meet shooters with Nikon Rf's and tried them out. Of course, about 10 years ago a friend in Japan gave me Nikon S and that started the slide down the slippery slope! All right I still have more Leicas (barely) than Nikons, but they all get used,
For the last three weeks we were in Europe and the M's got a workout, but as soon as I got back, I loaded up a SP and a S4 as a break between Leica excess.
I hope to see more pictures with Nikons here, rather than of cameras though. Particularly some of the more exotic lenses -50f1.1, 50f3.5 Micro etc.
I've got an S2 with a 50/1.4 around here somewhere. I don't use it because it doesn't work anymore (shutter problems) but when it did, it was a dandy little camera. I know our bartender does nikon CLA's, but I haven't the money right now, and probably won't for some time. Stupid failing economy!
Just kidding about the S3 breaking!
They are indeed, built like a brick s---house, as the old saying goes. :D
I have had mine for about a year and I am very pleased with the results.
Almost guaranteed to get a good shot every time and that's what I like about it. Haven't put a lot of film through the old machine but that is being addressed now..
S3 for me with 35 f2.5, 50 f1.4 and 105 f2.5. It's a wonderful camera.
I have never used an SP but I love my S3 2000 and the cv lenses.
My 35 lens however is an MIOJ in mint shape that I got for a good price.
Last weekend a young friend of us got married.
I use two RF's, an Nikon S Dundee with the 35/2.5 on BW400 and the 85 on the R2S with Fuji 160c.
I'll keep shooting until..
http://lh3.ggpht.com/migtex/SOybvEHe3nI/AAAAAAAAEuY/fecAXWzDu34/s800/0660046.jpg (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/%3Ca%20href=)http://lh5.ggpht.com/migtex/SOylJYLzOsI/AAAAAAAAEx0/kbfYyI7SA_Y/s800/0910071.jpg (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/%3Ca%20href=)http://lh6.ggpht.com/migtex/SOyn5EqpVMI/AAAAAAAAEy4/la9rFvNqbtc/s800/0990079.jpg (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/%3Ca%20href=)
vBulletin® v3.6.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.